I made it!
A minuscule taste of what it was like at the O2 Arena earlier tonight.
More about it later...
Update (25/07/08): One of my commenters asks, ‘I hope it wasn't entirely spoiled by being with 19,998 other people?’ The answer to that is, ‘No, not entirely.’ The O2 Arena is absolutely HUGE, but it feels quite intimate from the stalls (I got cold shivers down my back when I looked up and pictured myself on Level 4, in what would had been my original seat: I could hardly see it, it was so high up). My partner and I were still a long way from the stage but the two large screens on each side of it enabled us to see the faces of the performers (and the people operating the camera knew exactly what to shoot so we didn’t feel we were missing anything). And the seats were surprisingly comfortable. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the constant stream of people going to the bars because they couldn’t listen to music without having a glass in their hands, the evening would have been utter perfection. I was hoping I wouldn’t have cause to slap anyone on that occasion, but those people were so disrespectful to the artistes on stage and to the rest of the audience that I must. Slap!
Yes, yes, yes, but what was Leonard like? What can I say that hasn’t been said before? He was wonderful: funny, charming, boyish, ironic, warm, courteous, wise – just lovely, skipping on and off the stage between the four encores, obviously delighted with the rapturous reception he was getting: the sound of 20,000 people on their feet cheering and clapping was exhilarating even for the audience. The energy that man has!
Oh, and the voice! Deep, low, soft, rasping, caressing... He sang some of my favourite songs, and others I didn’t know so well but now love as much as the others. Sharon Robinson, who was the ‘star’ of the backing singers, was fantastic: intense and focused. I adored her intro to Boogie Street. I’ve always loved Julie Christensen and Perla Batalla, his previous backing singers, but, although they don’t quite have the same ‘rapport’ with Lenny yet, the Webb Sisters were superb: they have beautiful, pure voices and their rendition of If It Be Your Will was very moving. All the members of the band – you know, those musicians one usually doesn’t care much about – were virtuosi in their own right, on some very strange instruments. And we got to know their names very well too. LOL! (There are some extraordinary videos on YouTube now: you can practically watch the whole concert.)
What amazed us was the wide range of ages in the audience: lots of grey-haired people, like me; lots of younger adults; lots of older teenagers; I even saw a couple of children. LC’s music really appeals to everyone. Who would have thunk it back in the ’60s, eh?
Only a few hours before the concert, it was announced that Leonard was coming back to the O2 on 13th November. I am tempted, but I would rather hear him again in a smaller venue, where buying drinks during the performance is not an option and the audience listens to the music instead of trying to get sloshed. I don’t need to be drunk to appreciate a great artiste, do you?