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ACOUSTIC STRAWBS - US/CANADA TOUR
FEB/MAR 2005
PART 1

Updated: 9 Mar 2005

Part 2 - Second leg - 2 to 6 March

Contents
Sellersville Theater, Sellersville, PA, Friday 18 February 2005
Satalla, New York, NY, Saturday 19 February 2005
  • They Just Keep Getting Better - Review by Bob Polchinski
  • They're Back – And Better Than Ever - Review by Ken Prospero
  • Setlist from Bob Polchinski
  • Downtown Pub, Bristol, CT, Sunday 20 February 2005
  • Magical And Warm - Review by Ken/NY
  • Photo from Eric Bergman - more photos from Eric
  • A Good Time Was Had By All - Review by Kate D.
  • Photo from Les Cotton - more photos from Les
  • Beers And Cheers In Bristol - Review by Amanda Baughn
  • Photo from Cinnie Morgan - more photos from Cinnie
  • Something Magical About The Entire Day - Review by Judi Cuervo
  • A Celebration with Friends Old and New - Review by Ken Prospero
  • Setlist from Ken Prospero
  • Strictly Mundial/Folk Alliance Conference, Montreal, Canada, Saturday 26 February 2005
  • A Glimpse of Fine Music Through Montreal's Hard Winter - Review by Alain Beaudreault
  • Photo by Pierre Girouard - more photos from Pierre
  • Photo by Bob Jensen
  • Setlist from Alain Beaudreault
  • CCI Industry Showcase, Toronto, Canada, Sunday 27 February 2005
  • Simply The Best Band Around - Review by Doug LeBlanc
  • Photo by Peter Rowe - more photos from Peter
  • Gravity Lounge, Charlottesville, VA, Tuesday 1 March 2005

    CCI INDUSTRY SHOWCASE, TORONTO, CANADA, SUNDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2005


    Peter Rowe photo

    Photo by Peter Rowe - more photos from Peter.

    SIMPLY THE BEST BAND AROUND - Review by Doug LeBlanc

    I mean, where do I start? There's so much to say, given they only played for a half hour or so,...

    At the beginning, that's it!

    Right, Bob and I arrived around ten minutes to noon. A few other notables were arriving, namely Pete and the missus (sorry, I can't remember your name) and Ian and his daughter, whose name I also can't recall. In fact, I can barely remember my own name right now,...

    So, we're all outside, everyone smoking, and me pretending I'm not worried about getting hit by a meteor. This white van pulls up, full of Strawbs. We welcome them warmly, I don't faint or anything, then we all move inside to warmer confines. Bob and I are directed to our table, which is, oddly enough, right by Ian's again (how does that always happen?), we are seated, then sated with food and ale. Bob and I plot the overthrow of the free world, or at least the pizza place down the street, when what should happen but Chas comes by and stops to chat.

    You know how when you're a child, and it's your birthday, and you get more, or better, presents than you thought you would, and the world seems like it's a wonderful place? Well, that's how I felt. The Strawbs have always been heroes to me, and to have Chas stop by and chat like we were old friends made me feel like a millionaire! Bob felt the same way.

    So, the opening band comes on, an Irish band called Treada, traditional Irish music, done very well. Next comes a flamenco guitarist, named Juan Martin. He is excellent, but a big surprise comes up. Chas stops by, and tells me that he, Tony Fernandez and Andy Richards recorded with Juan years before! He also jokingly suggested that after watching him, Dave Lambert would need to take guitar lessons, LOL!

    So, the last act comes up, called Rosheen. Another Celtic band, from Quebec. Good, but not as impressive as Treada.

    Finally, the Strawbs take to the stage. I was calm, of course, and after Bob peeled me off the ceiling, I settled in to hear the opening song, "Lemon Pie". Hurray! Great version!

    Then, Dave Cousins told a long story about a doctor that he knew, he said he'd written this song inspired by him, and it was the first time it was ever performed on Canadian soil. Oh, my god, I thought, it can't be,...
    IT IS!! IT'S "THE ANTIQUE SUITE"! Great!
    Oh, no, it's "The Antique Suite"! Terrible!
    Why the sudden change, you ask, as well you should? {NOTE: anyone embarrassed by undue emotionalism might want to jump ahead at this point} Well, whenever I hear "The Antique Suite", I go to pieces. I tried, but I couldn't keep my eyes from moistening up during the song, and Dave Cousins noticed, and smiled at me, so it was all right. Damn, that song gets to me!

    Okay, gushy part over, the boys push on with "Oh, How She Changed", and did it justice! Excellent version, they really captured the feel of it. The last time they played it, I felt Lambert's vocals were a bit weak, but this time he nailed it right on the head! Next was "Cold Steel", again, played accurately, and with the right amount of angst. They finished up with a rousing version of "Lay Down", and I led the charge of the cheering at the last note.

    The MC stepped forward, and said there would be no encore. I look hastily around for police presence, but decided that laying about for all I'm worth with the tables and chairs would not be a good thing, although I still think a protest of a minor explosion would not have been out of place. I felt a disassembling of the building would have been well received, but Bob did point out that they were coming back in November, and we would need the place by then. I pointed out the rebuilding could be completed in time, but he said no, so I left it at that, and sat in the corner and pouted.

    Fortunately, Chas did come by to cheer me up, and we made our way to the bar. I should point out that there was a fairly small crowd in the place this time around. This had two advantages; one, the washrooms were free from people watering the washbasins, and two, there were no huge crowds gathered around our heroes at the bar! Hurray!

    I then got to speak to all three at some length, including a very special treat of being able to talk to Dave Cousins for quite a while! Of course, I was plying him with Black Russians (the drinks, not Rasputin's relatives), and he was downright talkative!

    Soon, they all went for supper, and later we waved goodbye as they got into their van and drove off. I was disappointed at the shortness of the set, and the small crowd, but the chance to meet and speak to them so freely was wonderful beyond words!

    I know I have gone into hysterics about the Strawbs before, but I can't help it. They are simply the best band around, with such depth and feeling to their music. Others may be better musicians, others may be more popular, but there is no one anywhere who can touch me so deeply, and move me so strongly, as the Strawbs. Their music is great, they are great, and the fans I have met are, to a person, great and wonderful people. A day to remember.


    Setlist

    Simple Visions
    The Flower and The Young Man
    Ghosts
    Midnight Sun
    Shine On the Silver Sun
    Cold Steel
    Autumn (Heroines theme/Deep Summer's Sleep/The Winter Long)
    New World
    Lay Down
    Hero and Heroine

    Oh How She Changed

    STRICTLY MUNDIAL/FOLK ALLIANCE CONFERENCE, MONTREAL, CANADA, SATURDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2005

    A GLIMPSE OF FINE MUSIC THROUGH MONTREAL'S HARD WINTER - Review by Alain Beaudreault

    Having left our Saint-Ours home village by 11:00 am, cousin Pierre and I were seated just to the right of the Hard Rock Café's stage at 12:10 pm, already having to deal with our first beer of the day. It had been a long time since I had had so little to run (80km) for a Strawbs concert. Great! It'd been quite a while!

    Dave C and Chas arrived early (12:30 pm), both looking in great shape and happy, getting around the stage just a few minutes after their arrival, with fans already there for some words, pictures and autographs. So we did ourselves, of course. Thanks to my cousin for my first ever photo with Dave C. Il était temps!

    At 1:00 pm, colourful Holmes Hooke, MC of the event, kicked it off. Early on, at the very first riffs by bluesman Ray Bonneville, we realised the afternoon would provide us with a real good time, which effectively turned out to be. As well as the crowd, Dave C and Chas also seemed to quite appreciate the performers, being 'round the stage for most of their (short) sets and honouring them with good listening.

    One set, one beer (maybe the good way to attend a showcase but maybe not so good to avoid red eyes in the pictures), time flew by and, at 5:30 pm, the MC took the stage to introduce the Strawbs for their "one-hour abbreviated set" under the audience's noisy enthusiasm. "C'est merveilleux d'être à Montréal encore une fois!" said David. And they started it up with "Simple Visions" in a way that already indicated their determination to make it a great concert. The audience realised it soon and gave them constant big applause throughout the concert. Until the MC came back on stage one hour later: "The people have spoken!" he said, and the band came back with a really impressive version of "Oh How She Changed" with Dave L on lead vocals (!) as an encore.

    As usual, all three, very few minutes after the show, came to meet people and to autograph CDs… although they were already on their way to leaving for Toronto.

    Yes David, "merveilleux," that's the way it turned out this Saturday in Montréal.

    This was my first concert with the new acoustic line-up, after four DC-DL-BW line-up concerts in the last few years. In my point of view, Chas is doing a very good job adding some more dramatic musical dimension to songs like "New World", using acoustic bass and bass pedals. As well, with his quite good 12-string picking and vocals. With Dave C in such a good shape on vocals and playing and Dave L still playing and singing with the same delicacy and fury. So, there's really no need to worry about this great band for some more years to come. Hope some producers were in there yesterday…and the Strawbs come back soon with the opportunity to give us a full set...with some good old "Lemon Pie" maybe served on a new "Cold Steel" plate.

    Pierre Girouard photo

    Photo by Pierre Girouard - more photos from Pierre

    .
    Bob Jensen photo

    Photo by Bob Jensen.


    DOWNTOWN PUB, BRISTOL, CT, SUNDAY 20 FEBRUARY 2005

    Setlist

    Acoustic Strawbs (First Set)

    Simple Visions
    The Flower And The Young Man
    Ghosts
    Midnight Sun
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Cold Steel
    Autumn

    "Little Johnny" Ford

    Strange Universe
    When Did I Ever Let You Down
    Together Apart
    Ready To Roll
    Love Is A Highway
    Wind In The Willows
    Witchwood
    Kissed By The Sun
    Going Down
    Heavy Disguise

    Acoustic Strawbs (Second Set)

    Lemon Pie
    The Antiques Suite
    Oh How She Changed
    New World
    Hard Hard Winter
    If
    Lay Down
    Hero And Heroine
    Part Of The Union (with John Ford)

    Dave Cousins (Solo)

    I've Been My Own Worst Friend
    It's Just My Way of Loving You

    Chas Cronk (Solo)

    Starshine

    Dave Lambert (Solo)

    Stairway To Heaven
    William Tell Overture

    MAGICAL AND WARM - Review by Ken/NY

    I got there about an hour early (1.00pm). Joe and Mike were working with the sound tech (so sorry, didn't get his name.....looks a bit like John Ford actually). Me being the teetotaller that I am, broke down and had a pint immediately. Dave Lambert comes walking thru the back where I say.. "You guys came all this way for a wet tee-shirt contest?'. Dave replies right back, "Yeah and this time we're gonna win it"!

    Such was the day.. good cheer all around and the great surprise of having John Ford there. The Strawbs played and played with the usual hilarious banter between songs. The solo spots really made the day for me. Chas doing "Starshine" one of the loveliest Strawbs snippets ever. Dave Cousins doing "I've Been My Own Worst Friend", Dave Lambert finally tearing down the house with "Stairway To Heaven", but the best was yet to come. After a thunderous "Stairway..", Dave Lambert gave a little oratory on his love of classical music especially Ravel. Dave then says "I've always liked this one.." He then does the "William Tell Overture".. using his head and face as a sort of bongo drum and his fingers and hands as the sticks.. absolutely hilarious.. complete with a cadence of .. Good evening Friends.... really a lot of super great moments but a lot of laughter through out the day.

    John Ford did many of his own and of course "Part of the Union". John Ford breaking into an Elvis rendition of "My Way".. again a lot of laughs. ..and yes, John did join the rest of the STRAWBS for a full band "Part of the Union". A truly great gig and stellar time...for me it punctuated just how magical and warm the Strawbs are. I guess it is more than a concert.. it is a gathering of family.

    Eric Bergman photo

    Photo by Eric Bergman - more photos from Eric.


    A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL - Review by Kate D.

    We drove the six hours on Sunday, February 20th to see the private Strawbs gig, featuring of course, David Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, and special guest star John Ford. The show took place in the Downtown Pub located in Bristol, CT. and began at 3pm.

    Expecting an abbreviated set, the audience was thrilled when the band played a full set, beginning with the lovely "Simple Visions". A new song was introduced by David Cousins during his solo set, called "My way of loving you", and was verrry pretty. Solo performances by Dave Lambert included a stunning version of Stairway to Heaven and Chas Cronk sang an abbreviated version of "Starshine/Angel Wine" that was just lovely. John Ford, as lively as ever did several songs and was wonderful to watch and listen to. He performed one of my all time favorite songs "Heavy Disguise", and "Witchwood", another favorite was soo nice. I enjoyed John's entire set in fact.

    My favorite of the night was "The Antique Suite" which translated beautifully from the early electric version to accoustic. Of course "Autumn" and "Hero and Heroine" were performed perfectly, and I was happy to hear a very pretty accoustic version of "Lemon Pie". Also included in perfect harmony was "The Flower and the Young Man", "Ghosts", "Hard Hard Winter", "Lay Down", "If", "Oh how she Changed", "Cold Steel", "New World" and the lovliest version of "Midnight Sun" I think I have ever heard. The music ensued for several hours, and was followed by a huge buffet dinner for all.

    In the end they all came together, including John Ford, and sang "Part of the Union". It was fabulous boys and girls!! We were able to hang out with the band, there was much autographing and chatter, and they were all completely charming.
    What a joy!

    Many thanks to Joe Langer for his organizational skill, and to everyone who made this magical evening possible. Mostly, thank you to Strawbs and John Ford for making it so special for us. I continue to be very proud to call myself a fan of this incredibly talented group of musical wizards.



    BEERS AND CHEERS IN BRISTOL - Review by Amanda Baughn

    photo from Cinnie Morgan

    Photo by Cinnie Morgan - more photos from Cinnie

    I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful job Joe did in putting on an event like this. Hopefully the success of this Witchwood Gathering will ensure that this will become an annual event!

    It was wonderful getting to meet so many new faces and getting to see some familiar ones as well. I had a great time seeing Joe, Judi, Mike G, Ken, Steve, Joannie, Kate, her husband Craig, Les Cotton and his lovely wife Sue, Joe D, and of course DICK!!! (Sorry if I left anyone out. I believe I spoke to everyone from Witchwood who was there that night. If I didn't, I'll be sure to catch you next time...)

    The performances, as you heard already were spectacular, but anyone who has seen the Strawbs already knows that. One of the highlights of the night for my family and myself was getting to see John Ford. Up until last night I had only heard his 'Strawbs related material,' but never a solo performance. I thought one of the most touching songs he performed was "Together Apart," off his Natural High album. Hearing him persuaded us to purchase two of his CDs, which we listened to during the duration of our three hour drive home. He now has three new fans!!! I hope to see him again soon!

    Another highlight of the evening was getting to hear Chas Cronk.....SOLO! Despite his nervousness he did an outstanding performance of "Starshine," and was in great voice. Hopefully this is a first, not a last and we'll be hearing more of him (alone) in the future...

    Following the show all of the Witchwooders staying overnight headed back to the bar at the Clarion Hotel. We were having a great time up until getting kicked out at 11:00, after that some of us headed to Dick's Room where we continued the party. We all had a great time, especially Joe, hopefully he can remember some of it! (Just kidding Joe!) Dick had a pretty good time too, and if Les posts his pictures you'll be able to see why ;-)

    Hope to see you all again soon!


    SOMETHING MAGICAL ABOUT THE ENTIRE DAY - Review by Judi Cuervo

    photo from Les Cotton

    Photo by Les Cotton - more photos from Les.

    It was without doubt the pinnacle of my Strawbs life, and I can now almost think about things like Chiswick with a bit less envy!

    First, an impressive turnout. Considering the cost and the travel (with a Monday snowstorm predicted no less), the place was pretty full, with a few last-minute additions convinced the night before at Satalla that they simply couldn't miss this. It really did feel like a "private" family thing, with all the familiar faces and encountering for the first time Witchwooders who had travelled in specifically for the show from Colorado, England, Ottawa, DC...

    Originally, I believe Joe said the band would be doing an "abbreviated" set but that wasn't the case. They kicked it off with the full first half they performed the night before and then returned later for the full second half. In between, we were treated to John Ford--Damn! He HAS to play more local gigs!--and the solo performances.

    First, John Ford. The guy is a master. Immediately won over even those who were entirely unfamiliar with his solo stuff. After the show, Amanda's mom practically leaped from her seat to pick up his CDs at the merchandise area.

    A few words on Chas' solo spot. He had to overcome a few hiccups in terms of forgetting lyrics and later seemed totally embarrassed by it which is particularly ridiculous since both Ford and Cousins had a bout of the same thing. What Chas did sing, though, sounded great (love his voice and swear on "Midnight Sun" live, he makes the song).

    Lambert's "Stairway to Heaven" blew everyone away! I admit, that's probably tied with "Funky Town" as my least fave song in the world, but my God! He was great! I hate to admit it, but I was in the ladies' room when he played his face...did wonder what the hell was going on outside.

    Cousins' "I've Been My Own Worst Friend" and "My Way of Loving You" convinced me that this Cousins solo tour that he's told people over the years he's thinking about could be fabulous! I've always held a "Lennon/McCartney" view of that, i.e., Cousins and Lambert, brilliant together with neither as strong apart from each other, but Cousins' solo stint was gorgeous. To be honest, I think I have to hear "My Way of Loving You" a few more times. Some of the words, I couldn't make out and that seems to be the way I judge his stuff. I did like the line about his moods being black as the wing of something or other.

    Which is a nice segue into saying they all seemed to be in tremendously good moods, exceedingly relaxed, maybe because they knew they were among family. Lots of joking, funny intros and such. And, later, at the bar, it felt like a party, a night out with friends. Some playing pool, others huddled around the jukebox or at the bar. Cousins even brought out his CD player and had a bunch of us listen to two new demos he did with Connie the German, as I find myself calling the guy, which was an enormous treat.

    There was something magical about the entire day...a regular concert is magical enough, but watching them with the sun blazing through the window at the start of the show and then having the music continue as the sun went down and night set in.... That's the way to go!

    Next year again, Joe!


    A CELEBRATION WITH FRIENDS OLD AND NEW - Review by Ken Prospero

    photo from Wayne Herrschaft

    Photo by Wayne Herrschaft - two whole galleries of Wayne's pix at Gallery 1 and Gallery 2.

    Joe Langer had the vision of an intimate gathering of friends whose common bond is a love of the Strawbs' music. Such a gathering would be perfect of course, if the Strawbs were present to provide the entertainment. It would be more than perfect he could get an old friend who doesn't perform with the Acoustic band to come along too. Well, Joe managed to achieve this vision with the gathering of Witchwooders and other devoted fans at the Downtown Pub in beautiful, downtown Bristol, Connecticut.

    The attendance at this concert shows the devotion of fans. Fist the location. Let's be honest, though Bristol is a lovely town in God's Country, Connecticut, it's not exactly the center of the universe. Nonetheless, fans came from the UK, from Canada, from Washington, DC and elsewhere for this special afternoon.

    Doors opened at 2:00, and when I arrived at 2:05, about half the ultimate audience was already there, as well as the band was already there. The first hour or so, was like a private Cocktail party with the Strawbs and John. Many of the Witchwooders who knew each other from many concerts greeted each others. Others introduced themselves and got to meet new friends. During this time, the musicians did their sound check, to the appreciation of the audience.

    Finally, the time for cocktails was over, and time for the music to begin. The Strawbs took the stage first and played a set which matched the first half of the concert at Satalla, the night before. The sound system was fine, and the band was in great form both musically and vocally. The only difference between this and other performances is that the band played the numbers straight through, without Dave Cousins' usual explanation of the songs.

    After the first set, it's time for hors d'oeuvres, before a set by John Ford. Having John perform was a real treat. This is the first time I had seen John perform live, it won't be the last. John took us through a tour of his music, including Strawbs favorites ("Witchwood" and "Heavy Disguise"), songs that obviously mean a lot to him personally ("Together Apart" and "Kissed by the Sun"), and several other numbers. Though John's songwriting style is and always has been different from Dave Cousins, as with the earlier days of the band, they are definitely complimentary. John is also a very gracious man, who spent time talking with anyone in the audience. His association with the Strawbs is strong and continuing (he's currently a member of the UK Electric Band), and on his website, he bills himself as "John Ford of the Strawbs".

    After John's set, it was time for a delicious buffet dinner, and more socializing.

    After a while, the Strawbs took the stage again, for the second set. Again, this mostly followed the play list from the previous night. However, somewhere through the middle of the set, I realized that Dave Cousins is truly treating his audiences to a "history of the Strawbs". The play list contains at least one song from most of their albums. "Oh How She Changed" ("Strawbs"); The Antique Suite (Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios;, Witchwood (From the Witchwood); "New World" (Grave New World); "Lay Down" (Bursting At the Seams); "Autumn" and "Hero and Heroine" (Hero and Heroine"); "Ghosts" (Ghosts); "Simple Visions" and "Hard Hard Winter" (Deep Cuts); "If" and "Cold Steel" (Deja Fou). With this collection of songs, one can see the various styles that the band has used throughout its history.

    After "Hero and Heroine", a question arose, the next (and last) song on the set list from the previous night was Witchwood, which John Ford had already performed. When an audience member called out for this song, Dave Cousins noted that it had already been played. A substitute finale was needed. At this point, Dave nodded to John Ford (who was standing in the back, and John joined the other Strawbs members for a rousing version of "Part of the Union". To end the main part of the show.

    However, the evening wasn't over yet. As a special encore, each of the members of the Acoustic Strawbs took the stage, in turn, to do some solo numbers.

    First was Dave Cousins, who reached back, about as far as one can go playing "I've Been My Own Worst Friend" (All Our Own Work), which he mentioned hadn't been played in years. Dave then whizzed forward to the present day to play "It's Just My Way of Loving You". A new song that hasn't yet been recorded.

    Next up was Chas Cronk. This was a special moment, since Chas rarely (if EVER) performs solo. Chas delighted the crowd with a rendition of "Starshine" (Ghosts) and exited the stage with a gleeful dance.

    Finally was Dave Lambert. His chosen number, an acoustic version of "Stairway to Heaven", was inspired, and truly shows his versatility as a guitar player and a rocker. After some prodding from Dave Cousins, Dave L finished the evening with a rendition of "The William Tell Overture", which simply defies description. You truly had to be there.

    Overall, the evening was a concert, a party and a gathering of friends and an experience. Excellent music and excellent friends. A truly magical evening, and the most pleasurable Strawbs event I've ever attended. Thanks to the band, and a special thanks to Joe Langer for pulling this together.

    photo from Wayne Herrschaft

    Photo by Wayne Herrschaft - two whole galleries of Wayne's pix at Gallery 1 and Gallery 2.


    Setlist

    Simple Visions
    Flower And The Young Man
    Ghosts
    Shine on Silver Sun
    Cold Steel
    Midnight Sun
    Autumn

    Lemon Pie
    The Antique Suite
    Oh How she Changed
    New World
    Hard Hard Winter
    If
    Lay Down
    Hero and Heroine

    Witchwood

    SATALLA, NEW YORK, NY, SATURDAY 19 FEBRUARY 2005

    THEY JUST KEEP GETTING BETTER - Review by Bob Polchinski

    Brilliant show Last night at Satalla in NYC. They just keep getting better. I saw this same line-up last fall at the same venue and they definitely gelled better this time. Maybe Chas feels more comfortable with the material. "Ghosts" sounded better this time too, though not the same guitar lead tour de force it was wih Brian and Dave L. Same set pretty much that has been played in the British shows.

    Sound quality was excellent, though Lambert was a bit louder than the others - nothing wrong with a little more Lambert. Could really hear Chas working the synth pedals.

    "The Antique Suite" was amazing. The original version, though okay, didn't impress me that much on the Antiques & Curios record. This arrangement, however, was fantastic. Now I see what the big deal has been about recently. They have to record that again with this lineup.


    THEY'RE BACK - AND BETTER THAN EVER - Review by Ken Prospero

    With the demise of The Bottom Line, I had been somewhat concerned as to where the boys would perform in New York City. The US Electric Band had played in Joe's Pub (not my favorite venue in the City). Last fall, the acoustic band did two shows in Satalla, a club located in Chelsea. This weekend, Dave, Chas and Dave returned to Satalla, to a sold out house, so we may have found a home.

    Having seen performances from the band's last US tour this fall, I have noticed that there was an increased overall energy level to the performances with the addition of Chas. One area which had concerned me was that the performances didn't see to be as tight as with the previous line up. However, noting that Chas had just joined the group a few months previous, I was prepared to reserve judgment and see how the line up evolved. Now, several months later, I am happy to be able to say that the musical cohesiveness has grown tremendously over the last several months, and has reached the point where comparisons with the former band are in many ways irrelevant. The current line up has taken the Acoustic Strawbs in new and exciting directions and as fans, we're privileged to be coming along for the ride.

    As previously noted, Chas brings both a new energy level and new depth to the band, a third vocalist, and a wider range of instruments, including the 12-string guitar, the acoustic bass and the pedals. If I wanted to pick nits, I could question whether it's fair to call a band that plays with the pedals 'acoustic', but frankly, I care more about the quality of the music than anything else. The depth added by the string-like sounds from the pedals add immensely to the depth of the performance, and some songs wouldn't work with out them.

    On to the show. The first of the two sets contained numbers that the band has previously played on tour. Particularly impressive are "Midnight Sun" and "Cold Steel" (which is not to complain about rest of the numbers, as they improve with each hearing). However, the real treat was the second set, which contained several songs new to the set list, including "Lemon Pie", "Hard, Hard Winter" and "The Antique Suite".

    The highlight of the evening was certainly "The Antique Suite" (from Just a Collection of Antique and Curios). According to Dave Cousins, this gem has not been performed many years, and this tour marks the first time it's been played in North America. This song most clearly shows the different approach to the song. The original version of this song was marked by Rick Wakeman's superb keyboards. The keyboard parts are largely covered by Dave Lambert's acoustic guitar. Dave L. also sings the Tony Hooper parts of the song. The song retains the overall feel of the original, yet it clearly works as a song written for guitars rather than keyboards.

    Other comments on the show:

  • Normally, the band plays two shows a night when in New York City.
  • Tonight there was only one show (due to a 'I love Guyana' night scheduled at Satalla for 10pm.). This is good for the audience since when there are two shows, the set list is cut for each.
  • I'm continuously impressed by the energy level on stage that the band shows. From the audience it appears that the band is having a great time on stage, and this feeling is infectious.
  • Dave Cousins continues to have a masterly stage presence, his descriptions of the songs give one a creative process. With this tour he has added more facts to the descriptions of the songs (including the somewhat surprising connection of "Ghosts" with Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust").
  • In the audience was John Ford.

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