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

Maghull – Its excellent Wind Orchestra played Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall yesterday

What an excellent concert yesterday at the Phil’ and to a large audience too. Congratulations to the organisers and indeed to the whole orchestra, they do the Town proud 40 years on since they were first formed.

They were originally known as Maghull RBL [Royal British Legion] Town Band and were formed in 1978. Now with well over 100 active members they play concerts all over Merseyside and beyond. And they still stick to their fundamental values of being a community orchestra with no fees, no audition and any ability. Oh and they sound great too.

Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall upgrade

This indeed is a great place to listen to music – see the Liverpool Echo link above.

My first recollection of it goes back some 40 years to when I was a teenager. I remember clearly going there with an old mate of mine (the sadly now passed on Andrew Beattie) to see legendary Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. It was an inspiring concert not least because we had booked our tickets so early we were on the front row, literally feet from this legendary pianist. What also sticks in my mind is that we were sat there in our Newcastle Brown T shirts whilst those around us were dressed far more formally. I think we stuck out a bit causing folk to wonder how these scruffy teenagers had got on the front row but you know teenagers they like to make waves!

I have been back many times since and each time the Philharmonic Hall is a delight.