Tuesday 29 March 2016

Jason Donovan - Ten Good Reasons Tour Review

A What's Good to Do Review

27 years ago, Jason Donovan released his Ten Good Reasons debut album, it was an amazing success going five times platinum and was one of the biggest selling albums of 1989. He sprung to fame in the Australian soap Neighbours and started his music career in 1988. Now 47 he has decided to take this album on tour, together with other hits from his back catalogue. 

We went to see Jason in the Lyric theatre in the Lowry, which is a superb large and modern venue at Salford Quays. The audience, which was made up of mainly of 40 something women, were obviously really excited before the show began and as soon as Jason took to the stage they erupted, jumping to their feet and screaming like the teenagers that they had been 27 years earlier. We spent the whole night on our feet singing and dancing along to the hits and it took me right back to being a teenager in the 80’s!

Jason and his four piece band, started the first half of the show with some of his  popular Stock Aitken and Waterman tracks before switching to a slower pace with Jason playing guitar for “Rhythm of the Rain” and then “Any Dream will Do” from the musical Joseph. Dressed all in black with a white stage set, Jason looked comfortable on stage, waving at and picking out members of the audience but seemed to struggle a little when talking to the audience, almost rambling at times. He had a great rapport with the audience and they absolutely loved him. 

For the second half Jason had changed into a typically 80’s outfit of white jeans and jacket which was more how I remembered him. He proceeded to play the Ten Good Reasons album from start to finish ending with the hugely popular Especially for You, the duet that was originally sung with Kylie Minogue. Mark was hoping that Kylie might make a surprise appearance but predictably this wasn’t the case! My favourite track of the night was Rhythm of The Rain as there was no backing music, just the acoustic guitars, which meant you could just focus on Jason’s voice and the lovely words and tune.

The lighting effects worked well and whilst it was very loud the words were clear. With a full theatre there was a fantastic atmosphere and the audience were dancing throughout the whole show. It was obvious that there there are still a huge number of Jason Donovan fans and I'm sure the tour will be a huge success.

Disclaimer: We received free tickets for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are our own.

Duck and Hen Sitting

We have been looking after Jonathan and Ruth's hens and ducks this weekend so Luke has enjoyed feeding them and collecting the eggs. The duck eggs are great for baking and I made a lovely egg custard with them on Easter Sunday. We'll be doing lots of baking this week as we are getting 6 eggs a day from our hens so with the extras from Jonathan's we have quite an egg mountain! William looked through the recipe books this morning for recipes that use lots of eggs and has made a Creme Caramel for tea which looks delicious.

Sunday 20 March 2016

The Garden

Today has been a lovely sunny day so I decided to tidy up the garden and get rid of the weeds and dead foliage after the winter. I had quite a productive morning and soon filled a brown wheelie bin. All the bulbs are flowering now, the tete a tetes look lovely with the grape hyacinths and add lots of colour to the garden. 

The minature iris that I planted have all come up and the hyacinths are just peeping through so it won't be long before they are flowering.

Purple crocus and yellow primulas look good at the bottom of the garden along with tete a tete

Jumble Sale

Yesterday was our village's jumble sale and all the funds raised go towards the annual Whitsuntide festival. We had lots of bags to sort through and the tables were piled high. It always makes me laugh the way that people come running into the hall the minute the doors open so they can find the bargains first! We raised just over £1,000 so it was a great mornings work.

Friday 18 March 2016

Rumours of Fleetwood Mac - The Lowry Manchester Review

A What's Good to Do Review

We have had quite a few reviews recently and seen a variety of different shows. We saw Rumours of Fleetwood Mac a couple of years ago and were thrilled when we were asked to review them again. Here is our review of the night.

Rumours of Fleetwood Mac are perhaps the most well known Fleetwood Mac tribute act and it has even been known for members of the band to join them on stage. Mark was hoping that tonight would be one of those nights however he had to make do with a video introduction from Mick Fleetwood instead! 

The band opened the evening with a powerful rendition of “Gypsy” and then several numbers from the 1977 album Rumours. Louise Rogan’s vocals immediately transported me back to my teenage years both with her voice and looks, so similar to original band member Stevie Nicks. The rest of the first half continued with other popular hits from the 70s and 80s. It must be very difficult choosing a playlist from over 30 years of hits but we felt that they selected a good mix of songs that appealed to the mixed age audience.

After a short interval the band returned, with Dave Goldberg moving to the front of the stage as blues legend Peter Green. We felt the first half had been a little reserved, nothing wrong in particular, but the audience just didn't seem to warm up; this all changed in the second half which began with six tracks from the band's early years.  Alan Hughes and Ben Hughes on guitar both seemed to move up a gear and it was obvious that they love performing to a crowd. “Albatross” was a favourite with the audience and then the other members of the band returned to the stage with more of the greatest hits. A couple of slow numbers, Landslide and my favourite, Songbird, showed the quality of the vocals and then the audience were on their feet for the high energy finale. With Big Love, The Chain, Tusk and a drum solo from Alan Cosgrove as Mick Fleetwood, everybody was up out of their seats dancing, singing along and shouting for more.

The lighting for the show was simple but well done and video backdrops were used for some of the numbers. 

Each of the seven members of the band were brilliant, with four of them sharing lead vocals throughout the night. With more than 600 performances behind them it is clear that they all enjoy the music of Fleetwood Mac just as much as the fans that go to see them.

The Lyric theatre with 1700 seats is well suited to this type of performance. We had a good view of the stage and the acoustics were excellent. The stage is huge and gave the band plenty of space to perform. There is plenty of parking nearby at the Lowry Centre which cost us £5.50 for the evening. Visitors who make use of the many restaurants in the centre can receive a discount on this rate.

Disclaimer: We received free tickets for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are our own.

Friday 4 March 2016

Snowy Morning

Today we woke up to snow! Luke was really excited and was outside at 7.30 playing with Daisy and making the most of the snow. They were hoping that school would be closed but unfortunately I had a text to say that school was open so they had to go. Everything looked really pretty but it has turned to slush now so we won't be able to get the sledge and quad out once they get back from school.

Cubs - Pottery Animals

On Wednesday Eryl brought the pottery animals that the Cubs made a few weeks ago. She had fired them in the kiln and they all looked amazing - the Cubs were thrilled with them.

Here is Luke's pig and William's penguin.

The Classic Rock Show at The Lowry Manchester - Review

A What's Good to Do Review

On Sunday evening we went to The Lowry in Salford, Manchester to see The Classic Rock Show, a three hour “best of” 70’s and 80’s rock. As a teenager in the 80’s I was a huge fan of rock music and loved watching Top of the Pops and dancing around the living room with my sister. Whilst I can’t watch Top of the Pops anymore I still enjoy rock music and have lots of the greats in my music collection so I was really looking forward to hearing some of my favourite music live. The gentleman sat next to me confirmed that we were in for a good night as he had seen the band before and when the band started playing Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole lotta love’ we knew he was right!

The band consists of eight members who are all very talented musicians, however the show was all about the guitar riff, with four of the band playing guitar. James Cole and Harry G alternating lead guitar with Wayne Banks on bass and Alex Dee combining guitar with singing and playing the saxophone. Vocals were shared by Ricardo, Harry and Alex with Emily Jollands taking the place of Stevie Nicks for the Fleetwood Mac classic, Rhiannon.

Vocalist, Ricardo Afonso, was amazing, especially during my husband’s favourite track of the night, the AC/DC classic Back in Black, he had such a powerful voice and could really hold notes for a long time.

Mark pleased to find that Dire Straits, one of his favourites, appeared twice on the bill and was especially enjoyed “Telegraph Road”, which at around 15 minutes was the longest song of the night.

For me the sheer power and energy made Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell my favourite song of the night and I was still singing it on the way home!

As you would expect from a rock concert there was an amazing light show to complement the music and original videos were projected onto the backdrop of the stage.

In the second half the audience really got into the spirit of the show and everyone was up on their feet dancing, clapping and singing along. There was a real mix of ages, from children to grannies and everyone was having a good time.

The show’s website advertises the “Top 20 guitar riffs of all time” and we would agree, seeing the show was like having the best pub jukebox only we were hearing it live.

The show was performed in the 1700 seat Lyric theatre, which is a wonderful modern venue at Salford Quays with a huge stage area. There is a newly refurbished restaurant and bar in the theatre and other restaurants are located in the adjoining shopping centre. Plenty of parking is available in the nearby multi storey car park, we paid £5.50 for our evening visit.

If you grew up with LP’s, rock music and watching Top of the Pops then I am sure that this is a show that you would enjoy.

Disclaimer: We received free tickets for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are our own.