City to county

James has been tak­ing in the hottest gigs in Nor­folk

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

James re­lives his mu­si­cal year

“I joined a cho­rus of 10,000 peo­ple singing to the trees sur­round­ing our wood­land clear­ing”

I KNOW most of the words to Take That’s 1993 hit sin­gle,

Pray. Pos­si­bly all of them. It’s not through choice, but as a re­sult of be­ing a child of the 90s and gen­eral os­mo­sis (and pos­si­bly hav­ing an older sis­ter).

Along with a few thou­sand oth­ers, I got to show off my un­wanted tal­ent at this sum­mer’s Take That concerts at Car­row Road. And what a spec­ta­cle those concerts were. Whether you’re a fan of (what’s left of) the ‘man band’ or not, it’d be tough to ar­gue that the show they put on for their fans wasn’t worth ev­ery penny of the ticket price.

But it wasn’t Take That, their 40 back­ing dancers, stage py­rotech­nics, or the end-of-con­cert fire­works that made the night for me; it was the brief mo­ments in be­tween songs when I turned my head to take in a view of Car­row Road I’d never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. I was stand­ing on the pitch, roughly on the edge of the penalty area in front of the Bar­clay stand. And for a 30-some­thing who’s verg­ing on re­tire­ment age for most pro­fes­sional foot­ballers, it was prob­a­bly the only chance I’d get to face a packed ter­race and see the whites of 5,000 or so eyes star­ing back at me…

I’ve sung along with 90,000 con­cert-go­ers at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium and 30,000 plus at the O2 in Lon­don, but see­ing bands play­ing in your own back yard in a set­ting you’re so fa­mil­iar with seems to add a whole new level of spe­cial to the ex­pe­ri­ence.

And Take That wouldn’t be the last time I’d find my­self mak­ing a de­lib­er­ate ef­fort to take in all 360de­grees of my sur­round­ings this sum­mer. It feels like our county has of­fered up an ex­cep­tional, eclec­tic mix of mu­si­cal events this year, many with unique, breath­tak­ing Nor­folk set­tings to match.

At an El­bow con­cert in the mid­dle of Thet­ford For­est I joined a cho­rus of 10,000 peo­ple singing to the trees sur­round­ing our wood­land clear­ing (yes, we ac­tu­ally sang to the trees!) And in the space of two hours I went from so­phis­ti­cated pic­nicker to glow stick-wav­ing raver as the sun set on a clas­si­cal orches­tra play­ing Ibiza dance hits in front of the lake at Blick­ling Hall es­tate.

I’m de­lighted that, once again, Nor­folk has al­lowed us all to party in the sun­shine at some of its most fa­mous and iconic venues this sum­mer. The county has cer­tainly pro­vided me with a few long-last­ing mem­o­ries. And as the nights draw in and the coats and scarves go on I’m al­ready look­ing for­ward to where I could be par­ty­ing next sum­mer. If it’s Car­row Road again, I may well be tak­ing my foot­ball.

Above: Clas­sic Ibiza en­ter­tain­ing crowds at Blick­ling this sum­mer

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