Karen Koren: 100 years of great events at Usher Hall

Usher Hall. Pic: Phil Wilkinson
Usher Hall. Pic: Phil Wilkinson
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THAT beautiful concert venue, the Usher Hall, is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.

The Usher Hall is staging a replica of that first concert on 6 March, exactly 100 years to the day. To compliment this there will be other concerts over five days. The wonderful Rufus Wainwright on Wednesday 5, the Gilded Comedy Gala (a show I am doing) on Friday 7, Mogwai on the Saturday and the Vienna Tonkunstler Orchestra, an afternoon concert with one of Europe’s oldest orchestras on Sunday.

The Usher Hall has always been known for its varied prog-ramme. It was also where I sang as a child at my school’s end of year prize-giving concerts. I can still hear the marching score to which we had to walk in. I would repeat in my head ‘left, left, left, right left’ which meant left foot first, as more than 500 pupils marched across the seating bank to the music. With an audience of proud parents watching, it was nerve-racking.

And I first saw the Rolling Stones in the Usher Hall in 1964, when Mick Jagger was singing Not Fade Away, cavorting around the stage with a harmonica and the biggest lips in showbiz – mind you he hasn’t changed much.

The best show I remember was Billy Connolly in the 1970s, when he was telling his crucifixion story - quite shocking at the time, but hilarious. The shows I have seen there have been too numerous to mention - Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After, The Animals, The Zombies, Pink Floyd and David Bowie, to name a few.

The Eurovision Song Contest was there in 1972. My best memories, though, have been when I presented shows there. When Tim Minchin performed in 2009, he loved it.

The show we have for you on 7 March, is going to be fantastic and I will let you know who is performing in the next day or so.