A couple of years ago we went to the recreation of a 1959 Thelonius Monk concert at Town Hall, New York, performed by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. While I lined up at the toilets at intermission the manservant got to know the man sitting next to him. Coincidentally he was also a Physicist.
Last year we received a lovely surprise in the mail when the gentleman sent us two tickets to a performance at the Kennedy Center which he and his wife were unable to attend. We had a lovely evening at a jazz concert and later invited the couple over for dinner as a thank you. They are retired and regaled us with really interesting stories of their lives.
Then a month ago we received tickets for another performance they could not attend. So last night I put on a pair of those untangled pantyhose and a few other clothes and we headed off to the Kennedy Center to see Kurt Elling. Alongside Ellling were: Laurence Hobgood – Piano; Erik Privert – Bass; Ulysses Owens – Drums and John McLean – Guitar (The Kurt Elling Quartet plus one).
Elling sang such classics as Joe Jackson’s Night & Day, Dedicated to You, My One and Only Love; She’s Funny that Way. The highlight was probably a transition from the poem “Man in Space” (US poet Billy Collins) into the Beatles’ Norwegian Wood. He finished the evening with In the Wee Small Hours.
The show was wonderful but the same can not be said about the audience. A couple directly in front of us should’ve gone to a restaurant because they obviously wanted to talk – we could hear the psst, psst, psst sound of loud whispering as they moved their heads together. The woman next to them seemed to be suffering fever and chills as she continuously alternated between putting her jacket on and taking if off.
These things were certainly distracting directly in front of us but the latecomers were the worst. There were a huge number of people who dribbled in after the performance had started blocking the view of the stage as they went down the steps and then disrupting those already seated to get into theirs. I remember at the Sydney Opera House and other live theatres, if you were late you had to watch it on screens until there was an Act or Set change! Then, and only then, would the ushers let you in. (I’m not sure if that still happens as I’ve not been in 10 years – though I hope it does).
This performance was only 75 minutes long and there was one couple who arrived with only 20 minutes left! Why bother?!
Anyway, the performance was superb and another dinner party is in the planning.
This is the Hall of States where flags from each State, Territory and DC hang from the ceiling in the order that they joined the union. That is a small gift shop on the right all decked out in Christmas decorations: