2016 will probably be remembered as a year full of untimely celebrity deaths, terrorist incidents and countries voting against the establishment. It was the year of Brexit and Trump. 2016 was also the year we said goodbye to Bowie, George Michael, Leonard Cohen and many more. This is just a look back at my year and a look forward to 2017.
Rock of Ages – April 2016
January to March was fairly uneventful; I finished a Digital Marketing diploma in February which passed the time during the winter months. With a quite winter behind me, in April all that changed. I got a phone call one Thursday morning asking if I would play keyboards for the stage-show of Rock of Ages. Normally I would jump at this, but the only issue was that it started in 3 days. I had to learn 268 pages of the sheet music during this time. Dress rehearsal would be in 3 days and the show started in 5 days.
Cast of Rock of Ages at Garter Lane Waterford, April 2016 – I’m on keyboards in the background!
In the end I did it, learned the music and did 4 days in Garter Lane in Waterford. It was one of the most enjoyable things I had done. The thrill of playing 2 hours of songs like Don’t Stop Believin’, The Final countdown, Sister Christian and Here I Go Again live on stage was a dream come true. (At some point I would love to be asked to play keys for the Queen show We Will Rock You, since I already know the music it would be a great one to do).
After the 4 performances I really missed the thrill of being on stage. Hopefully there might be more opportunities like this in the future.
Glastonbury – June 2016
We booked Glastonbury in October 2015 and was not expecting the weather to be as bad as it was. In the days leading up to it videos of floods on the site showed torrents of water over 2 feet deep in places. I was not looking forward to it. As it turned out it was not as bad as I expected. It was very muddy and very wet which meant rain gear was required quite a lot. It also meant lying down on the grass to watch bands, as we did in 2013 and 2015 , was not an option.
A very muddy Glastonbury 2016
I was not playing at the 2016 festival, but I did find a few abandoned pianos to enjoy. At one point a large crowd gathered and sung Bohemian Rhapsody which was very enjoyable. The highlight of the festival was Coldplay on the Sunday evening – I have never seen such a crowd at Glastonbury.
Coldplay at Glastonbury 2016 – Michael Eavis joins on stage for this one
In May 2016 I started work in moving content from shanemcdonald.org to shanemcdonald.ie. The .org site had not been updated in a while and was for the main part not mobile friendly. With Google penalising non mobile friendly sites SEO efforts, this was one aim. Also I felt the dot i.e. address reflected an Irish site better than the dot org I registered in 2001.
Since the transition in May, the site has had about 120,000 page views, which is not bad. However it is far short of the 12million page views the site got at its peak in 2008. 1.2 million of those age views came in April 2008 when an April Fools Joke went viral, resulting in my hosting company at the time closing down the site. (I’m not going to mention the company but they are US Based and I have been with Blacknight since)
Since then I have also moved My Queen site to the i.e. domain and in 2017 I will just do some final tweaks to the site architecture so that it is future proofed.
Since the summer the few months have flown, and really I have just been spending a lot of time organising my photos and looking at doing more photography in 2017. I will be posting my shots on my photoblog at www.shanemcdonald.me and I hope to have the first few blog posts online by early Jan.
Hope you have a very Happy 2017