Due to an unfortunate diary blunder, UEFA had scheduled Manchester United’s home fixture against Real Madrid on the same night as Eagles. Notwithstanding this, they appeared to enjoy a decent crowd. It goes without saying that so did we.
Our very own Ryan Giggs, Hon P/M Anderson, made his 1,000th appearance opening the night. Included in his set were two magnificent 6/8s, The Sweet Maid of Mull and Captain Oldfield of Kilravock. Rather pleasingly the two self-proclaimed pipe tune masterminds in the membership were left stumped to trying to identify them.
We then welcomed a newcomer to Eagles in the shape of David Samson of New Jersey, USA. David, a chemical engineering student, has been sent to Glasgow University for a term to learn how best to combine jellies* and Buckfast. He is a member (and webmaster) of the Rampant Lion Pipe Band (www.rlpb.org) and treated us to a few classics including Mrs Lily Christie, Donald MacLean of Lewis and Flett from Flotta.
James Gore, Yorkshire’s finest musical export since Jive Bunny, was pre-pie-piper. Being a Leeds United supporter he is not overly fond of his Manchester rivals and clearly has some subliminal powers in this regard as during his set, an MUFC player was sent off and Real Madrid scored. James was stretching his fingers in advance of Saturday’s Duncan Johnstone contest in Glasgow. He played a double MSR with great poise and expression.
In keeping with the footballing theme, we then welcomed former Scotland international and ex-TV pundit, big Andy Gray to play. He played some challenging tunes including Major Manson at Clachantrushal, Highland Harry and Kalabakan proving that his studies at the National Piping Centre are really paying dividends.
Tonight’s piobaireachd was delivered by Lachie Dick – his first such performance at Eagles. Having warmed his pipe showing off his strong fingering, he gave us the beautiful MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart. This tune is thought to have been composed by Donald Roy MacCrimmon and the “sweetheart” was apparently a cow belonging to an old woman that drowned (and disappeared) in a Benbecula bog – hence the contention that the tune is also called The Widow’s Grief. It must be the finest piece of music ever to have been composed following a bovine tragedy and Lachie captured the melancholy perfectly.
All in all a superb evening and certainly more enjoyable than watching an overpaid football team get beaten.