Sunday, August 16, 2009

Team GB underdogs at O2

From Game On - O2 2009 (Sunday)
I’ve now added Basketball to the sports I’ve seen live, and not only on TV. Adding to my memories of trying to play at school, and never having much success! A sport for tall people – not the vertically challenged…

A court side seat to one of the events organised as part of the warm up for 2012 meant I could witness Team GB, current effectively unranked in World – tied 75th in the world, pit themselves against Turkey, Israel and Poland – ranked 14th, 25th and 55th themselves. Given the lowly ranking, Team GB put up strong performances in both matches I watched – but did, in the end fall to the better opposition. In both the matches they put up a good fight – leading at times, before class told towards the end of the games.

The game again Turkey was a perfect illustration of why it is rare for a basketball game to finish on a close score. The last few minutes of game time, which Team GB started only 6 or so points behind Turkey, became very disjointed as Team GB repeatedly fowled, to take Turkey to the free throw line for 2 one point shots with the clock stopped. The hope was ,that they’d be able to score two or three points on each of their possessions, with Turkey not always gaining both point from the free throw line – a tactic that got more and more futile as Turkey scored most of their points, and Team GB failed to score on many of their possessions…

All in all, an entertaining way to spend two weekend afternoons/evenings – being their in person did bring more of sense of speed to the sport – the court is small, but the action furious – something that isn’t so clear on TV.

Bring on the Olympics in 2012 – I hope tickets to events are equally easy to come by… The only down side was that the O2 was half empty, even in it’s reduced capacity format with the top tier unused, which meant despite the best efforts of the master of ceremonies there wasn’t much atmosphere. 

It will be interesting to see how four low ranked European national sides compare to my next live basketball – MBA team Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz at the O2…

Friday, August 14, 2009

A 360° View

From U2 - Wembley 2009
A barmy summer Friday evening found me back at Wembley for another evening of music. This time U2 provided the great sound track, friends good company to share the experience with, and Wembley a rocking venue. The stage in the centre, plus fan club tickets gave a great view – lets hope more bands take this approach rather than a stage at one end.

This was my first time on the side of the stadium opposite the arch – a slightly longer walk from and to the tube – but added distinctive location details to the view that meant it couldn’t be anywhere but Wembley.

The evening finished of with a Chinese in the west end and a walk home along the Thames – things don’t get much better…

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wishing I was there – I was…

From Natalie Imbruglia 2009
The Luminaire was the venue for one of Natalie Imbruglia’s come back gigs – testing new tracks and revive some familiar ones. She needn’t have worried, amongst the relatively small audience of loyal fans every song deservedly went down well. A great evenings entertainment.

What a contrast U2 at Wembley will be – The Luminaire is the smallest venue I’ve been to on my journey to enjoy live music in London.  An audience of ~250, and my reasonably early arrival, meant a great view, three rows from the front – for the first time the flash on my camera was effective. But reviewing the pictures, I still prefer those without flash which are more atmospheric – and can be taken without the lag the flash introduces!

If I’d know the house policy on cameras, I could have upgraded to my SLR – will know next time. It would have been interesting to have it with me, as I was stood amongst the press photographers for the first three or four songs until they where asked to leave to let the paying audience enjoy the music without them impeding the view! Looked like a white 70-200mm F2.8 lens was the one to have – something to add to my collection…