Over 100 saxophones, a huge dollop of creative imagination and an occasion made for a magical experience last night. The opening night of the new facilities at the Colston Hall provided the opportunity for a second performance of Andy Sheppard’s ‘Living Bridge’, a piece for an apparently indeterminate number of saxes. The staging was brilliantly thought out. It was just dark, the performance was to take place behind the hall in a street with the back of Colston Hall on one side and a multi-storey on the others. As we
walked round, squawks from saxes on the roof of the car park were answered by an invisible, miked, sax until gradually other saxes appeared and were conducted by Orphy Robinson into
a crescendo out of which came the catchy, Africany, quintessentially Andy Sheppard, melody – it was truly an ‘ahhhh’ moment. There were several further episodes and some wild blowing from various soloists interspersed with reprises of the theme. It was all followed up with a dramatic, choreographed display on ropes from circus performers Cirque Bijou to the accompaniment of a cellist and a beat boxing a cappella group before the assembled saxophone hordes led the crowds back into the new foyer, riffing as they went. We felt like we were in the middle of the whole performance and I for one found it really exciting and uplifting. A somewhat dodgy clip is here.