Music Concerts – Stark difference between Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall and Playhouse2 in Shaw

Yes I know I am in some ways comparing chalk and cheese size-wise but I’ve seen live music at both venues in the past few weeks and Playhouse2 knocks spots off my Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall experience. I blogged about the live music I ‘endured’ at the Phil’ a while back and here’s a link to that posting:-

I suppose you could say that the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is a medium sized venue for music these days, certainly nowhere near as large as the arena venues that have sprung up in recent times. My guess though is that the Phil’ are copying the way the arenas are run with booze being available most of the time and the toilets doing a roaring trade so to speak; it all seems about making money rather then quality music I would suggest.

Now turn to Playhouse2 in Shaw near Rochdale, a small venue, run by volunteers, refreshments only available before the show and at the interval. Sensible ticket prices, an audience that could hold their water, decent beer on tap and a great atmosphere. The act? The Snake Davis Band, high quality musicians playing jazz R&B and soul tunes.

I’m done with larger venues where drinking is the major activity, where you can’t see the act and where you treated like a credit card walking into the venue to be relieved of as much of your money as possible. Live music is a great experience but it is being ruined by booze and money making I’m sad to say. Give me Playhouse2 type venues any day.

Here’s what the Snake Davis Band is all about:-

Mr. Grumpy goes to see George Benson’s green check shirt at the Phil’

Having forked out £60 for a ticket to see George Benson at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall last night I must say it was a mixed experience for a number of reasons.

Of course Benson was a great performer as I had expected him to be although oddly his must have been the first concert I have ever been to where no encore took place. It just seemed to end quite abruptly.

And what about the Phil’ itself? Well for some odd reason (I would love to know why) they kept turning very bright lights on the audience. It happened on a number of occasions and I mean very bright lights especially when, as you’d expect, the audience was mostly in darkness during the performance. One chap I spoke to said he was glad he had brought his sunglasses! Very off putting indeed being almost blinded randomly. Please stop it Philharmonic Hall assuming it’s a regular thing you do at concerts.

It was not possible to order drinks for the interval before the concert started so you can imagine how mad the bar area was at half time; not worth the hassle to get a drink, but why set things up like that I wonder? The answer became clear, the bar never closed so it was another reason for the audience to be in perpetual motion.

Then there was the audience made up, I would guess, mainly of people like me well over the age of 50 – there were clearly quite a number much older than me too. But did a large number of them think they were at a Weak Bladder Convention? It was like an audience in perpetual motion with people in and out of the auditorium by the second. Having paid top Dollar for a ticket you’d have thought they would cross their legs to try to get some value for their money:-)

And what about George Benson’s green check shirt? Well for around a third of the concert he may as well have been wearing one as that was all I could see because a mature gent in front of me had decided to stand up thereby blocking my view completely.

A lady just along from him was photoing the concert on her phone, which was supposedly against the Phil’s rules. She got some ‘advice’ from a steward but seemed to take little notice and it was apparent that the signs saying don’t take photos or film the concert, or words to that effect, were seemingly not meant to be taken seriously as folks all over the audience were snapping and videoing to their heart’s content. Trouble is people doing this tend to light up the area around them with their phone screens, which you could do without.

Was the concert worth £60, on balance no not really, there were too many distractions which took the edge off seeing a world famous jazz singer and guitarist.

Stop Press:- Thanks to the Champion newspaper for printing my letter on this subject in their edition of 16th October 2019