Last Modified On 31/08/2009
I have been keeping this list of gigs I have attended and often written reviews for friends. It might interest someone so I have decided to put it online. I have tried to go to a lot of gigs in recent times as that is the only enjoyment worth aggravating my ME for but I am afraid it still affects the reviews.
I had this gig booked a long way in advance and wasn't too sure about going. My friend when I told him about it said I should go and since it was local I decided I might as well.
Then my schedule became full for this week and I had a marathon session with my children during the day. So yet again I was in lousy shape for a gig I could have done with out.
I was pleased to hear Asia were on the bill. I haven't heard anything of their's since the first album but at least it was two bands I had minor interest in.
Asia came on about 7.45 and played for 45mins or so. They seemed to do a new album track followed by something older. There were two tracks from the first album and one from Arena. I don't think they announced anything else as old. Only Geoff Downes was an original and I hoped for a fair bit of keyboards in the mix but annoyingly they were not very loud. Nor was the guitar actually. The guitarist seemed rather young and I was impressed how fast he could play but he is more of a Steve Morse than an old school guitarist. He seemed good for a laugh though. "Catweazel" came to my mind as I looked at him.
The songs of Asia are far too light for me but they were OK and they passed the time nicely.
Then about 9.05 Paul Rodgers came on. This was a weird one. About four songs and three Free tracks into the set I was thinking this is almost like Cabaret. Something was really missing. I think the Regent was 90% full downstairs but the crowd were incredibly subdued so that might be a factor. But the band and Paul just seemed to lack something. I don't know what. Well actually I wondered if it was stage presence. There was no buzz anywhere. "Shall I do another 'Free' number?" a few "yeah"'s from the audience "alright then" and another song. The guitarist seemed a bit of a non-entity this time. When I saw Rodgers before he seemed to a much better one. Certainly Praying Mantis's guitarist was impressed. About 15 mins into the show there was a drum solo. I haven't seen one of those for a while and certainly never so early in a set. There was then a Band instrumental a song or two later followed by Rodgers solo with an acoustic guitar. He then remembered he had forgotten a song and the audience were clearly expected to know it. I didn't. I never discovered what it was as he had the audience singing the chorus and they barely above a mumble. Towards the end of the song he decided to try and get the audience to stand. He seems a nice bloke but he just isn't commanding. He did get 20% of the crowd up straight away but the rest were incredibly slow following suit. It must have taken 2 minutes for them all to get there. It was really strange (and obviously I can't criticise, as the last thing I wanted to have to do at a gig is stand and even more so when really tired). I then change the song into to Beatles numbers to finish warming the crowd up. As my mate said the whole show seemed muddled and lacking in direction. After about 1hr he finished with "Alright now". He is supposed to be the voice of rock so it is very annoying when he doesn't sing the songs and makes the crowd do it instead.
There were two encores. For the first a Piano with a keyboard was brought out and Paul played it. Also for the first track in the encore two female vocalists were supposed to come on stage. One did and one eventually did. The first on looked really worried and out of place not knowing what to do when the 2nd hadn't arrived. Very strange!
Finally for the last encore Paul only used the Piano as something to stand on while singing.
Overall I preferred Asia despite knowing more of what Rodgers did. It was a very weird night though and I don't think it was down to me being tired as my mate thought much the same. He did prefer Rodgers to Asia though.
I have a confession to make. I saw the tour dates for this tour and I originally decided I might not bother going. There was nothing near me and it therefore meant an over night stay in a hotel if I wished to get to any gig by public transport.
I heard this would be the last tour so I felt ashamed of myself and made the effort. As my children were away this gig at Folkestone seemed as good as any.
I had left it late booking and was a bit worried when I was only 8 rows back. Thankfully all was explained when I got to theatre and discovered it was only 9 rows deep and very wide.
The Leas Cliff is a bit if strange place really. From the top it looks nothing. Just a sort of tearoom. The Theatre is built underground into the cliff face. So the further you walk in the lower you go. It all over looks the sea. Despite my fatigue I did have a look to see if I could get down the cliff face to see what the building looked like but it looked like a lot of energy would be required so I went back to my hotel room (which was cold when I arrived and I had left it to heat up when I felt restless)
Inside the theatre can apparently hold 1500 at standing gigs. There are various combinations of seating arrangements and today they had it set up for about 400 and there must have been about that there. It certainly appeared more than the 300 I was told.
The floor made me think the place was pretty much a sports hall rather than a traditional seaside theatre but see ceiling was very ornamental.
At 8pm the lights went down and something like the Overture from Return To The Centre Of The Earth was played over the speakers.
Just before this finished Rick came on stage and sat at the "Piano". He then did Dance of a 1000 lights as per the previous tours. I.e. to a backing track with his part live.
Next was the story of mother and daughter in queue at theatre and signing the mother's underwear. I have heard this before but it might only have been because I went to Ventnor for an Xmas bash.
Ramon was then introduced in a cut down version of church tour intro.
Next up was Make Me A Woman. Rick did the Bass part on the keyboard at the start and I was quite impressed at how it all sounded. Having Ramon on vocals made it very unusual. Apparently it was originally written for a tenor voice. Very good! I was already extremely pleased I had made the tour.
Then there was a new Jon Anderson Story from when they were recording Keys To Ascension at Jon's hometown. Very amusing it was to.
Next up were standard versions of And You And I and Wondrous Stories followed by The Meeting with Ramon On Vocals. This was very odd to hear when you know the original. I got the impression Rick was following Ramon's vocal speed on this. I am not sure if it is correct or if it was just because I was not used to the new version. Again I was overjoyed to get something new to hear.
There were some countdown rejects again. The intro was the same as previous tours but the stories were new.
Next up was a medley of stuff from No Earthly Connection. This worked really well I thought. I did notice Ramon doesn't always seem suited to faster phrasing but I got into this performance a lot more than on The Meeting. I wonder if the correct pronunciation required in Operatic singing means that some phrases are hard to sing fast. Anyway I was now thinking "Crikey I am going to have to do another date on this tour. This is a cracking revamp of the set."
Next was the story about After The Ball, which of course was followed by the same. Rick told it in a slightly different way this time, which was quite interesting. After the Ball itself was much as normal but it is an excellent piece all the same.
To End the half it was Ramon's Football song with the normal Nellie The Elephant mistake.
Knowing Barber of Wigan was due too is was left thinking this tour needs a DVD release too. Of course it would use up more of Rick's Stories.
By comparison and probably only from my perspective as a keen Rick Wakeman fan who has been spoilt by him over the years, the 2nd half was a bit disappointing. Perhaps a better phrase would be it was more as expected. There was no really new stuff to excite me like the first half. I wonder if Rick should have shuffled the set slightly but then I am quite a rare breed so I don't suppose it matters too much.
The 2nd half started with "The Barber of Wigan" and it's standard intro. This of course still goes down very well. Rick still very clearly enjoys performing this and he and Ramon were bopping about during certain silly bits of it. I have a feeling it is approaching the end of my interest but when I haven't seen Rick tour for a couple years I am sure I won't mind and I still want it on DVD. Apparently the Wakeman Live DVD is in it's third pressing it has done so well so there must surely be a good commercial motive for one date being recorded again.
Next up was the standard intro to Morning Has Broken and the standard performance but with Ramon on Vocals. I can't recall if this has happened before or not. I guess it should have on the Church tours. I guess I will have to look at my previous rambles sometime. There was a little bit extra on the end off the Story, as Cat Stevens had bought a copy of the Live 2000 DVD.
There was a new story about how Seahorses was written. And I guess we haven't heard the song for a long while. It did seem very familiar though. Is it on the Live DVD as a bonus Audio only? Listening to it I found it heard to relate how Rick would write it on a piano and yet envisage it as the final piece on Rhapsodies.
By now I was extremely uncomfortable and tired on in my seat. I wished my hotel room had been warmer and I had therefore rested and not been stupid enough to have a quick look round my surroundings.
More countdown stories the one about the Chicken he has definitely told before and the other I think was new.
To end the set Ramon and Rick did Fool On A Hill.
And then it was Eleanor Rigby with Rick by himself. I must admit I am bored of this one now. I guess it has remained in the set for the "Countdown crowd" as Rick refers to the people that don't really know he is a musician and not a comic.
Rick went off the crowd was surprisingly enthusiastic so Rick let them wait a little longer than normal but was still back fairly quickly saying the usual "Aren't Encores stupid?"
The encore itself was a nice surprise. It started with Hymn. I don't think I have heard Ramon do it before but I would want to check my records to be sure. Then they did Julia, which I definitely haven't heard Ramon do before. I think Rick did the 1984 Overture melody in between the songs but I get confused with that one. Certainly there was a bit of a musical break after Hymn. There as an end piece of return or something played over the speakers as Rick and Ramon waved goodbye. I have never seen that before.
Rick was wearing a long coloured coat again this tour and I am pretty sure he changed it during the interval. I think it was Purple in the first half and silverish in the 2nd. It was good to see their return after the black "vicar" jacket for the last couple of tours. Another thing to mention is Rick had 7 keyboards in the main rig tonight. I can't remember him using three directly though. I think they are mainly for generating extra sounds. If I see the tour again I must pay more attention to this.
All in all a very good ending. The show ended around 10.30 having had a 15-minute break. So again excellent value.
Rick and Ramon seemed in very good shape. Rick certainly wasn't flexing his fingers and looking haggard like the last tour.
He is growing his hair again it seems. He blamed the short cut previously on it getting in the way of his golf swing. I wonder if it is growing because he is single again. I had planned to tease him about it but as usual I forgot what I had planned to ask.
I have to say I have never seen such a big proportion of the crowd staying behind after a gig for autographs. I was in no hurry as I only had 70 yards to plod back to my room so I just sat and waited patiently. He gave every one a good time to talk etc. He wasn't fazed by the amount of people at all.
I hear people are thinking of going to Quebec for Return. It is awfully tempting I wonder how much flights are .....
Well this will be hard gig to write up. Normally I have some idea what is being played but while I knew most of it I haven't a clue what the stuff was called. I am dreadful at remember names of instrumentals.
I arrived at the King College early and was disappointed to see we were queuing outside to get in. Luckily mum had reminded me too take my walking stick seat so I had something to sit on instead of a damp pavement. The finally let us in about 7.40.
The hall was on the fourth floor but strangely we entered at 2 levels below ground level. Every one was walking up the stairs so I figured we weren't allowed in the lifts. Apparently we were. Bother! That absolutely killed me. To my delight though inside there was a sitting around and after a few minutes a couple of seats in the corner cleared and I was able to grab a seat, which when sat on the back allowed me a good enough view of the stage that I didn't have to stand. Phew! I had been worried about that.
As we entered the building we were given the new CD single featuring Path with vocals and Pray and Romance live. Excellent! I was slightly disappointed I couldn't buy the 2nd album on the stall. I had a quick chat with the guy though and the tour is going well. The third album of original material and the best in my view has apparently done 60,000 so far. Nowhere near the Metalica covers album's 350,000 but pretty good and it is still early days.
Inside the hall it was a typical College bar. The stage was in the middle of the long side and the bar was at the back. The seating and merchandise were on the left. There was an upstairs bit, which seemed very popular. It reminded me of the Astoria 2 really. It was a nice little place. I don't think it was as big as the Norwich UEA. I wouldn't really like to guess how many it holds but it was full. Lets say 700-1000?
OneDice were the support band and they were a death metal grunt vocal type thing. Not my bag at all. Actually while I was queuing to get in I noticed I was one of the older members of the audience. It definitely wasn't my normal sort of crowd. I sampled what a couple of people were listening to apart from Apocalyptica and it meant very little to me. It was the sort of stuff being played on the Friday Rock show though. Rage against the Machine etc.
This didn't concern me as far as I am concerned Apocalyptica are a continuation of ELO's first self-titled album. Heavy rock music on Cello. I better they would think it an insult if they only know later ELO but they are actually rather similar.
While waiting for the band to appear I suddenly realised this is the newest band I have ever seen hence the young crowd. I think Jeff Healy was the newest before so these are probably newest by a good 7 years. And 14 over almost any other band I have seen!
I expected the band to come on at 9pm but instead they left it to 9.15pm. I had forgotten they would be sitting most of the set. I wonder if that meant the audience struggled to see them a bit. I am not sure if they had a platform on the stage to help or not.
During the Inquisition Symphony the guy I considered the main man on TV (2nd from left) broke a String. I was very impressed at how fasted he changed it number 4 the 2nd main soloist on TV also broke one later on. They certainly give their cellos some stick. They have to remove string from their bows at the end of every song. The also look totally knackered and out of breath.
There is a new guy in position 1 and I was surprised how many solos he was doing. Number 2 seemed to be having a smaller roll compared to the TV show.
At the distance I was at I must admit I wasn't noticing who was doing what so much. I was just enjoying what I was seeing and hearing. I really hope they release a DVD of their performances. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and want a lot more :-)
This was their first UK show and they went down really well. It was sponsored by Total Rock radio so I hope it means they will play some tracks one Saturday evening.
I thought the set was a good mix of fast and slow stiff. The left the stage and after 2 mins came back for an encore of three songs. The last looked a bit like a shall we do another one? So I am not sure if it was planned or not. It was In The Hall Of The Mountain King anyway. I think the show ended around 10.50. The band went off and then reappeared without their cellos to say a final goodbye.
It was a cracking night. I am thoroughly glad I went. I would like to see the again sometime but I wish it were in a seated Audience.
At the end of last year I made the decision to try and cut back on the gigs I was going to as they were talking too much toll on my body.
This tour for Gary Moore had been booked almost a year ago. Pretty much straight after the last tour. Annoyingly this gig then ended up as the third gig in a week for me and there are gigs I have missed I would like to have seen EG Uriah Heep. Being an Ipswich gig I suspect I would have booked to see him even now but this gig was certainly a low priority to me this week.
As usual once Gary Moore came on stage and started soloing I was absolutely gripped. In fact this was the best gig I have seen in Ipswich for years.
It was the first night of the tour and according to Classic Rock Magazine Gary Moore had played most of his new album to about 400 press people and got a very lukewarm response. He was therefore very nervous tonight and told us so.
I don't suppose it was helped when his guitar went dead during one of his solos about half way through the set.
There was no support and Gary came on stage about 8.30. He started with the new track “Enough Of The Blues” which has the line “I have had enough of the Blues but the Blues hasn't had enough of me”. This is an excellent track and got us off to a great start. I wonder if it is Biographical since the previous album was "A Different Beat" and a complete flop (I think).
I haven't got the new album but looking at the set list I don't get the impression it was that different to the last tour. (Looking at the album tracks on the net perhaps he did do most of it, Stormy Monday is a standard and “The Prophet” had been done before so they perhaps didn’t register as new album tracks)
I was very surprised when at 9.50 Gary left the stage for the first time. He came back and did Jimmy Hendrix's Fire and then seemed in two minds about weather to do another song which he then did. He then left the stage again and came back to do “The Prophet” which he did on the last tour and had me confused as it sounded like a rearranged “Parisian Walkways”. I was left wondering as to how he could do now do Parisian. He left the stage again the time now being 10.10 and that was that. He didn't do it. I was very surprised.
I guess 1.40 is not unreasonable but when there is no support I was kind of expecting 2hrs and a lot more new ones.
The Ipswich crowd was very enthusiastic tonight and I think the Regent was sold out which was very pleasing.
As Gary was soloing I noticed several people on the front row looking at each other and smiling with an "isn't this brilliant" look.
I was in the centre of the 2nd row and have to say being comfortable and close made this the best time I had seen Gary.
It was a great night out and I am really glad I went. I am tempted to order the new album but I picked up “Blues for Greeny” this week so I guess that might put me off if I don't get into it. I still feel Gary is a great soloist but doesn't always play great songs. I would also have liked to hear his tackle something of BBM.
The main bulk of the set still seems to be from “Still Got The Blues”. And I think the title track itself got the biggest response of the night. I wonder why that isn't an encore piece actually.
Lana Lane/Eric Norlander - DeBoerderji, Zoetermeer, NL - 27 April 01
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Lana Lane/Eric Norlander/Arjen Lucassen (from Ayreon) - Theatre 't Spant, Bussum, NL - 28 April 2001
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Well what a bargain this was my chance to see two great keyboard players in one day. Also it was potentially the last time I could see Rick in a one-man show format.
I had already seen Erik Norlander do a great but short set with Lana Lane and Ayreon's Arjen Lucassen. Now it was Rick's turn I must admit I wondered how he would compare. Norlander uses a really great Analogue Rig and I am sure even Eduardo would love his sounds. I get the impression Erik isn't fingers flying like Rick though.
People who like Rick might be disappointed by the sound he used so it would be interesting to see what people thought.
The two shows were actually part of the 8th Alfa-Centauri Music Festival. The other acts had been very Ambient to me boring so these two shows were the only two of interest to me and apparently they were a change to the normal format of the festival which had been in a small venue previously. It had been a big risk for the promoters but hopefully it had paid off.
The main stage was situated in a hall holding about a 1000 people. It wasn't completely full and in my view people were not sitting on the best seats. Most chose to sit in the centre but I was on the raised side seats and this gave me one of the best views I have ever had at a Rick gig. I was on the Left hand side and just above keyboard height so I could see what Rick was doing. His Piano keyboard was had the keys pointing almost directly at me so I had a great view of that too. I hadn't appreciated how fast Rick's fingers move even in some of the slower Piano Songs.
The Hall was almost square in size and there was an upstairs but I didn't check out what the seating was like up there.
Rick playing along to Pachebel (Cannon In D Major) opened the proceedings this time
Rick said hello to the audience as he moved to his main Rig and said he normally tells lots of stories but tonight he had promised to pack in as much music as possible. He then said he had written 6 Wives back in 1972 when he was 11. I thought hold on surely that won't work in Holland they wouldn't know what the punch line of 11 stones meant (A Stone is a unit of 14 pounds weight). Perhaps Rick thought the same because he just said, "mmm perhaps you don't believe me." I wonder if old habits die hard or if that is what he intended saying. Anyway we then got Catherine Howard and Aragon in the form of The Catherine Suite
Rick said he was going to tell one story and that this was the last of a one-man show he had been doing for about 4 years. He then told the story of the Knickers signing and the old ladies in the East of England. This in fact went over very well with the crowd. Rick did speak in Pigeon English a bit but it was pretty much the normal telling.
Rick then did Hymn and Julia from 1984.
Next Rick mentioned how Birdman of Alcatraz had been written because he was recording with Yes and Chris Squire was 5 hrs late. He then of course played it. There were no bird noises in this, this time.
The venue really liked their dry ice and the kept it topped up through out the show to keep the lighting Atmosphere right. And the lighting was very good for a Rick show but at times the dry Ice did get rather thick and it seemed to choke Rick a little.
Rick next introduced the No Earthly Connection Medley saying it was one of the most hated pieces by the press but equally the most requested by the fans. We then got an excellent solo performance of this. Now I don't remember seeing Rick do this totally solo before so this was special for me. The last tour Ramon Remedios was singing the main lines so I got to puzzling as to weather Rick had had to rearrange it much and weather he could do all the parts. At one point I did think Rick's hands had been late moving so I wonder if he had a sequence going for the main vocal line. It would be most unusual if Rick had as he normally is very against this and will use a CD backing for say Pachebel and Dance Of A 1000 lights. I watched as hard as I could but I was not able to decide one way or the other. In no other song did I have this doubt as to weather Rick was able to generate everything I heard himself. I really did love being able to see Rick playing so clearly and was so pleased at my seat. Incidentally there was no fixed seating. The crowd left the hall after each performance so it was always first come first served
During the No Earthly Suite Rick lost the Right side of his keyboard monitors. He therefore had to get the crowd to call Stuart to come and do a repair and while Stuart did so he decided to tell the Jane Seymour Story. This was going very well and then half way through with Stuart behind the monitors still working Rick cut the story short with only the roof having been mentioned. I guess Rick thought Stuart was finished but of course the crowd knew he wasn't. Rick decided he might as well play Jane Seymour with just one Monitor anyway. Luckily Stuart got it sorted it fairly quickly during the piece and it didn't affect the house sound at all.
After The Ball got a brief version of the normal intro and then the normal performance on the Piano. All of the stories seemed to get the usual laughs so the Dutch must be very good at English.
And You And I and Wondrous Stories just got the usual tease of "I thought long and hard about the set and wondered if I should do some Yes pieces. <Crowd cheers> and I decided not to".
Rick's hair is really flowing now. He is starting to look like he did back in 1985 again. He was also not in his usual stage clothes tonight just dark Jeans and a shirt.
Dance of a 1000 Nights had the intro explaining it had an orchestra on it etc and they didn't appear to have turned up tonight so we would have to imagine they were just out of sight. I got the impression Rick started earlier than normal on this one.
Rick seemed generally healthy considering he was just back from a tour of South America. After some of the faster pieces he did look slightly pleased to have got to the end. But then again even after slow piece he often seems to pause for a moment of reflection before turning round to accept the crowds applause.
To end the set we got Eleanor Rigby with it's usual intro. I said I was bored of seeing this last time. I am but I do still think it a cracking track.
For the Encore Rick did Merlin. The crowd Participation version. The lady chosen really did look terrified. It was an excellent end to an excellent show.
I think everyone enjoyed it and I was glad I had been there to see it one last time. (For now).
It has to be said I was really worried about writing this review as I had left it for 5 days due to fatigue and then fear of not remembering much. It seems I managed to get back into my normal flow though. Sorry :-)
As we waited for Fish to come on my mate and I wondered how long Fish would last before having a moan. Well Fish came on the first thing he told us was that he had jammed is finger in the hotel door the day before and it hurt. He then joked that it was his Mic finger and therefore the show was cancelled. And so started a very chatty Fish show.
We arrived at the gig to the news that Skyclad were the support. Now that is a big coincidence as I am currently listening to their current album. I first heard of them a few years ago and took interest because they had a violin player. I wasn't sure I would like them so I just made a note to try them sometime. I then read that the current album Folkemon that was written about the current state of society where children can't repeat the multiplications tables but know all the details of a 151 Pokemon. Since my oldest daughters is a complete Pokemon nut the concept appealed to me. And this week I had got round to actually playing the album.
Apparently it was their first UK gigs for 5 years or so. They were mainly acoustic and the violin was very clear in the mix. They did two tracks from the current album so this made a nice support. I am not big on them but they are OK.
I have never been to the Junction before. It is an unusual venue. It seems like a warehouse that has been converted to have a stage. The Venue is pretty much Diamond shaped with the stage in a corner. The sound desk at the opposite corner. The merchandise stall was on the right corner from the stage. Apparently it holds 800 people and I reckon it had 500-600 people in tonight. We were pleased with this, as we hadn't seen any adverts for it.
We had both pre-ordered Fish's new Album Fellini Days but sadly they only arrived at Fishes office on Thursday and I guess it will get sent to us next week. We therefore had a gig with a lot of unknown material.
We both also loved Sunsets On Empire but were extremely disappointed by the last album Raingods and Zippos. We were therefore curious to see what the new numbers were like.
Luckily it seems they are heading back to the style of Sunset. I was concerned that a lot of them seemed slow starting but at least half of them built up and had a good guitar solo.
The set was very interesting. Until the last song of the set which was a medley of old stuff he played only stuff from Fellini days, two from Sunset on Empire and one, Tumbledown, from Zippos. This had a Piano solo intro and it sounds terrible on the PA. Extremely tinny.
The Medley was Lucky, Credo and Vigil In The Wilderness Of Mirror.
For the 2 Encores he did the final track from Fellini Days and The Company. Fish had the house lights turned on for this last number, which made it confusing for the fans to know if we were to expect another Encore.
The lighting for the show was very good throughout. Well except a couple of songs where they had yellow lights flashing around the audience. Those songs I couldn't watch at all. It was just too bright/quick for my photosensitive eyes to respond.
Being the start of the tour Fish's voice was in pretty good shape. There were a few tracks with backing tapes. Fish had an unusual effect on a couple of tracks and it was left on during at least one of his talks.
Fish's Bass player tonight was Steve Barnacle. A name I remember being linked to Rick Wakeman (he was bass player on "1984"). This had me thinking during the gig of how many similarities and links there are between Wakeman and Fish. Davy Patton left Wakeman to join Fishes band. They both had Brain Lane as manager. Both have had a couple of attempts at their own record labels. Both write newsletters to their fans and both love to have a long chat between songs.
Talking of long chats Fish came on as scheduled at 9.15 and there was supposed to be a curfew of 11pm. He had chatted so much he had only got to the end of the main set by then. I guess he finally finished around 11.15pm.
I thoroughly enjoyed the set and really enjoyed the guitar playing. At times I thought it was one of the best shows I had seen for a while (I was obviously wrong, but it was that sort of high). I did notice that once we got to the Medley at the end of the set I preferred the pace and style of those songs.
As I finish writing this Fellini days has arrived and I have played it once. I am still concerned that the pace of the album is similar to the last album and not as good as Sunset On Empires. I hope it is just my lack of listening that is the problem.
It was a great night out anyway.
Blimey I have got to the end of the review without moaning about how knackered I was prior to the gig and how it was an annoying standing up gig. Perhaps it was because I had been knackered for a couple of days due to wanting to get some stuff sorted on my PC. If I had gone to the gig fresh I would perhaps have been more with it and therefore more aware of how rough I was feeling.
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I was looking forward to this gig. I had fancied going to see Mostly Autumn for some time. I had even considered a trek up to York to take them in.
Then I heard about this DVD recording and since it was by Classic Legends who have been doing Uriah Heep's DVDs I was even keener to take them in. They seem a quality outfit and I am keen to support their efforts and fan financing projects)
It has to be said the Mean Fiddler (the old LA2) is not my favourite venue but it seems bands I like are able to play their a lot so perhaps it should be. My main problem is it is another standing gig. Since I suffer from ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that is exceptionally hard on my body. Prior to the gig I thought about my options, sometimes it is possible to sit upstairs but I figured Cameras would be up there and in fact they were. I also considered sitting in a side cubby-hole but the view is not too great from there. I therefore decided this would be a major blow out gig. I would take my walking stick seat and stand/sit my way through the gig. And since they wanted a lively crowd I decided to let myself go and fully enjoy the gig and then suffer the consequences later.
I was slightly confused by my ticket it said Mostly Autumn plus guests. I assumed this meant support but luckily I was wrong. I must admit I thought the idea of a support at a video shoot an unnecessary pressure for everyone involved so I am glad I was confused.
Doing this I have to say means I really enjoyed the gig. Mostly Autumn often seem to have moody slow pieces on the albums but tonight it seemed a very upbeat show.
I like Mostly Autumn enough to champion them on my website and also start an egroup.com discussion list on them but it has to be said I am not really sure how I view them overall. I am currently listening to their 3rd album and I need to get round to reviewing it. I think I need to do the previous albums to as I get the impression there is a lot of development going on with their style and direction. Certainly I got the impression Heather sings a lot more lead vocals on the new album.
Tonight it was very difficult to gauge who does the most vocals as Heather often sings in Unison on songs I thought on CD might have been mainly Bryan's vocals. I got the impression she is perhaps doing more overall though.
One of the really nice things about seeing the band live is of course putting faces to sounds. I might have looked at the photos in the booklet a couple of times but I had no real idea of who was doing what and I certainly wouldn't have know if a band member had said hello to me before the gig.
It even took me the first few song's to spot Andy Smith on Bass and Liam Davison on 2nd guitar where two different people. I don't know if I am just stupid or if one of the stayed at the back of the stage in the dark and when one came forward either side of Heather and I just assumed he was the same person.
It has to be said during the first set had selected a bad place to stand as I couldn't see Iain Jennings on Keyboards at all. I am normally attracted to keyboard playing so I moved for the 2nd set but my view was still slightly obscured by the right hand speakers so I didn't really pick up on what he was doing like I normally would.
To be honest I was mainly concentrating on Bryan, Heather and Angela tonight. I have actually seen Mostly Autumn as a trio on the Blackmore's night tour. That wasn't to representative but I do know Angela's flute playing really interested me. I really like the patterns in what she plays and when I got chance later I asked her about getting music in that style as it is the sort of stuff I would enjoy playing on my Wind Synth (Electric Sax/Clarinet/Flute if you like). Apparently a book called O'Neil's is a good place to start so I will be checking it out.
I was also surprised at how many instruments Angela plays. I get the impression she has been a sort of part time member in the past but now she seems fully integrated providing Backing vocals, Flute, Whistles?, Recorder and even additional keyboards.
Heather also got through several instruments to my surprise, Bodhran (I assume that is the name of the Tambourine/Drum type thing she forgot to bring on stage in Cambridge for the Blackmore's night show), Acoustic Guitar, and Recorders and whistles.
Bryan's guitar from my position looked like they were just leant against the side of the stage. Surely I just couldn't see the stands for them though. He seems to have at least a couple of electric guitars and an acoustic.
I wanted to see more of what Jonathan Blackmore was doing on drums especially on some of the up beat songs where there is a lot two-time? rhythm and a bell cymbal is getting hit far to often for my tastes. I since am not sure about the sound I wanted to see what he was playing there. I couldn't see though so I will have to wait for the DVD or until I see the band elsewhere. I really want to see them again soon. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and Bryan's guitar style is so what I want to hear from a guitar player.
I wish I had spotted what was going on on the keyboards it seems strange that I should see a band with keyboards and not know but with Flutes whistles and lots of guitar I guess there isn't as to much room left for keyboard's at least by my normal listening standards.
I feel sure there was violin on past Mostly Autumn albums but that seems to have gone now. I don't know how that might have affected the old songs. Perhaps it was only a minor role. It seems a shame though.
Overall it was a great night out. I can't wait to see them again and for the DVD to arrive in the post. I noticed later on that Pip Williams was about so I asked if he was in charge of the sound on the DVD and he was. From the Heep disc's I know he will do a great job.
The night was also nice as I meet Russ Elliot who runs Renaissance's web site. He also introduced me to two from Karnataka who as we were leaving mentioned and the lady had been an additional backing vocalist in the 2nd half. Apparently they had been a support to Mostly Autumn at some gigs in the past and the lady was asked to form part of the backing trio in the 2nd set. I had only sat 90 mins with them after the gig and not realised this! Shame on me. I should also have meet Charlie of the Mostly Autumn's Egroup list but I must have missed him.
Speaking of the audience I was surprised how many woman were in the crowd. There were noticeably more than I would normally expect to see at a gig I go to. Is this typical for the band or is it because they are a northern band and there was a coach laid on for local supporters. It seems woman up north seem to enjoy good music more than those down south though I have never been able to work out why.
I also didn't register the crowd as being odd age-wise (IE. For gigs I go to). So despite the band being relatively young they must attract the sort of crowd that fits the older music style they play. Interesting and a shame really. I mention this as Apocalypitica were the only other band I have seen this new and in the UK they had a young Nu-Metal crowd for their version of Metalica songs on four cellos. Some places it is apparently a more classical audience but I am waffling off the point.
Mmm I thought I would struggle to write this one up but it seems I got into it once I got going. Sorry :-)
Looking at the set list it seems it was a fairly good mix of all the albums
Porcupine Rain (Shared)
The Night Sky (Shared)
Well this was a strange gig. There have been several gigs in the park and they have apparently been successful. People come along with Picnics and seats and sit on the grass etc.
The Bill was upside down from my point of view. Blues Band followed by The Manfred’s followed by Borjn Again. From the crowd dancing point of view it was clearly correct though and at least it allowed my to go home early.
This was the first time I had seen The Manfred’s and despite 3 members of the Blues Band being in them i.e. Tom Mcguinness, Paul Jones and Rob Townsend they didn't do much for me. They came on at 20:15 the music was (Of course) very 1960's pop and at times had a cabaret feel to it. Mick D'Abo perhaps seemed the vocalist better suited to their tunes. They played plenty of songs I vaguely new. But I can't get my head around the simplicity of the style of the arrangements of that era. They were occasionally bits that interested me and seeing the main keyboard player was interesting. I wouldn't choose to go and see them again. Except apparently they well be doing another double bill with the Blues Band in town later this year. I wonder if the set will be the same.
Curiously the Regent holds about 1500 and that is was the security people estimating were in the park tonight. I would much rather see them in the Regent. It would at very least concentrate the atmosphere and I suspect most were there for the Abba Tribute. The Area of the park cordoned off has a capacity of 3000 and it was a lovely hot night so it is really disappointing the crowd was to my mind low.
So to the reason I was there. The Blues Band came on stage at 19:00 and Paul said something to the effect. "Good afternoon. I say 'Good Afternoon' be because there don't seem to be enough here for it to be evening".
I was surprised at how Paul Jones was dressed. Extremely casual. Jeans and what seemed like a cardigan or jacket. It was like he had just arrived. Once he got rid of the cardigan/jacket he looked more his usual self. With the Manfred’s they switched to suits so I guess this is why they seemed less formal they I normally expect the to look.
The set was 1hr long and Electric only so very enjoyable from my point of view. I love the first 4 albums the best so I guess this format pleased me.
Dust My Broom was the opener this was followed by Death Letter, Backdoor Man, Let The Good Times Roll and Victim Of Love. I really enjoyed this one. Of I seen it is another Tom Number off Back For More. Interesting.
They continued with "Bad Boy" and "I just can't be satisfied"
Then Paul Jones started to introduce "Swing Out Dave" and something else of Brassed Up but Gary Fletcher pulled him up and said he couldn't play the 2nd track. He was having trouble with his Bass. At the start of about the third number there was no sound and then when he got it he couldn't hear himself on stage. From my hearing he sounded fine but clearly it was stressing him out. Shame. Gary stayed a long way back on the stage. I wonder why
On "Nadine" Tom Mcguinness decided he was Jimi Hendrix and played the whole of the solo behind his head.
We then ended with the usual "People Get Ready" and "Green Stuff".
I thoroughly enjoyed the set and even felt myself feeling a little high during it. I had a heavy day in London with my daughter the day before so perhaps I was so tired I was euphoric but clearly they moved me a lot too. Excellent. I wish it had been 2 sets preferably both electric :-)
I went to this one at fairly short notice. I only spotted it a couple of days before. It was part of a 3-day Gig In The Park event for the Nordoff-Robbins charity. I believe this was the 2nd day and Mostly Autumn were 2nd on the Bill.
I arrived around 5pm and there were about three bands on before Mostly Autumn. The first had an interesting guitarist and were from Yorkshire. They were OK but not quite to my taste. Then there was a more general pop act. This was followed by an Irish band that seemed very pleased to be playing on such a big stage so far from home. There music I suspect was OK but again not my sort of Rock.
Mostly Autumn were on about 8pm but I will skip them for now and go to Sam Brown at about 9.15-9.30. I remember her single Stop. And I am aware she has done lots of backing singer work with the likes of Pink Floyd Jools Holland and Deep Purple. I have the song she did for Jon Lord at the Deep Purple and Orchestra gig and her voice sort of interests me but then again doesn't. It is a weird one. I was surprised to see she had a headliner gig to herself anyway. And she was OK but not to my taste. She played with her brother on guitar and bass and drums. She herself played keyboards and she played them sitting down to my surprise. I would have thought she would prefer to stand and sing. She has a very powerful voice. As Sam described it herself she started gently and built up to a crescendo at the end. The show was OK but I found her a bit too slow with her singing and decided after 1/2hr to call my mum who was on chauffer duty due to a lack of late trains to fetch me early. As it happens I still took in the last hour but I didn't pay the same level of attention. It was interesting to see her and know for certain she isn’t too my taste.
And so to Mostly Autumn. As I say the stage was very big. In fact I was impressed that a town the size of Halesworth could hold such an event. IMO it probably did it better than Ipswich did for the Blues Band concert I went to recently. To be fair though Ipswich has a music in the park type event and that was probably more comparable to this one. Also the Amphitheatre near the stage was better and can hold more. Halesworth had a much bigger stage though and the watching area seemed a lot more intimate. In fact when I first arrived I wondered if a week of rain had put people off going but there had been 1200 paying visitors by the end of the night and the Halesworth council had apparently been causing lots of trouble for the festival. When it first started the festival has been held in this park but the two years before it had been held at a bigger location at Sibton Hall. The council complained so it was back to square one for the promoters. I do hope it worked out well over the weekend as it seemed a good gig, encouraged lots of younger people and was a good place for bands to appear.
The audience was certainly reactive. There had been quite a few get up and dance to the dance/pop band. They also reacted really well to Mostly Autumn. The audience had been keeping a respectable distance from the stage with just some children playing near the front barrier but as soon as Mostly Autumn came on people started drifting down to the front to bop a long.
Mostly Autumn were a six piece today. Sadly Liam Davison was unwell and couldn't make it. He normally plays second guitar. Heather therefore took Bryans Acoustic Guitar after the first song. Weather she ended up using it on more songs than normal I am not sure as the DVD of the other gig isn't out yet.
I made sure I positioned myself so I could see Ian Jennings on Keyboards this time. I found I could hear him a lot better this time but I still found my attention more on the left hand side of the stage as that is where Bryan and Heather the main singers are.
There show started in the light and ended in the dark so the lighting was quite effective through out. During the first few songs of Sam Brown they hadn’t used any dry Ice at all. (At least non I can remember) and yet they used it very heavily during the Mostly Autumn set. It certainly made the lighting very effective and again it seemed so surprising for a gig in such a small town.
Two jigs opened probably off the first album. Andy Smith seemed the most mobile member of the band running round interacting with the others. Heather sometimes moved to a back risers when she had less to do. Angela also disappeared from time to time as per the Astoria gig. Actually I didn't register singing as much this time. Perhaps it was because I could see Iain on Keyboards more and he was singing himself.
I Don't want To Close my Eyes was the first vocal track.
The set was only 50 minutes, which was a shame, but again I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has to be said I am probably a bigger fan of the band that when I last saw them so it is really good to take them in again and earlier than I originally anticipated.
Back to another jig.
Spirit Of Autumn Past was next and Heather was on guitar on this again.
Then it was time for Evergreen and Heathers first main vocal.
It has to be sound the sound for the gig was excellent.
Then it was cover a cover of Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones which I later found out was ideal because Liam doesn’t normally play on that one anyway. This one seems to be a bit of a work out for Iain on Keyboards. It is also sung mainly by Heather. It is very high and I must admit I thought it might be a Jimmy Somerville cover or something. I like Iain’s Hammond solo and the whole piece is good. I wonder why there isn't a workout in a MA song for him?
Heroes Never Die closed the set. I thought they might do an encore but there was no time. The Council had placed a curfew on the show at the last minute. Or at least it as a surprise to the guy on the sounddesk when I was asking about the timing of the bands. He thought the gig would finish gone midnight but it ended overall at 11pm.
A good night out and I am looking forward to Brentwood for a full show later this year.
This was my first time at Earls court. I went as a favour to my mate. To me honest I wasn't really looking forward to it but the 2hr 20min set passed by a lot more enjoyably than I expected. I can't exactly say that I enjoyed it but at least I didn't hate it.
We were in the Wheelchair section and I was a couple of feet behind the line of the drummer and forty feet above. It gave a fascinating view of the band and the crowd.
The support band went on earlier than advertised so they had started just before we went to our section. I must admit I was worried it was very loud and very cavernous sounding. Once we were in place it was so loud that I resorted to earplugs but the overall sound wasn't to bad.
We also had the bonus of two large TV screens which surprised me as I suspect only the wheelchair sections could see them.
The support band was very pop and seemed an unusual choice. They covered a Eurhymics track but apart from that I had no real interest. I guess it was unusual to have an 8 piece all female band. And at least they played their own instruments.
U2 came on at 8.37 to one of their own tracks and then they played along with it. The house lights remained on full for the whole song. A very usual start. The lights then went down for the second song.
Bono then ventured out onto the huge Heart shaped catwalk. This was large enough to enclose about 500 of the crowd. And at various times this was light up.
The guitarist also went out on the catwalk from time to time. But it was manly Bono's area. The only time the drummer and bass player ventured out was for an acoustic number. After this they left the stage for one song. Oh and they also walked round it at the end of the night. Actually I was quite amused by this, the whole night Bono circled Anti-clockwise. Only at the end when we wanted to try and get a photo of the walk did they go clockwise which meant we couldn’t get a photo.
Bono also loved to worry the security by stepping off the Catwalk at the sharp end of the heart and stepping onto the security rail. About 2 numbers in he laid on the catwalk kissed a female camera person. Then a song or two later another female was trying to get a kiss near the sharp end of the heart by being raised above the crowd and not only did she get one, he then took her onto the catwalk and smooched with her before she was the passed back over the crowd to presumably where she came from.
The lighting was quite simple often only using white and shadows a bit like the Velvet Undergrond. They also had a couple of lighting rigs that were moveable and had men with spotlights on. About 2 at the front and 5 at the back. It seemed a little strange having the band backlight but perhaps we needed to be out front to get the correct effect. There were of course front spotlights.
There were also some moveable disco like boxes but they were hard to see.
Until U2 had been on 10 minutes the place looked half full. We were quite amazed how late people were leaving it. The place had sold out officially and it did finally look full. The crowd were really enthusiastic and it was great to see so many people clapping and enjoying themselves while being able to watch the band still.
It was an usual night out for me. Probably not worth the suffering afterwards even though I had minimum exertion due to the wheelchair but it was interesting enough.
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Karnataka/John Sloman - The Mean Fiddler, London - 27 Oct 2001
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Mostly Autumn - The Junction, Cambridge - 21 Nov 2001
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Mostly Autumn/Uriah Heep - York Opera House – 24 Nov 2001
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The Brighton centre is a large scale sports hall really. It must hold about 5 or 6,000. The whole of the front centre was sold out and most of the bottom of the side. The upper levels were fairly empty though especially where there was a narrow view of the stage.
The stage had a neon Yes logo on it. This was actually two logos giving the impression of 3d. There were also mirrors all along the lighting strips at the sides of the stage giving extra views of the band and orchestra. However you would need good eyes sight to get any use of them.
The Orchestra was positioned at the back of the stage behind a Perspex partition. This I found a tad disappointing. All through the concert I was barely aware of the orchestra playing so it would have helped to hear them naturally. Or if the sound desk had turned them up of course.
The band were in there normal positions at the front of the stage. Steve Howe on left. Then Tony ??? the keyboard player, Jon Anderson, Alan White and Chris Squire.
I was sat on the 5th row in front of Alan White. And to the left of Squires bass stack. Consequently I had a very bass biased presentation sound wise. I don't think this was the reason I couldn't hear the orchestra to well though. I suspect that is down to the band, I have the new album “Magnification” and I find it a very strange affair. I can almost forget there is an orchestra on that to. Considering Jon Anderson did such a great album with “Change We Must” I find this disappointing. I guess they just choose to utilise an orchestra differently to me. I was expecting a minor role for the keyboard player but he got all his solos, as I would expect them. Certainly nothing was replaced by the Orchestra to my disappointment.
I am normally extremely irritated by Steve Howe so it was good that I had to actively look if I wanted to see him. He didn't seem like he was showing off and had a big ego half as much tonight. Perhaps it is because there was no 2nd guitarist this tour.
I enjoyed watching Chris Squire and hearing what he plays and sings. I don't think I have ever really followed what he is doing too much before.
Jon Anderson was dressed in Purple, as was the stage. He had his middle play area set up as usual and occasionally used an acoustic guitar during the night. He looked so unnatural with it. On at least the last two songs he played it I am convinced the only sounds I was hearing where from the instrument itself. I certainly couldn't hear it in the speaker. No one seemed worried though.
At 8pm the Orchestra took to the stage and played a short intro. Again I wasn't too happy as all I could hear was through the speakers and I lost touch with the sound I was hearing compared to the movements. It almost felt like a CD was being played.
Yes then came on stage and performed “Close to the edge”. This was terrific. The keyboard player was very visual with his body jumping up and down and exaggerating his part. He generally seemed to enjoy things. At least 50% of the orchestra seemed to really enjoy things when they were not playing. The backing vocals were very clear. I thought Chris Squire might have bass peddles on the floor to hold really low notes but I guess he was just using a sustain pedal. There was a standing ovation at the end of this.
Next up was “Long Distance Runabout”. This had an orchestra intro prior to Steve Howe’s recognisable guitar phrase. I thought Steve Howe was going to avoid the need for stands with guitars to be brought out all night, as in “Close To The Edge” he had a swivel arm on his mic stand holding a guitar. But in this song it was removed and he was back to all sorts of stands etc. I noticed on this song the keyboard player sang. He actually sang for most of the remainder of the night. Steve Howe's vocals were rather low in the mix and a lot of time he didn't bother anyway. It tended to be Chris and the keyboard player mainly.
Jon Anderson went off into a spontaneous? “Here comes the sun” since George Harrison had died the day before. The whole band joined in on this eventually and so did the crowd.
“Don't Take Love For Granted” had all 5 players singing on it and it sounded very good. The orchestra seemed a bit more prominent in these “Magnification” songs. I guess because they were designed to be a part of the song.
“In The Presence Of” started off with Alan White on Jon Anderson's Keyboard before he returned to the drums in time for the appropriate section.
“Gates Of Delirium” complete with “Soon” was next. Jon commented that he hoped the orchestra would be turned up for this as it was quite wild but as far as I could hear they weren't. It has to be said the concert went down hill for me from here. I have never liked this piece and it was followed by Steve Howe’s Solo spot. The crowd loved Gates and gave it a standing Ovation again.
The Orchestra left the stage along with the band while Steve Howe did a couple of tunes J Piece? and “In The Course Of The Day”, which he said, was for Roger. Dean I assume.
Things should have picked up again for “Starship Trooper” but they didn't. The orchestra stayed off stage until the Wurm section. Wurm was such a half-hearted effort compared to normal. Not the normal fantastic efforts of say Yesshows. Perhaps I am spoiled by the excitement of Rick Wakeman's performances of it but the keyboard solo was too short and Steve Howe didn't seem too inspired. Even so the crowd gave it another standing ovation.
“Magnification” was next and was OK. I noticed the Ah, ah, ahs were solely from the keyboard player.
“And You And I” was probably the highlight of the night for me. It was great to hear it again.
“Ritual” always makes be groan when I hear it is to be played. I like the “Tales of Topographic Oceans” album but I hate the drum section in this song. I actually enjoyed the performance tonight. Well at least until the drum part. Everyone except Steve was banging away on something during this. Chris had Timpani’s. There was a drum for the keyboard player and Jon Anderson has his toys. In the early part of the solo the orchestra were all banging green glow sticks.
“I've Seen All Good People” was next and again I groaned. I don't understand why they always play this awful song. I have a feeling the following happened in an earlier song possibly “Starship Trooper” but it also happened in this one too. The crowd got really out of sync on it's claps. It sounded awful and caused the band to laugh. In the end Alan White seemed to add extra cymbals where the crowd should have been after falling into complete disarray.
The encore was Roundabout. Everyone had been standing up for the “Brighton Boogie” as Jon put it from half way through “All Good People”.
On one of his song intros Jon said it was for his brother and apparently called him completely the wrong name. Even Jon was embarrassed at himself.
The concert was about 2hr 45 and very good value for money. I think Yes performed well. The set was good in many ways but clearly not for fans of 80's Yes. In fact apart from the “Magnification” stuff it was all from the mid 70's. You would think Yes would try and promote more recent stuff more or tackle something from the studio sessions of “Keys To Accession” but no apparently not. I guess most fans want 70's Yes so no problem but it is interesting how they vary things with there split fan base.
I have seen Yes a couple of times now and I am not sure I have any great need to see them again. Perhaps if Wakeman rejoins or I particularly like an album again like I did with “The Ladder” I would go again. I went for the Orchestra tonight and I thought this the poorest Orchestra and Rock Band presentation I have seen. Deep Purple and ELO II seemed a bit more integrated and of course I love how Wakeman used the Orchestra on Journey and King Arthur. I was less keen on Return To The Centre Of The Earth as he was using them more in Unison. Perhaps this is the current trend. Perhaps “Change We Must” and “Journey” were special exceptions.
Former Lead singer of Steeleye Span played Ipswich last night as part of her Carol Tour. Only a month before she had been touring with her current folk rock line up but for the December tour it was the Carnival Bands turn.
The near capacity audience were treated to just under 2hrs of traditional carols and an original piece by Maddy and the band called Gold Frankincense and Myrrh.
The show was performed in two sets, the first set being traditional Carols performed in Maddy's lively folk style. The start of the 2nd set was the set piece, which was basically the story of the Three King's journeys to meet Jesus. Maddy gave the Kings different personalities and the music therefore had Middle East and African flavours to it.
The Carnival band were a very impressive set of multi-instrumentalists. Raph Mizarki and Steve Banks played various guitars lutes and Percussion. Steve also played violin. "Jub" played double bass. Giles Lewin played Violin, recorders, flutes and Bagpipes and Andy Watts seemed to be lead of the band with a very impressive knowledge of what was being played. He also played Clarinet, recorders, Bassoon and Bagpipes.
All five members of the band also sang harmonies so in at least one point in the show we had a carol performed with just voice alone.
With the amount of instrumentation available we had a very varied night and it was all done with good humour. Maddy made three costume changes during the night and spent a lot of the time when not singing, dancing. Other members of the band made changes too so when performing a French suite of Carols Raph came on stage in stereotypical French costume and pretended to try and jam along with the rest of the band.
Maddy was very approachable so instead of waiting in the dressing room during the interval she was out selling draw tickets to raise money for a sponsored walk she is planning and at the end of the show she was again out and signing CD's for fans.
The audience was a surprisingly varied cross section probably mainly middle aged but also including Children. People had travelled from as far as Cambridge for the show and all went home in good spirits.