As ever, last night’s programme provided the nearest thing to seeing some great artists close up and live in a very clean setting. The sound is excellent, really putting across an impression of ‘live’ – wonderful bass sounds from Curtis Harding’s band, Paul Weller and the rest. The camera work is superb, as is the quality of the image and the lighting – the makers of this programme have always maintained the 50Hz frame rate for maximum ‘live-ness’. On a decent telly, you are there.
I’m not keen on Jools Holland’s predilection for flabby soul/big/swing band music, and my other complaint is that the programme could do with a hint more edge now and again – it feels relentlessly and self-consciously inoffensive with its carefully-chosen ‘audience in the round’, like a party political conference. But on the whole, I’m still glad it’s there after 23 years. Long may it continue.