Date: 23rd January, 2017
Venue: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – again was well organised and ran like clockwork. Had what is becoming our standard ‘council’ carrot cake and coffee before the performance, must be the best carrot cake in the world!
The concert started with a support act, Derek Gripper, a South African guitarist. Now whilst I am sure that he is technically good and that the guitar playing was at a very high level of skill, I am afraid the musical content was not to my taste. To me the music lacked melody and basically a tune. I did not enjoy his set at all, although I suspect that the guitar aficionados in the audience could both understand and appreciate his skills, but for me there was little entertainment value. Later in the concert Tommy Emmanuel actually hit the nail on the head when he stated that he was not here to impress with his guitar skills, but rather to entertain the audience and perhaps Derek Gripper should take that on board for the future.
Tommy Emmanuel had come to our knowledge through his work with Martin Taylor and I had spotted his concert when looking through the program for Celtic Connections and decided to give him a go. How lucky we were! Tommy turned in an excellent set, full of good music and vibrance. He had a well structured playlist and raised and lowered the tempo with some aplomb. He ‘played’ the audience to perfection and is certainly no slouch when it comes to live performing. Some artists are good musically, but do not understand the importance of stage craft, Tommy scores highly on that front.
The music was excellent throughout his set, with one of the highlights for me being a haunting rendition of the Johnny Cash standard “Hurt”. The sound and lighting was excellent. I never fail to be impressed when it appears from the sound that there are several artists playing, but in fact there is only one. Tommy’s use of the full range of the guitar was amazing and he almost matched my personal favourite, Martin Taylor. I will be looking out for his concerts in the future and would have no hesitation in returning to see him in the future!
I would have scored him 5 stars had he performed alone, but I am afraid had to take something off in terms of the concert as a whole due to the support act.
If you get a chance, go see Tommy!