When we were planning the trip, my dad had only two requests: to visit his land (2 square feet) and to see the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo. They had seen it before, but he wanted to see it again. He had other suggestions, but those were the only things that were “We Shall.”
I’ll be honest, I was not expecting much. OK, I knew it would be nice and worth seeing, but, you know, watching military marching bands? Right.
I’m glad I went…
First, the setting is just marvelous. There is something about Edinburgh Castle, it seems almost to be part of the hill, not man made. I am sure Tolkien was thinking of it when he created Minas Tirith.
The show started with a brass band that was joined by a children’s choir and at least some parts of the house orchestra (minimum, the fiddles joined in). The music was ethereal. The hairs on my arms stood up and I had goose bumps. It was magical.
After they left, smoke poured out of the castle entrance. And then, seeming to come from the mists of time, a pipe band came out. More and more poured from the castle walls. This was a combined pipe band from different organizations from all over the world.
The show was great. There were about a dozen “features”, including the two I mentioned, and then a finale with everyone taking part. Some include the US Army band doing everything from “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” to modern rap, stopping off with Mambo! from West Side Story along the way. The New Zealand band was very good, yet half of what they did seemed to be a comedy skit. US Air Force had a precision drill team and Switzerland had a precision drum corp. There were traditional dancers, both a large group and a few brilliant soloists. Some Celtic singers (I liked them better during the finale). A “traditional” band of fiddle, bagpipes and.. DJ with drum machine? OK, I’ll call them “Untraditional Traditionalists”
My favorite were the Mexicans. They came out twice. The first time was a very quick piece with people in Aztec eagle costumes, and one with leopard head. The other was a large, multipart show with a mariachi band and dancers. And then the beautiful Monarch butterflies came out.
When they spread their wings, though, they were wearing Day of the Dead costumes! Cool.
Towards the close of the finale there was a pause. In the quiet evening air a lone piper could be heard. Where is he? Can you see him?
There he is, on the highest battlements! (He is in the photo above, but a zoom in below)
Anyway, the entire thing was very well done. I was much more impressed than I expected. Even the kids in our group loved it. Well worth your time if you are in Edinburgh in August.
The only bad part is that they have one early show a week, and we hit that show. The problem is that it is not dark enough to see the light shows nor the fireworks (two displays). On the other hand, all of the costumes were very clear and easy to see, so…
Below are a bunch of photos, including those from above. I tried to include at least one from each group, and several from some. There are quite a few of the finale, which was almost as long as the rest of the program combined and had fireworks. Twice. As always, click on a photo to bring it up larger. From there you can scroll through like a slideshow.
I hope you enjoyed the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo! This will be my final post for this journey. If you haven’t seen it, you can go to the first post and find all of the others from there.