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Blog: Tuesday Night Is Friday Night Is Music Night Night

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Last night The Members Of My Audience and I found ourselves in HACKNEY, queuing up outside The Hackney Empire to get in to see the recording of "Friday Night Is Music Night". The aforesaid Ballots In My Box had seen the tickets online, thought "That sounds like fun", and put us into the DRAW for possible tickets, and thus we find ourselves in East London of an evening in a MASSIVE long line of Radio 2 Listeners.

Of late there has been some suggestion that Radio 2 has changed its audience, attracting groovy hipsters and taste makers. That did not seem to be the case last night - we were almost definitely the youngest people there and CERTAINLY the most able-bodied. There were a LOT of crutches clattering when we eventually started moving for the entrance!

Once inside it was LOVELY. The Hackney Empire is a right proper old theatre with right proper seats and a right proper bar. Often going to the bar at gigs is a HORRIBLE experience fraught with queue jumping, aggression and crappy drinks, but here it was MUCH more civilised. Happy chat between customers abounded, service was friendly, and they even had a range of LOCALLY SOURCED ELB beers available!

We've been to quite a few radio recordings so are used to some faffing about but once this got going it STAYED going. Mr Ken Bruce came on, the entire audience went "Ooh! It's Ken Bruce!", he was DELIGHTFUL at us, and then the ORCHESTRA played a metric TONNE of Instrumental Pop Hits from down the years i.e. hit songs that already WERE instrumentals, rather than instrumental versions of songs. THUS we got "Stranger On The Shore", "Telstar" and a LOT of TV Theme Tunes and film instrumentals. My favourite one was "Van Der Valk" which is one of those tunes that KEEP popping into my head, so it was nice to hear it out in the open!

It was all very RELAXING, also INTRIGUING as we watched the Orchestra at work. I always think that the thing people enjoy MOST about live performance is when you see several human beings acting in synchronicity, whether it's a BAND hitting a GROOVE, two middle-aged men trying to tap dance (hem hem) or about 40 people scraping, blowing and thumping things simultaneously to make a MIGHTY SOUND. How it all works so well is a mystery to me though - there was ONE mistake that we spotted on the GUITAR (which they did a short PATCH for at the end) and there was one another patch recorded to cover, we thought, excessive air conditioning, but otherwise it all seemed to go without a hitch. When we've been to see comedians and suchlike there's always LOADS of re-takes and fluffs to cover, you'd think 50 people going AT IT for 90 minutes would need more corrections than a few comedians TALKING for 30, but apparently not!

The whole thing was BRILLIANT, also WELL sophisticated - there was even an interval - and Ken Bruce was everything you could hope Ken Bruce would be. Apparently our show will be broadcast on September 23rd, and I'm looking forward to tuning in. We were sat at one end, quite near the GUITARS, so some things got blotted out entirely. The percussionists seemed to be VERY busy all night, for instance, I'm hoping the recorded version will let me know what they were up to!

posted 25/5/2016 by MJ Hibbett

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