Updated: 2 Oct 2006
THE MUSICIAN, LEICESTER - 21 SEP 2006
On 21st September 2006, The Acoustic Strawbs played at The Musician, a cozy pub venue in Leicester.
Starting the first set with the ever popular "Lay Down" and "Tears and Pavan" they entranced the appreciative audience with songs new and old (some very old!).
The second set started with "New World", the words of which remain relevant to the modern climate of terrorism. The recently written "Cold Steel" showcased Dave Lambert on guitar. "Shine On", "The Battle", "Autumn" and "Hero And Heroine" completed the set, just leaving time for a "Golden" encore.
It is fairly amazing that my photos are this good - there was 2 glow-worm power of light, and I was reduced to taking the photographs with 1/10th second exposure hand-held.
Photo by Alan Perry - more pics from Alan.
Tears And Pavan
The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
Oh How She Changed
Two Weeks last Summer
The Flower And the Young Man
Shine On Silver Sun
Hero And Heroine
THE CARNIVAL, BARTON-UPON-HUMBER - 22 SEP 2006
Had a brilliant time at the Acoustic gig at the "Carnival" in Barton last night (22nd Sept) . Please pass on my compliments to Chas and both Daves, they performed a lovely mix of old and new songs with a nice acoustic twist and brilliant guitar work to boot. I have seen them several times now in different lineups, but have always been impressed by their laid back style and the ease with which they re-create the atmosphere in their songs, even with only three members. I have recently bought several CDs to hopefully give me a complete collection of their songs through the decades.
My first introduction to Dave Cousins and the Strawbs was back in the early seventies when our regular listening consisted of Moody Blues, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd and of course The Strawbs. I saw them at Hull City Hall with a group of schoolfriends and mutual fans. It was my first proper concert and I was blown away by the power of these giant Leslie speakers as they all appeared amidst a cloud of smoke in dazzling white suits and hit us with "Benedictus", "Down By The Sea" and many more, made even better by Cousins' unique, haunting voice.
I enjoy them as much now as then and look forward to seeing the full electric Strawbs concert if they play any dates near me in 2007.
Once again, it's a pleasure seeing the boys doing so well.
Photo by Alison Brown - more pics from Ali.
There was a brief moment when I thought about not going to this gig. I'd been up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne all day and on the way home I got stuck in queue for the Tyne Tunnel for 45 minutes which meant I would be late setting off for a near 2 hour drive and it was pouring with rain. But the moment passed and I set off. I was rewarded with the most breathtaking sunset sky I have ever seen. I caught the edge of the rain cloud just as the sunset was at it's height and to the West the sky was just a bright yellow fusion of clouds while to the East there was the most vivid double rainbow I've ever seen, with wisps of rain cloud twining round it. An unforgettable sight!
The Carnival is a large pub on the outskirts of the town, just over the Humber Bridge (£2.70 each way - ouch!). I arrived just after the doors had opened and joined the queue up to the upstairs room. The support act was Missingtime, a local Lincolnshire trio featuring acoustic guitars and bass - very enjoyable. Then on came the lads straight into "Benedictus" and "Simple Visions". I've enjoyed the unpredictability of the setlists on this tour. This was my fourth concert and every one's been different and I think tonight's was the one I enjoyed the most. "New World" makes a great opener to the second set, followed by the excellent new arrangement of "The Flower And The Young Man" and "Autumn" seemed revitalised for being so late in the second set instead of closing the first. "The Battle" is just brilliant, it's got better and better as the tour's gone on and I was just a little pleased that "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus" got an airing.
The sound was excellent and all three voices could be heard really clearly in the harmonies. No other Witchwooders in attendance but the audience were a friendly, highly enthusiatic bunch. There were lots of cries for "The Hangman And The Papist" as the encore but there is only one song that truly finishes off an Acoustic Strawbs concert - "Hero And Heroine"!
Yet another remarkable performance and a night I will remember for a very long time.
Tears And Pavan
Oh How She Changed
Two Weeks Last Summer
Shine On Silver Sun
The Golden Salamander
Hero And Heroine
A Glimpse Of Heaven
RIGA MUSIC BAR, WESTCLIFF ON SEA - 23 SEP 2006
Another fine performance at the Riga, with the new numbers bedding down and becoming even more enjoyable.
Various Witchwooders - Lindsay, Carole, Nigel, Sue & Mike Holton and I - agreed to meet up beforehand for a drink and a meal (instead of my usual dash to get there just before the show starts!). Headed off to the Cliffs Pavilion - scene of that early Strawberry Hill Boys concert back in July 1965, supporting the cunningly named combo Tom, Dick & Harriet: I wonder if DC cracked that end of show "see you here in another 30 years" quip back then, 'cause if so he wasn't far off. We then tried various of the Italian restaurants nearby without success, before heading up to what apparently used to be the "Bond Street of Southend" before it went downhill. Nice restaurant though, selected by Lindsay, loads of garlic bread and olives and nice main courses.
Got to the Riga, damn - all the seats at the front taken as they'd opened the doors earlier than we'd been told. A night of standing up loomed, which I have to say, did take the shine off the evening from my point of view (gout sufferer!). Oh well.
Only other slight downside to the night was those folks who not only sit at the Riga bar and talk all night to each other but who actually seem to shout up in order to compete with the band. Really wonder why they bother coming out at all. Heartily wish they wouldn't.
The show got going with an excellent support act, Phil Burdett, who coaxed a range of textures and styles out of his acoustic guitar accompanying some well crafted self-penned songs. Nice understated self-deprecating between song patter to boot.
Acoustic Strawbs, doing one straight through set here, as is their wont for the Riga, included most of the usual suspects on this tour, apart from "Dragonfly" and "Flower And The Young Man". (It's notable that at the Carnival in Barton on Humber the previous night, the selection was a little different again - see above - obviously working up the repertoire for picking and mixing in the US, particularly where they do two shows at the same venue and want to vary the repertoire slightly between shows.)
Highlights for me were "Lay Down" (what a good opener that is!), "Oh How She Changed" and "The Battle" which was just superb. Opening now with Dave C strumming the opening chords, it builds and adds the various textures open to them - Dave Lambert's guitar, Chas on 12-string and some deftly-placed work with the footpedals - only to cut to the stunning accapella parts where everything calms down again. I caught some real rock riffs going on towards the end from Lambert, whosde guitar was subject to some distortion for most of the night - slightly off-putting in some of the quieter numbers, but actually rather appropriate here, and adding a grungy tone which I've not heard in this before, but which I felt worked rather well. "Hero And Heroine" was slightly distorted but as good performance-wise as ever - that abrupt ending is fantastic.
Sadly that's the last one for me - couldn't stretch to Bodmin on a Sunday and won't be able to make it to South Petherton on 30th Sept. Hope to hear all about the US shows from our friends over there.
Photos by Wolfie - more pics from Wolfie.
Saturday night it was down to the Riga,
Not far from the longest pier
There was Lindsay and Carole and Nigel
Dick, Sue and Mike and all in very good cheer
We all met on the cliffs in the Pavilion
And then set off for a lovely meal
Quaffed lots and lots of liquid refreshments
And tasted and slurped many beers
Consumed loads of garlic bread and olives
And not a mention, of a spag bog or two
Some they had lamb shank and sauces
But no one, had their beef in a stew
Some had prawns with legs astride their plate
And there was pasta a plenty for two
Still time for one mushroom tartlet
Washed down with yet another fine simple "healthy" brew
All this took second place that evening
To an odd little feisty scene from the street
Was it young love, booze or something other?
The reason, we were never to glean or meet
We saw a roadside disco
As traffic lights they turned to red
Bodies tumbling out of halted cars
And dancing at night to applause
Off inside the Riga
We had been beaten by more than a few
Some were forced to stand all night
Others were seated in comfort, not wearing out their shoes
But by the time Lay down kicked off proceedings
DK shorn and shipshape was doing his stuff
With his lights glistening everywhere
There were many whoops of delight, cheers and other stuff
"Tears" came next, but from the stage
And not from the audience too
Before the Midnight Sun took over
And shone ever so bright and new
Oh how she changed, sparkled bright
Before the Ghosts started to appear
Then a slightly distorted guitar sound
Brought Cold Steel to a different view
But soon the Silver Sun was shining on
In time for the Golden Salamander's stage
And onto and into the Battle
By now everyone was ready for that little crusade
The dancing began with H and H
Led by Geraldine and young Gracie too
Both gently swinging in the wings
And entirely in full view
And just for one of those moments
We then had our Glimpse of Heaven time
Another night time of bliss in Riga
Riga in September was fine
We all then departed in various directions
Some, may have been slightly *issed
Others were merely just half sober
This night is one definitely not to be missed
And yes, we were all very, very sad it was over.
As we met up with Steve to say "hello"
With those Strawbs and their songs down Riga way
How nice to have a night time in Southend
I'm sure it beats Southend by day ( OOPS !! only joking )
DAVID HALL ARTS CENTRE, SOUTH PETHERTON - 30 SEP 2006
And what a great set it was! I still can't believe it when they come to my village. Terrific spellbinding, make-you-shiver harmonies, superb guitar, all on great form.
Photo by Pete Bradley - more pics from Pete.