Tag Archives: U2

Arranging Bruno Mars’ Just The Way You Are for Violin and Cello

An old friend of ours is getting married this week and asked if we could provide music.   She specifically requested for a few modern pop tunes.

I’m always a bit apprehensive about playing pop repertoire with classical instruments.  Is it going to sound really corny and crap?  Will it still convey the same emotion without singing or lyrics?

A bit of Googling and I found U2’s Beautiful Day [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5ZkVYXguhQ] as well as Bruno Mars’ Just The Way You Are [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpqJjasrD7I] arranged and recorded by the Vitamin String Quartet.  Seems like this US based quartet has done a heap of pop and rock covers, and they don’t sound too bad either!

Unfortunately, our instrumentation for the wedding is going to be keyboard/piano, violin and cello.   Still, I used a combination of the  recording by the original artists together with listening to the Vitamin String Quartet arrangement to come up with my own arrangement – for piano trio!

I hope it will be OK for the wedding!

But the whole exercise on this Sunday morning has made me appreciate how much effort goes into arranging music.  Just these 2 pieces took nearly 4 hours – and that’s just for a pretty rough draft version.   I’d estimate I’d need another 4 hours to polish it up.   And then do an actual run through to see whether it sounds OK and is playable!

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U2 360 in Perth

WOW!

What a way to end an awesome weekend.   On Saturday we had family and friends over for a big swim, BBQ and Christmas carols party.

And then on Sunday, thanks to a friend on Facebook, we scored 2 cheap tickets to the U2 concert 🙂  Having not gone to many concerts this year, I HAD to go this one!!

I had heard about the giant spider like stage structure that was built to dwarf all the stadiums it was put in, but walking into Subi Oval and seeing taking up a third of the oval was just mind boggling.  The stage .. was..  just HUGE!  I wonder how they got it in there – there were initial rumours that the stage would not even fit (http://u2.interference.com/f304/360-stage-not-able-to-fit-in-subiaco-oval-perth-208863.html).

The stage looked even more spectacular as the night grew on, with the lighting rig and the huge circular screens wrapping the entire structure lighting up the venue.  I loved the mirror ball right on top of the central spire – later in the evening it was reflecting dots of light all over the oval!     And when the whole screen thing expanded – ultra cool – and the geek in me was thinking, “what a cool engineering feat” 🙂

But one thing struck me and Wifey throughout the U2 set..   this was “just” 4 musos on stage.  I can’t believe the sound they put out.  I’m sure there must be some backing tracks/layers in there, but still..   VERY impressed.    I was following The Edge and had that young dream of being a guitarist with your awesome sound amplified to a large stadium…

U2 in concert... sorry about the quality - no cameras with detachable lenses allowed!

Wifey and I haven’t kept up to date with U2’s latest albums, so I was extremely excited to hear older stuff.  Big thumbs up for “All I Want Is You”, “Desire”, “Where The Streets Have No Name”, “With Or Without You”, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.  Interestingly, since U2 have been around for so long, the crowd was quite mixed with not many teens.   The full setlist is here:  http://www.u2gigs.com/article806.html

As for sound – I’m so glad this gig was at the Subi Oval (I should stop calling this..  it’s now Paterson’s Stadium) and not Burswood Dome.  The sound was MUCH better, and there was so much space that we still had some personal space around us 🙂  And we didn’t all have to squeeze through a handful of airlock doors to get out!

Definitely recommend fans to go to this concert – I think the next stop is Johannesburg!

Warmup act was Jay-Z.  Strange combination, but he and his band were good 🙂  Even though the forecast said chance of a shower, there was some light drizzle during the concert which was actually quite refreshing (although it did make the metal floor quite slippery).   So glad the weather held out until about midnight when it actually did rain more heavily!

Then it was all over…  a great way to end the weekend, and 2010.  The last date night for 2010?   I’m hoping we can squeeze in another date before the end of the year!