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ACOUSTIC STRAWBS UK TOUR - JAN/FEB 2008
PART 2: FEBRUARY 2008

Part 1: January 2008

Updated: 20 Feb 2008

Contents
Millfield Arts Centre, Edmonton, Fri 1 Feb 2008
  • Play For Love - Review by Tom Brooking
  • Huntingdon Hall, Worcester, Sat 2 Feb 2008
  • Comments and setlist from Adrian the Rock
  • Comments from Louise Richardson
  • Comments from Phil Gregory
  • The Guildhall Theatre, Derby, Sun 3 Feb 2008
  • They Had It In The Bag - Review from Paul Southby
  • Usual High Quality Performance - Review by Mike Barker
  • Comments from Andrew Watkins
  • Comments from Julie Longden
  • Setlist from Andy Slack
  • Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, Tuesday 5 Feb 2008
  • Rules "R" Us. - Review by Nigel Bennett
  • Comments from Robert Fuge
  • Comments from Phil Gregory
  • Setlist from Nigel Bennett
  • The Playhouse, Sleaford, Fri 8 Feb 2008
  • Roads Not Travelled - Review by Dave Musson
  • Comments from Debbie Scott
  • Red Lion Folk Club, Kings Heath, Sat 9 Feb 2008
  • Hello Sailor - Review by Nigel Bennett
  • Splice The Mainbrace - Comments from Lindsay Sorrell
  • Pictures from Dick Greener
  • Setlist from Nigel Bennett
  • The Forge, Basingstoke, Tuesday 12 Feb 2008
    Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead, Fri 15 Feb 2008
  • Beautiful - Review and a few pix from Pete Bradley
  • Comments from Jane Austen
  • Setlist
  • The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, Sat 16 Feb 2008
    The Brook Theatre, Chatham,Thu 28 Feb 2008

    MILLFIELD ARTS CENTRE, EDMONTON, FRI 1 FEB 2008

    PLAY FOR LOVE - Review by Tom Brooking

    Just to report how much I enjoyed the Acoustics at a chilly Millfield Arts Centre in Edmonton, North London!. Big feat getting there but it was worth it. Same set as elsewhere and the highlights were the same for me as Lindsay at Banbury- "The Hangman And The Papist", "Oh How She Changed", "Midnight Sun" and "The Shepherd's Song".

    BUT I was disappointed with the relatively small crowd cf most of the rest of this tour - about 200 but it was a 400 seat theatre and someone remarked that they'd never seen it so empty - shame on you Brits!! These guys are so good and so professional that they deserve much better than this and should be above not below the radar!

    Nice to see a couple of younger women in the front row though and a lovely chat with all three gents afterwards, DC seems very ebullient,esp re his new album, he glowed with pleasure when I raved about the Boy as did Chas. DL seemed a little tired-no wonder given how much he puts into things. Great to hear all three voices too - Chas seems well integrated now although as the second row turned out to be below the stage I didn't hear the guitars as well as further back. Maybe pubs have more atmosphere but this place was great for viewing - a very attentive if somewhat subdued audience - apart from the two front rows! And I think the lads were winning mainly new fans there - no Witchwooders to be seen.

    My one small wonder was should the classic "Ghosts" and "Autumn" - wonderful as they are - be given a wee rest and "Down By The Sea", "The Battle" and "Hero And Heroine" brought back. "To be Free" would be great as would "Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth". And maybe one or two newer songs-even from Dave and Conny and the Boy could be slotted in. Here's hoping the DVD gets out soon and that the electrics make that album with Chris T in April!

    Huge thanks to three amazing, hardworking professionals who play for love - and doesn't it show!


    Setlist

    Benedictus Simple Visions
    Tears And Pavan
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Oh How She Changed
    Midnight Sun
    Glimpse of Heaven
    Ghosts

    Shepherd's Song
    The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
    To Be Free
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Cold Steel
    Witchwood
    Autumn
    Lay Down

    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    HUNTINGDON HALL, WORCESTER, SAT 2 FEB 2008

    Comments from Adrian the Rock

    Just got back from Worcester, where my brother and I enjoyed a great performance by the Acoustics. Also nice to see Bob & Lou again ... but where were the rest of you? :O

    Didn't take the camera as I know they don't like photos there, and I also find it nice to be able to concentrate fully on listening sometimes. What they played tonight - see setlist to the right. - It was a rousing version of "Hangman", by DC especially; and really great to hear "To Be Free".

    Didn't stay around to chat much at the end as we were both tired, but great to hear the band again after missing various gigs last year for a variety of reasons.


    Comments from Louise Richardson

    Brilliant night at Huntingdon Hall last night, great venue, great sound and tremendous music by Strawbs. Full house and a very appreciative audience. Dave C remarked that it has always been one of his favourite venues and he was very relaxed there. Another new song was thrown in "To Be Free" and it went down well as did "Ghosts", "Autumn" - there were so many could go on forever. Standing ovation, rapturous applause. Bar closed early which was a shame, onceagain a terrific night !!!!!


    Comments from Phil Gregory

    Well I was at Worcester and thought it was one of the best shows I've seen in a long time! The sound was fantastic and the set changed around from Bath. Actually I was sat 2 seats from Adie, my friend Mike was next to his brother. Sorry I didn't manage to say hello. The atmosphere was absolutely magic with Dave repeatedly saying how the venue is one of their favourites and the crowd giving a standing ovation at the end. The band really seemed to have a fantastic time along with the audience.


    Setlist from Andy Slack

    Benedictus Simple Visions
    Tears And Pavan
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Oh How She Changed
    Midnight Sun
    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    Ghosts

    The Shepherd's Song
    The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Cold Steel
    Witchwood
    Autumn
    Lay Down

    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    THE GUILDHALL THEATRE, DERBY, SUN 3 FEB 2008

    THEY HAD IT IN THE BAG - Review from Paul Southby

    I had never been to Derby Guildhall before, but it is a lovely theatre style venue, and reminded me of the first time I ever saw the band on the Bursting at the Seams tour at Sheffield City Hall. That night Dave C commented on the hall's magnificent sun roof and Derby Guildhall has one too along with some very fine decorative plasterwork. I'm sure the outside of the building is very fine too, but this remains a mystery as the whole thing was wrapped in a huge plastic bag, presumably for renovations.

    I last saw the band in Maltby last autumn, and this Derby show was so much better. Better venue, a bar across the landing (as opposed to in the hall ... fine for electric tours but distracts band and audience in the acoustic format in my view), and the band were on such good form. Different versions of one or two songs, notably "Hangman" (some great oompah oompah bass playing from Chas and great guitar work from both Daves) and "The Shepherd's Song", and great focus on the playing ... and the storytelling too. My girlfriend said she found Dave L's playing mesmerising, and Dave C was clearly appreciative of the great reception the band had. I often complain about people talking through performances when I see other bands, but at this performance you really could hear a pin drop throughout. Dave C commented that the band were privileged to still be able to play to people who came along and said thank you, and last night that feeling of privilege was mutual.

    Can't wait for the electric tour in May, hopefully at a venue in or adjacent to the East Midlands!


    USUAL HIGH QUALITY PERFORMANCE - Review by Mike Barker

    Compo, Clegg & Foggy aka Mike, Andy & Steve provided the Witchwood support for last Sunday's performance. My Sat Nav refused to acknowledge the existence of the Guildhall Derby [although I can give you the details of up to 20 Guildhalls that it could find ......] but finding it was easy as it's only a short walk from the Assembly Rooms [which the Sat Nav didn't recognise either].

    As Andy says it was almost 'House Full'. A very enthusiastic audience [the Strawbs seem to be very popular in Derby - the Flowerpot was another venue the Acoustics & Electrics filled] drew a heartfelt thank you from DC at the end reflecting that it was rewarding to think that so many people were coming see them after 40 years of doing something that gave them so much pleasure.

    For those who like the detail surrounding the concert - DC wore matching red shirt and socks, DL was minus his trademark Guinness and the three bottles of water remained unopened.

    As for the performance we were treated to the usual high quality and professional musicianship that we've come to expect. "The Shepherd's Song" was a good addition and I thought the 'banjo trilogy' worked really well in the second set. DC's vocal delivery seemed more measured [slower] than previously e.g. "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus" but throughout the power remained especially in the encore which is as rousing a finish as "Hero And Heroine" used to be.

    Just time to mention NY '75 which Andy and I bought at the interval - I'm always wary of live CDs, especially when the blurb apologises for the sound quality, but having played it on the way to work this morning I was astounded by the power of the performance. A real pity that the UK only got one concert at Drury Lane in that period - it's one of those that you wish had been videoed.

    Here's to Bilston .....


    Comments from Andrew Watkins

    Absolutely amazing gig. Have listened to them for 30 years and first time seen live - want to see them again !! Brilliant playing, beautiful lyrics and powerful vocals !!! Thank you !


    Comments from Julie Longden

    Just a short note to add to the comments already posted about Derby. Great to see a full and enthusiastic house giving the lads a very well-deserved response. Hadn't seen the Acoustic line-up since Matlock last March and was really looking forward to this one; they certainly didn't disappoint! Great to hear "The Shepherd's Song" - DL's playing on this was a real highlight of the evening. Look forward to seeing one or two Witchwooders at Leek. Julie Longden (and son, Dominic - he'll never forgive me if I don't mention him).


    Setlist

    Benedictus/Simple Visions
    Tears And Pavan
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Oh How She Changed
    Midnight Sun
    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    Ghosts

    Shepherd's Song
    The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Cold Steel
    Witchwood
    Autumn
    Lay Down

    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    WYVERN THEATRE, SWINDON, TUESDAY 5 FEB 2008

    RULES "R" US - Review by Nigel Bennett

    Now don't get me wrong any venue that hosts the band are welcome to me, its just that some are more favoured than others and those operated by local authorities despite their glitz, often hide all sorts of opportunities to breach their local regulations or those imposed from up on high with a military precision. Therefore these venues rarely come in to the realms of the favoured.

    For the above reasons alone I am writing this account of my evening with due consideration to Health and Safety policies 2 - 27 and accompanying appendices 9 to1236 and carefully not intentionally transgressing any issue of manual handling, risk of repetitive strain injury or drinking whilst at my PC (except tea, which I am taking straight from the teapot spout thus complying with preventative spillage regulation number 9b iv. )

    So let me set the scene, this venue has recently undergone a major refurbishment and de-contamination following the discovery of asbestos in the building, which had remained open to the public for many a year until the inherent danger was discovered. After this makeover I have got to say, very nice it looks too. I even felt sorry for the one poor chap employed to man the bar, who struggled manfully with the demands of the gathered throng who to their credit, somehow waited in single file in the shape of a coiled snake across the foyer floor like those waiting patiently for rations handed out to the orderly, from a soup kitchen.

    So why am I going on about this well, we all love the intimate and informal atmosphere created at acoustic shows and we never quite reached that at this venue - no fault of the band or audience, it was what went on around that influenced my thoughts that evening.

    Even before the show started there was a whiff of officialdom in the air. Firstly the on stage (it was huge) the customary drinks table of refreshment was apparently banned as "being too dangerous" although a concession was agreed which included water bottles with tops on. I understand later protestations from Neil eventually brought a relaxation and normality was restored. I couldn't quite see what was "dangerous" but there we are, what do I know ?

    Mind you I do think it would be good if the local management took a little more care of the roof. I was sat watching intently when I saw something flit in the stage lights and thought it must have been a fly or moth buzzing around, but no, there it was again and again and again and coming from the roof and falling right in front of DC. It was dripping water, or even worse some other noxious fluid. Just think, all that electrical equipment about a couple of drips in the wrong place and DC could have been electrocuted! To me, that would seem really dangerous.

    And what about our favourite well behaved rock dog - Gracie she was banished to the dressing room and not allowed to hear her master's voice! Perhaps the local authority dog warden doesn't work evenings and they couldn't risk not being able to call him out in an emergency should Gracie have wagged her tail in happiness or worse still, the local risk assessment had found her capable of licking one of the boys in the band to death. Apparently it's some thing to do with some workplace regulation (PETS 1 Section 3.1 ). I now understand "fully" this regulation which includes the taking of pets to work. I found this out when I looked it up on the authority's web site.

    Oh if only the acoustics had tried to repeat the pyrotechnics story DC told that they once tried in Swindon I would love to have seen the reaction.

    Still rules are rules I suppose, like being asked to leave the auditorium whilst talking at the end of the show to a couple of old school pals from my class who I hadn't seen in, I think, 36 years. Luckily I never got an ASBO for talking in the auditorium after the show, or failing to shuffle out immediately it had finished.

    Oh and no photographing or any thing else during the show was allowed from the audience and it's lucky that the banning order didn't include clapping because there was loads of that during the performance and some cheering, once people realised they wouldn't be excluded for doing that too.

    But Swindon does have a lot of "history" with the band so let's remember that and though the recent shows have been at the intimate Art centre, the Wyvern was certainly one stage on which they appeared as a full band at the start of a tour in the early '70's.

    Having said all of that we saw a very good gig with some good song introductions from DC

    The first half for some reason had DL's guitar and vocals a little low in comparison to Chas and DC's. Having said that I thought the sound in the second half was spot on perfect and up with the best and was reflected in the rapport with the audience. I think it was Phil Gregory ( maybe not ?) who said to me after the show who said that's the loudest he has ever heard the acoustics. Very enjoyable and the 150 or more there to witness it threw away any inhibitions meted out by officialdom to plead for more, more and more.

    After the show the intimacy of the evening thankfully returned as DL took time to answer a question from a very young fan about a bit on the end of his guitar now isn't that exactly how to make a real and positive impression on attendees.


    Comments from Robert Fuge

    Excellent concert last night. Same set list as previously documented. It doesn't half make a difference hearing the music in a good auditorium. I've seen the Acoustics in a few dodgy venues recently. Last night was great. The three guys were on top form and just seem to get better and they seemed to really enjoy performing in front of a decent sized and responsive audience. Can't wait for Maidenhead now.


    Comments from Phil Gregory

    Swindon was interesting, the acoustics in a big 600 seat hall. Shame only about 200 people turned up (there was an England v Croatia under 21 game on at the football ground), very strange seating policy, half empty rows at the front. I took 4 other people along with me, one of whom bought a ticket on the door and got centre row B, better than the tickets I booked weeks ago! The band were great, but the sound was way over the top. Crystal clear but Chas's 12 string and pedals were far too high in the mix and drowned everything else out. I think the engineer must have been trying to fill the whole auditorium because it really was a bit too loud for the acoustics, different for the electric band perhaps! Same set as Worcester but without "To Be Free". So 2 out of 3 shows I've seen had "To Be Free" which was nice.


    THE PLAYHOUSE, SLEAFORD, FRI 8 FEB 2008

    ROADS NOT TRAVELLED - Review by Dave Musson

    Last night I travelled 'roads not travelled by many before me', known as the A15 in south Lincolnshire to a small market town called Sleaford. The playhouse is a little difficult to find but well worth the visit, it is apparently the 4th oldest theatre in current use but in saying that the facilities and acoustics were good and the welcome warm, if a little provincial but I will certainly go again.

    Getting to the show: the band we ever the professionals that they are, demonstrating that they are the masters of their craft. Normally I am too interested in singing along (badly, ok I admit it) but I had the good fortune to not only listen to but observe the technical mastery when Dave C, Dave L and Chas C play together seamlessly cross and counter-playing melodies which weave themselves through the songs. The playlist was as previous shows and the audience clearly appreciated the great music it almost a symbiosis between the band and audience, feeding off the mutual appreciation.

    The band finished the first set with "Ghosts" but upon their return there was a problem with their monitors which concerned Chas as no-one on the audio desk seemed to see his gestures trying to alert them to the fact and by the middle of the song Dave C's annoyance was clear (I think he and I share something, we may seem OK but our eyes give our true thoughts away). At the end of the song he addressed the sound desk directly, oh well, this is what makes live shows memorable.

    If anyone who went to see the band last night was not a fan before they went, I'm certain they were after, you normally get some moaners in a crowd but I did not hear any yesterday and apart from one "enthusiastic" chap there was not a whisper amongst the audience throughout the show.

    Another triumph for the boys and a big thank you to the playhouse staff, well done and I hope that this gig is the first of many at the venue.

    I'll stop rambling and collect the 5 from Dick G. later.....


    Comments from Debbie Scott

    I'm FOH manager at the venue and also part of the promoting organisation (SMPoW) so I may be a bit biased but I think it was an excellent evening, we had no trouble selling out the venue (120 seats and some standing) - we found Strawbs fans prepared to travel considerable distances to reach us and a good number of locals seeing Strawbs for the first time. The atmosphere in the auditorium was great, if a little warm at times, and Dave, Dave and Chas soon built up a brilliant rapport with the audience. Both sets were very well received with the audience insisting on persevering for an encore at the end! We hope to see them all again soon.


    Setlist from Nigel Bennett

    Benedictus/Simple Visions
    Tears And Pavan
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Oh How She Changed
    Midnight Sun
    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    Ghosts

    The Shepherd's Song
    The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Cold Steel
    Witchwood
    Autumn
    Lay Down

    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    RED LION FOLK CLUB, KINGS HEATH, SAT 9 FEB 2008

    HELLO SAILOR - Review by Nigel Bennett

    Well you can't expect a review at this time in the morning so here is the shipping, - I mean audience report, for the coastal station of the Red Lion Folk Club.

    Visibility From 3 yards and improving - Able Seaman Greener, Captain Sorrell and me all in the front row

    Back amid ships cheering and clapping madly Bosun's Bob and Lou Richardson, Neil Lamb and Cropredy Sue.

    Two in the shape of Merchant seaman Dave and Paul were also about as well as loads of others, filling the hold to full.

    Some who were at Worcester and this said this one was better !! - so you can imagine, given the reports of that, in the scale of one to ten this was pretty hot

    And a little note on the support Breeze and Wilson - we enjoyed them quite a lot. Check them out at My space etc or even Stanfest where they are appearing later this year and other places in Canada for those in that vicinity.


    SPLICE THE MAINBRACE - Comments from Lindsay Sorrell

    Great review Nigel - am happy to report that Able Seaman Greener guided us very abley and seamany back to Tring aided only by me, my compass and Orion's belt. Voyage was fairly smooth - we survived on meagre rations of black coffee and Twix and didn't get plundered by Johnny Depp but decided to steady our nerves with a tot of rum and the odd cheese football upon docking (just in case). [In fact we polished off a notable amount of malt whisky and brandy respectively and kept going till 4.30 in the morning! - thanks Skids - DG]

    Excellent gig too! The sound was absolutely superb even from our positions (virtually onstage). The club was packed out with avid listeners, and the rapturous applause the band received time after time was, as usual, wholly deserved. It never ceases to amaze me how such a wide range of emotions can be evoked during Strawbs' concerts, something which I have never found equalled by any other band. Undoubtedly this stems from a combination of many factors, not least of which is the passion and conviction with which songs are performed. It can be difficult not to take the quality of the band's performances for granted sometimes - those fortunate enough to see them frequently know perfection, or near as dammit, is the norm - each and every gig obviously has the potential "not" to be that way. The band members' terrific musicianship/enthusiasm etc. ensure delighted and highly satisfied crowds time after time, and Saturday at The Red Lion was no exception.

    Lovely to meet up again with other long-time fans as ever, and also to chat with a guy sitting next to me who was absolutely blown away by the band, song after song. (I don't mean Dick, I mean the guy on my other side who had only ever previously seen or heard them on Top of the Pops!)

    Cap'n Birdseye-Pugwash
    (Pirates of Pedigree)


    Pictures from Dick Greener





    Photos by Dick Greener More photos from Dick


    Benedictus/Simple Visions
    Tears And Pavan
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Oh How She Changed
    Midnight Sun
    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    Ghosts

    The Shepherd's Song
    The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Cold Steel
    Witchwood
    Autumn
    Lay Down

    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    NORDEN FARM CENTRE FOR THE ARTS, MAIDENHEAD, FRI 15 FEB 2008

    BEAUTIFUL - Review and a few pix from Pete Bradley

    Only one word to describe last night's concert at Maidenhead, and that is "Beautiful". The sound was a little quieter than I've heard recently which really suited the acoustic format. Admittedly we were quite close to the front, but you could hear them live from the stage; the PA didn't drown their voices, or the guitars out. Beautiful.

    Norden Farm has a quite large stage, with a black backdrop, and is very well lit, and could have led to some very beautiful photographs. Unfortunately the venue were enforcing a strict "no photographs" policy. There were theatre staff, (one of whom had told me before the concert started that it was the "band" that had requested no photographs, which I'm sure wasn't true) sitting in a box high up overlooking the stage so they could watch the audience to ensure that we weren't taking pictures!

    The guitars, being so highly polished, reflected the lights and looked stunning, and I would have loved to have captured a few pictures.

    Several times in the past I have tried to take a close up of DC's guitar with Chas's reflection in it, but, so far I haven't yet managed. The guitars are never still, so somehow between the time the image appears in my viewfinder and the time I click the shutter, the slight movement of the guitar means the reflection has gone. Last night, for most of the concert I could see DC's reflection in DL's Blue Dean, and am sure I could have caught that on film if I'd been allowed.

    Managed to grab a couple of fairly poor shots, just at the end of the encore, (posted on Witchwood in a folder called Maidenhead 2008).

    Great to see Robert and his son again, and great to see Jane again. In fact it was great to see so many people there. The theatre wasn't officially sold out, but it certainly looked full to me. Sounds like this tour has been a real success, playing to full houses at almost every venue. Glad the guys seem to be getting the recognition they deserve.








    Photos by Pete Bradley


    Comments from Jane Austen

    Yes the Maidenhead concert was wonderful, the sound there is always good and if you're near the front you get direct sound as well as the speakers. I saw a Show of hands concert there last Autumn where they did the encore 'sans mics' - brilliant! I have also worked from the same stage without a mic and can be heard!!!!!

    Took a friend with me on Friday, who I discovered liked Strawbs but had never seen them live...his particular favourite song is "The Hangman And The Papist". It was a pleasure to watch his face light up when they started singing that number - in fact he loved the whole evening and is off to order some CDs on Amazon as he's only got 2 albums on vinyl!!!

    Talking DC's shoes - loved his red ones on friday night, not forgeting Chas's 'Wychwood' shirt and DL's brilliant blazer shame it was no photos: can't think why, they've had photography in there at some events??

    As it's my local venue it was interesting to see who was there eg the village school headmistress!

    My only annoyance is I can't get to Putney on sunday for BAO - recently bought Boy in the Sailor suit and love it.

    looking forward to May and Robin 2...


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