Ennio Morricone memorial concert 02 Arena London 28 November 2022

ENNIO PROGA bit of an adventure To see a celebration of the life of the composing genius and legend Ennio Morricone. And a different sort of concert to those that I am used to. The adventure started on the train down to London from Sunderland. All went smoothly, our friendly Grand Central train took us directly from Sunderland to London. Then the real adventure began. My three carers and I had found a Premier Inn with a ceiling hoist which could take me easily from my chair to the bed and even into the bathroom. However it was in Archway, a few stops away from King’s Cross on the Northern line. No problem we thought.

ennio 7Now thinking back, I knew that I had to carefully plan a journey of the tube. Things are very different since I have become disabled. You can only embark upon, and alight from, the tube at certain stations as the gap (“mind the gap please when alighting at the station”) between platform and train is too wide at some stations. Also, not every station has a lift; after all this is a very old, and very efficient, underground travel facility. I knew all this yet I didn’t plan for this journey. Something told me everything would be okay. Big mistake.

ennio 6We manage to get on the tube at King’s Cross and travel along the Northern line to Archway. However when we alight the train, we find there is no lift! We take advice and it seems the best way forward is to return to King’s Cross and get a bus to Archway. So this is what we do. The bus is very efficient, easy to get on, as every London bus has a ramp which comes out magically from the central entrance to the bus. The bus seems to stop at many different locations along the way but we are soon at Archway. We walk to the hotel which is quite close to Archway tube station. By now it is around 6 PM. After some argy-bargy about the hoist which seems to be missing the arm which the sling attaches to, and which involves finding a friendly guy who gets aforementioned arm from another room.

ennio 3I have a short rest and my carers have a short freshen up before it is time to get to the O2. We had telephoned the information line which told us that the concert started at 8:30 PM. So plenty of time (or so we thought). Another mistake. The adventure continues. The very friendly lady on reception tells us that the best way to get to the venue is to use a London taxi cab. We soon learn that all London cabs have now been updated since the last time I was in the capital and have a ramp which enables me to get into the side of the vehicle easily, leaving room for three passengers to sit on the rear seat. The taxi takes us through some very familiar street names including the Holloway Road, Stanley Road and some quite “posh areas” of London town.

Eventually we arrive at the O2. We can’t seem to find our tickets in the “wallet” on my iPhone. Sometimes I hate new technology. Anyway a friendly lady on reception soon finds them and we are in only to find that the concert started at 8 PM. It is now 8:20 PM. And we have missed some of the show. Never mind we have a great view from the wheelchair area of the arena.

ennio lpThe concert is like nothing else I have ever experienced. It is a true multimedia extravaganza with a screen showing segments of classic movies such as the Good, the Bad and The Ugly and The Mission, alongside films I have never heard of such as a Fistful of Dynamite. Familiar images of my hero Clint Eastwood pop up onto the screen as the familiar theme tune from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly is delivered by orchestra, electric band, a choir and soloist. The sound is fantastic and the visuals excellent. The choir, band, orchestra and soloists are all first class. This is a sound very different to the rock bands I am used to. But it is loud, clear and very emotive; particularly when it is accompanying clips from such iconic movies.

The whole experience is wonderful. At various points Ennio Morricone himself appears, speaking in Italian, with subtitles talking about how he developed the compositions. Others such as film directors and actors, notably Jeremy Irons, appear on screen to talk about the genius that was Ennio Morricone. The whole proceedings is directed by and conducted by the great man’s son Andrea. We are taken through film after film, each score bringing new dimensions and emotions. We all agree it is absolutely wonderful and unlike anything we had seen before or are likely to see again. And then it is over.

ennio singleI remember as a young teenager when the Hugo Montenegro version of the soundtrack theme for the Good, the Bad and the Ugly was number 1 in the UK singles chart for many weeks. I bought the single and played and played it again and again. When I finally got to see the movie I was spellbound by Clint Eastwood and how cool “the man with no name” was. I had to wait until I was a little older to see the film as it was, if I recall correctly, X-rated at the time. Even then I managed to get in to see it when I was quite young and felt so excited at seeing such forbidden treasure! It just shows you how times change. The violence of the film warranted, at the time, an adults only rating. Today it would be seen as quite mild compared to some of the violence in modern movies. The haunting theme, guitar and harmonica were simply tremendous.

“It is rare that London’s massive O2 Arena hosts an evening of intimacy. But so it was last month when The Official Concertennio 5 Celebration of the work of Ennio Morricone played for one night to a full house. ….Under the baton of Morricone’s son Andrea, a selection of extracts from just a few of the 500+ scores that the Maestro had penned were played by the Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra, the programme having been largely devised and curated by Morricone himself prior to his sad passing in July 2020.”(From Jonathan Baz reviews site).

ennio 4After a short wait we are back into another taxi and off to the Premier Inn Archway. I am hoisted into bed and decide that I’m hungry. Another big mistake. I wait forever for a pizza delivery which finally comes at 1:30 AM by which time I am falling asleep as my carer tries to feed me cold slices of pizza. I fall asleep. Before I know it is time to get up have a slice of toast and a quick wash and off we go to King’s Cross on the bus. Soon our friendly Grand Central train takes us back up north and the adventure ends. So, a whistlestop tour of London, an excellent, very different, concert and overall an exciting adventure. Happy days.

Setlist: The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables); Victorious (The Untouchables);   Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time in America); Poverty (Once Upon A Time in America); Main Theme (Once Upon A Time in America); The Legend of 1900 (The Legend of 1900); Main Theme    (The Sicilian Clan); Main Theme (Metti una Sera a Cena); The Man with the Harmonica (Once Upon A Time in the West); Main Theme (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly); Jill’s Theme (Once Upon A Time in the West); Sean Sean (A Fistful of Dynamite); The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly);     Theme for Ennio (With Hauser); The Last Stagecoach goes to Redrock (The Hateful Eight); Chi Mai    (Maddalena); Main Theme (Cinema Paradiso); Love Theme (Cinema Paradiso); Inchini iprociti e disperazione (Malèna); Main Theme (Malèna); The Battle of Algiers (The Battle of Algiers);     Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion (Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion); A Brisa do Coraçao (Sostiene Pereira); The Working Class goes to Heaven (The Working Class goes to Heaven)    ;  Abolisson (Queimada); Gabriel’s Oboe (The Mission); Falls (The Mission); On Earth as it is in Heaven     (The Mission); Here’s to You (Sacco and Vanzetti); The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly); On Earth as it is in Heaven (The Mission).

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Peter Maggiore on December 18, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    Quite an adventure. The man was a musical genius, not only the spaghetti westerns but Once Upon A Time In America is a great movie with a fantastic soundtrack. Take care Pete

    Reply

  2. Posted by John on December 19, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    Hi Peter,

    Wow getting to that concert took some perseverance!

    It is amazing how good some film and television theme compositions are when you listen to them now. I have a Fistful of Dollars and a few Dollars More on DVD and I always liked those. But the Good the Bad and the Ugly is just perfect. It epitomizes Spaghetti Westerns and Westerns in general for me. It is amazing how composers can evoke such feelings. I guess Morricone was a genius at that.

    All the Best,

    John

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on December 19, 2022 at 2:29 pm

      Perseverance indeed my friend. Yes I agree Morricone was indeed a genius. Incidentally, I went to see a talk by David Puttnam recently the famous film director and he said that Morricone was a genius and the best film score writer he had ever worked with

      Have a lovely Christmas and all the best for 2023

      Peter

      Reply

      • Posted by John on December 19, 2022 at 4:22 pm

        Hi Peter,

        I remember David Putnam when he was Chancellor. He is such a genuine guy with great understanding. I still remember his comment to me when he presented my degree. I admire his work which I became more aware of from then on.

        Best wishes for Christmas and the NewYear, John

      • Posted by vintagerock on December 19, 2022 at 6:48 pm

        Hi John I met David Puttnam on many occasions. He is a lovely, gentle man who always took time to speak to me. I had a nice chat with him when he appeared at the Fire Station. Have a great Christmas and happy New Year. Best wishes Peter

  3. Posted by Bryan on December 19, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    I take my hat off to you Peter! You’ve got more energy than most people I know. That journey was quite a challenge for anyone! It’s amazing what passion & the love of live music can inspire you to achieve. Have a great Christmas & rocking New Year! Bryan

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on December 19, 2022 at 6:35 pm

      Many thanks Bryan. Hey man, rock ‘n’ roll keeps me going and I don’t intend to let other things get in the way of that! Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year. I still have one entry to make before I sign off for the New Year (I went to see Rod Stewart last Saturday and he still is tremendous! Happy days Peter

      Reply

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