Updated: 8 Jul 2007
Part 1 - First leg - 21 to 26 June
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
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
We'll Meet Again Sometime
BB KINGS, MANHATTAN, WEDNESDAY 27 JUNE 2007
I now understand how a proud parent must feel! Face it, people. All of us have seen the band at venues far, far beneath their talents or convinced ourselves that a turnout of 50 was a respectable audience. There was none of that nonsense last night at B.B. Kings. Last night, our Strawbs were bonafide rock stars.
Let me start from the beginning. It was the type of day that must have inspired John Sebastian's "Summer in the City"--relentless heat and suffocating humidity. The walk down 7th Avenue from what--until about 5:00 p.m. today--is my office was a slalom course of meandering tourists, speedwalking office workers and street-blocking vendors. A right turn off 7th did little to relieve the madness as this was 42nd Street, an explosion of lights, impatient honking taxi drivers and Broadway marquees. There, about halfway down the block, surrounded by the neon of Ripley's Believe It or Not, Madame Tussaud's, the Tony Award winning production of Mary Poppins and probably the gawdiest McDonald's I've ever seen (though I've never been to Vegas) was B.B. Kings. On its marquee was one word: Strawbs.
For Strawbs to be playing one of New York's most prestigious concert venues was at once exciting and scary. This was a place that hosted big names like the Beach Boys, Gregg Allman, James Brown and others since it opened its doors 7 years ago. Strawbs would appear mid-week, not on a weekend, and the weather was horrible with strong storms forecast for that evening. I obviously underrated their pull though--the 600-seat place was "just about sold out" according to the manager.
Support act last night was Brigit St. John, a folksinger who wasn't my thing but really could have been worse. She played about 30 minutes, left the stage and soon after an anonymous voice introduced Strawbs. The band took the stage (and they actually had space for once!) that was bordered by huge video monitors that showed the performance for the benefit of those in the back of the room. I wish the screens would have photographed, but it didn't work for me the few times I tried to get a shot of the one closest to me.
"Lay Down" kicked off the set that was wonderfully endless! No intermission, which really did terrible things to my bladder, I'll tell you that. It was obvious that this was a special night to the band with Dave C (in a rather shiny..."vestment" is probably the best word) nearly smiling and pretty often at that! His voice was huge...those long notes in "Simple Visions" were held to their conclusion without a hint of a crack or weakening and he was boppin' around like one of those little dolls on a dashboard. Lambert in pinstripes and new shoes (his feet were inches from my face so I could tell) was electric, doing that crucifixion pose and, once, even launching into a modified Townsend. Even the usually stoic Chas, also in pinstripes (what a surprise), was in animated rock star mode. When they added Rod's powerful drumming and the ever-elegant Hawken's keyboards the result was an wildly enthusiastic reception sprinkled with frequent spontaneous bouts of applause and standing Os all throughout. Not to mention two encores.
As always, there was one table of three guys directly behind me who had a bit too much to drink. Obnoxious, yes, particularly when they knocked over the beer bottle, but how annoyed can you be when most of their shouts and hollers centered around calls for "Cut Like a Diamond" and "Just Love"?? Also in the audience you could spot the regulars (Amanda, Veronica, the Kens, Joe Bruno, Lisa, Ron, Taylor, Gebhardt, Joannie, Bill and Beverly) but this was one audience where it was impossible to know everyone by name.
With this week being so crazy for me, I couldn't dawdle after the show. I pretty much scooted out right at the end, flew down to Penn Station, and slid through the doors of my train right as they were about to close. Relieved to have made it, I suddenly heard "Hey! Did you enjoy the show???" I turned to see the three drunken guys from the table behind me. Swear to God. We talked for the whole ride--they'd never seen Strawbs live before and loved it. When I got off at my stop, though, they were still talking about how much they really wanted to hear "Cut Like a Diamond" and "Just Love". Some people are never satisfied but I'd say the VAST majority of the audience last night certainly was.
Photo by Judi Cuervo - more pics from Judi.
The recent show at BB Kings in NYC was an absolutely marvellous evening. My second time seeing the band since the Fall Acoustic Strawbs tour came to Joe's Pub in NYC, I was wildly excited to see this classic band performing in full electric line-up. Watching the 1975 Live from Japan DVD over and over for a few years now, listening to every album countless times, it was very nostalgic even for me, at 20 years old, to see them all these years later. All of the elements that make The Strawbs so great have only ripened so sweet over the years.
Before the show began my younger sister and I caught a glimpse of John Hawken standing by the bar. My breathe taken out of me, this, for me, like meeting one of The Beatles to some people, I had to shake his hand and thank him for the inspirations and wonderful music he has brought us all. So, I got to chat with him for a bit by the bar with my sister! Once I got around my extreme nervous excitement the quick conversation had ended, but he assured me they would be hanging around after the concert. Incredible, the night was set to be amazing!
A guest appearance by Bridget St John opened the night with some magical music. I have been meaning to listen to her albums, and this performance has given me all the more reason to. Most memorable was her opening song, a cover of Dylan's "Just Like A Woman", sung with such a beautiful voice and melody it only brought images of these fantastic female singer songwriters of the 60's and 70's making such great music in their time, capturing such unique moods. I heard her voice as a medium of Sandy Denny and Nico, two of my favorite female artists of the time, and I could not get enough. Bridget continued with about four more songs, one French song she had written, and some other folky melodies, all very nice...what a way to start off the night!
The Strawbs came on stage around 9:30 and the crowd rumbled with excitement, standing, applauding and taking in all the visual greatness of this band even before the music touched our ears. They opened with "Lay Down" in full harmony, and the rocket was off! The whole show was really tight, really loud, and really packed with awesomeness. Key tracks were "Benedictus/Simple Visions", "New World", "Autumn" and a really big suprise, "Witchwood". All the songs sounded very tight and there were NO hick-ups in the playing. The guys looked fantastic, and I really felt like I was back in a time I never experienced, seeing the band in their prime, like it was yesterday that they were brand new. They ended with "The River/Down By The Sea" which was completely mind blowing and I could not keep my arms and feet from moving uncontrollably. But wait! There was more! The crowd cheers so loud the band comes back out! A beautiful moment, Dave Cousins giving a great version of "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow"...a really special, powerful song, as the band slowly comes back on stage to re-gather for the final moments of the song. I really felt great after that, but felt I was still missing one of my favorite songs and the ultimate crowd pleaser…"We'll Meet Again Sometime". So I roared and roared, and we all did, for more Strawbs! Low and behold, they come back out and the crowd goes nuts! Lambert starts to laugh a bit at some all time favorite song requests, and a few guys next to me cheering for "Just Love", and then the opening chords begin for "We'll Meet Again Sometime"…my brother's personal favorite song. It was so special to have them end it with that song…just a beautiful experience.
So, we stayed afterward and got to meet the band for the second time since the fall, had a great chat with John about Renaissance and piano, and got to finally meet Rod Coombes to complete a heavenly experience. If only everyone would break down crying and faint like those old Beatles and Elvis concerts, I'd be able to let loose! The band kindly signed my copy of A Taste of Strawbs and I was satisfied with a perfect night from this perfect band. Thank you Strawbs, come back to New York as soon as possible, and keep rocking!
Photo by Jerry McCarthy - more pics from Jerry.
First the weather. It was the hottest day so far with temps at 92 degrees Fahrenheit. and brutally high humidity. It was stifling. Also a power outage in the lower east side added to traffic woes. I drove in from Nyack; was literally stuck in my car in mid-town NYC for over an hour. Finally I saw my break and got some high priced parking on 48th St, home of most major music shops in the city. It was a jammed packed sweaty walk to 42nd St. where B.B.'s is. I went to Applebee's for a $7.50 pint of Sammy . The air con. was on full blast. Ah.. back outside, the Strawbs fans arrived en masse. Any worries of sparse attendance were put at ease as we baked in the queue. B.B.'s would be at capacity if not sold out. All the faithful were in attendance, Staten Island Bob, Judy, Dave, Veronica, Amanda, Ken Prospero, Jody, Joany, Harpo and Bobby from Keansburg, NJ (a very long haul), Long Island Steve, the always affable Bev and Bill and their nephew Ryan, long time Procol fan Unsteady Freddy, Carl and so many other faces. Great! We met Chas, Neil, and Dave C. while frying in the sun.
Finally the doors open, once inside, the air con. and high price drinks cooled us down. The opening act, Bridget St. John was superb. She was the perfect opener. With a sweet alto voice and lovely vibrato, she is an artist worthy of the Strawbs. She played with a side man whose name I didn't catch. .. an excellent player. I would love to see her again in a more intimate gig. The crowd was appreciative if some what noisy.
Finally, the Strawbs take the stage. B.B.'s was designed with music first , so the stage is large with video monitors off the side, suspended from the ceiling. The Strawbs were tight. I brought friends with me who had seen them on this tour and they commented how precise the changes were. They are not bringing their own back line amps with them so Chas was plugged into a G and K bass stack, 2 cabs of 4x10's.. nice. Lamby had his Tuxedo ' Paul plugged into what appeared to be a Fender black face Super Reverb. It seemed to me that Lamby was having control problems between his pedal board and the Fender.. there seemed to be a problem with dynamics. Of course, Lamby go it sorted out , never missing a note or a beat. Initially there were some minor high pitched feed back in the mix..also quickly remedied. The over all mix was superb. the best I'd ever heard. All the vocal mikes were beautifully blended and the back line mix perfect. The rhythm mix was perfect. You could really hear the interplay with Chas and Rod. By the way, Chas and Rod were totally on. In fact the whole band was stunning. NYC wanted the Strawbs and the Strawbs were hotter than the summer heat. Once Lamby settled in, he was unstoppable. He played with passion and fire..embellishing his picking with sweeps of the arm, facing Rod and then spinning round to the audience. Lamby was a sensation all to his own. Of course, Dave C., voice hitting all, arms up high, spinning his hands like the poet magician he is.John Hawken, the coolest man on the planet, always stately, always amazing. The SRO crowd loving every moment of it, taking it all in. The end brought standing ovations and foot stomping for more. Of course the Strawbs reappeared. I stayed to the very end. I didn't get a chance to hang out. I had to get back. exhausted from the heat and more importantly, satiated from the Strawbs.
Great reviews Ken and Judi. You pretty much summed it up. Just to add a few comments.
For those not familiar with BB King's it is located in the heart of Times Square the former home of the triple XXX rated movie theatres. It has since been Disneyfied and with shows like Mary Poppins and Madame Tussauds being located right down the block. I too was wondering what kind of crowd the Strawbs would draw. We arrived fairly early well before six, however, by the time the doors opened the line stretched down the block. I thought that we would get our choice of table, but when we entered all of the choice tables were gone as apparently some people were able to get in before the official opening. I sat near Bob and said Hello to the President of Strawbsco Industries Ken. Before the show I ran into Judi who remarked that the boys seemed to be a little nervous with this being a major venue for them. I interpreted that to be a good thing in that it would bring out the best in them.
Having seen the Strawbs in there heyday at gigs such as the Academy of Music, the Beacon, the Capital Theatre and the Bottom Line it was such a pleasure to see them again at a venue where they could showcase their immense talents. In the last few years I have seen the electric Strawbs at Joe's Pub and the Town Crier. But the problem was they could barely fit on the stage and the sound overwhelmed the room. At BB King's before a sold out and enthusiastic audience we finally had the opportunity to see them and hear them the way they were meant to be heard. Having attended numerous concerts over the years I always bring noise filters to preserve my hearing. At this show they were not needed or wanted. The sound was spot on and crystal clear just the right volume but not too much. The show was longer than most of there recent shows at the smaller clubs- about 2 hours with no intermission. Everyone has their personal favorites but I don't think anyone could complain about the song selections.
I always tell my friends that the world has Lennon and McCartney, but we have the two Dave's, who in my book rank right up there with them! Dave Lambert was his usual precise self- not a wasted note- with extended flourishes to cap each song. Dave Cousins- What can I say? He is the master, the poet, every song he sings brings such depth and emotion. I have seen them all but no one can put across a song like he can.
I envy all of you headed up to Toronto. Enjoy!
Photo by Judi Cuervo - more pics from Judi.
It's a very hot day in New York City, it's been a another tedious work day and I feel that I've fallen asleep at my desk. I'm having an incredible dream - here I am at a Strawbs concert in 2007 ??? Could it be? There are Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert and the whole band that created Hero and Heroine on stage playing and singing their hearts out... "Lay Down" opens the show and then classic upon classic sweep over me and others like a sweet melodic wave of perfection. But wait !!! It's NOT a dream !!! There they are and I'm a few short feet from these wonderful gentleman making the most unique and inspiring music I've ever heard. Dave says goodnight and we'll see you in another 30 years !! I really hope not but knowing reality for what it is I consider myself a VERY lucky person to have been privileged to see these angels from heaven. Thank you Strawbs !!!! PLEASE COME BACK !!!!
Just got back from BB Kings in NYC. Strawbs were wonderful. They get better each time I see them. The power of the band's playing and especially in Cousins' voice was truly amazing. What a terrific show!
I Only Want My Love To Grow In You
Burning For Me
The Life Auction
Out In The Cold/Round And Round
The River/Down By The Sea
Drum Solo/Hero And Heroine
Round And Round Reprise
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
HUGH'S ROOM, TORONTO ON, TUESDAY 3 JULY 2007
The day started out bad. Computer problems, my doctor using me for a pin cushion, etc. Then meeting up with Cinnie and Jake at their hotel. After, we all went to the Palace and Pachyderm (okay, the Elephant and Castle) for pre-concert dinner and drinks. We found Ken at the bar, possibly selling Cronk-O-Matics to the waitress, possibly not. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
So, afterwards we made our way to the streetcar where it drops us off directly in front of Hugh's Room. Or it would, if it still ran that way. However, yures foolishly forgot that they are destroying parts of Dundas Street in that part of town. Okay, I didn't know, but I should have. So, we tried to flag a cab, but they were busy with other passengers, and those that weren't were finding new and interesting ways of ignoring us. So, we ended up walking the rest of the way. Next time, we hire sherpas. We resembled nothing more than Moses and company looking for the promised land. Bob kept promising that it was 'just a little bit further', and I was promising to never, ever listen to Bob again when it comes to finding things in a city. Finally, we find the land of beer and food called Hugh's Room. The first person we see is Ken sitting at the bar, wondering what took us so long, because he'd been there for an hour already. In an fit of generosity, I decide to let him live.
So, we met all the usual suspects that even Inspector Renault from the movie Casablanca couldn't be bothered with, we take our seats and await the start of the show. The boys come out to thunderous applause, and go into "Lay Down". I am in heaven.
They were in particularly good form, although there we a few sound glitches (not usual for Hugh's Room). They did "I Only Want My Love TO Grow in You", a special song for Bob because it was the wedding song for him and Janice when they were married. Oddly enough, they also played "Burning For Me", which was the song I chose for my wedding gift to them (I gave them a beautiful lamp). They finished the first set with "Autumn", and I am not ashamed to admit, they played it so beautifully, I had tears in my eyes. I couldn't help but think of Janice, Bob's wife who passed away recently.
Intermission saw the usual suspects outside smoking and hobnobbing. I went along for the latter. After several minutes of hobnobbing, I returned to my seat for the second half. They opened with "Ghosts", always a treat for me. They then played more familiar songs, mostly from Hero and Heroine. They finished with the title track, then a reprise of "Round and Round". The encore was only one song, the now classic "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow".
The Strawbs again played music that touched us all very deeply. The audience was mostly made up of older folks, some no doubt hoping to recapture a bit of their youth. But the Strawbs aren't a nostalgia band - the music they play that is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was created. It touches the soul, it allows the spirit to breathe. No other band does this for me.
The band were really tight, and Dave Cousins was in excellent voice! Truly a classic show, with some surprises. The meet and greet went well, with the boys as friendly as ever.
So, tonight, round 2. Bob, due to work conflicts, cannot make it, so I am taking his daughter Tiffany again. She was blown away by the show last night, so she deserves to see them a second time. More when that show is finished.
A great time was had by all. We'll see what tonight's show will bring.
Photo by Cinnie Morgan - more pics from Cinnie.
HUGH'S ROOM, TORONTO ON, WEDNESDAY 4 JULY 2007
So, the Strawbs were in for the second night at Hugh's Room. The crowd was a bit less responsive, I felt, than it was on the first night. The set list was almost exactly the same ("The Life Auction"! AGAIN!!! HURRAY!!!) Okay, I'm calm.
So, "The Life Auction" was great! To me, though, the song of the night was "Burning For Me"; a great song anyway, but they simply nailed it! I've never heard it played better, even on the record. "Autumn" was great, but they didn't quite cut it as hard as they did last night, and the response wasn't quite as enthusiastic.
The second set was exactly the same as the night before, but played with a touch of fire. The plaintive cry of "Down By The Sea", with the roaring guitar work was again performed brilliantly by Mr. Lambert! He played a veritable maelstrom of sound, making the song even more powerful that it was to start with; no small feat!
"Hero And Heroine" was as loud and as savage as the story itself, and it left us breathless. It was almost as if the crowd wanted more than last night's performance, and the boys delivered with passion and power. How they manage to do this night after night, performance after performance is a minor miracle to me.
After the show I reflected on what it is about the Strawbs music that touches me, and so many others, so deeply. I think that it comes down to something I wrote about progressive music once. I said that with progressive music, you have to get into it to get it.
But with the Strawbs, you have to let the music get into you. It becomes a part of you, it becomes your breathing, your heart pumping, your blood flowing in your veins. It gets right down inside your very soul, and once there, it stays there forever. This wasn't a nostalgia show; although there is no doubt there are those who come to relive old memories. They aren't the true fans, though. We who don't just hear the songs, we are part of the songs; we live the songs. How they manage this Witchwood magic is beyond me, but I rejoice in it during every show. I revel in it; I live and breathe in it. Strawbs music goes beyond just hearing it, it becomes ingrained in the soul. Last night's show was a triumphant testament to that.
Photo by Kevin J Kaminski.
Hugh's Room and The Strawbs were two nights of monumental magic. I did get to meet finally, the man himself, Doug. Doug is just as warm and giving as his posts sound. A really lovely guy. We met at the Elephant and Castle, a spacious but friendly pub in the thick of down town Toronto. It's one of my fave haunts. The ever adorable Cinnie showed up along with Bob and his very sweet daughter Tiffany. We had a nice dinner together and some great laughs. I have to say, Bob radiates an aura of gentleness, really as soon you meet him you feel connected. We left and I arrived first at Hugh's Room. I checked my cell phone and there was a message from Gerry York from Florida! He extolled us all to have a great time :"up there". Thanks Gerry ..great to hear the voice of the man behind all those posts..very cool..very nice.
Well, Hugh's Room looks deceptively small. From the outside, it's a storefront. As soon as you walk in, it opens up and descends in two levels out to the stage. The entrance being a sizable bar room. I met so many people. Those mentioned already but also Dorrie (a really fun cutie), Tom Kohn from the BopShop, the vivacious Judy Cuervo, Dwight Hodge who I met at Joe Langer's big ticket Strawbs bash in Conn. a few years ago. Plus I met Paul, the Strawbs sound man. Paul is just the best. We met at the Town Crier and then again at BB Kings. Paul rox! I had a single ticket and was seated, stage front, right beside Lamby. I couldn't believe it. The best seat ever. I got to check out Dave's technique, amp set up.. the works.plus..smack in front of Dave's amp..yeah!
Hugh's was packed. It was another SRO night. Doug already listed the sets. For sure hearing "The Life Auction" was the high point for me. It is one of my all time faves and I had never heard it live before. The band was just on fire. Lamby and Coombes really nailing the instrumental section with machine like precision. The Strawbs were a Swiss watch on fire. Just incredible. . Cousins delivered all the vocal nuances of that piece with complete, intense emotion. Lamby's guitar parts were a prog. players dream come true. On this tour, after reading reviews and hearing comments by the audience, it is agreed that "Hero and Heroine", "Burning For Me", and "Down By the Sea" have been performed with a new power, and new level of energy. After experiencing several shows this tour, I tried to think about what was new about this. It is the dynamics. Certain elements of the performance have been arranged to allow ebb and flow from each player to the next. At one point it's Coombes and Lamby, at others' it's Cousins and Cronk or Hawken taking a solo and the band dropping back a bit.
This tour for sure had the Strawbs at their absolute finest. The mix was perfect for both nights. Paul did an outstanding job of matching the stage mix to the room. The vocal mix was very organic and rich. The back line mix: perfect. The dynamics of all instruments could be felt. The Mellotron mix was lush.. man, what a sound ! Both nights, they encored with my fave, "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" It could not have been a more perfect concert. For the gear heads, Lamby uses a Line 6 POD pedal board. Both nights he was plugged into a Fender black face Twin Reverb. Chas was plugged into Ampeg SVT head with one 6X10 Ampeg cab. Rod was using a Yamaha drum kit. Cousins was the Gibson 12 string. Lamby's Tuxedo Les Paul is a '72 or '73. He forgets.
Lamby had remarked that this has been a very successful tour. Well that's music to my ears. My only question is then, "Can we do it again"? ..real soon? Digging the Strawbs more than ever.
CENTRE IN THE SQUARE, KITCHENER, ON, THURSDAY 5 JULY 2007
After patiently waiting since 05 for the opportunity to once again see my favorite band, I must say they didn't disappoint. Before the show we had decided to enjoy a beer at a local patio, where we met other Strawbs fans. I didn't realise the fanatical extent some fans would go to, until we met a middle-aged couple who followed the entire tour from city to city!
As we entered the hall, I was briefly transported back to 1975 and my first Strawbs concert. The stage was beautifully decked out with the Strawbs logo, and was complimented by impressive lighting. As the band took to the stage and launched into "Lay Down", the entire audience of about 1500 were mesmerised. Dave Cousins was in fine theatrical form, Dave Lambert looked the part of a quintessential rock star, and proved once again to be the most talented and underrated guitarist in music. He is an incredible musician. John Hawken resembled a member of the British House of Lords behind his keyboards, very reserved and dignified. Drummer Rod Coombes was a powerhouse throughout the evening. Highlights from the first set included "Burning For Me", "Cold Steel" and a delightful rendition of "Witchwood". The set closer "Autumn" seemed a little ragged to me, but in no way diminished the crowd's enthusiasm.
During the break we ran into Dave Lambert and as always was gracious and friendly. Chas Cronk joined fans outside for a smoke. It's so refreshing to find these guys so approachable. Strawbs fans are a special breed. If you are artistic and a romantic, you will love this band! The second set opened with the otherworldly strains of "Ghosts" and had Dave Lambert taking the lead vocal. The interplay between Lambert and Hawken was a thing of beauty. When Cousins took over the vocal duties for "Out In The Cold", I felt a chill down my spine. The thrill continued with a blistering version of "Round And Round" with Cousins maniacally proclaiming, "after all it's just a revolution". That song brought the audience to its feet as did "Hero And Heroine". Standing ovations and encores must be becoming routine for this band! All in all, a wonderful and memorable evening. In an age of poseurs and idols it is good to know the real deal is still around.
Long live the Strawbs!
Photo by Pam and Dave Stepka.
My wife and I were fortunate enough to have been given tickets to last night's show in Kitchener. (Thank you Larry) What a perfect evening. From the outstanding Schnitzel at the Metro to the comfortable seating at the theatre. And what a theatre, WOW. Great acoustics, great sound system, etc. Kudos to Centre in the Square.
I've been a Strawbs fan since the mid seventies and have managed to see them a few times over the years but last night's show was quite simply the very best. It in fact will go on my list of best concerts that I have ever been to. Page 1.
I've always thought of the Strawbs music as more introspective, not necessarily something that you would play at a party, but definitely something you would play when you really want to hear music. More personal, more poetry, music to listen to when you really want to listen.
If I was stranded on a desert island and was allowed only 3 albums, which would they be? This was the discussion at a party that I went to recently. (Sorry no compilations - vinyl only) I was happily surprised to find that many people included a Strawbs album to put in their collection found in the straw hut stereo listening room. I'd pick Hero ... , but I'd sneak a copy of Strawbs By Choice onto the island for a great smattering of the band over the years.
Last night I celebrated with a whole bunch of other music lovers the love for this band. I hope the band reads this because I'm fairly sure that everyone in the audience felt like giving Dave Cousins and the band (past and present) a big hug and a heartfelt thank you for their music.
The highlight of the show, (so hard to think) perhaps opening with "Lay Down" but most assuredly "Autumn" just before the intermission, (Dave Lambert's vocals were great, his guitar playing ... wow!!!) or was it "Round and Round"? ... or the "Round and Round" reprise?
Thank you for dedicating New World to our brave soldiers in Afghanistan and the 6 who just made the ultimate sacrifice. "Bless the Soldier, Bless the Saint, .. Bless the Hero in his grave".
I can't wait to see the Strawbs again. Yeah, that's right I was that loud guy with the yellow shirt.
Again, Thank you.
It was with enormous glee and apprehension that I prepared to see the Strawbs last night. I have been out of the loop for too many years, and last night proved I have been remiss in not following these incredible modern day minstrels more fully.
Indeed I had no idea they were still together. After my date for the evening cancelled, I toyed with the idea of just going home and forgetting the whole thing.
After meeting up with Ian, his beautiful daughter, and naughty brother at The Still, and trying to help guide Cinnie and her "best husband" through the final twists and turns of the maze known as downtown via cell phone, We all shared our varying degrees of experience and love for the Strawbs. I realized that this was going to be a VERY special evening for me.
Simply put, my life has been in the toilet for many months...no point in boring you all with details.
The opening of "Lay Down" swept me away..and it continued throughout the show.... "I Only Want My Love To Grow In You"... "Autumn"..."Round and Round"..."Life Auction"..."Hero and Heroine"..."Cold Steel"... all spun me through an emotional roller coaster that I can say was truly both exhausting and revitalizing . "New World" was dedicated to the 6 fallen Canadian Soldiers who died the day before in Afghanistan...And as David said has the same relevance today as it did the day it was written...Oh my God..does nothing change for the better...YES, sometimes. I don't know if the lady next to my empty dates seat knew why I cried.
We have a group of travelling minstrels who can make us Laugh, cry, dance , and inspire us to be better... and I hope they continue to do so...because we are all here today...gone tomorrow.
I'm not aware of any Witchwooders in attendance at StanFest BUT the band was elated with it. This tour was filled with a ton of fab shows, some I saw and some I just heard about, but NOTHING...ABSOLUTELY NOTHING could compete with Kitchener.
Just got home from a bit of a whirlwind tour with Dorie, the BopShop's Tom and his newly-converted wife Sheila, that included Toronto and Kitchener so I'm a bit wiped out but I must try to capture the Kitchener show even just a bit. It was almost like a dream: Picture Strawbs in an elaborate philharmonic-type hall with a $120,000 sound system that Paul said he really wanted to sort of slip into his suitcase and take home. 1800 capacity (and I believe 1300 seats were filled). There was orchestra seating as well as a number of balconies comprised of tier boxes similar to those at Carnegie Hall. The stage was vast with an enormous full color Strawbs logo as a backdrop surrounded by pinpoint color-changing lights that looked like stars. Lambert had all the room in the world, Hawken wasn't teetering on the edge of the stage as he usually is. The set list was similar to other shows (with "The Life Auction"...sorry, Joannie) but the sound was crystal clear.
I've never been the The Strand and have always heard what a wonderful venue it is in terms of sound, etc. and I'm sure it is but, after Kitchener, when I asked Cinnie how the Kitchener show rated against The Strand, her response was that there was simply no comparison--she wouldn't be surprised if it was the best venue they played since the 70s. I read Dale's review of the show and while I understand his excitement, I'm not quite sure he's aware of just how special that show was, considering he hadn't seen them before.
What an incredible tour this was--B.B. Kings was spectacular and very prestigious, both Hugh's Room shows were incredible, I hear StanFest was the same and to wind up the tour with Kitchener...that was amazing.
The venue (Kitchener, that is) frowned on photography but I know Dorie took a few and I believe Ian and Roger had cameras. Everyone just HAS to see that stage! Failing Witchwood photographs, we really have to get Jon Connolly to get some to Dick [DG - see above and below!!!] . This was the most moving performance I've ever, ever seen. I was enormously happy for the band and, most of all, for the audience!
Who ever said ,"You can't go back." was an idiot. I've got a zit growing on my cheek because like me ,my hormones thought that it was 1976 and Strawbs had come to town.
To say that DC was in fine voice Thursday night is like saying that The Pope is, well, the Pope. I think he set the bar a little higher for himself this evening. A pole-vaulter has a long way to go before he knows that he going to clear the mark. And there's that running with the pointy pole too. DC cleared his bar, definitely. The sustained notes were awesome.
There was a sixth member on stage that night. Clearly it was Rod Coombes' muse. I don't know if he has to tone it down at the smaller venues, but I was noticing his performance early in the show. Spike leaned over and said, "The drummer is pretty good" Really! Do ya think? I don't think we got the full effects of John's keyboard playing. Full of concentration I imagine he would look the same launching a rocket for NASA or aiming a laser.What was Chas playing? Where is the Fender? Kids today have no respect for tradition.
For me, the electric band is where it's at. Three things I can't do is walk past a record shop, good English pub or a Strawbs show. So my attendance is certain no matter their configuration. But give me the keys and drums every time. Hopefully this show was recorded. Jon has done this before. I will refer you to Judy's review for the surroundings. Great meeting her again too.Cinnie and Jake brought me some cans of Bush beans that I had asked for. I can't get them here. Had it been 1976 and a police officer had seen Jake hand me a bag in the darkened parking lot after the show, we would have had some "splainin" to do.
Roger Hill was there with his big-ass camera. Pictures taken by Spike to come. Later everyone.
Electric Strawbs Canada 2007 : From Canso N.S to Kitchener Ontario the musical troupe had left Nova Scotia and we weren't far behind. It was worth every kilometre, nearly 2007!!!
They band was into it and both David's were vocally spot on , a little off key in the early harmonies but after a couple of warm ups COUSINS was the best we've heard in years. Wait to go Dave! PENETRATING Vocals!!!!!!!
Stellar all around boys, song selection was predictable, could have brought in a surprise or two but hey, we're so grateful for their efforts who should comment? Canada loves you all and will miss you, until the next time....
I just wanted to mention that I attended the Centre In The Square concert on July 5. I am a little younger than the average attendee, and I will admit that I have never really listened to any of their music in the past. After seeing the show I was completely blown away, the Strawbs are a very talented band with a very unique sound. The crowd was cheering the whole time, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Thank you for a great night, and you now have one more new fan.
A fan since I was introduced in 1974 and I was not disappointed on the evening of July 5, 2007. They had me literally with tears of joy running down my cheeks during the performance. The hairs on my arms still rise as I inadequately describe to others the vibrations of Thursday night. Ran into the whole troop at the Delta and exchanged a few appreciative words. A real class act. Thanks for all the years of fabulous energy.
How do you qualify or quantify an artist's or band's performance? Adjectives? Disective critiques? What is it that that makes one show better or not better than another?
When I saw the Lakewood show, I agreed with Lisa that it was the best since the '70s (I did not go to any in New York state). Yet, the first night at Hugh's Room convinced me that, while the Strawbs were plugged in at Lakewood, they were not turned on. And then, the second night was at least equally good.
The show in Kitchener brought tears to my eyes, bringing to mind all of the decades that have gone by between my first Strawbs show in '71 and this most recent one. I'm sure set lists are posted.
I believe that the difference is the quality of the venue and the size and response of the audience. Lukewarm gets you lukewarm. And I will add the unspeakable: we do not have that many tours left, even though some artists tour into their 80s. There will never be enough tours to satisfy us. If we want what The Strawbs gave in Kitchener -- a 13 on a scale of one to ten -- then we have to ante up and find others willing to do the same. For every Witchwooder, there are 20 Strawbs fans that never heard of Witchwood. It is up to us.
I will also add that the electric Strawbs are NOT the acoustics plus John and Rod. The sum is much, much greater than three plus two. In short, as much as I love the acoustics, the electric Strawbs ROCK.