What do you get if you cross those big-selling 'Classical Rock' albums with compilations of 60s and 70s rock standards? Answer: something like the British Rock Symphony which starred The Who's Roger Daltrey and attracted a field full of thirty and forty plus fans anxious to re-live their youth.
The idea is simple - put together an orchestra, a gospel choir, a rock band and some guest vocalists, get them to perform songs everyone knows and can sing along to, finish it off with a spectacular firework display, and, hey presto, one happy audience. So we had Darlene Love belt out »Jumpin' Jack Flash«, Paul Young getting his tonsils around »Imagine« and Procol Harum's Gary Brooker resurrecting »Whiter Shade of Pale«. Things didn't really start hotting up until Roger Daltrey appeared at the end of Act 1 to perform a medley of »Start Me Up«, »5:15«, »See Me Feel Me«, and »Listening To You«.
The show was nearly stolen at the start of the second act by Nikki Lamborn of new band Never The Bride whose version of Led Zepplin's »Stairway To Heaven« was stunning. Daltrey quickly grabbed back the honours with »You Better You Bet«, »Pinball Wizard« and »Who Are You?«
The Midlands can be proud of its contribution. As well as providing the stunning backdrop of Ragley Hall, the region also contributed the Heart of Eangland Philharmonic Orchestra and the Voice of Gospel singers.
It was one of the most civilised rock events I've attended. Everyone was encouraged to bring a picnic so it was chiled wine and smoked salmon. It did seem strange, though, to see one group of concertgoers serving up fresh fuit salad as »Give Peace A Chance« was being performed on stage.