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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 16-Oct-06


Monday 16-October-06

Music and age

We've had a very musical week.

Last Monday, we went to see the Moody Blues in the Royal Albert Hall, as in the previous blog. They are old fogies now, I guess, but they still pack them in and were doing three consecutive nights.

On Wednesday, we saw Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson do a wonderful acoustic set, including many classic Yes numbers and Rick doing a marvellous medley of nursery rhymes in the style of various composers ( for example 'Three blind mice' in the style of Mozart, complete with dainty trills). Afterwards, they came out to chat with the fans, though most of the folks there are bit old to be called 'fans' and the conversation was casual and friendly.

Last week I heard veteran acoustic guitarist Gordon Giltrap on BBC Radio 2, where he mentioned he was doing a village tour, playing small venues. A quick check of his gig guide showed he was playing at the beautiful Dorchester Abbey with classical guitarist Ray Burley.

So on Saturday, we took the Z3 up to Oxford. We had a lovely day pottering around the dreaming spires, including meeting up with our nephew Tom, who is doing a Ph.D. in cellular science. I bought a couple of books from the big Blackwell's store, which always cheers me up. I'm halfway through 'The Medici Effect' already, a nice analysis of the creative process, and am looking forward to 'The 33 Strategies of War', another thoughtfully written and produced book by  Robert Greene, with Joost Elffers doing his usual magic on design.

Later, we went to the Abbey and got their at bit early, so we had a nice dinner in the 15th century coaching inn opposite then wandered in, still a bit early so got the prime seats dead centre in the front row and watched the concert with Giltrap and Burley about 12 feet in front of us, just sitting on the steps and playing magic in the gorgeous abbey surroundings. There was a draw for a children's musical charity and the patron, the Duchess of Kent presented the prize. Afterwards, Giltrap and Burley came out to chat and sign albums. What nice chaps.

What was lovely about all of these concerts was the friendliness, both of the musicians and the audience. The musicians had lost the arrogance and distance of youthful rock-stardom but were all still brilliant in their arts. Between songs they told jokes and looked bemused that so many people still loved their music. I've been to huge concerts in arenas and stadia but none could match the warmth of the concerts this week.

Today is my birthday, so the passing of time has a special meaning to me here. Age does bring some wisdom, I think, and an appreciation of each day and each moment of music, art and nature. I am no longer thrusting at my career but love what I do and love the interaction with people. I'm still learning, but with none of the anxiety of the student or high-flyer. Over all, despite ongoing hassles, I'd say that being an older guy is not that bad. One day I'll pop my clogs, but I can't complain. I've had a pretty good life so far and this week have been reminded of the centrality of music which, perhaps aptly, is ageless.

Rock on.

Your comments

Quote: ... we saw Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson do a wonderful acoustic set, including many classic Yes numbers .... Afterwards, they came out to chat ...

Colour me jealous!

I've always been a big Yes fan, even though I never liked the mixing on their albums, which I found gave poor separation to the instruments.

My favourite Yes album, by the way, is "Close to the Edge".

-- Ettsem

Dave replies:
<gloat on> It was good. <gloat off>

Apparently Rick is retiring from touring at the end of the year, so if you want to see him one more time, you've not much time left.

I was watching an ELP DVD today. So who is the greatest rock keyboard player ever: Rick or Keith?

> So who is the greatest rock keyboard
> player ever: Rick or Keith?

I can't compare Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson. I can confidentially state that they play better than I do. I can play the C scale almost perfectly, but that\'s about it.

-- Ettsem

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