Chicago Blues Brothers, Live at the Arley Hall Proms Review


Reviewed by H Chan

It’s almost Summer, and that brings with it ideas of sunshine and being outdoors with the family. What better way to spend a summer’s evening than attending a beautiful prom event! Think picnic blankets, people singing along and dancing, strawberries, and a glass of something sweet in the warmth of the sun. Sounds great doesn’t it.

We were invited to the first evening of the Arley Hall’s Live at Arley Outdoor concerts. Boasting The Chicago Blues Brothers as a headline act. The Chicago Blues Brothers have a reputation for being the best in the world, giving an energetic and lengthy production with the Sweet Soul Sisters and the CCB band.

The evening was wonderful, so I’ll start at the beginning. Arley Hall is hidden within the beautiful Cheshire countryside, and when we arrived, event parking was in a field. This was because the main site closes at 5pm, so they wanted to keep parking separate. There isn’t any accessible parking on the field, so if using a wheelchair or needing an aid please take this into account. Luckily, my daughter’s powered chair had no problem bouncing over the long grass, although there were a few dips and holes, but this is to be expected when attending a concert outdoors! It really wasn’t a problem for us but might be an issue for others with manual mobility aids. Getting into the event was smooth, and we were shown to a lovely VIP area to the side of the stage.

When comparing the two areas, the VIP area had a gorgeous area covered by a tipi adorned with fairly lights and disco balls, to shelter from any inclement weather. It had seating and tables, and a bar and food stand. The area had great views of the stage.

The standard seating area was a huge space in the middle, where guests are invited to bring their own chairs and picnic blankets and sit where they wanted, but could get right up close to the stage if they wanted to. Here, many people were singing along and dancing. I think between the two, the standard seating had the best of the views if you don’t have anyone in front of you, but the VIP had more space to spread out before the show. I think what swung it for us was the cover, if it had rained, I’d have much preferred to be on a seat off the wet grass and under cover. There was a good selection of food and drinks trucks, all high end, there were gluten free options too as well as boutique alcohols available, and the kids favourite – the ice cream van. Expect higher end festival prices, and bring cash as the Wi-Fi wasn’t the best.

The stage was quite small, but it was honestly like the Tardis! It managed to fit a whole band, and I think they said 15 people at one point during the concert! The sound was great and we didn’t miss a thing. We were promised a warm up act, but there didn’t seem to be one in the end, but there was background music and a delightful gentleman walking around with his mic talking to people in the meantime.

The show itself was upbeat, full of energy and the singing was fantastic. With over 27 years of experience as The Blues Brothers, Jake, Elwood, and their band really rocked the place. The children loved it, and almost everyone was up dancing to hits like Soul Man, Shake a Tail Feather, and Proud Mary. The Soul Sisters voices were incredible, one was so very very close to Tina Turner. I personally loved the simplicity of it all, the Blues Brothers, playing a set on stage, they didn’t just come out and play but they engaged everyone in the audience and had everyone feeling amazing. There were flashing lights, and a little bit of pyro which I wouldn’t expect from a portable stage! It was the perfect start to the summer in my opinion. I don’t think I saw one person without a smile on their face. My children dancing to Jailhouse Rock and giggling away learning the dance moves to Theme from Rawhide will be amongst the highlights of my summer!

If you’re looking to join The Chicago Blues Brothers at one of their summer tours, you can find more information about their tour here https://thebluesbrothers.co.uk/event-tickets/ , even if you’re not fans of The Blues Brothers themselves, by the time you’ve given them five minutes, you will be!

After the show, we were treated to a firework display, if I’m honest I was just expecting a few small fireworks, but it was a really good display.

Sunday 19th May will bring Russell Watson headlining and Millie Royle soprano supporting for the second night of the proms.

Arley Hall and Gardens in Northwich, Cheshire, are absolutely beautiful. Boasting a Fifteenth Century home set in fifteen acres of gardens and woodlands. Even when there are no scheduled events, Arley Hall is a gorgeous place to have a walk around. There is a café, a children’s play area and a plant nursery, as well as the historic halls and gardens which are open to the public. For an extra fee, you can visit during the day before the evening events. This site has been used for filming, by shows such as Peaky Blinders and Netflix’s Fool Me Once. Arley Hall also has some beautiful holiday cottages on site, for those who’d love a country get way set within private gardens and courtyards. Which would be a great place to stay if attending a whole weekend of events from their calendar.

As a rating, there was no way I couldn’t give this 5 out of 5! I’d give it higher if I could, everything about it was just what you’d expect for outdoor entertainment on a summers evening.

The Arley Hall prom tickets For The Blues Brothers, began at £16.50 for children aged 5-16 (under 4’s free) and £30 per adult for standard seating with upgrades to VIP available. VIP prices were on the higher side at almost double the standard rate, and if the weather is great personally I’d sit in standard, but if it rains, in the VIP you won’t get wet and you have a table to spread out.

For Russell Watson, tickets begin at £17.50 for ages 5-16 and £40 for adults, with upgrades to VIP seating available.
Standard areas encourage you to bring your own seating or picnic blanket, whereas VIP areas offer seating. You can find tickets for the weekend’s events here https://www.ticketline.co.uk/live-at-arley-open-air-concerts#tour

Although The proms have already begun, there are many events over their summer catalogue. Including the Arley Hall Garden Festival on Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th June Live in the Park on July 13th, where a host of fantastic bands will entertain you, and for the younger ones, East Garden Childrens Theatre present Jemima Puddleduck on Sunday July 21st. Please follow this link for their events, https://www.arleyhallandgardens.com/whats-on/

Rating: 5/5

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