elsie does nigel kennedy
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Nigel Kennedy: The British violinist and self-styled [sic] “bad boy” of classical music is touring the U.S. in 2016 for the first time in many years, and Leonard Slatkin was quick to recruit him to play an evening of Duke Ellington music with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.(May 6-7th)  “He doesn’t get along with every conductor, but he and I have worked together several times and we’ve found a way to do it,” Slatkin says. “He backs (his attitude) up because his playing is so extraordinary.” Kennedy was supposed to perform Elgar’s Violin Concerto but changed course because of a recent injury to his bowing arm.


FAN # 1 went to the concert in Cambridge:
 I didn't know I was going until my son rang me yesterday. He'd seen that Nigel was playing and, being a fan himself, picked up a couple of tickets to see Nigel plays Hendrix. I was at his last gig a couple of years ago at the Barbican and although it was good it was the Fats Waller stuff and I felt a bit bored, to be honest. This gig couldnt have been more different.  It was a total sell out. My son managed to get two of the last four tickets left!. I haven't been to a sell out of his for years. I'm not very good with the musical details - I just know what I like!  I loved this!!. The energy the band put into it was amazing. 

A gentle start and then the sound just exploded. The first half was the usual Purple Haze and Fire - he rocked both and then Little Wing -  beautiful acoustic version - first tear of the night !  My son's best friend was working for the promoters for this three date tour (Tomorrow he's in Oxford.)

Second half started with Cross Town Traffic, probably the most pure rendition of Hendrix's work. Totally brilliant and then into The Wind Cried Mary, beautiful sounds from all the musicians - the percussionist had just about every instrument invented and made great use of them. He then went into another acoustic number which had me reaching for the hankies as it brought back such sweet memories. He finished with an excellent redition of Average White Bands 70s hit Pick up the Pieces, which was a new one on me but most welcome. Then a Polish piece as there was a huge Polish contingent there.  He didn't stop moving all night, obviously enjoyed the show himself. He looked well and happy. It was probably one of my fave gigs ever. It was a real treat.

FAN # 2 went to the concert in Oxford:
I went to this concert on a Monday night.   Nigel came onto the stage with his band at 7.30 as advertised, so he's trying hard with his timekeeping!

The stage was lit with predominantly claret and blue and low lighting created a rock style vibe.   Unusually he didn't speak to the audience but launched into Third Stone from the Sun.  With barely a pause to take in the applause we had a beautiful rendition of Little Wing.    After he had finished playing this, he did at last acknowledge the audience by thanking them for giving up their Monday evening to listen to live music instead of digital which he said was crap!  The audience was now beginning to warm to his charm offensive and the atmosphere moved from polite clapping to foot stamping and excitement.   He then changed to acoustic violin and played The Wind Cries Mary which was just brilliant.   The first half was then drawing to an end with a slow piece of Bela Bartok which segued into Drifting, just a magic moment.    Twenty minutes later we were back to experience Hey Joe and Fire, both went down a storm. The theatre just erupted with the sound (which was very loud).   Nigel announced the last song would be Purple Haze which I love. This version went on for 15 minutes.    Then it was all over and the cheering and standing ovation Nigel and the band received  was something to behold.

FAN # 3 went to the concert at the Royal Festival Hall. 

The concert at the RFH was utterly amazing. It is very difficult to try and sort out in my mind that one concert is better than any other as Nigel is such a diverse and extraordinary music and personality, to my mind. I cannot think of another classical musician who crosses over from one genre of music to another so easily and with such magnificent dexterity and completeness. As a guitarist that makes me mad :).  Not true of course.

Other great performers have tried and come very close. John Williams comes very close, he is outstanding and works with many other music from other genres also, but the guitar repertoire is quite limited in comparison to the violin. But when one listens to Pavarotti or Carreras singing crossover songs, it just don’t work somehow !

Nigel is a true treasure and always gives the crowd what they want and I am one of that crowd.

(Three fans who went to concerts expecting to enjoy them and willing to LISTEN to the music. These little reviews are the results. And not a music critic in sight !)


Steve Keightley writes:

This is a picture I found in a junk shop in Brighton a while back. It is of a Villa legend called Eric Houghton. I think in this photo he has an uncanny resemblance to Nigel.

What do you think ?


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