Recent Major Concerts and Events
Manoel Theatre, Malta
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Our trip to Malta could so easily have been a disaster! Let me explain.
Hilary and I caught the flight to Malta from Heathrow on the Sunday evening to give us plenty of time for my masterclass on the Monday. All went smoothly until on arriving in Malta in the early hours of Monday (due to the flight being delayed by over an hour) we discovered that my treasured guitars and FX board never made it onto the Malta plane! Needless to say I was VERY worried.
Fortunately our hosts Tony and Veronica took charge of things and ONE of the guitars arrived on the first flight the following morning, and my pedal board plus the other guitar arrived later that evening. Don't ask me how this can happen! I'm just pleased that they all eventually arrived in one piece, in time for my concert. Having said all this, on opening one of the cases I discovered that the pickup had come lose from the soundhole and was rattling around inside the guitar along with three of the cork mounts that are used to grip the pickup to the soundboard, but with some superglue and a Phillips screw driver I was able to fix it.
Oh, I nearly forgot to mention the Monday evening masterclass at a shop in the next town along. We had about 30 players turn up, and during my hour plus time at the shop we covered many subjects from nail care to open tunings, and my very early columns for TOTAL guitar. They were a great bunch of guys and pretty much all of them attended the concert. Mark who owns the shops made me SO welcome, and his shop manager Steve and he did the opening spot in the second half of my Tuesday night concert, and very fine playing it was too.
I'm delighted to say that the concert was a great success on all levels. The theatre was virtually sold out! The audience, many of whom hadn't heard of me before, welcomed me incredibly warmly, and were just the best audience any artist anywhere could wish for. I'm sure you have seen the photographs of the theatre from the link on the website, but believe me the pictures just don't do it justice. The sound and lights were superb, and although I was pretty nervous at the prospect of performing a show with just three of my guitars instead of the usual six, it all went unbelievably well. It's always a joy for me to introduce my music to a new audience, and it's interesting to note that MY personal favourites like On Camber Sands and Rainbow Kites are so well received.
For you 'Anoraks'.... I took my Fylde GG Signature guitar which for some reason hasn't had an airing much of late, this is probably due to the fact that my cedar top Fylde has sort of taken over. I took my Armstrong 1980 figure 8 guitar and of course the trusty Baby Armstrong which is always a favourite with the crowds. Incidentally, because of it's small size, I was able to take the Baby guitar on the plane as hand luggage.
The FX pedal dates back to the mid 1990s and is called a Boss MEX. The unit is basically an all in one jobby with the option of slotting in extra pedals if you need them. I dropped in a couple of overdrive pedal for the 'God Save the Queen' section. I really like the unit which has some very good quality reverbs and chorus effects within it. The only thing I couldn't do was my long ping pong delay effect that I use for Mrs Singer's Waltz, and of course no Loop Station so Dodo wasn't possible, but apart from that it was all fine and dandy!
Malta is a beautiful place, well Valletta is, and we can't wait to return at some point to spend more time exploring the island. With a 7000 year history it is definitely our kind of place. We did manage a little bit of sight-seeing in the morning, and on the way back to the hotel I quickly dropped in The Pub where the late great Oliver Reed spent much of his time hell raising, and was sadly the place where he had his fatal heart attack whilst over there filming Gladiator.
On the afternoon of the concert I was of course in the hotel practicing, but Hilary had a chance to explore a little of the surrounding area and the town of Sliema with our good friends Andy and Kate. It was Andy who recommended me to Tony and Veronica at Masquerade Theatre Company, the promoters of the show, because Andy and Katie had performed there a number of times with their company Beyond the Barricade. A big THANKYOU to them for helping make it happen and of course a big THANKYOU to Tony and Veronica for being such great hosts and looking after us so well. The food and the wine was out of this world!
There should be a few photos appearing on the site soon, and hopefully this will give you some idea of the flavour of the place and of the evening itself. ( A photo gallery from the trip will be added as soon as I get the pictures - Sue )
Be Well all.
Photos of Gordon on this page courtesy of Jonathan Borg from The Malta Independent.
These lovely messages were received from members of the audience:
I attended the masterclass with my daughter on Monday and also the show yesterday evening at the (full to capacity) historical Manoel Theatre - and what a show it was! Just want to say that I was there with my family and we all had a great time - my long-suffering wife remembered a number of the pieces from my days learning them from the TG magazine some years ago. Thanks for being such a great performer and please do come back soon.
All the best and good luck with future performances and projects.
Come back to Malta and sell-out again soon Gordon cos I couldnt make it to your gig here and everybody who went to see you had their lives made better and... I want some o that too!
Gordon was also delighted to get such great reviews from the Maltese Press.
This article, sent to us by Veronica, appeared in the THE SUNDAY TIMES, written by music critique Michael Bugeja.
See bottom of the page to open or download a larger ( readable) version.