Wednesday was a very full day. We were taking my daughter to a show, booked months ago, as a Christmas present.
So, late on Wednesday morning, off we set. Up the A3 and around the M25 on a two-hour road trip, up to the O2 London. The journey was incident free and we duly arrived and parked up.
On entering the O2 complex there was the usual light-hearted discussion about where we were going to eat. There are so many eateries to choose from but finally, decision made, we entered Ask Italian and were quickly seated.
There followed a leisurely lunch, with my daughter choosing the Penne al Pollo Della Casa, my wife the Sea Bass al Forno and for me Pork Belly Porchetta was the order of the day. The ladies washed their meal down with a couple of Italian Twinkles (Prosecco with elderflower cordial, vodka and a twist of lemon) apiece.
After lunch we decided to while away the next couple of hours with a trip on the river, courtesy of Thames Clippers .
The trip up to Westminster and back can be completed in around two hours, if you don’t disembark. London has so much to offer the tourist that the temptation to get off and explore is very strong. But we were up against the clock to a straight round trip it was for us.
There is much to see as you sail up the Thames.
Tower Bridge alongside the Tower of London, the Gherkin, St Pauls, The Monument, The Globe Theatre etc. etc.. The Shard appears, disappears, then magically reappears, towering over London as the Clipper follows the rivers and its meanderings through the city.
At water level it is easy to forget just how the river winds until you realise that city landmark which was on your left has now transferred to your right.
By the time we reached Westminster the sun was truly beginning to set. Great news, for as we started our return journey, the city illuminations were being turned on.
The London city skyline is constantly changing. No two visits are ever the same.
I didn’t have my camera with me on this trip so the preceding photographs are from an earlier London trip.
And so our voyage of discovery was over and we returned to the O2. The timing was spot on and there was a constant stream of people heading into the arena. We joined the flow and were soon in our seats.
The arena continued to fill but by the time that John Grant and his band hit the stage there were still many empty seats. I know that some folks deliberately don’t bother with the support acts. I have never understood this attitude. You have paid for the whole show, why not get full value for money. Money aside, this is the opportunity to see and hear new acts, the rising talent as it were. In this case John Grant isn’t that new. However, he’s not that well-known either.
For those of you who missed his performance on Wednesday. Shame on you. He was superb. I for one will be looking out his albums to have another listen to his music and will definitely keep an eye out for future performances.
But, of course, we were all really only there for one thing. And that was to see and hear Elbow. They did not disappoint.
Performing really early songs, mixed with newer material. The classics were there and the audience was more than willing to sing along and support them.
Towards the end of the show John Grant returned to join Elbow on stage. He was greeted to a huge applause from the audience.
I believe it was in America that the lighting of matches, candles and lighters became “fashionable” at concerts. This being 2018 we moved on a bit with the technology and now we use battery power.
The picture doesn’t do justice to hundreds, if not thousands, of phones being waved around the arena.
Regardless, the band played on and eventually came to the end of their set.
They left the stage for a few minutes while we sat in the semi darkness waiting. I found it quite strange as there was little or no clapping or calling for the encore. It always used to be de rigueur to work for the encore. Eventually the audience woke up and we all were clapping, stomping and cheering. The band duly returned and the show was truly brought to a close with a storming performance of “One Day Like This”. Guy Garvey worked the audience, milking us for all he was worth.
We had waited some time to be able to get tickets to see this band. It was well worth the wait. And the bonus is that we have been introduced to John Grant. Fabulous nights entertainment.
And then we were done. Arena lights up and heading for the exits, out into the cold night air and our transport home.
For us it meant a, reasonably short, queue to exit the car park. The O2 parking pages, on the web, do say it can take an hour or more to escape.
We then had the reverse of our earlier road trip, arriving home just before 02:00 Thursday morning, gagging for a quick cup of tea, before tumbling into bed.