Monday 2 July 2012

Hugh Laurie, Manchester. 1.7.12

Image to be viewed whilst listening to
'Left Bank Two'

Checking into travel accommodation that normally shouts about its 19 quid-a-night basic box rooms, we had, unbeknown to us, arrived in Salford during a supply and demand up to 200 quid-a-night (Stone) 'Roses' weekend. Immediately the three youngsters behind the desk asked us if we were going to 'The Gig' to which we replied,
"Yes, at the Lowry"
Puzzled, they retorted "The Roses aren't playing there, what's happening at the Lowry?"
"Hugh Laurie"
"Whaaaa! I'm sooo jealous" said the young female receptionist "Why didn't anyone tell me, I would have taken the time off!"

Forget the Stone Roses, it appeared we had chosen THE coolest gig in Manchester that night.

For most, the name Hugh Laurie conjurs up one of two highly successful TV series, Blackadder or House, the choice seemingly determined by age. However, on Sunday night, we were treated to another side of the highly talented Hugh Laurie. The Blues musician.

Following on from the release of his 'Let Them Talk' Blues album in May 2011 he was on his third gig of four in the UK, as part of his two month tour visiting North and South America, UK and Europe.

Arriving on stage to a huge cheer, he proceeded to contemplate a description for
"The most purple theatre I have ever been in"
(The Lyric Theatre at The Lowry is truly... well er, purple!) Needless to say, his description is best not repeated on this page! His quick wit was winning over the already adoring audience, where, surely most would have bought tickets due the name on the playbill rather than being aficianados of Blues music.

Accompanied by the superb Copper Bottomed Band, each accomplished solo performers in their own right, Laurie showed off his piano playing skills to the full as well as being not half bad on the guitar. A gremlin in the sound system failed to put him off his singing stride during an early number, only commenting on it at the end in his own inimmitable style. (Unfortunately, this gremlin was to make its presence felt throughout the rest of the evening as annoying static clicks- the only down-side to the whole show)

Half way through the show came an intermission with a tray of 12 year old Macallan being handed around to the musicians, apologies coming from Laurie that unlike the Oprah Winfrey Show, the gesture did not extend to the audience and we wouldn't find a glass of our own hidden beneath our seat- shame! However, a spot of background musak to accompany the break in proceedings provided moments of VisionOn reminiscence for those of a certain age!

St. James Infirmary, Battle of Jericho and You Don't Know my Mind all had their slot before Laurie proceeded to gain the sympathy vote for the tale of his childhood piano teacher failing to allow him to play Swanee River when it was all he wanted to do. He finally had his moment, and what a round of applause he got from it too!

Proving to be a highly knowledgeable, passionate and proficient musician, Laurie and his band gave us a full two hours of music and entertainment, the standing ovation duly deserved. Two encores later, a happy audience spilled out into the arms of the Lowry Outlet Mall where groups had gathered in the bars to watch some sporting event in Europe?!! As for the 'Roses'...

"How was the evening?" asked the only young lad left on the reception desk.
"Have to admit, I am rather envious too. I won't tell my colleague you said it was brilliant though, she won't be very happy" He replied

We just smiled.

(Oh, and thankfully we had booked early enough by the way, that we weren't stung for 200 quid... but then we didn't get the room for that elusive 19 quid offer either!)


  1. I was at the concert too and Hugh was absolutely amazing. The songs were beautiful and he was so entertaining. I'm already praying that I'll get the chance to see him live again soon. This was basically the best concert I've ever been to... The Stone who?

  2. lol :)
    Roses... it was all roses at the Lyric- purple ones!!!


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