Review by Adrienne Frances with Photos by Helen Williams

Ludovico Einauldi

– Map background –

I listen to these men and I’m not in my body any more.

– Equation diagram –

I’m 14 and feeling strings vibrate through me, the visceralness of music, of sound, experienced at an atomic level – a modern tribal chant ebbing and flowing.

I smell wine and aftershave and I think of Vegas, I think of the family I lost, musicians.

The haunting ghost of a faceless voiceless pianist, the train driver navigating through a black and white landscape of numbers and scribbles, speeding, speeding.

Ludovico Einauldi

– Muted colours –

I listen to these men.

And I am alone in a sold out room of people.

In a sold out room of people where we are each alone and listening only to these men play just for us.

This is not camaraderie. This is not anthemic choruses.

This is panic and urgency and isolation.

– Warm orange lights – granule lines –

This is also redemption. A calm aftermath. Thoughtful. The cello sings, baleful.

Calming.

Lights slowly dim with bells chiming.

Ludovico Einauldi

– Scratchy static –

Pensive. I can hear the scratching of maracas, but no one is playing them. Is this real? No one speaks. The men are faceless. The music grows. It is anxiety and urgency and.

– Solo piano to interval –

A story. Gentle careful notes. But I don’t speak this language. And still he talks in legato and allegro.

I think about the upright piano I was fascinated with at my Nanna’s house in Wallasey. I’d gently press the keys… and nothing.

I’d press harder until an awkward clunking note thudded out – so crude and inept.

This is nothing like that.

This is a faceless voiceless man describing the feeling of being lost in a foreign country. Of missing the last bus home. Of death. Of intrigue and betrayal and panic and beauty and regret, and never uttering a single word.

Until the reveal.

Ludovico Einauldi

– Interval –

– Smoke –

Electric cello is the memory of a ghost, of Cathy rasping at the window, of unending desolation.

The faceless pianist and the ticking clock and the cello wails and the men all play.

Discord and unease.

– Red sand –

Under his hands and feet, the pianist makes a creature of fire and tears and tired sighs, serenaded by anxious strings.

Flashes, an untuned television, shadows and sand and scratches and dust.

Ludovico Einauldi

– And then the map, again –

A disembodied female voice counts over gentle notes, echoes of melodies.

A memory of a way home, of navigating through the notes and numbers, eventually surefooted.

We sit in a darkened room listening to a piano and a stage of silent men.

Eventually.

White shafts of light.

The triumph of familiarity, of certainty, of resolve.

– Watery sand –

The sound of night by the coast. The nothing stretching out with the sea. The nothing and everything of loneliness. The chime of ice, water distortion, of shadows you cannot trust.

Ludovico Einauldi

– Maze of symbols –

Pizzicato strings overlap and overlap with glockenspiel and piano competing on tempo – again tribal, frantic.

But growing into something else. Searching?

And then all minor chords and strobes and drums. Hunting. Hunting.

– Pixel bloom –

Like an implosion of snow. Muted. Softened sound, tired not sleepy.

Before you realise it, the strings are angry and crying. The snow is harsh. The sound is tumultuous, jarring, unanswered.

And like the surprise harsh light of snow, the men are stood there in front of us, smiling, waving, smiling, waving.

– Scribbles –

– Encore –

Like northern landscapes, barren rocks and moorland, harsh rain and bitter winds and small pockets of calm and beauty.

The men play their instruments and the strings compete to make you cry and they all rush together, rush towards.

Ludovico Einauldi

– An unexpected face full of thanks –

And then.

– Red –

Serious, pensive, strings on high alert.

The sound of emergency, of a James Turrell light installation made audible. The flat bombardment of terror.

And then shifting into action. The fight. Resistance. Black and white strobe ghosts fleeing. Fleeing.

And they’re done.

Ovation.

I don’t know how to begin to review an Einaudi gig and yet.

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