Monday, November 20, 2006

Part 2 - "I - can-not - hear - you! Let - me - hear - you - say - ex-ter-mi-nate!!"

Sunday was something altogether different - a concert of Murray Gold's music from the new Who, performed in the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC National Chorus of Wales, and all for Children in Need. This was more than we were expecting in so many ways.

Sundry things were happening in the WMC during the afternoon. For one thing, as the letter we received earlier in the week told us, you could "have your face painted with an image from Doctor Who". What, any image? Could I have an establishing shot of a council estate daubed onto my cheeks? This turned out, we learned from the faces of passing children, to be a choice between the TARDIS or a Dalek airbrushed onto your cheek through a stencil. Still, we weren't there for the face-painting.

What we were led to expect was a sedate evening of Who music performed against a backdrop of Who images, followed by a Q&A with David Tennant, Russell T Davies and Mr Gold himself. What we got was David Tennant hosting a gala night of Who music performed against a backdrop of Who images in the midst of props and fragments of sets, while clockwork service droids, Daleks, Cybermen and sundry others larked about at the front of the stage and menaced the choir, to our great amusement. And the expected Q&A, cut off by a Dalek demanding audience participation and ordering the orchestra about. And some preview footage of the Christmas episode! (Which looked stunning, and amazingly hasn't appeared on YouTube yet...)

Random thoughts follow.
  • The seats in the WMC were lovely and comfy, and our view from about four rows from the back was splendid, so hats off to the architects. Just one thing: stick up some bloody signs to the toilets. I gave up looking for the gents' and used the disabled, deciding that I was indeed disabled by a) not possessing ovaries (the ladies' was right outside the auditorium door and easily found) and b) not having the telepathic ability to sense where the gents' were.
  • Arrays of mini-floodlights lit up in the direction of the audience at the end of each piece of music, to the point that I began to wonder if this was some kind of Pavlovian conditioning to get us to clap whenever we saw floodlights. It may simply have been for the benefit of the BBC cameras.
  • It's not until you hear it in isolation that you realise just how much the music from the Slitheen episodes sounds like "Mission: Impossible". Presumably Murray Gold thought this was the right music for blowing up Big Ben and 10 Downing Street.
  • Kids are willingly wearing suits because of DW! The world has turned upside-down!
  • I honestly don't recall there being an electric guitar in half those pieces during the actual episodes. I mean, it added something, but I'm pretty sure hard riffing wasn't a feature of the TV series incidental music.
  • Lovely to hear Melanie Pappenheim singing that haunting music from the end of Series 2 in person.

The final two pieces, though... These were the strangely popular "Song For Ten" from last year's Christmas special, and a song called "Love Don't Roam" from this year's. Sadly the programme does not record the name of the performer. He sang well, but the songs are very much in the line of Andy Williams ("Music To Watch Who By," perhaps) and the lyrics, once you get to hear them without an episode of Who going on around them, are utter pap. ("Bad Bond lyrics," suggested our pal Sarah. I just think someone's hit "fill in" on the Automatic Lounge Song Generator.) We were doubly pleased to get an encore of the Who theme at the end.

All in all, I'd be hard pushed to describe this event as anything less than fantastic. I dread to think what the auction props went for, though. (The Genesis Ark was going for five grand when we looked in at 2pm...)


Jo said...

After a little bit of a trawl on Ebay - The Genesis Ark went for £5,101.11. The Sycrorax Helmet went for £2,205.55. Rose's top went for £1,576 and DT's trainers (the ones with holes in...) went for £1020...

Skeeter said...

This is such a good account of what happened on sunday that I forwarded it to a colleague of mine to replace the rather garbled account I gave her on Monday morning...

Let's hope the production team got as much out of it as we did - what am I saying, thousands of screaming Who fans in one place can't have been bad for the egos of all concerned?!

And all for the kiddies too...bless

John Toon said...

Apparently the Christmas clip has appeared on YouTube now. I suppose that's not too bad, that it took two weeks to happen. Besides which, the Beeb have started using tiny bits of it now in their Christmas season trailer.

Anonymous said...

The concert should have ended with Doomsday, it was easily the finest performance of the entire set. That dunce singer killed it