Ray's Gigs

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Sunday 19 November 2023.

Sunday 19 November 2023. ED SHEERAN live at The Royal Albert Hall. Probably the biggest live solo male act in the world right now. Worldwide stadium act Ed Sheeran plays the second of two intimate RAH shows to launch his new album 'Autumn Variations'. Ed has said these two times are the only times he will play the album in full. Ed will be backed by a live band and string section and a few backing singers. I have seen Ed a few times live before. ------------ The venue is totally rammed solid sold out tonight, even though best seats are 200 each. All the boxes are full of hospitality. WAYNE ROONEY and wife COLEEN were sitting near us. We end up missing the support act, as stayed in the bar. ED SHEERAN is on stage for 2 hours 10 mins. First 65 mins was new album in full with his band, string section and a few backing singers. Next 65 mins was a hits set with just Ed and and guitar and loop machine. The stage floor and behind him is full of artwork slogans related to the album. Ed has nice friendly stage banter between all the songs. Eds vocals are nice and clear , as is the overall sound. The crowd sat down for all the new album tracks , but stood up for all the hits in the latter half. The new album tracks were all a bit average , but the hits section was really good. Full ED SHEERAN setlist played (Full band with string section and backing vocalists) Magical England Amazing Plastic Bag Blue American Town That's On Me Page Midnight Spring Punchline When Will I Be Alright The Day I Was Born Head > Heels HITS SET (Ed solo) Castle on the Hill (Acoustic/Slow) Shivers Don't / In Da Club / No Diggity / Smoke Weed Everyday Give Me Love Thinking Out Loud Photograph Bloodstream Perfect Shape of You Bad Habits Encore: The Parting Glass ([traditional] cover) (Unplugged) Afterglow (Unplugged Ed and voice with no microphone ) ---------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------- Saturday 18 November 2023. A nice three band psychedelic - prog - space rock package. GONG and OZRIC TENTACLES co-headline with support from THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN. I saw GONG headline Hammersmith Odeon in 1976. The current GONG do not feature any original members from their heyday period in the 1970s. OZRIC TENTACLES have released around 30 albums over the past 35 years and have sold over a million albums without any major record company help. I saw them play Shepherds Bush Empire in 2021. I saw THE CRAZY WORLD OF CRAZY BROWN play a really good show supporting HAWKWIND earlier this year at The Royal Albert Hall. He is best known for his big hit 'Fire' which was released 1968. The single became a transatlantic hit, reaching number one in the UK and Canada and number two in the United States, while hitting the top 10 in markets across Europe. The track was produced by Pete Townshend. Arthur Brown is now aged 81. --------- Not sold out tonight as spare space downstairs and upstairs. 75 per cent of the crowd is guys over the age of 50. All three acts used Psychedelic images on the big screen. THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN arrived on stage at 6.45pm and played for 60 mins. Arthur and his band are all wearing fancy headwear. There are half a dozen shop dummies on stage. Arthur is a total showman , and like The Royal Albert Hall we get several stunning costume changes. Again ' Fire' was played early on, and other gems included 'Walk With Angels' and 'Time Captives' . For me he was the highlight of the three acts tonight. OZRIC TENTACLES arrived of stage at 8pm and played for 85 mins. Their setlist was all instrumentals. Loads of nifty guitar and keyboards working up a noise. The crowd knew many of their tracks. A female flutist joins them for a few tracks. Lots of strobes used in their enjoyable set. GONG arrived in stage at 9.45pm and played for 75 mins. Gong look like a proper cool band rather than crusty old hippies. They have a sax player on several songs. A female dancer joins them after 45 mins. The singer rightly said " it is amazing that in 2023, we still have three great acts playing The Astoria " .He quickly changed it to The Forum. An enjoyable evening but for me Arthur Brown stole the show.