Three days at home. Day 3.

Monday 13th April 2020, so my final day at home before I’m back to work. Again woke up in a good mood today, with a plan to get me through the day, by watching more Harry Potter movies, setting out work clothes, a bit of cleaning as well. Start off with a bit of breakfast then onto my first Harry Potter film, The Half blood prince.

Moving on to the afternoon and after a spot of lunch another Harry Potter film, part one of the final film in the series The Deathly Hallows. Then a bath and the final episode of the Deathly Hallows, taking me to early evening.

So to finish off the day, a chat with some friends from the centre on a social media site lasting two hours, had a good laugh and also managed to see some people I have not seen for a month. That completes my 3 days of not going out. To be honest it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, I remained upbeat throughout, watched dvds I hadn’t watch for a while, and talked to some really good friends at the end. Just goes to prove if you really want to do something worthwhile for yourself and others it is quite possible if your willing to put your mind to it.

Three days at home. Day 2.

Today is Sunday 12th April 2020, and the start of day 2 of my three days at home venture. I must admit to waking up in a really good mood this morning (most Sundays are the worst day of the week for me), I actually have plans for staying in. First off, a bit of breakfast to set me up for a marathon Harry Potter watch, where I will try and cram in as many films as I can today, aiming to start the first film about 9.30 and see how the day goes from there.

It’s now 4.30 and just about to start the fourth film, the goblet of fire, doing well so far, still not having the urge to even want to go out again today, Harry is helping loads, also catching up with the films I haven’t seen for ages.

7.30 having a few beers with dinner and one more Harry Potter before bed tonight. Five have been watched by me over the day so far. Really has made the day go quite quickly, and I’ve still kept up that feel good feeling I’ve had all weekend. Day 2 has come and gone, and still haven’t been out of the house, one more to go before I’m back in work.

Three days at home. Day 1.

Today (Saturday 11th April 2020) will be my first day to stay at home, with 3 days off work, my first long period for three weeks, having been at work during the lockdown. For me trying to stay at home for three whole days is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Normally I’m either working or volunteering at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff, keeping busy to avoid the boredom, so I’m going to bore everyone with a log of my activity during this time.

Actually having a lay in, breakfast and watch Saturday kitchen, doing well so far. Setting up Zoom for video calls and then lunch. Wow what an exciting day I’m having so far, still haven’t felt the need to go out only another 60 odd hours to go.

Since lunch spent about 4 hours looking and filing my photographs I have taken over the years, mostly of Cardiff Bay and the surrounding area. Photography has been part of my life a while now, I enjoy just popping out for a walk with my camera taking photos of anything and everything.

Finally tonight with dinner and a couple of beers will be a few DVD’s with Maleficent and Maleficent 2 (Mistress of evil), and if there is Time another watching of Frozen 2 (for the 6th time this week). So that’s my day, one down two to go and I never felt the urge to even want to go outside today in this beautiful weather we have had recently. If I can do it then anyone can.

Carrie Underwood with The Shires.

Sunday 30th June 2019, tonight I’m at the Motorpoint in Cardiff City Centre, to watch Carrie Underwood live in concert, with support from the Shires.

First off The Shires with a superb 40 minute set. Ben and Chrissie were the perfect warm up act, also my favourite band in Britain, (along with Ward Thomas). They really got the crowd on their feet, playing all their classic upbeat songs, along with ‘Daddy’s little girl’, sung so beautifully by Chrissie, which brought a few tears to my eyes.

I’ve seen these guys 4 times now, they just get better and better with every performance. Ben and Chrissie just have outstanding voices and combine so well together on all the songs they have written and performed. The audience agreed, giving them a standing ovation. Tonight their set went so quickly, could have listened to these guys all night, really can’t wait to see them again on their next tour. The perfect start to a fabulous evening’s entertainment.

Next up Carrie Underwood, and the first thing you notice was her incredible voice. Her set lasted about a hour and half, her voice was as good at the end as it was on her first number. For me that’s the sign of an excellent vocalist doing an amazing job. I was so impressed with the show and the superb standard of Carrie and her band, musicians of the highest order, never putting a foot wrong throughout and treating a jam packed audience to an incredible night of music.

One of the highlights was when Carrie bought on a local singer from South Wales to sing ‘The Champion’ with her, a young girl called Caitlin, who was outstanding, getting a huge ovation from the audience.

I have to admit I only knew a fraction of the songs played tonight, but when you have a voice as good as Carrie’s you quickly fall into the mesmerising nature of the music played before you. Pure class sums it up perfectly.

The whole night was really special for me, showcasing some of the best voices in popular music today. Watching The Shires again and the rare chance to see Carrie Underwood I’m Cardiff was just superb, a truly amazing night, one I will never forget in my lifetime.

Ward Thomas.

Monday 4th March 2019, different venue tonight, I’m at St David’s Hall in Cardiff City Centre for a performance with the absolutely superb ‘Ward Thomas’ along with another great band, ‘The Wandering Hearts’. Two extremely wonderful acts in their own right.

First up is ‘The Wandering Hearts’ with a superb 30 minute set full of some amazing recordings. The three lead voices are so good to listen to live, very distinctive singers with the two girls sending out wonderful harmonies in their routine, culminating in ‘Devil in Disguise’ one of my favourite songs of the past few months. Didn’t want them to end, they were just so good. Look forward to another opportunity to watch this band grow and hopefully tour again in the next few years

Along with the Shires, Ward Thomas are my two favourite recording artists of the present day. Both bands style of music is just exceptional, giving the country scene a huge lift for the uk.

You have to see these two sisters live, they are better than the cd’s they make. Exceptional voices brought together to give us some pretty amazing songs. The night went so quick, you felt they could have gone on singing all night, and if they did I would have stayed and just relaxed In their presence, enjoying just how brilliant they were. They seem to sing effortlessly, creating some phenomenal harmonies between them, with their distinctive beautiful voices.

The girls performed most of their set showcasing the superb new album ‘Restless Minds’, while throwing in a sample of their recent material, from time to time. Highlights of the set seeing the girls duetting with guitars, totally showing just how incredible and together they are, really saying to the audience this is how to sing on total harmony, beautiful just beautiful, must admit to a few years of joy during this section.

Really enjoyed the whole night, stunning singing throughout, superb work from the backing bands. An evening of two awesome performances.

Brendan Cole – Showman.

Sunday 3rd March 2019, after loads of volunteering at the Millennium Centre, I’m back in Cardiff Bay for the evening to watch the brilliant ‘Brendan Cole’. It’s amazing to sit and watch these professional dancers in action, live on stage, the speed of movement and gracefulness they accomplish, as they glide over the floor, is a sheer delight to watch.

Joined by a brilliant live Band on stage, and a Violinist for the first time in the superb Brigitta Bognar, with band leader Barry Robinson, along with two fabulous vocalists in Iain Mackenzie and Jenna Lee James. Great to see a local school girl choir taking the stage to join this impressive cast.

The Dancing was excellent, the music and singing were totally incredible, a superb array of costumes for all the dancers, just made an incredible spectacle, which Brendan always delivers on the many occasions I’ve seen his shows.

The stage was huge with brilliant sound and lighting rigs dotted around. In all a fantastic night, enjoyed totally from a very enthusiastic audience.

Jersey Boys (2nd Performance).

Saturday 26th January 2019, back in Cardiff Bay at the Millennium Centre for the final performance of ‘Jersey Boys’ at this venue before it moves on. Absolutely love this musical, so much superb music and classic songs, all squished into a two and a half extravaganza.

The story of the rise of ‘Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons’ is fascinating to watch, as they weren’t exactly angels growing up, although the musical has shared its time with more of the great music they produced, adding in snippets of their private lives without inundating the audience with too much detail on their outside lives. A well balanced show in other words. I also love the way the individual band members have their say on what happens next, on their rise to the ‘Hall of Fame’.

The CD of the show is excellent and worth a listen to, but as with all others, watching the show live on stage gives it more impetus and fills in the bits between songs. A musical that can be watched again and again as it just gets better with each viewing.

Yet again another fabulous performance tonight, can’t believe it’s over already, still I’ve managed to have the opportunity to watch a great musical at a great theatre. Totally love this show, looking forward to the next tour already.

Jersey Boys.

Saturday 19th January 2019, and another musical comes to the Millennium Centre here in Cardiff Bay, tonight see’s the return of ‘Jersey Boys’ for a couple of weeks.

Featuring the fabulous music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, which just happens to be one of my favourite bands of all time, this musical is packed full of classic songs, performed by a great cast. I particularly love the build up to ‘Sherry’ with the Piano intro before the guys get into this classic song. Along with Sherry comes another of my all time favourite pieces of music, ‘December 63’ which is high up in my all time top 50, and happens to be sung brilliantly by this talented cast.

With the superb on stage band playing their instruments live to accompany the cast singers really adds to the feel of this Musical, making it more autobiographical, as the boys go through their history as everyday people and musical artists.

Michael Watson who plays Frankie Valli has a tremendous voice and sounds so much like the great man himself, if you closed your eyes you would swear he was in the room.

Fabulous show again tonight, they just keep coming and getting better every time

Matilda (6th Performance).

Saturday 12th January 2019, back for the final performance of ‘Matilda’ as it finishes its run at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, before heading for its next venue.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching this incredible show over the lead up to Christmas and the New Year. Another musical to add to my growing repertoire of shows seen at Theatres over the last six years.

The all important cast line up for this final show in Cardiff can be seen in the caption below.

There are so many amazing scenes during this magical production, that keep you enthralled from start to finish, but there is one part of one scene that gets me every time. It’s when Miss Honey attempts to get some advanced books for Matilda to look at, it lasts about 20 seconds but it’s so beautiful it makes the whole show come together. Matilda gives Miss Honey a massive hug, Miss Honey’s response is so beautiful, her voice just becomes so tender and heart warming. It’s another piece that has to be seen in the auditorium, for me it’s a game changer, a moment of sheer brilliance and magic. Another piece of pure brilliance is the ending, again so beautifully done and extremely heart warming, a second touch of brilliance at the end of each act.

Once more another fabulous performance from all the cast tonight, a fitting end to the production in Cardiff before its move to Plymouth for the next stage of its UK Tour.

Matilda (5th Performance).

Saturday 5th January 2019, my first show performance of the new year, back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay for my fifth showing of ‘Matilda’.

My last blog concentrated on the music and songs of Act One, today I’d like to look at the music and songs from Act Two. Starting with ‘Telly’, sung by Mr Wormwood and his Son, an audience oriented piece which is funny and quirky and leads us into the start of Act Two, and one of the best songs in the show.

‘When I Grow Up’ is a fabulous piece sung by the Ensemble casts, ending with a short duet between Matilda and Miss Honey. Visually impressive and beautifully sung by all involved and getting the second half of the show off to a great start.

Next up is ‘I’m Here’, a duet sung by Matilda and aided by the voice of the Escapologist. Another superb song highlighting the voice of Matilda as she sings side by side with her duetting partner. This leads nicely on to the best song that Miss Trunchbull has the pleasure to sing.

‘The Smell of Rebellion’ is yet another piece of music superbly written and visually impressive to watch. The lyrics speed up as the song moves on, giving the actor playing the role some tongue twisting dialogue. The song changes in mid flow, giving a serene and relaxing experience to an energetic song, before hitting a crescendo towards the end. This has to be seen live to give the music and lyrics it’s worth to the show.

The scene moves quickly on to include another beautifully sung piece of music, which happens to be another of my favourites in this musical. ‘Quiet’ is a solo piece that Matilda has to sing while Miss Trunchbull is on the warpath. Yet again we hear the beautiful and innocent voice of Matilda sweeping through the Auditorium.

We then get onto my favourite song in the show, ‘My House’, another beautiful piece of music sung by Miss Honey. Her voice on this track is just exquisite, I must admit to a few falling tears when I listen to this.

The final song if Act Two is ‘Revolting Children’, Sung by the Children’s Ensemble to start and followed up by the adults to end it. Another fantastic piece in the show as they finally get rid of Miss Trunchbull, and the pupils celebrate.

The show ends with a reprise of ‘When I Grow Up’, as the whole cast take their bows, with an enormous cheer as Matilda takes to the stage, and so well deserved.