Updated: 8 Aug 2007
Part 2 - Second leg - 11 August
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
Hero And Heroine/Round & Round (reprise)
The Life Auction
HALF MOON, PUTNEY, TUESDAY 7 AUGUST 2007
Really hot night (temperature wise) and a really hot night (music wise) at Putney last night. I have seen the Half Moon at Putney fairly packed before, but last night was really crammed. I don't think they had officially sold out, but there would not have been room to have squeezed anyone else in, without infringing all manner of fire regulations, health and safety directives and personal space.
Some creative people had manufactured makeshift fans out of ticket stubs, so if you stood downwind of them the temperature was bearable, but despite the heat, and lack of space, most of the audience seemed to be dancing along with the music.
From the opening bars of "Lay Down", to the last notes of "The Life Auction", the Strawbs were phenomenal.
Highlights to me, were "Down By The Sea" and "Witchwood". Every time I hear "Down By The Sea" live the sheer energy leaves me breathless, but tonight was even better, it felt as if we were facing a wall of sound. You felt as if you had to lean forward to prevent yourself from being pushed over by the onslaught. "Witchwood" started as if it was an acoustic interlude, but both Rod and John joined in after a few bars. There was an extended instrumental break towards the end, with John taking the lead, followed by an instrumental break with DC taking the lead on banjo. DC had a puzzled look as if it was all going wrong, but it sounded amazing to me.
Only one minor problem. Towards the end of "Burning for Me", the venue accidentally started to play some other record over the PA. DC joked that that was "Unusual".
A really good night, as usual. The Strawbs will definitely rock at Cropredy.
As I exchanged chorus refrains with a mildly inebriated Dick G at the bar during an electrifiying "Heartbreaker" I sort of promised a semi-review but I see Pete B has beat me too it. I don't quite know what to say these days, above and beyond that the guys were AWESOME from beginning to end - one of their finest gigs I have ever attended; they were so up for it. The atmosphere in this famous claustrophobic, crowded, stand-up,sweaty,venue was exceptional and suited a powerhouse performance from this unbelievably dedicated band of brothers.
Ostensibly, presumably , a warm-up gig for Cropredy, but since they had just returned form what sounded like some spectacular performances stateside they were tight !.....as tight as the tightest tights in Tightington! As has been stated before the sound-mix guy at the Half-Moon is one of the best in the business and volume and mix were about as fine as they could be; I particularly noticed this on a top-notch performance of "Cold Steel" where towards the end "the Master's keyboards rose prominently amongst the banjo, bass, lead guitar and drums - outstanding.
The only modest disappointment was that the venue has a STRICT 11pm cut-off time (and indeed I have been there when they have simply pulled the plug) and so DC's modern masterpiece, "Here Today, Gone Tommorow" could not be done to bring us all down from a considerable high. As Pete B has already stated the powerful end to "Down By The Sea" was mind-boggling in its control of such power and majesty.
As ever perhaps the best impressions are given by those who attend considerably less of their concerts than us diehards - my partner Sue could not believe the seamless delivery in the second-half of the show as one song explodes - well seamlessly ! - into the next without a pause for breath or intro from DC. I guess we rather take this for granted, but it's useful to be reminded from time to time that it impresses others !
I'm not sure what the 'folkies' of Cropredy will make of it all - but it will be a useful reminder that the Strawbs in this guise represent a distinctively different branch of the 'folk-rock' tree that Fairport took. Looking keenly forward to meeting friends old and new on the ledge on Saturday !
Just a few quick comments from the high energy show at Putney last night.
Strawbs were really cooking (as were the audience!) but no-one really cared about the heat as the performance was turned up high as well and the audience were enthralled by a cracking opening show. The choice of numbers was pretty much as for the US shows, but with a couple of surprises thrown in - the return of "Benedictus" (not too surprising, good call for the folk festival appearance this is all leading up to as it offers an opportunity to show off the dulcimer) and a truly stunning, very fast paced "Life Auction" as an encore - what a way to end a superb night !!!
Other highlights for me: the semi-acoustic "Witchwood" was really rather tasty, as was a storming and very together "New World".
And Dave's new 12-string is rather stunning too - very sturdy and really a much heavier instrument than it looks, and a great sound.