Mostly Autumn – The Junction, Cambridge – 21 November 2001
This was only my 2nd gig at the Junction and I was expecting it to be completely
standing. So when I got in and found they had some seating banks I was surprised.
For those that don’t know the Junction is a Diamond shaped converted warehouse
with the stage across one of the corners. As a completely standing venue I believe
it holds 800. Tonight it seem to have in the region of 200 but it was the first
time Mostly Autumn had played the area and even Fish only had 400-500.
To my surprise as I was waiting for the door to open I saw John Sloman walking
in across the car park guitar in hand. He had been support for Karnataka and
he was support again tonight. Apparently this was the first time he had supported
Mostly Autumn on this tour.
Before the show I saw Bryan and Liam in the bar so had I had a chat with them.
Bryan doesn’t really consider the Lord Of The Rings album to be the 4th album.
It more likes a third and 1/2 mini album. I don’t know how long it will be but
Bryan said it was a bit shorter than normal. It had literally been recorded
in the fortnight before the current tour and he was quite pleased with it. There
was some different stuff on it and I think he said it was a bit mellower in
keeping with the subject matter. The song that opened the gig was from it and
that in fact seemed a bit heavier so I could be well be wrong.
At 8pm John Sloman went on stage and I made a dash to go and watch him. He
played a lot longer this time and I only registered having heard one of the
tracks before. He disappeared a few songs into the Mostly Autumn set so I didn’t
get chance to have a word with him. Over the longer length of time, and really
wanting Mostly Autumn on, I found the set a bit too samey this time. There is
obviously only some many styles a solo voice and guitar can cover. I still feel
he might be worth checking out on an album. He has a very good voice and his
lyrics seem very intense. He seems to have a strong anti war or gun sentiment.
I would like to find out more if I get chance. As some one else commented he
does seem very shy on stage but then who wouldn’t be completely alone on stage
with an unknown audience. The crowd that were in the hall at the time, probably
60%, were supportive but all kept to the seating. There were occasionally latecomers
that came and stood near the seats during the 45 min set. I was amused when
John said at the end "Thanks for rushing the stage".
At 9pm it was time for the main even and the men from Mostly Autumn came on
stage and gave us The Return Of The King (I think) – This has a really unusual
feel. It didn’t seem like Mostly Autumn. The Hey, dah dah dah reminds me of
another song and I later found myself singing "Hey Boy Blue is back"
from ELO’s Eldorado album but I don’t think that is what is sounded like overall.
Perhaps it is a Pink Floyd song. Bryan certainly sounded like Gilmour to me.
There were also some Hawkwind sounding keyboards at the end. It was very interesting.
I look forward to hearing it in comfort.
Angie and Heather then came on stage and we got Nowhere To Hide. This was a
rather slow version. I don’t know if it was deliberate but I felt a bit unsure
about things at this point.
Next up was “The Spirit Of Autumn Past”, which I think is probably my favourite
studio track. Again it seemed slow and I wondered if someone had dropped me
a speed tablet or something. I wasn’t the only one noticing it was slow so presumably
it wasn’t just me wanting things to speed up a bit.
Heather as usual took up the Acoustic guitar on this one and on the next track
Thankfully from this point onwards the tempos seemed correct and I was 100%
in my element.
“The Last Climb” was next and this was the first time I put the name of the
track to the song. I remember Bryan saying he liked this one and I appreciated
why tonight. It is a slow gentle track that builds up and up. Very nice. Since
this is a first album track and it now has a lot of flute in it I guess I now
understand why I don’t miss the Violin as much as I would expect with the current
Tonight I was again determined to pay less attention to Bryan and Heather and
more to the rest of the band. I am still trying to hear exactly what Liam’s
role is in the band but I just can’t concentrate long enough. Almost immediately
I am back on Heather or Bryan.
The next track was a jig I am pretty hopeless at spotting these but I have
now written phrasings down in my Psion and I am reasonably sure it was “Which
Wood?” Angela certainly got a mention at the end of it, which would seem to
The crowd by the way were at the stage by now although of course it was very
spaced. I was also interested to see how triangular shaped they stood. It was
they went very deep at the centre but from my view it looked very thin.
“Winter mountain” had a mini bass solo at start. It struck me this could easily
handle another 30 seconds or so just to make it stand out a bit more and give
Andy a work out without boring anyone.
To end the set I was surprised to find we had “Evergreen”. I was surprised
the set was in two halves as it was but I figured it probably allowed more songs
with big guitar endings. I have to say this was by far my favourite of the night
so far. It was at this point I was starting to notice difference in the live
performances to those on “The Story So Far”. Heather has adding extra vocals
in the guitar ending for instance.
At 10pm the band returned to the stage with “The Night Sky”. Heather was being
the Eagle in this one even when she was standing back from the microphone. I
can’t recall seeing this before but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was normal.
It was good to see I was not the only headbanger in this crowd by this time.
Heather commented we were a timid audience but I think everyone fully enjoyed
the show. I heard a couple of people say it was rather loud but I have to confess I
was rather stunned by the comment. I must be going deaf.
“The Dark Before The Dawn” from the 3rd album was next. I really enjoy this
one even though it is not an obvious favourite to me. I find Angela’s Flute
line so addictive and like the Who type backing from Iain on Keyboards. I do
wish Bryan or Heather would scream as the guitar solo kicks in. I really miss
Liam gave us a very unconvincing "Let’s go mental" at the start of
the next jig which had the big guitar in it from Bryan so I assume was “Out
Of The Inn”. I am pretty sure this was the only jig in the main film of “The
Story so far” so this would make sense.
“Shrinking Violet” was next and along with “Evergreen” was the highlight of
the set for me. I am baffled as to why these work so well for me live but I
am not complaining.
By this point I had noticed Angie was occasionally singing using Iain’s Microphone
and I think she had her keyboard set up behind his rig.
I think there was another jig next but I could be wrong
“Never The Rainbow” was after this and had a longer solo section from Bryan
tonight. This amazingly is my ten year old daughters favourite Mostly Autumn
track. I have to say I enjoy it’s out and out nature but I find I prefer the
subtle nature of the other tracks more.
Next were Shindig and the never recorded Jig that always follows it "Haste
To The Wedding".
“Heroes” ended main set nicely
The encore was “Mother Nature”. It was still missing the thunder. Surely Angie
on the 2nd keyboard could trigger it? She didn’t look to busy in that section.
I figured Iain needed the time around then to set up the sounds for the next
All in all a great night out. I look forward to seeing them again on Saturday.
Shame it will only be a short set. Still I like Uriah Heep too.
I got to the venue with plenty of time to spare and I was able to check out
the view from the upper levels. The Opera house is a really nice well-decorated
building. It has three floors and they are angled so you get a perfect view
of the stage without the people in front of you getting in the way.
The set for Mostly Autumn was completely reshuffled tonight and obviously it
was a lot shorter than Cambridge but I was still delighted to get 75 minutes.
I had only been expecting 45 minutes at most since they were in a support slot.
Mostly Autumn took to the stage at 7.45 and again the lads opened up with “Return
Of The King”. I am pretty sure someone told me Heather sings on the CD version
of this. Oh and Bryan’s version of the “Lord of the Rings” album being short
is still 52minutes plus!
“Never The Rainbow” came next and this hit the spot nicely. This got the band
fired up and got me into the swing of things so much better than Cambridge.
Liam disappeared for this one. And Heather of course took to the stage. There
were also three backing singers tucked away at the back. I only recognised one
of them from the DVD.
“Nowhere To Hide”, which is curiously called “Close My Eyes” on the set list,
was next and this was Angie’s first appearance. Liam was on Acoustic guitar
“Spirit Of Autumn Past” was the correct speed and very enjoyable as usual.
Heather was on Liam’s acoustic and she also gave a bit of an intro about the
song, which was unusual. The Spotlight on the audience got turned on for this
This was followed by “Evergreen”. Heather had a single yellow light on her
for this one. I noticed it on most songs after but I found it quite striking
on this. Angie was using Iain’s mic at the back for her backing vocals on this
one. We now had the full light rig in use including 4 vari-lites pointing at
a circular screen.
Next was the only jig of the night "Out Of The Inn". The first half
of the song is played by only Liam, Iain and the girls. Then midway through
all the boys take over and Bryan gives it some welly. Liam didn’t "Let’s
go mental at all tonight".
The backing singers returned for “Shrinking Violet”. Heather and Angie both
played recorders in this and Bryan was on Acoustic. Again Heather gave a fuller
than normal intro to the song. There was also a very fleeting appearance from
a little girl in the musicbox ending to the song. I don’t recall that section
being played at Cambridge.
“Heroes Never Die” was excellent as usual and I noticed it seemed to go down
particularly well with the audience.
“Dark Before The Dawn” was next and the four vari-lites were now being used
to display a pattern on the circular backing screen.
Heather again gave another intro and we ended the show on “Mother Nature”.
Bryan and Liam both start on acoustic guitars on this. Liam then switches and
a minute or two after so does Bryan. I also noticed a one point Liam seems to
sing a backing line completely solo. The CD version doesn’t really have a big
ending on guitar but tonight’s version definitely did. Since this is the final
piece I feel this is the best arrangement.
The whole set worked twice as good as Cambridge for me. Having “Never The Rainbow”
at the start helped get things in the mood. I didn’t really have favourite of
the night. The whole Show was fantastic. Probably my gig of the year without
Uriah Heep playing after. I can’t imagine Heep beating Autumn for me. Wow.
Mmm I am not sure what I can write about Heep. Normally I enjoy them a lot.
I think I enjoyed them again tonight but fatigue definitely took over and I
probably get 7 out 10 pleasure from their tracks where as I get 9-10 out of
I was very pleased to see the set had been revamped. I have to confess I am
a little concerned at the lack of new material. They have made so many DVD’s
lately I am concerned they are spending to long on their past.
The lighting was very lively with everything in use almost from the bands first
appearance. There was a lot more dry ice used I think too. The only thing held
back on was the Patterns on the circle screen.
Bernie Shaw introduced a couple of songs as being new. I thought he meant brand
new. I certainly didn’t recognise what might have been “Sweet Pretender”. But
Logical Progression I did so I am not sure now.
There were a couple of new songs to me that were clearly very old. It came
across in an older style and in fact the sections in them seemed very early
70’s experimental prog rock in nature. I am not sure I liked them but the crowd
were a lot more knowledgeable and loved them and were delighted to hear them.
They particularly enjoyed Magician’s Birthday, which was about 18 minutes long
with a lengthy solo spot in the middle from Mick Box.
When the band came on stage some dedicated fans stood up and a handful of others
followed suit, the rest of the crowd were unsure. Bernie told them to stand-up
but they ignored him. At the end of the first song though he got an 80% reaction
and then a few songs later he got it up to 95%. Bad news for me. I was already
a wreck from Mostly Autumn the last thing I needed was to waste more energy
standing. Still I tried it but I felt like I was going through the motions and
it did make the 1hr 50 set pure endurance for me.
It was an excellent performance and the band all love performing. Bernie and
Mick Box in particular both seemed to smile most of the night.
I look forward to the Magicians party in 10 days or so with a fresh body. I
expect I will enjoy it far more.
The set was something like
Fantasy, Universal Wheels, Only the young, Stealing, Sweet Pretender?, Between
2 worlds, I hear voices, some thing old I guess from the crowd reaction, Logical
progression, Sunrise, Magician’s birthday, Gypsy queen, July Morning, Look at
Bird of Prey, Easy living