Alison Krauss at Hammy Odeon

Middle of last week, an email arrives telling me that as a thankyou for helping her out over the years, Julie Lee had put me and and a few other lovelies on the guestlist for Alison Krauss – Alison and Julie are good chums, so we got tickets and passes for a ‘meet and greet’ before the show. Yippee! It all sounds marvellous – even more so given that helping out Julie is such a pleasure that it hardly requires rewards…

Anyway, TSP and I jump in the new car and head off down to Hammersmith to meet The Cheat, The producer formerly Known as Showbiz Jude and Mark, and find when we get there that a powercut has taken out the Odeon (OK, I know it’s called the Apollo and is sponsored by some crappy beer company or other, but it’ll always be the Hammersmith Odeon to anyone who actually cares).

We head off to the pub, not knowing if gig will go ahead at all. Make occasional reckies (how do you spell ‘recky’?? it’s short for reconnaissance, I think, so can’t see how you’d abbrieviate that… but I digress), the traffic lights are still out, so we know the odeon is still without power.

Meet and Greet is cancelled, and we all started to head off when ‘poomph’ (poomph???) the lights came on! ‘hurrah’ said anyone too posh to cheer in a normal way.

Following some frenetic gig preparations, we were inside and sat down (in fab seats) and the band came on.

After my trip to Nashville last October, I’m a convert to the delights of bluegrass anyway, and it doesn’t get much better than this – the playing was amazing, the songs beautiful, and Alison has spectacular natural comic timing. It was yet another example of the simple rule about american bands – they get to play live so many more times that any UK band does before they go in and record that they end up being much better musicians. Even when their ideas aren’t as good as ours, the playing is usually of a higher quality (there are exceptions to the rule – me, for example – but in general… )

So the meet and greet didn’t happen, but the gig was well worth waiting for til someone put some 50p coins in the Hammersmith meter.

At the end of the gig, as we were coming out, I commented to Jude that I’d like to get Alison’s live album ‘I’ve got it you can borrow mine’ says jude. ‘I’ll buy it, I’ve already got her best of’ says me, which in the hubbub was mis-heard by Jude as ‘does she get her breasts out?’ – clearly, that’s one of my main criteria when choosing a bluegrass CD – whether or not there are boobs on the cover… very odd…!

Anyway, thanks Julie – a fantastic night out, even without Alison exposing herself on a CD sleeve.

soundtrack – Rise Kagona.

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