WHO: Bill Bailey
WHERE: Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
WHEN: 25 May 2013
Bill Bailey had Doubts about the modern world, but these have now grown into Qualms. He will be channeling these feelings of Unease and Apprehension, with the help of Religious Dubstep, his folk bouzouki, Horntallica, a re-appraisal of some of the world’s greatest works of art and perhaps a dub version of Downton Abbey. He looks at the Consequences of Lies, the Unending Search for the Higgs and the Hiding Skills of Dentists. Bill tries to confront his Cluster-Qualm of living in a Time of Spectacular Ignorance, and Rare Planetary Alignment that may be part of the Mayan End of Days prophecy. Come savour this Broth of Anxiety with Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler.
This show has the all classic Bill Bailey elements, trademark musical mash-ups, multi-lingual riffs, films, songs, philosophizing and silliness on a grand scale… Plus one amazing owl.
It’s been a few years since we saw Bill Bailey last, which was at the Ice Arena, the Tinselworm tour. This time the location was a much smaller venue, the Royal Concert Hall, which I much prefer because it makes for a more intimate gig. Saying that, the best tickets I could get (at Christmas!) meant we were in second tier, and rather far back to boot. So okay, it wasn’t ideal, but at least we got to see him live.
The first part was mostly pure stand-up comedy. Bill Bailey, I daresay, is famous for being extremely random, and this night was no exception. He commented on celebrities who are famous for being famous, modern day politics, rescuing an owl from being eaten in China, and so on. (He had footage of it too! He didn’t just make it up!)
After the interval, the pace picked up and he even started using some of the instruments scattered around the stage. There was a reggae version of the Downton Abbey theme (he’s not a fan of that show), a horn (the kind you honk) version of Metallica’s Enter Sandman, foreign folk music (to which the Nottingham audience happily clapped along, because we enjoyed clapping), and others. A random assortment of merriment.
Part two suffered in one area, though, but it had nothing to do with the performer. While we waited for the show to start, a guy sat down next to us, saying that he was with some friends, but they were scattered around the audience because those were the only tickets left. He had a beer in his hand and chatted enough to make the two introverts next to him (read: us) feel extremely awkward. Anyway. When part two was about to start, one of his mates (and more pints) joined him, as there were a couple of empty seats at the end of the row. And they kept talking. This is fine if it’s the interval – less so when the show has started back up again. Considering they were both drinking and the guy on the end shouted “BILL!” now and then, they were the sort of people you would hesitate about asking to shut the fuck up. So that basically annoyed the staircase end of at least three rows, maybe four. Thanks for being complete dicks, you guys!
Aside from that, the show was hilarious. There was much laughter, and we came away having had a great night out at the theatre, even if we had to guess what Bill Bailey’s facial expressions were for the most part, as he was kind of far away. It didn’t matter, we could still hear him and his random musings.
Bill Bailey, sir – you are amazing.
4 out of 5 owls.