I'm just back from one of the most remarkable musical experiences of my life: Martyn Bennett's GRIT re-envisioned for a huge genre breaking orchestra by Greg Lawson.
It included jazz, folk and classical musicians. The string section alone composed about forty violins, cellos and basses. There was a nine piece make voice choir, six or seven folk singers; several pipers, saxophones and clarinets; trumpet, trombones and horns, and three percussionists.
They filled the Playhouse stage, and produced an amazing sound. I was right at the back, near the top of the gods, and it sounded great.
Bennett's album isn't one of my favourites, but Lawson's orchestration - for me - brings it to life. The scale of the endeavour - recreating samples, all the instruments, the different musical disciplines - make it completely bonkers, but it was incredibly powerful, emotional and moving.
They played it through, finishing with their version of Gerry Rafferty's "To Each And Everyone Of You", an emotional close, getting the audience to sing along. It was practically heartbreaking. There was a standing ovation, and huge applause; they came back for an encore, reprising "Chanter", a foot stamping raucous number. Another ovation, and they decided to repeat "To Each And Everyone Of You". Thrus was even emotional. As Greg Lawson conducted the audience singing, the musicians slowly left the stage, until Lawson and the audience were left alone. Another huge round of applause. The musicians came back on to applaud the audience and take a final bow.
My only criticism - the only thing that might have made this a better gig - is that this was the biggest ceilidh band ever - but there was nowhere to dance. I really REALLY hope they repeat the gig sometime, but in a venue with no seats. Because the music made everyone want to dance!