Updated: 27 Aug 2007
Part 2 - Second leg - 27 June to 5 July
THE GERMAN HOUSE, ROCHESTER, NY, THURSDAY 21 JUNE 2007
Dave C has a new guitar--a 12 string--which I feel brings a new layer to the sound. Chas has a new totally kick-butt bass. Really sounds great.
Didn't take the set list down but "Life Auction", "I Only Want My Love To Grow In You", "Out in the Cold/Round And Round" and the return of "The River"/"Down By The Sea" were the highpoints for me. Also "Heartbreaker", "We'll Meet Again Sometime", "Benedictus", "Lay Down", "Cold Steel", "Hero And Heroine", "Autumn". A FAB drum solo by Rod (and I'm so not usually a drum solo kinda girl) came before "Hero And Heroine" and it was the perfect way to introduce what I consider the most powerful Strawbs song. Just built and built and built and then BOOM, "Hero & Heroine"! Wildly exciting! Missed it a lot at Pawling.
I agree with Ken about the songs where John and Rod leave the stage. Don't really agree with that. It's billed as electric Strawbs and then suddenly we're back to acoustic.
Sound could have been better in terms of voices.
This was the first Rochester show that didn't take place at Milestones (which, to be honest, I always considered sort of a dump). What an enormous improvement! The German House is a century old brick building that got its name from being the clubhouse of the German soccer teams in the area. The upper floor is the venue, a very atmospheric room with velvet curtains, full stage, oval windows; below is a full restaurant and a bar.
Hate being so brief on this but after being out of the office three days and having to pack up my office by Thursday, it'll have to do.
Photo by Dorie Jennings - more pics from Dorie.
THE REGENT THEATRE, ARLINGTON, MA, FRIDAY 22 JUNE 2007
The Boston show was in a great historic theatre which was unfortunately only half full. The sound was crystal clear except maybe for Dave's vocals which were a bit buried during the louder songs. I preferred the first part of the show, with spirited versions of "Lay Down", "I Only Want My Love To Grow In You" and "New World" along with the acoustic trip of "Witchwood", "Benedictus" and "Simple Visions". "Autumn" was also awesome as was "Cold Steel". In the second half (I think) was "Heartbreaker" which is done really well, and of course "Hero and Heroine", preceded by impressive work by Rod Coombes. I do wish they would do another song rather than reprise the final part of "Round and Round", but most in the audience seemed to be happy with that choice :)
I Only Want My Love To Grow In You
Burning For Me
Out In The Cold/Round And Round
The River/Down By The Sea
Drum Solo/Hero And Heroine
Round And Round Reprise
We'll Meet Again Sometime
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
TOWNE CRIER, PAWLING, NY, SATURDAY 23 JUNE 2007
It was a great gig at one of The Strawbs favorite venues and one of my fave places too. Lisa, Ron, Taylor, Kenneth Levine , Judy , Amanda, Monica, and a number of other familiar faces were in attendance at this sold out show. A set list has already been posted. For me, the stand out moments were "Autumn", "Burning For Me", and "Down By The Sea". "Autumn" was the most spectacular I've ever heard and others commented the same. It was stunning. "Burning For Me" was the most intense ever. Lamby's playing was on a whole new level of mastery. The Mellotron patches in "Down By The Sea", again perfect and Lamby really laying into his Les Paul. "Benedictus" and "Simple Visions" were a bit baffling though. They were played with just Lamby accompanying Cousins on acoustic guitar. Hawken and Coombes played no part. Why? They're right there. Others I spoke with felt the same. Plus both compositions were played as a medley with "Benedictus" morphing into "Simple Visions". They're great pieces and were played well but it was disappointing not to have the whole band in on it.
The mix over all was good.. not great. The sound level could have been about 3dB less. In the first set, Lamby's vocal mike was pure mud. There was no presence to it. I would have guessed the low to be at about 1:00 and the high at about 3:00. It was remedied though during the 2nd set. Lamby had his tuxedo Les Paul through a Dean Markley combo. a great sound. Chas had a Dean bass through a pre-CBS black face Fender Bassman amp..killer tone! The acoustic guitars were Chas: Dean 12 string, Lamby: an Ovation Adamas 6, Cousins: Gibson 12 string and banjo. I forget the keys, but a Moog was clearly visible.
The Strawbs played with an intense power and confidence that , for sure, was impressive. I hadn't seen them like that in quite some time. They have definitely arrived. They encored with a killer version of "We'll Meet Again Sometime" followed my favorite, "Here Today Gone Tomorrow", always a religious experience for me. For sure we hung out afterward and had great chat with Rod and Chas and well, everybody. I'll be doing it again in NYC and Toronto. Those going are in for a major performance from the greatest group ever.
A quick little review from last night. The show was sold out and I hadn't made a reservation, but they managed to squeeze me in. It was certainly worth the 90 mile( 150 km) drive there. The first set was brilliant with very tight execution of the songs. Cousins sang with his usual vigor and to my ears, sounded better than on the Nearfest CD as did Dave L. "I Only Want My Love To Grow In You" and "Witchwood" were highlights for me. Cousins using the banjo on "Witchwood" this time around, sounded great and I dug the Gregorian chant a capella part in the middle.
The second set was a little more of a rockin' set, a bit louder and more raucus, looser. Cousins voice got lost a little in the loud mix. JH had minor technical difficulties with his gadgets, and upon being kidded by the crowd, he quipped, "It used to be so much easier". Chas and Rod were great holding down the rhythm.
"Ghosts" was not in the show, which is the only show in recent memory that I haven't heard it.
First I like to give a big thanks to Phil and Bill who run The Towne Crier which is great place to have dinner and catch a great show. These type of venues are short in supply and are becoming rare. Excellent Chef!!!!
Sat right in the front practically on stage and was treated to a breathtaking performance. Have seen the acoustic Strawbs three previous times and they just get better with age. The Electric Strawbs dazzled from the opening vocals of "Lay Down" to the end of "Here Today, Gone Tommorrow". Was surprised to hear a favorite "I Only Want My Love To Grow In You" done to perfection. I of course could go on and on but the point of the Strawbs for me is they just get better and better and JUST SEEM TO ENJOY DOING WHAT THEY DO DO WELL.
Thanks to Chas for digging out his cd I have been trying to locate. Great cd much in the same vein as Pete Bardens Water Colors. Also had a bit of fun with Dave Cousins after the show and complained to him I had been ripped off by buying his cd. He has a great sense of humour and by the way his new cd is going to be a classic. I know this because on first listen I was a bit confused a week later this cd just grows on you. Favorites are the "Smile You Left Behind" and "Bringing In The Harvest" but the whole cd has a great feel. Dave Cousins is a treasure of a performer and much more important just a nice man.
SELLERSVILLE THEATER, SELLERSVILLE, PA, SUNDAY 24 JUNE 2007
Not a full review, but a few impressions of the sold out show at Sellersville, beginning with Dave Cousins strolling outside the theatre pre show to admire an antique car parked across the street. Oddly, few seemed to recognize Dave.
A personal highpoint was a stunning rendition of "Burning For Me", one of my all time favorites. Dave C tells a story to begin "Autumn", John Hawken begins the signature moog intro and - silence! The moog isn't working! a couple minutes of fiddling and still no moog so John pounds out the into melody on the piano for a unique version of the song. The moog never returned, but pounding bass piano notes compensated nicely.
A few quibbles... an "electric" version of "Benedictus" with no keyboards or drums? And Dave C's banjo could barely be heard. Still, the band played well for an enthusiastic crowd.
There are things in life one can only dream about...For years, it was seeing the Electric Strawbs Hero and Heroine line up play again. Three years ago, when the shows were announced I shrieked "HELL HAS FROZEN OVER!!!" A dream come true.
Ladies and Gentlemen; The past two nights have been INCREDIBLE. The power and artistry of this band has blown two nights (thus far)of SOLD OUT crowds away. Dave C. has been in incredible voice, Dave L's fingers flying on the frets, solos(PERFECT) Hawken's chorus of angels, Chas' Dean Bass has an amazing, amazing sound. Rod Coombes..... OHMIGOD!!!!!!!
To all on this list.... yes i'm silly because I've not written down the set list. Too blown away. Suffice it to say that one learns NOT to look back and mourn things in our youth. It's not that time has stopped.... It all sounds BETTER. RICHER...... more incredible.
Thank you Dave C. Thank you Electric Strawbs.( If I get ANY sleep tonite and can function at all tomorrow) I will try to write the set-list down.
More after The Strand!!!!
I reside in Fayetteville, NC USA and drove 9 hours to see the Strawbs at the Sellersville Theater in PA. in June. I am originally from north New Jersey and have seen the band on two other tours in the late 70's,80's. My best friend and I mentioned to David after the show, that we had tickets for the Hero and Heroine show at the Academy on 3rd St. in NYC and my Dad's car broke down on the way to the show. We missed the show the ticket was $6.00 in 1974. I had David sign a DVD that I purchased and he signed my $6 ticket.
The band was fantastic and I wish I could have heard them one more time during this tour.
THE STRAND, LAKEWOOD, NJ, TUESDAY 26 JUNE 2007
Photo by Rob Robinson - more pics from Rob.
Through all the different forms the Strawbs have taken over the years... the Strand show was the BEST Strawbs show I've seen since the 1970s. I realize I date myself by saying this.... HOWEVER..... they were absolutely BRILLIANT. yes, BRILLIANT!!!!. In perspective, BBKings was excellent, however time stopped at the Strand.... the hair may have been grayer, the beards longer, the eyes more rheumy, however.....four standing ovations during the set at the Strand, and five at BBKings.
Outstanding. I could sleep for a week..... WATCH OUT CANADA... STRAP IN, TUNE IN, AND GET READY TO HAVE YOUR JAWS DROP!!!!!
Photo by Rick Sarlo - more pics from Rick.