pin it down too much to one meaning, the others evaporate

Up at six, sit, breakfast, H out, then I go running (the weather really is glorious at this time in the morning), yoga, prepare myself, make a packed lunch. Eventually get to Walker when I usually do (late).

Maisying, with a lie-down at lunchtime.

After work, I go with Ben to the Barbican where we meet up with H for the Scott Walker evening – songs, mostly from The Drift, with a couple from Tilt, with full band and orchestra, other singers (some famous) standing in for Scott.

The music is as upsetting and alienating as on the CD, but often superb instrumentally, the two tracks from Tilt (Patriot and Farmer in the City) especially. However there seems to be a rule that the more famous the singer, the less their voice can do – Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn are swallowed by the arrangements, Dot Allison and Gavin Friday fare better (with some cabaret chops), but the highly trained classical singers are all over it and blow them away, rather.

The group is at the back of the stage, the orchestra corralled under the stage, which has an interesting alienating effect. Lots of visuals, often too literal. Nice use of iconic imagery with a giant Elvic shadow cast on the screen behind the singer in Jesse, for example (spoiled a bit by the giant shadow of a stagehand bending down to pick something up, straying into “shot”); but often the representation is too literal – on one level Patriot may be about a drunk chasing a newspaper dancing on the wind, on another it’s about the first Gulf War; pin it down too much to one meaning, the others evaporate.

As the show is finishing, a few people near us begin to boo. Why? The show was fully and accurately described in all the promotional literature. It effectively had a health warning. I have some qualms, but it’s very nearly a unique event (three performances of which this was the first), and I don’t grudge the things that I feel were less successful for the opportunity to see the things that were more so.

The Edge out of U2 is in the audience, dressed as The Edge out of U2, which surprises me. I’d expect him (or any famous performer) not to dress in their uniform offstage, but perhaps that’s silly.

Someone else I saw in the audience looks exactly like someone I knew 17 years ago, but the way they looked 17 years ago. And anyway, they’d be in New York.

After the show fail to find somewhere to have a coffee and catch our respective buses.

H and I return home to tea and jellied bean jam and internet.