City to county
James has been taking in the hottest gigs in Norfolk
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