The Capital Centre
On stage at 8.25pm, support act London by Night have been around for years, some would say mediaeval or beyond, but still manage to move with the times with some cracking new material that rises above the noise – statuesque, imposing, structural and soulful.
The headliner, Cancer Research Shine Walk, are comparatively new on the scene but have made an impact drawing huge audiences around the country and making an impact on the science uni circuit. As funding cuts hit, there’s a agit-political element too – this bunch have depth and influence. Tonight there were 17,000 performers hitting the streets. Some were in it for the long haul marathon, others signed up for the shorter 13 mile set. What we were treated to was an expansive performance, full of achievement, virtuosity and graft. The light show was impressive. As a collective, the audience became one with both stage and performers illuminated by radio controlled LED wrist bands, garish clothing and face paint as the capital’s pavements were glazed by rubber soles.
At four and three-quarter hours this was a long show. The sound of Welsh folk singing marked a downbeat first 80 minutes, but recently unearthed ELP got the Hoedown jumping. Cancer victim, Martyn Bennett’s Grit ground out striking tales and rhythms, Jason Isbell emphasised there’s something more than free and in the closing stages, FFS, save me from myself. Why did I do this? Perhaps collaborations do work and I did avoid hitting The Wall.
Food and drink: pre-event Fish & Chips and a pint of Mild; en-route: water, cereal bars, chocolate raisins and bananas. Tea before driving home and a glass of aussie merlot and a warm glow once on the sofa at 4am.
80/20 female/male split. Constantly on the move, incessant chatter and an enthusiastic buzz. Some just wandered and others were more determined. Several limped towards an emphatic hurrah and encore.
It made me think..
At 2.15am, the Thames is beautiful at high tide where ebb and flow are momentarily suspended and reflections become sharply focused. Conversely, cancer fucks with your head. Some never encounter it, some do and survive, others live with it knowing it will probably take them eventually. Then there are those who are consumed so rapidly that we are left numb at the injustice. 17,000 people on a warm September Saturday went out of their way to try and make a difference. The organisers predict a profit of £5 million. The £510 (to date) from my supporters is a small but meaningful contribution.