The summer term is over, which means another LCV concert is behind us. This time our Troxy fans were treated to a chronological smorgasbord of hits spanning four decades. The evening’s delights began with some 70s hits, including a trip down the Yellow Brick Road with Elton John and a chance to sample Life on Mars with David Bowie. A slight hint of cheese was on offer with Chicago’s If You Leave Me Now but the audience were happy to indulge in it, so we threw some country in for good measure – doing our best Kenny and Dolly impressions with Islands in the Stream. Some 80s pop classics followed, including the late, great George Michael’s Faith, and Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics. Some LCV favourites, new and old, made an appearance. We dug out and brushed off Toto’s Twinset from the back catalogue and gave James’ Sit Down another airing too.
Afternoon Delight had the audience tittering; Back for Good brought out the waving torches; National Express involved a surprise guest appearance by the ‘Conductor’s hat’ (good double entendre there Ben) and Like a Prayer had the audience singing along (rather too well for my liking…) At the closing curtain we invited everyone to ‘throw those curtains wide’ by singing, arguably our signature song, Elbow’s One Day Like This.
We had done our homework to deliver the goods (we even passed the ‘faith’ test with, almost, flying colours); the band had played brilliantly; Matty took some incredible photos and everyone – audience, choir masters and members included – loved it. Oh and we also raised over £1k for a very important charity Honeypot (which provides invaluable support to children caring for their parents) in the process. Then there was only one thing left to do – party like true divas at the legendary LCV after party, then go home to recover and prepare for our next gig (at, ahem, Wembley) just two days later. (There’s no rest for artists like us at the top of our game….)
When Richard put out a call earlier this year for singers at the Challenge Rugby League Cup Final at Wembley you’d expect a good response. In fact, even though it was the last bank holiday of the summer, around 200 of us cleared our diaries. Well, it’s not every day you get the chance to walk onto the hallowed turf of our national stadium and entertain an audience of nearly 70,000, not to mention going out live on BBC1!
There was much collective pinching going on during the course of the day itself, but yes it really did happen! After some behind the scenes preparations, which were almost as exciting as the gig itself (especially as our Green Room was the press briefing room, complete with sponsor board and microphones) we finally walked out onto the pitch to the roar of the crowds, to sing two of our classics – Mr Blue Sky and One Day Like This (Guy Garvey we really need to talk about your next Elbow stadium gig….). Next, after a quick turnaround, we accompanied the young but supremely talented soprano Kathleen Greene on Abide With Me.
Okay, so in an unfortunate reverse of everything being ‘alright on the night’, we had a perfect sound check earlier but then things went a bit ‘Pete Tong’ when it really mattered. This was nothing to do with us, who gave everything to put in a top class performance, or with Richard who managed to hold things together in spite of several technical errors going off at the same time. Fortunately we have the evidence, in our sound check of Mr Blue Sky here (video courtesy of Dinah Tobias).
It was slightly disappointing that we didn’t get to shine quite as brightly as we deserved due to the sound problems, but apparently the crowd, and also the events team at Wembley, loved us. No doubt the latter feel indebted to Richard for keeping his cool and guiding us through it all, so I’ve a feeling we’ll be back there before long for a second chance. Best to keep your diaries free indefinitely choir folks, just in case…
Until then, wait a minute, what is that I hear? Could it be the distant sound of sleigh bells ringing? Is that the LCV Christmas concert ahead of us on the 8th December? Does that mean that everyone gets to open their Christmas stockings early this year? They do?! And will it get everyone in the festive mood? It will?!!!! Well, you heard it here first, so you know what to do folks. Put a big ring around the 8th December in your diaries, and ready yourselves for a welcome return to the Troxy of Santa’s Helpers and the Festive Angels – aka London City Voices does Christmas!