The finale of Day 1 was absolutely EPIC. We had a planned performance outside the entrance to King's Cross Station, but...wait for it... during rush hour! We had a slight delay with music and stands arriving, and as we had already attracted a growing crowd with our sunny yellow t-shirts and army of instrument cases, we decided to perform our two memorised pieces there and then. We very quickly got an idea of the awesome atmosphere of the evening ahead, as passers by were stopping, filming, listening... this later turned into a full-on celebration, with the usually-poker-faced London commuters dancing swing, salsa, free-style...! It was a wicked evening and even the rain didn't deter the crowd, or stop the full-blooded sing along to Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner!
Day 2 of tour was perhaps one of my favourites… although I feel like that's unfair to the other super duper gigs we played and people we met! Actually, I simply can't choose a favourite day... so cancel that! We started in Dalston Library and played a Guerrilla performance in a park in Hackney - this was a cool gig, as a school girl from the audience took to the mic for a verse of Snoop Dog - and she could RAP! Effortlessly cool. It was also a lovely surprise to bump into a friend and fellow musician at this gig - he just happened to be working at the children's centre next to the park and heard some noise! There was also a lovely chance to sit and chill with some lunch after this gig and the sun even came out for a burst!
The ever-threatening rain was still holding off for our next gig in London Fields (a particular fave of mine). This was another park gig and it pretty much turned into a full-on party. There were kids galore, all desperate for the chance to conduct the orchestra, so they formed an orderly queue before taking to the podium for a few bars of Carmen or Wallace..! There was a particularly lovely little boy who had clearly just finished the best day at school - he had paint, chalk, colouring pens, mud, grass... you name it and it was strewn across his polo shirt (and face!) and this boy danced beautifully to a lot of our music. He looked so free and uninhibited - miss those days!! In this gig, we went for a spontaneous walkabout (even us celli) during one of the pieces in which you'd struggle to sit still (there were plenty of those)! The audience members at this gig were awesome - just so completely into it, which I think really rubbed off on us musicians. Later, we had a wonderful stop-off at a pizza garden in Dalston – any Londoners should go and check it out this Summer. It’s like a calm oasis in the middle of the city, with flowers, bird feeders, blankets and hot water bottles and perrrfect pizza… all of life’s simple pleasures! Our last gig of day 2 was another awesome event and was held in Dalston Square. We decided to start this gig with a pizza-fuelled rendition of Ski Sunday, but with the orchestra interspersed amongst the crowd. It was such a fun way to start the concert and a great ice-breaker for the audience... also, I will never stop loving walking around with a cello and grooving out with other musicians, as well as total ‘strangers’! It feels kind of weird to call anyone we encountered on this tour ‘strangers’, because there really wasn’t ever any ounce of a divide or barrier between those of us playing and those of us who were ‘audience’ or passers-by at the gigs, in fact the line was often completely blurred/non-existent, which is sadly something that cannot often be said about the way we experience concerts and live music…
Stay tuned for days 3&4, featuring escalators, carousels, sunsets, flower markets... the lot!