Show of Hands – Royal Albert Hall ‘The Big Gig’ 2012

13 May

One of the best thing about having an incredible girlfriend is undoubtedly the presents, especially when those presents come in the form of two tickets to see Show of Hands at the Royal Albert Hall.  Following years of wanting to visit the Hall, finding myself sat at in the stalls looking up at the never ending boxes and balconies was a goose-bump raising moment to match the best of them, and what better occasion to find myself there than to celebrate twenty years of Britain’s best loved folk duo, Show of Hands.

I have seen Show of Hands many, many times over the years. From the ‘Palace Ruins’ in my small town, to filled festival fields in Devon. From grand theatres, to the humblest of village halls, but thats exactly what Show of Hands are about. No venue too big or small, Steve Knightley and Phil Beer have the utmost respect for live music and the people that make it happen whatever the scale. This wasn’t just another gig though, this was the big gig.

Show of Hands

What does a celebration need? Friends of course! One lady who was a sure fire guess at who would be joining the stage was Miranda Sykes, who has been a regular guest with Show of Hands for a good few years now. The addition of the double bass and her voice, in stark contrast to the vocals of Phil and Steve really fits perfectly and offers a slight ‘big band’ feel while maintaining the intimacy that makes Show of Hands performances so special.

Other guests included the infinitely talented duo of Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin. I first had the pleasure of seeing these at a folk festival in 2011 supporting, you guessed it, Show of Hands. Phillips harmonica work is an unrivalled crowd pleaser and I urge you to go and see them if you get the chance purely to gaze, wide eyed, jaw to the floor as he sings, plays harmonica and beat-boxes simultaneously.

Another guest appearance came from Richard Shindell. Born in New York, living in Buenos Aires, Richards songs are infectious and heartfelt. I had somehow dodged his work up until this point, but a performance of ‘You Stay Here’ with Show of Hands and Miranda Sykes was the perfect introduction. Definitely someone to keep an eye out for.

Throughout the second half Show of Hands were joined by the Urban Soul Orchestra, a pure stroke of genius. An intense rendition of ‘Innocents Song/Gwithian’ really made full use of the orchestra, the strings filling the Hall really was a moving experience and I severely doubt there was a neck hair in the house that wasn’t standing to attention.

Show of Hands were on top form, but then they always are. The setlist was perfect with old favourites, new favourites, raucous singalongs and emotional ballads. Never before had two hours shot by at such pace, come the end and the emotional thanks and goodbyes I was still thirsty for more. The guest choices were fabulous, but even if it were Phil and Steve alone for two hours, putting those men together with a couple of guitars, a fiddle, mandolin and whatever other stringed instruments they have decided to master, you are surely in for a treat. Luckily their penchant for playing gigs of every size and scale means that it never has to be long between fixes. But don’t take my word for it, find out when they are near you here.

Show Of Hands

2 Responses to “Show of Hands – Royal Albert Hall ‘The Big Gig’ 2012”

  1. Polka Dot Kitchen May 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Fabulous review of a fabulous evening 🙂


  1. InSpiral Vegan Cafe, Gloucester Arms and general London eating « Polka Dot Kitchen - May 28, 2012

    […] (for a fabulous review of our evening check out my boyfriend Ben’s post on his music blog, BamRambling!) I booked tickets as a surprise for Ben (what a good girlfriend!) and arranged for us to stay with […]

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