(Just about to hit the road again) I have an annoying habit of saying that the last concert I was at was the absolute best, but coming out of the Angus Grant tribute, that was the feeling. We arrived just a few minutes late but were met by a crowd standing at the doors of the Concert Hall. Suggested that maybe Angus had been in the back toilet setting off the fire alarms. An immense project that was seamlessly carried out and told to us by Ross Martin about Angus’ short journey. Had a distinct leaning towards music sessions ranging from pubs in Lochaber to Edinburgh to Birnam and Galicia, they were simply awesome, to Rajasthan. The highly amusing theme, Ross related to us, was Angus’s use of the current pub as his postal address, turning up a couple of hours before the session started, where ever the location to open his mail, digest it and have a couple of pints in the meantime. The photos of Angus were shown high up on the stage throughout the concert, poignant and beautiful, kept us from wandering of focus why we were there. Angus did not care who he played with, beginners or those at the top of their game. The music was phenomenal, the first half mainly about the story of the sessions with many musicians from these periods in Angus’s life coming on to stage, interspersed with Shoogle stalwarts. Karen Matheson’s rendition of laying to rest to the sound of the sea, An Ataireachd Ard. Another tale was when Angus was involved with the filming of Rob Roy, he was leaving the set when the props guy went after him and tried to get his beard off him. He give up after a few tugs when he realised it was Angus’s own home-grown one. Half time was a wee catch up folks from Glenuig, Knoydart, Shetland, Glenelg, the Borders and even an ex workmate from the Applecross Inn with the music from DJ Dolphin Boy. Chuffed this was taken in Applecross when Shoogleniftey went on their 25th anniversary tour and I met the man himself at the Inn.
Hard to believe that the music carried on till after 12, four hours from the start and it just few by. Shooglenifty played the second half with guests and some of the best musicians in Scotland were on the stage, Venus and Tweeds, 2.15 to Vigo, and many more. Adam played a brilliant fiddle tune inspired by Angus called “The Wizard. You could sense the emotion all through the evening and feel the build up to a stunning climax. Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound had absolutely nothing on what took place on the stage over the last half hour. The fiddlers, all six of them, the pipers, rhythms, guitars and mandolins all driven along by James’s driving beat brought together such a joyous sound that was almost celestial. Maybe Angus was not that far away and was singing along with us, a wee bit sacrilegious to some, Queens hits to the tunes of the Gaelic psalms. James summed it up at the end telling us the wonderful bearded fiddler, no longer with us, lived by the motto of ” Be kind to strangers, one love”. During the concert I discovered a flat camera battery which was no great lose as I came across Sean Purser’s photos on Facebook and so good. https://www.facebook.com/sean.purser/media_set?set=a.10210198776818838.1073742005.1021967353&type=3&pnref=story.
Sunday was pretty laid back, but time flies by and back down the road for more.