Being the ‘House M.D.’ fan I am, I have a tendency to admire the acting talents belonging to the leading man Mr Hugh Laurie. But it’s not only his skills in pretending to be someone else that I have been envious of in the past though – it’s also his work within the music scene that grabs my attention in a big way.
Throughout his career Laurie has been able to show flashes of his musical talents in his previous comedy shows (“A Bit of Fry and Laurie”), in “House” itself and even with his former band made up of acting celebrities, who go by the hilariously named “Banned from TV”.
After the final series of House wrapped though, Laurie’s attention turned to his love of American Jazz and Blues music and released his first album “Let Them Talk” to huge success. The story of how his love of this New Orleans’ inspired music was accompanied with a documentary charting the history behind the music and his progress in producing the album.
This year Hugh has returned with a new album entitled “Didn’t It Rain”, along with another documentary, briefly featuring a sarcastic Stephen Fry, showing how he travelled back to America’s south to explain how his love of this music came to be and to track down his new band “The Copper Bottom Blues” in order to play gig on the “Queen Mary”.
After a long wait, last night I finally got the opportunity to see Hugh and his band play live. Sat right on the front row, the gig was outstanding and the music certainly flowed with ease; every track sounding key perfect and full of life. But whilst Hugh Laurie was the big name to attract the audiences to the show, make no mistake, this show was all about a big band playing together rather than one man’s obsession with “old music” as he referred to it throughout the night.
Performances by gospel and soul singer Sister Jean McClain (who really took a shine to pointing and waving to me and few others in the audience throughout the night), and the pitch perfect Gaby Moreno (who performed an outstanding version of “The Weed Smoker’s Dream” that I could listen to forever), were weaved throughout the show, interspersed by Laurie himself who played piano throughout.
Despite the singers taking front of stage though, it was clear that this was a band performance; the singers taking every opportunity to throw the limelight onto the superb band, who played just about every instrument you could possibly think of through the show. It was clear to all that this was all about entertainment through song and music than it was about Laurie or the characters in the band itself.
The celebration of the music was enjoyed by all in the audience for sure, but watching Hugh as the band played and the singers did their thing, his eyes clamped shut as he played, intensely listening to every last note, you simply knew that this was his moment and he was loving every last minute of it. The passion for the music, from the band, flowing through him and directly into the pores of the audience members who clapped, danced and sang along, feeding from that positive energy.
It was a show that I hope I will forever remember and I one day hope to have the same level of passion for the music that Hugh clearly possesses….and if I never really achieve that, I will claim I did anyway, because, after all – everybody lies.
"Fortunately we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity; it's called Xbox 360, if you have zero access to the Internet, that is an offline device."
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