There are hundreds of would-be Sinatras and Bowies roaming the UK and earning a very good living but tribute acts playing the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are a little thin on the ground. Even rarer is a group of musicians who are perfectionists and go to great lengths to recreate the impressive, tuneful rock music created by the singer-songwriter-musician from Gainesville in Florida. Petty died one year ago at the relatively young age of 66 but his music will live on for future generations.
There was a real family affair at the Alban Arena on January 20th. Friends, family and fans of the late great rock musician Jim Rodford gathered at the theatre to pay tribute to a local hero. At the side of the stage under a spotlight was a poignant reminder of the musician who had died in St Albans 12 months earlier – his bass guitar and hat.
Arriving at the Radlett Centre, there is a buzz of excitement as fans of all ages; including, parents, children and their grandparents, hang out in the auditorium waiting for the event to begin.CJ is one of the most experienced, dedicated and well-respected Michael Jackson tribute artists and he perfectly captures the electrifying energy of Michael Jackson’s live performances with the look, the voice and the moves!This evening, CJ, with his band, backing singers and incredible dancers, recreated a spectacular performance of his favourite Michael Jackson songs with great lighting display, visual imagery and audio clips taken from Michael’s professional life.
I've seen Think Floyd a few times now and they never disappoint. Of course playing the music of Pink Floyd means you have an amazing musical back catalogue to work through. And for the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd they did just that, playing something from each album. Personally I have little love for the very earliest and latest albums in their history, but it made for an opportunity to hear some pieces that I had long since forgotten. I could happily just have Dark Side of The Moon and Wish You Were Here back to back and go home smiling, so I suppose good to make me broaden my horizons.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a local group was to perform 'Spamalot'. St. Albans Musical Theatre (previously known as St Albans Operatic Society) have been producing high-quality productions for some years now and I must say expectations were high. St. Albans is blessed with many high-quality amateur and professional performers (being located close to London being one of the main reasons), as well as directors and choreographers.
I have been a fan of Pink Floyd since 1979, when I lost a £1 bet about whether Another Brick in the Wall would reach number one in the singles charts. A friend, who had heard the song and loved it, offered me this bet. I hadn't heard the song, but knew Pink Floyd was not a band that put out singles at all, let alone ones that would top the charts. Well the rest is history. One of the few bets I'm glad to have lost. Anyway, since that time I have seen Roger waters and several Pink Floyd tribute acts. Think Floyd did not disappoint.
Michael Jackson might be gone but his wonderful music lives on thanks to performers like CJ who brought his show-stopping production to the stage of the Alban Arena on Friday, October 26. The spectacular show, a kind of cross between a Michael Jackson concert and a stage production, is truly sensational. CJ has the not-inconsiderable support of four well-drilled girl dancers , a top-class four-piece backing band, plus dazzling lighting effects and video footage shown on a big screen and keeping everything in context.
I was lucky enough to be invited to sample Champneys new product lines at their Spa in St. Albans. They were launching a new range - Mediterranean Bliss Treatments, which are also available in Boots apparently.
This was the first time I had seen a performance in the studio part of the Abbey Theatre. I must say I liked the intimacy this created. Allowing the audience to feel a part of the production, almost. The play is quite short, in two acts of 45-50 minutes or so and this felt right. All the dialogue and action had meaning and impact.
The Alban Arena is a venue with a rich history of welcoming touring acts, some of which have gone on to world-wide fame - such as Dire Straits, who played there in 1978. I saw the legendary Rory Gallagher there in 1988, more recently The Waterboys and The Gorillaz have graced the stage. It is maybe a sign of the times that more tribute bands than original artists perform there these days. So when two of the UKs most respected musical artists were coming to the Alban Arena it was likely to be an evening not to be missed!
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