So, a Saturday night in central Manchester, just before Christmas. Everywhere should be full. Yet the normally jam-packed Christmas concert at The Bridgewater Hall was conspicuously un-heaving, with around 600 of the 2400 seats empty.
Is this because the prices at the Bridgewater are starting to look unreasonable in these money conscious times? The cheapest tickets for last night's concert were £18.50, with choicer seats costing upwards of thirty quid, an outlay that gets pretty prohibitive if you have a large family or are on a tight budget.
That said, the concert was as good as it is every year, allowing cheery souls full of mulled wine from the nearby Christmas Market in Albert Square to sing along with Christmas songs in a suitably undignified manner. And where else could you see a full orchestra and a couple of highly esteemed West-End singers performing songs from Slade?