The true test of the ‘new’ Magnets will be how we are received on our return to the places and audiences we have entertained before. It’s hard not to wonder if we’ll live up to our reputation and whether people will like the new Magnets as much. So it was with some trepidation that we received an eleventh hour hire last week to perform on the world’s largest cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas, sailing down the Italian coast.
The Allure was the scene of the very last three shows by the outgoing line-up, and a very high standard we had set for ourselves. Now we only had two and a half days rehearsal to put a 50 minute set together and faced an uphill struggle to get anywhere close to that level. Our reputation with the cruise line Royal Caribbean felt like it was on the line.
To make things even harder, we were welcoming a Magnets debutant, Damion Scarcella (a former Flying Picket) on high tenor. Then Michael’s voice did a runner a day into rehearsal due to a severe cold and stayed AWOL for the week.
The pressure meant that our rehearsals were intense (though Damion turned out to be note perfect and a great mover) and the first show doubly so. We’ll happily admit it was far from our slickest performance. However, it was also one of those times when the audience seemed to connect to our nervous energy and carried us along. Some moments, like the return of All Shook Up to the set, and our new version of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud, were very special, and the standing ovation we received at the end came as a wonderful surprise.
Needless to say we polished things up in rehearsal the following afternoon, followed by two great shows during which it became clear that our customary slickness and professionalism were well on their way back. However, it’ll be that seat-of-the-pants first outing that will live far longer in the memory.