I have the biggest news of the year… no, it’s not that Carrie Symonds rented her wedding dress for £45. This news is so much better. I went to my first event! There was a small crowd, socially distanced of course, and we listened to music. Unbelievable, I know. It’s changed my life so much that I’m writing a whole article about it.
The event in question was one of a series of candlelight concerts that are popping up all over the city. The events take place in different venues throughout Europe – museums, galleries, theatres, halls, and in my case, a church. The concerts see a pianist, violinists or other musicians play themed scores, whether that’s Hans Zimmer movie soundtracks, Daft Punk or even Abba surrounded by flickering candles.
Inside in the dark on a lovely summer’s day
It did seem slightly strange to turn my back on the gloriously sunny evening that was outside and head into a dark and austere church, but this was my first post-lockdown event. I wasn’t going to cancel.
The concert I had chosen was a recital of Ludovico Einaudi’s best hits. The Italian composer and pianist has been the soundtrack to my last year and a half in lockdown (I highly recommend his tunes for an easy listening work playlist). And I jumped at the chance to hear his work brought to life in the St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Paddington.
The fact that light was streaming through the stain glass windows did slightly detract from the magic of (battery powered) candles. It would have been nice if the big man upstairs could have turned the lights off for the evening, but I guess that’s not really a top priority when there’s a global pandemic.
Seriously covid secure
The event was marshalled very well: orderly queues; spare face masks if you forgot yours (which I did); obligatory hand sanitiser before you went in. Covid 19 was not going to spoil the evening.
Once inside, chairs were set up in pairs two metres apart and everyone was asked to wear their mask unless they were eating or drinking.
Oh yes, the drinking. On arrival there was a table at the back of the church where you could buy drinks. However, you couldn’t buy a glass of wine. Just a bottle. So naturally, we drank an entire bottle of prosecco in the house of God. It seems a little uncouth not to sell wine by the glass at these events, but probably quite a good sales tactic.
It turns out candlelit concerts are perfect for a date night, which seems why everyone had attended… apart from me and my friend. Couples were caressing each other and falling asleep on each other’s shoulders, while my friend and I awkwardly tried not to sit too close in case we gave the wrong impression.
Without a musical bone in my body, it’s hard for me to write about how adept pianist Fionnuala Ward is at playing the piano, but to my ears, it was a resounding success.
The Irish musician tickled the ivories for a whole hour non stop. A pretty impressive feat by most standards I think. All of Ludovico’s best hits came up, and people were asked to save the filming and recording until the last song. Which everyone did bar one person right in front of me. I was going to tap him on the shoulder and ask him to stop, but what kind of scrooge does that a year after lockdown? (Yeah, it took all of God’s will and a whole bottle of prosecco to stop me).
The Irish musician tickled the ivories for a whole hour non stop. A pretty impressive feat by most standards.
From Star Wars to Daft Punk
The evening was very much boosted by the fact that I knew each and every one of the Ludovico songs, so my advice would be to choose a theme that you enjoy. And it turns out that Fever have a multitude of events planned in London.
There’s a tribute to Aretha Franklin at the Oval Space, and Daft Punk at St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Vivaldi Four Seasons at St James’s Piccadilly and Hans Zimmer tracks at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Basically, unless you only listen to heavy death metal, there’s something for everyone.
Don your face mask, buy a bottle of bubbles and bask in the glory of an actual event. It really is totally worth it.
Basically, unless you only listen to heavy death metal, there's something for everyone.