Ready and able
stage and then back to fiddle. The audience loved this touch.
The hall was by this time heating up and the band took a deserved break for tuning and it was back to Neil Dickie for continuity.
Seven of the bands older pipers – it is a young band – then led on with an arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah,” which was probably the best opportunity in the first half to appreciate the fine tuning of the pipes with the resonant harmonies hitting just the right spots through the backing.
The band played the concert fairly straight and for me this was a strength. The drum corps really impressed. The use of rope tension drums in the next set including what started as a 5/4 march, “Cullen Bay,” then transitioned into jigs, this involved tempos sliding – never easy and really needing a band of this calibre to pull it off. With the creativity being shown in developing the fuller range of percussion through bass sections I wonder how long we will wait to get the sound of a rope tension side drum back on the competition field? This set also gave us our first sight of Drum-Major Jason Paguio. Dickie had been joking with the front row about the perils of being so close to the stage. When the four-time World Drum-Major Champion started his magic with the mace there must have been a few held breaths.
The interval gave an opportunity to meet up with friends and also catch a flavour of reaction, Again there was a buzz and certainly some sharing my view that the quality of the band, was sadly not consistently coming through the mix.
The second half started with the setting for pipes of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” which the band has played for many years. I have never heard them perform this live and the recordings do not do it justice.
By this time I had moved to standing at the back of the house and could really appreciate the mastery of instruments through tuning of chanters drones and drums in a lively set of reels.
Cracking! This is what I came for. We then moved to the fourth of the five quarters of the performance (ask someone who was there), and Neil Dickie gave a . . .