June 01, 2007

2 for 1

Aren’t you lucky? I’ve had another week of all fun and little work (although my article is ready to be submitted now) as my friend Arielle from Holland was here, and I’ve decided to tell you all about it!

Well, not all. I’ll cut it down to two cultural “events” in London. I guess you wouldn’t be interested in our marathon Six Feet Under and cups-of-tea sessions.

The National Portrait Gallery

In numerous visits to London, I’ve managed to avoid this place, but trying to do something different every day, its day had come. It turns out the National Portrait Gallery is a gigantic history book – which is a good thing. Whereas most museums just tell you what’s on the painting, and maybe a little bit about the painter, the NPG seems to understand that quite a lot of paintings are actually rubbish, or at least uninteresting. So instead they give us more background on the people depicted, and thus you follow the history of Britain through portraits of monarchs and their relatives, and, more interestingly, politicians and their personalities. Although the collection might not be as magnificent as the National Gallery’s next door, as a museum it is far more enjoyable and educational than its neighbour.

Dave Matthews Band – Wembley Arena

Mixed. Awful support act: Tom Morello (ex-RATM, Audioslave). Too political for a British audience (who here cares about Chavez?), often anachronistic (a song for the men and women of the Union?!), generally out of tune, and actually not even funny. He was better when he played with DMB for two songs, but again not convincing.

Dave and his band then. The set list was good. Quite a few big songs were missing (Crush, Crash Into Me, Lover Lay Down, Everyday) but then they played a few new ones, 3 out of 4 were actually really good, the fourth one a bit repetitive (but as such might be great once you know it). Having just checked out the songs on iTunes (on the album Stand Up), I can tell you that they’re much richer and more interesting live, mainly as melodies are now played by brass and the great violinist Rashawn Ross.

The main problem with the night was Dave’s voice. He already apologized after the introduction that it was a bit squeeky, and although he didn’t miss any important notes, he refrained from even trying some of them, and his voice lacked the power to linger in the arena. As a result, the concert was a bit static – not helped by the audience including me staying in their seats until the encores – and the apparent energy hardly reached the audience until the second half of the set.

Overall, I can’t complain. The high ticket price was practically justified by the long set (nearly three hours); musically it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever witnessed; everyone can have a sore throat – heck I’ve got one after every choir rehearsal!

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Hayley

    1. Fact: I used to work as a security guard in the National Portrait Gallery in Wales. I loved it, so much history… first time I’d ever been at all appreciative of art.

    2. My housemate from Bangor went to that concert. How weird.

    07 Jun 2007, 13:55

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