The first time I went to the Royal Albert Hall was in 2003. My mother came to visit for a long weekend and asked if we could get tickets for a concert there. She didn’t really mind what kind of concert it would be, she just wanted to get inside the famous venue and experience a show.
I got tickets for a concert in the Classical Spectacular series. These concerts are on regularly during the year. Well known classical tunes are played by the The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied by a light and laser show and finished with cannons and indoor fireworks. The songs include Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
With the programme came two Union Jack flags and we were unsure about their purpose. This became clear once the orchestra played Rule Britannia and the audience started waving their flags enthusiastically! This was a rather unexpected surprise for us Germans who were not used to such patriotic gestures! It happened to be the night before the Rugby World Cup final between Australia and England and the poor Australian tenor wasn’t too pleased that he had to appear on stage in a Union Jack suit.
The concert finished with a large number of balloons being released from above. These were floating about as everyone was leaving and me and another spectator ended up playing keepy-up with a balloon. My mum was not amused!
In the meantime I have been to the Royal Albert Hall several times and every time I feel very privileged to be there. About three years ago we went to see a show by the Cirque Du Soleil which was fascinating. Another highlight was seeing (or more importantly hearing) Joan Armatrading, one of my favourite artists, play live at the Hall in 2010.
Recently some relatives were planning to visit and I suggested to see what was on at the Royal Albert Hall. They liked the idea and as it happened there was another Classical Spectacular concert on. It was thoroughly enjoyable and my aunt and uncle were very impressed by the interior and the sound quality. We had forgotten to fill them in on the flag ritual though. Their puzzled faces when the audience started waving their flags were hilarious!