Saturday saw B and I at Manchester Lane for Dinner and a Show (I feel more grown up just writing that. Dinner and a show. Whatever happened to gigs and jugs of beer?)
We were there to witness the genius that is Mr. Tim Freedman. Me for the umpteen and tenth time, B for the first.
For a start, Manchester Lane is somewhere I’ve heard a lot about, but never ventured in to. It’s found fairly easily, being on the street of the same name, and you walk in and the staff are lovely. They escorted us to our table, which was pretty close to the stage, with my only gripe being we had to share it with twenty or so strangers. No matter. B got the first drinks in, and I decided to order a champagne cocktail, because the décor was of the kind that just inspires you to do that. So we ordered the cocktail and waited. And waited. And twenty minutes into the waiting, B asked the waiter if he knew where my drink was. By this time, people who had turned up twenty minutes after I’d ordered my drink were sipping in comfort. It was really, really hot in there. I wanted my drink. But I was patient. Then B started getting annoyed, and him getting annoyed on my behalf annoyed me. Then we asked the waiter again where my drink was. Politely, of course. I don’t believe being rude to hospitality staff gets you anywhere. And we probably waited another, oh, fifteen minutes before I decided to go and get it myself. So I did. By this stage I was a bit shitty. I mean, it wasn’t cheap, this place, and I don’t like shoddy service.
But then the entrée arrived. Slow cooked Rabbit pie for me, oysters something-or-other for B. I hate seafood, so I wasn’t paying much attention. It was delicious. One of the tastiest things I’ve had in a long time. And the main was…..I have not the words. We both had Eye fillet with Garlic sauce, roasted carrot, potato and roasted garlic, and it was sensational. Dessert was double chocolate pudding, which of course I loved.
And then the support act came on. B was loving it, and I have to say apart from the lyrics, which were mind-numbingly depressing, he was pretty good. But support acts are only ever delaying devices for the main act, and I was impatient to see how Tim would perform in this kind of venue. I’d seen him perform in the intimacy of the Speigeltent a year or so before, and I was anxious to see if he would treat it the same.
In a word, no. He treated it half-way between the way he plays a big gig with the Whitlams, and how he’s played the smaller solo gigs. He played with verve, although less than I’ve seen in the past, but I was feeling very hot in my air-conditioned chair, and I wasn’t under lights that were un-tuning the piano, so I’m guessing he was roasting. He was lively in parts, but I think he missed that the crowd contained less of the hard-core Whitlam fans than in past (During Hamburgers, only about three of us yelled “Hot Sauce!” when that would usually be everyone, practically no-one did the Woo-Hoo’s, and during Thank-You, he changed the lyrics to “Thank you, each and every six of you, and fuck off to the rest of you” as only six of us knew to cheer at the appropriate juncture) so there was less predictable interaction.
Anyway, my tip? The dinner and the show bit was well worth the money considering it would have cost easily the amount we paid for a three course dinner of that quality anywhere else. But it was really hot. Not just for me, everyone was hot. B was boiling, there were people who had actual hand-fans going, and that almost spoiled the experience. But apart from that, it was a great night out. I wouldn't go there again on a hot night though.
12 hours ago