I was there. Watching the concert. And I couldn’t believe how good it was – now in some sense I had a tip-off. I knew Hannah Griffin was a great singer, I knew Norman Meehan was a thoughtful and gifted musician/arranger/composer and I knew the source material was top-shelf. The other names in the band were all solid, stalwarts, staples, guys and girls – young and odd – working for the love (and whatever small fiscal amount it offers) to provide music; to serve the music (in both direct meanings of the word serve).
But still – even with all of that as a tip-off I couldn’t believe just how good this performance was.
It was all at once everything wonderful about a poetry recital, a reading, a display of words and everything wonderful about a concert, a performance – and I mean that from both the performers/performances and the audience. It was – and this is no fun writing words for a project that celebrates the words of one of our truly great writers – spellbinding. Cliché? Sure. But it was a magical evening. Hannah had a sureness about her purpose, a confidence when dealing with so much – vocally. Meehan too had his confidence, this sureness that all was right, all was correct; all was going to be as good as it could be.
And then there’s the man who inspired the project, the writer of this magic. Bill Manhire’s confidence is always disguised as a head-scratching bemusement. And then those words come, they float, they fall, they glide, they never sink. They hang like question-marks, curved, asking (always politely) for you to think, to engage.
Somehow the music worked every single time. All of the players working to support, all of them allowing the baby to float. It was beautiful, it was perfect. Well, it was close enough to perfect. Importantly, everyone – audience, musicians, writer, arranger – we were all in to being there. All on the same page