I’ve got another gig performing for local seniors. It’ll be an afternoon singalong in a residential carehome, it’ll be fun. I’ve recruited some people I know who will bring guitars and pianos to play and all of whom can sing really well. The last time I did such a gig was a harsh moment of learning.
We were actually a late booking as the proper old-time music band had cancelled a the last minute. We didn’t have any time to pull a setlist together letalone rehearse. I thought…okay…the majority of the audience is in its 70s, same as my parents were and my parents love Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, ELO, ABBA, oh and The Beatles…so, I thought I’d start with a nice solo acoustic, all gentle like – Norwegian Wood perhaps?
Well, two lines into the song, this old guy at the back who I later learned was 94 heckled us: “Bloody awful! Totally inappropriate!”
It was an odd moment, it threw us. We ploughed into a chorus and brought that song to a rapid close. Babs on piano grabbed her “old-time songbook” and we launched into some stuff from the 30s and 40s, all a bit ad hoc song about bluebirds and nightingales and white cliffs and meeting again. The nonagenarian seemed appeased went back to his cake and ale (it was a party after all). Unfortunately, the youngsters in the front row seemed to be a little restless, they didn’t really want to hear Vera Lynn, they had quite liked The Beatles, that was their era, even if the old guy perceived that band as a bunch of long-haired louts.
We changed tempo again and went for Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks. The ladies on the front weren’t jumping into the moshpit or stage-diving as such, but some were tapping along with their fingers and feet and others were singing a few of the words. The ones they knew and even some of the ones they didn’t. It was a sweet moment. Ol’ Mr Heckler didn’t shout again, he’d been glad-handed by our local MP (Heidi Allen) who was also attending the event as a guest of honour and was to give a speech after we’d done our turn.
As I sang the final refrain of “Waterloo sunset’s fine”, and Barbara echoed with a harmony “Waterloo sunset’s fine”, Heidi caught my eye as she turned from Mr Heckles and gave me a little wink…it was a moment, hah, a musical moment, a meeting of minds, she knew.
Norwegian Wood’s fine too…
I must confess the moment didn’t persuade me to vote Tory, but there’s always a little nod if we encounter each other at other events.
I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me?