2016 may go down as a year of political upsets and celebrity deaths, but closer to home it was a year of celebration. Not all the time, of course. But we did have a couple of biggies to celebrate. July marked our 25th wedding anniversary and August my 50th birthday.
Sarah and I enjoyed great holidays in Rome/Venice in May/June and Portugal in August. We also attended a number of music concerts and performances during the year. Quite a few, in fact now I think about it.
We saw The Beatles show, Let It Be, which was fab. Caught some other tribute bands, playing homage to Madness and The Who. Pretty good, but nothing beats the real thing.
I was a teenage mod, into The Jam, Secret Affair and other 'mod revival' bands of the 1970s and 80s. We saw Secret Affair at The Fleece, Bristol and caught From The Jam at Frome and Salisbury. Nice to hear the old songs, but it's a bit of a pity that they haven't moved on much since their heyday. Bruce Foxton procued a new album this year, Smash the Clocks. Pretty good, but the bassist evidently didn't have the confidence to include more than one new song in the set of either gig. At lest with Weller there's always something fresh and new at his concerts.
We saw Coldplay at Wembley Stadium in June. They were off the scale in terms of creating a stadium filling live event. Flashing wrist bands, confetti showers, oversized bouncing balls, huge screens projecting fantastic visuals. It was all there. Chris Martin was a bundle of energy, bouncing up and down the runway that dissected the stadium. Great accompaniment provided by the band. People don't like to admit to liking Coldplay, but you've got to love the effort they put in to making a gig such a special event. They played a good mix of songs old and new. From their early Indie sound to the more recent poppy stuff. An unforgettable way to celebrate our 25th.
For the last few years Westbury has played host to the Village Pump Folk Festival, a folk music weekender. We hadn't attended until this summer, although the venue is just up the road from us. Partly because I thought folk music was a bit hairy beardy, double denimy. Not my scene, really. But, then again, I quite like some of Billy Bragg's stuff and a number of Paul Weller's albums have a folk vibe; Wild Wood and 22 Dreams, for instance. Anyway, the organisers were offering discounted evening tickets for locals. The Proclaimers were on the bill Saturday evening, so we got some cheapo tickets and headed for the White Horse Country Park. Really enjoyed it. Keston Cobblers Club were great fun, fine musicianship from Scottish folkies Breabach. The Proclaimers performed a set of songs old and new, culminating in the inevitable 500 Miles.
We saw Madness at their House of Common one day festival in August. That was a good day out. A band that's been going for ages, but is still producing songs that stand up well against their back catalogue. Old favorites It Must Be Love, Baggy Trousers, and Our House had the crowd bouncing.
Feeder played the Bristol O2 Academy in support of their new album, All Bright Electric. I've long had a soft spot for their brand of melodic rock. Not just because they are Welsh. We enjoyed their show back in October.
We caught local Northern Soul act, The Allnighters a couple of times, including their Christmas party at Frome. Fast paced, upbeat sweet soul music. Pity I can't dance, otherwise I'd have given my bowling shoes a good workout.
Saw a couple of classical music concerts at Colston Hall with friends. As I recall, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra performed Brahms' Violin Concerto and Mahler's 1st Symphony. The Tchaikovsky Orchestra played Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams, Sibelius' Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony.
For 2017 we've bagged tickets to see Paul Weller at the Royal Albert Hall in March and Radiohead at Manchester Arena in July.