Double Vision in the Channel Islands
Friday, August 8, 2014
At the end of July I had just one free day after returning from Portugal (where I played with violinist Emanuel Salvador in the Gaia Festival) before setting off for the Double Vision Channel Islands mini tour.
I’m happy to report that the tour (involving Guernsey, Sark, Alderney and Jersey) was both successful and extremely enjoyable. Having played all four islands several times previously I was really looking forward to going back and meeting up with some old friends. Gordon had played the four islands last year with keyboard player Oliver Wakeman. The weather was stunning which made this beautiful part of the world even more idyllic.
I've played solo concerts in Guernsey’s lovely St James Arts Centre in St Peter Port many times - around 20, I’m guessing - and it was good to return. On arriving at the hall I was met by one of the stewards who asked if I’d brought any CDs to sell as the one she bought last time I was there was pretty much worn out! As we were travelling light there were no CDs. The concert went very well and there was a good, enthusiastic crowd. One big plus of doing this tour is the fantastic hospitality and, for this, I’m very grateful. The logistics were handled by Kirstin Simon and Claire le Brocq and everything went like clockwork.
On then to the island of Sark - by boat, of course: no cars, no proper roads and definitely no airport. We played in the relatively new Island Hall. I had played in this venue once before; in previous visits it was in the old Island Hall which is still standing but used now for a different purpose. We had the pleasure of staying with singer/songwriter Peter Gabriel Byrne and his lovely family. Peter treated us to a handful of new songs and gave me a copy of his latest CD, which I would thoroughly recommend. He has a great voice and is a very capable guitarist. There’s talk of me playing on his next recording.
The plane to Alderney followed and the venue this time was St Anne’s Church - the island ‘cathedral’ - designed by George Gilbert Scott although, from the outside, it wasn't looking its best as it was covered in scaffolding required to replace the damaged roof. Previously I had performed in the Alderney Island Hall. Again an enthusiastic crowd helped the evening along. I have been asked to play a solo concert there next year.
The final concert of the tour was in Jersey Arts Centre. I had played Jersey several times previously but not in this venue. We were greeted by a noisy, appreciative crowd with some good-natured heckling along the way.
Thanks again to the tour organisers for a very enjoyable few days. Here’s to the next time.