Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Average White Band at The Usher Hall

Edinburgh, Scotland. Saturday 11-May-2023.

My fourth time seeing the Average White Band and the final time as they had announced this is their farewell tour billed as the "Let’s Go Round Again / Funk Finale Tour". 

Mary booked these tickets almost a year ago so we always had planned a flying visit back from Italy especially for this gig. By a series of lucky coincidences this turned into a 10 day road trip back to the UK taking in this concert, a comedy show, a 70th birthday party and a visit to my second cousin. 

We flew into Gatwick and took the train up to Edinburgh, making it a long day, 9:30 am to 9:30 pm (10:30 Italian time), and fell straight into bed.

Saturday morning was, of course, #parkrunday with Oriam chosen as an "O" required for our second Alphabet Challenge. We had come prepared for typical Edinburgh weather i.e. thick leggings, fleeces, jeans and thermal t-shirts but were thrown by a heatwave so were decidedly pink by the end of the parkrun / parkwalk.

Although the parkrun was the other side of the city there was a direct bus taking us practically door to door!

We went for a wander around the city in the afternoon, stopping in Rose Street for a beer and Princes Street Gardens for people watching.

That evening we had a very nice meal in Bentoya, a Japanese restaurant recommended by our host. It was a short stroll to the venue, time to grab a beer and settle into our seats. 

The Average White Band were the music of Mary’s university years and she has followed them ever since. We last saw them in 2016. Tonight was special - she had a smile on her face all night and spent 3/4 of it dancing. As did most of the audience. This picture was taken during the first half and everyone is already on their feet.

Alan and Onnie, the two original members (ages 77 and 78 respectively), were amazing. Alan's vocals are still strong and their guitar playing was fantastic. They were on stage for the whole time - no taking a back seat in this show. Although now they have a superb lead vocalist in Brent Carter who at one point got a standing ovation from the crowd. The two sax players Mary reckons were the naughty boys, definitely having a good time.

The set didn’t have as many of the greatest hits as previous shows with many of the songs performed as extended versions showing off the virtuosity of the band members. A number of the songs I didn’t recognise but they certainly did several of their best known songs “Let go round again”, “Pick up the pieces” and “Put it where you want it”.

Afterwards we went for a beer in the nearby Innis and Gunn which sold an extensive range of craft beers, their own and guest beers. 

Sunday morning we strolled out to Leith in the sunshine and and spent a very enjoyable time walking around the harbour area looking at old buildings. Then it was time for brunch at the Brunswick Book Club and the train to Newcastle for John Bishop and the next stop on our road trip.

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