Just Julian

I do not watch much TV. The medium seems to be dominated by sitcoms [that I do not find funny], reality TV [that seems very unreal] and talent shows [where the word “talent” seems to have been redefined]. It is the last of these genres that I know least about, to be honest. I have heard of the shows – “Britain’s Got Talent”, “X-Factor”, “Pop Idol” – maybe there are others, but I just do not watch them.

However, I do enjoy going out to live performances, as I have posted about before. A few weeks ago I received an email from a venue in a nearby town, which we visit from time to time, promoting an upcoming event. They included a link to a YouTube video of the performer’s appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. For some reason, I took a look …

The performer’s name is Julian Smith and he plays saxophone. Specifically, soprano sax, which is a different shape and sound from the instrument with which most of us are more familiar [the tenor sax] – it looks like a brass clarinet. I liked what I saw on the video; here it is.

So, I booked some tickets. I was surprised to see that the venue was not too full and I could get some nice seats – the front row to be precise. What could go wrong with that?

So, last Friday evening we [my wife Libby and I] went along to the performance. What we saw and heard exceeded all expectations. His playing was beautiful and his way of talking and interacting with the audience was very engaging and natural. He also surrounded himself with other talented musicians, including a Chinese soprano singer, who brought a whole new dimension to the performance. It was a fantastic evening and the first thing that we did when we got home was look him up on the Internet to find out where we could see him again. The answer was that he is coming to a theater just along the road in a few weeks – but we already have tickets for something else that night. But we will see him again somewhere before too long.

I said what could go wrong with being in the front row. The answer to that question is “audience participation”. At one point, Julian was chatting to the audience and asked who was there as a couple; various hands went up, including ours. Then he asked, who, of those couples, were in love; much the same hands went up, with much nervous laughter [we are English, after all!]. Then he looks straight at Libby and asks what our names are and dedicates the next song to us [which was the beautiful Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet]. At the end of the song, he gave us a free CD – not such bad compensation for minor humiliation. 🙂

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/embedded-software/2012/11/01/just-julian/