Posted by Sid Smith on Jun 26, 2006 - This post is archived and may no longer be relevant

This just in – another review of Robert and the LoCG in Rome on the 20th June from our very own John Peacock.

Robert came on first and played extended bells/Threshold and then a Time section, and then the League snaked on and circulated with the Soundscapes, then Robert left the stage and the League played their first set.

The League repertoire was a cross-section of the the pieces they've been playing over the last few years - I suspect I'm forgetting a few and the ordering is very rough but: The first set was upbeat and rocking pieces:

Burning Siesta

Intergalactic Boogie Express,

The Driving Force

El Pendulo

Robert's second set was darker and more sonorous - more like a Queer segment. There was an astonishing moment when the backing Soundscape was faded out, leaving intertwined bits of the soloing weaving in and out of each other. Sadly, this occurred at a time when there was a palpable dissipation in the audience - perhaps it was after forty-five minutes - which was noticeable in audience members shifting in their seats. This doesn't stand as a comment on the performance, rather that an audience's attention isn't infinitely stretchable.

The League's return (again, circulating over the Soundscapes) allowed the audience to refocus their attention. I confess that from this point on my recollection of the piece order is very hazy.

Sumerum circulation / Thrak (with soloing by Robert)

Hey Bulldog

Flying (After this, the woman sitting next to me turned to her companion and said - in English - that she thought it was probably by Piazolla. I didn't tell her it's actually The Beatles.)

Tango Apasionado

Eye of the Needle

Voices of Ancient Children (small group piece) - this was the absolute highlight of the evening in my opinion as far as the League were concerned.

The Whip

Asturias (Soundscapes over the twinkles section)

Yamanashi Blues

Blockhead (Soloing by Robert)

As mentioned, the first encore was Vrooom (sounding very like a piece of chamber music, I thought), and the second was Calliope acoustic - it's always astonishing to hear an acoustic performance in a venue of this size, which I found comparable (though slightly smaller) to the Royal Festival Hall in London.

From the Middle, and the refocusing of attention, the applause gets stronger with each piece.  The ability of Robert and of the League to challenge, bemuse and ultimately conquer audiences completely never fails to astonish me.