Glancing at the queue standing outside the Academy as I locked up my bike, it looked rather young and quite hirsute. Inside, for most of the evening Thomas Dolby looked like a disembodied head, floating gently above the audience. Both were optical illusions: the audience was as greying and thinning on top as I'd expected; and (slightly disappointingly) Dolby's head remained firmly attached to his torso, albeit a torso hidden in a black t-shirt.
You might expect a man who's career was built on synths and sequencers to be a rather dry performer. Tweak a knob here. Press a key there. So far, so exciting. However, rather than pluck each song fully formed from the spawning vat, Dolby tended to build and layer the loops so you could feel how the song was constructed. Surprisingly (to me at least, because what turned out to be music stands I'd assumed were some kind of crazy new theramin) the second half was enlivened (enlivened, did I say that?) by a newly drafted horn section (the original horn section having been turned back by immigration officials at Heathrow).
Dolby, it turns out, is quite an engaging chap. Between tracks he talked, rather well, about the music, how the strange experience of being the subject of a newsgroup got him back into touring and recording, the futility of trying to deliver a cease and desist letter to Mr Britney Spears, being labelled steampunk in Wikipedia article and not knowing what it meant, and so on. He has more than a touch of the raconteur about him, that Thomas.
And there we are. He had fun, the horn players had fun, I had fun, everyone else seemed to have fun. It was lovely, really.