Well if I wasn”t quite sure what to expect from the first act on, I think the majority of the audience definitely didn”t realise what they were about to see.
The opening act was a Breton band called Bagad Sonerien An Oriant. A Bagad consists of four main sections – bagpipes, snare drums, bombardes (similar to an oboe) and percussion.
It began with three members sashaying their way through the auditorium – one on a bombarde, one on small bagpipes and the third on a snare drum – joining two electric guitars on stage before the whole band
erupted onto it with them.
I previously had seen similar acts at the Manx Yn Chrunnaight, where there is a gathering of all six Celtic nations celebrating their own music, song, dance and stories, and Sonerien An Oriant fulfilled all this too, under their very flamboyant leader.
There were Breton dancers who joined the band quite frequently and a soloist – making for an all round concert. Four of the bands members were actually Scots , one of whom acted as compare explaining how they played the same tunes, in some instances, but in different ways and interpretations.
All I could say by the end of the performance was WOW!
Next on was the main act and unfortunately the last time we would see them perform – The Strathclyde Police Pipe Band – as the Scottish police forces join to become one. The members marched onto the stage under the inimitable leadership of Pipe Major Duncan Nicholson, playing an array of marches, Strathspeys and reels.
To give the pipers a short respite, a five man tag team came on consisting of Steven Leask, Ross Stewart, James Rosie, Sydney Moore and Scott Giffin.
Then it was back to the full band before the snare drums had their turn in the spotlight and what a piece they did!
It was amazing watching them drum at such speed whilst playing on each others drums and twirling sticks too – needless to say, they received rapturous applause at the end.
The SPPB were also joined on stage by Allan Henderson on keyboards, Ewan Robertson on guitar and James Lindsay on double bass, although there were times I felt they were not really required.
They finished off with a beautiful rendition of Phil Cunningham”s Lightly Swims the Swan and Duncan Chisholm”s Farlay Bridge before going out on high, with a set of Strathspeys and reels.