Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Monday, 14 January 2008

This is how we do it in the Liv

This is where I was on Saturday night:

Liverpool's biggest band - the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic - was not at home because it was here in the arena, stacked in horizontal ranks, now red, now blue. They played a chunk from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and a little piece by Shostakovich. But most of the night they were the ultimate backing group, joining almost every band on every number, with their dynamic young conductor, Vasily Petrenko, riding high on a scissor lift and joining lustily in the Lennon singalong.

The RLPO was in the thick of it at the start, a melange of Rule Britannia, Amazing Grace (with images of slave ships), Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory, with mezzo Kathryn Rudge got up as Britannia to belt out the ruling the waves bit before being joined by two more singers, the Liverpool Welsh Choir, a brass band and semaphoring sea cadets. It was a wonderfully surreal moment. Very Liverpool.

It was the official opening of Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture. There was Echo & the Bunnymen, the Farm, Ian Broudie of Lightning Seeds, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, footage of the Cavern, and Ringo Starr. A hundred minutes of Liverpool The Musical and not a cliche in it. Just when you expected You'll Never Walk Alone, you got The Farm's All Together Now. When you expected John Lennon's Imagine, you got Ringo Starr belting out John Lennon's inconic anthem Power to the People. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress across the aisle from us rattled their chains of office as they bopped along. Liverpool's imperial past, its greatness built on slaves, sugar and shipping, was undercut by Gilliam-like cartoons of Queen Victoria straddling the globe, eating ships as if they were sweets, and a woodcut of slave galley with human beings like embryos packed in a long womb.

The other star of the show was 19-year-old RiUvEn. Check him out here on the track The LIV

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