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MAR 2008

Updated: 28 Mar 2008

Part 2 - Second leg - 13 to 22 March

The Strand, Lakewood, NJ, Wednesday 5 March 2008
  • I Wouldn't Have Missed This For The WORLD!!!! - Review by Dick Greener
  • The Ultimate Dave Experience - Comments from Laura Wiggers
  • An Emotional Night - Review by Cinnie Morgan
  • The Cutting Room, New York, NY, Thursday 6 March 2008
  • Nostalgic And Awe-Inspiring - Review by Brian Travers
  • Comments from Nick Cinque
  • Comments from Judi Cuervo
  • The Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA, Friday 7 March 2008
  • Exceeded My Wildest Expectations - Review by Judi Cuervo of Tin Angel and comments on Cutting Room
  • High Energy - Review by Cinnie Morgan
  • Towne Crier, Pawling, NY, Saturday 8 March 2008
  • It Was A Dark And Stormy Night - Review by Ken Prospero
  • Lo And Behold - Comments from Barry Gimpel
  • Setlist
  • NJ Proghouse, Metuchen, NJ, Sunday 9 March 2008
  • Great Performance - Review by Bob Polchinski
  • Full Circle - Review by Cinnie Morgan
  • Setlist
  • Kroghs, Sparta, NJ, Monday 10 March 2008
  • Dynamic Duo - Review by Amanda Baughn
  • Performed From The Heart - Comments from Ed Noroski
  • Setlist
  • The Turning Point, Piermont, NY, Tuesday 11 March 2008
  • Setlist and comments from Karl
  • About As Personal As One Can Get - Comments from Ken Stasion
  • No Turning Away From The Turning Point!!!!!! - Review and pix by Mark De Clemente
  • Setlist
  • The German House, Rochester, NY, Wednesday 12 March 2008
  • Pictures from Jean-Claude de Grandpanais


    I WOULDN'T HAVE MISSED THIS FOR THE WORLD!!!! - Review by Dick Greener

    I AM going to do a short review. Jet-lagged I may be, messed about by airlines (British Airways cancelled my flight with less than twelve hours notice so I found myself on another earlier flight and having to re-do all my carefully planned arrangements – a big big thank you to Al Mercuro for forbearance, transportation and excellent company yesterday afternoon), but I was still capable of pure delight last night at the debut US date of the splendid Cousins/Cutler duo.

    A pleasure to see so many old friends again (apologies to a couple of whom in my jet-lagged state I mixed up!) before the show. The Strand is an amazing building – Ray Coles showed Al and I round the main theatre before taking up our places in more intimate surrounding for the show. Ray and his colleagues have done a fantastic job in rescuing this wonderful old building and keeping it going as a living breathing community theatre. Thanks to them for making me feel so at home here, I'll definitely be back.

    I'd forgotten how much more expressive of their feelings US audiences are – and they were definitely showing how much they were enjoying this intermingling of musical talent and recollections from Dave of the Strawbs' rich past'. Dave was just simply in his element and obviously enjoying every moment.

    Setlist was more or less what we had at Gillingham but in a slightly different order to reduce some of the tuning hassles. "Josephine" and "The Smile You Left Behind" have gone, replaced by "Hanging In The Gallery" at the front of Set 1, which was very good indeed. Afraid I didn't do a set list but I'll get the running order from DC later. Highlights from this set for me were "I'll Show You Where To Sleep", "Rio Grande" and "Shepherd's Song" the latter just getting better.

    A broken string for DC in the first song of the second set led to an unbilled treat – in just the same way that Rick Wakeman's unplanned acoustic piano solo on a powerless Sheffield stage in 1970 led to "Temperament Of Mind", I'm hoping that a fiddle solo breakout of Irish reels will become a permanent part of the set (though I don't think Dave has to break a string each night) – to say the audience went wild was an understatement. Back end of the second set has become a "Two Weeks Last Summer" – my three favourite tracks from that album are in the set "Ways And Means" is great with that jaunty little fiddle figure. The stunningly emotional "Blue Angel" and the closing "We'll Meet Again Sometime" come in back to back at the end of Set 2. And the encore "Skip To My Lou" just perfect.

    Only the first night (we all wisely decided to retire early, so no tales of raucous partying to recount …. maybe tomorrow in NYC …) but already any doubts I might have had of taking the time to do this over a very busy period at work have disappeared. I wouldn't have missed this for the WORLD!!!!

    Photos by Dick Greener More photos from Dick

    THE ULTIMATE DAVE EXPERIENCE - Comments from Laura Wiggers

    Dave's versatility as an entertainer continues to impress. He wears many "hats" - Acoustic Strawbs, Electric Strawbs, Dave & Brian - and I have to say Dave as songwriter and storyteller is the ultimate Dave experience. It was simple, moving and from the heart and soul. Dick is right - he was in his element. And Ian's violin was hauntingly beautiful.

    Some highlights for me were "Ringing Down the Years", "Blue Angel" and "Never Take Sweets From A Stranger".

    I will be seeing him again on Saturday at the Towne Crier. I am thrilled for Dick that he was here.

    And one last note - Though our fearless webmaster was a bit jet lagged and took an occasional "power nap" - he did not wake up wearing any "unusual" items except for his "Do I look like Dick Greener?" shirt!.

    AN EMOTIONAL NIGHT - Review by Cinnie Morgan (from Cinnie's Myspace)

    Who knew what to expect? I had not yet heard Dave Cousins' new album, "Secret Paths," on which Cousins is supported by only Melvin Duffy, of whom I've never heard, on pedal steel guitar and/or Weissenborn Hawaiian Guitar (for the uninitiated, Dave Cousins is the lead singer of the Strawbs). And here he is, on his first night of his U.S. tour, with fiddler Ian Cutler, who I HAVE heard of. What will this be like? It's not Strawbs in any configuration, and I'm prepared for that, and I liked Dave's last solo album, but that was decades ago.

    Whatever I expected, it certainly wasn't this. Cutler and Cousins are certainly expert enough to captivate an audience alone on a stage, and in fact, when Dave broke a string, Cutler proved that point, much to the delight of the audience. He is a fiddler so talented that it makes you wonder if he has make a pact with the Devil.

    It was a very, intimate setting, which I believe made quite a difference. The Strand is a grand old cinema of the huge palatial variety, left from the golden era of movie-making. But it has a gallery, which is where this concert took place. The Strawbs play in the main auditorium, and that works. I didn't count heads, but I would guess about 120 people were there, and Dave and Ian could see every face, not the usual playing to a darkened hall of ghosts. Was it a coincidence that the opening song was "Hanging in the Gallery"? Possibly, because it opened the other two shows I saw, as well.

    I cannot explain what happened at The Strand on this night, but I have seen Dave perform dozens of times, and I've never seen it before or, for that matter, since. As Dave and Ian moved into their rhythm, as they became more accustomed to how they worked together – this was only their second live show ever – the performance became more and more emotional for both Cousins and the audience. Ian was obviously sort of feeling his way along and doing a damned good job of it. But Dave Cousins was, as many of us were, transported. He went somewhere else. The woman I went with was in tears on three separate occasions, and I was with Dave, trying not to join her. "Ringing Down the Years," his tribute to Sandy Denny, gets me every time, in part because I was minding the news teletype at a radio station, when the news came in about her death. But there was a transcendent specialness in this show that I have never experienced. The performance, itself, went from good to tight, in the course of an evening. You could just hear it mature.


    NOSTALGIC AND AWE-INSPIRING - Review by Brian Travers

    Heading into The Cutting Room to see Dave on his very first solo tour was extremely exciting and a bit nerve racking. Knowing that the man would most likely be casually walking around and chatting with long time fans is now a customary concern for me; I never know what to say when I see him! Anyway, after standing on a discombobulated line which streamed through a bar crowd to a BACK room music lounge (who constructed this place?), we finally made it into the show and found our seats at the back. Perfect, ready to go, can't wait to see Dave! Well, he is standing right behind me having a beer (Since when are rock deities allowed to just act like us casual, inferiorities!?!) So, of course, we have to deal with the likes of Dylan or Lennon, having a beer behind and around me, completely nonchalantly. Insane!! Well I did manage to shake his hand and exchange a "how are you?" or whereabouts, but never mind, it's only Dave Cousins, right! So the man gets on stage in a little while and everyone cheers with excitement. The atmosphere was very peaceful, albeit a little annoying at times with the way the bar was constructed. Dave can lift any room to new heights anyhow, so any fault of the lounge was much less noticeable.

    When Dave began his introduction and began playing, the sound was fantastic and the violin player, Ian Cutler, was stunning. His sound went perfectly with each and every song. This was something I had not expected, I was honestly not too keen on how things would sound with the electric violin, well I was wrong on all fronts, and it was AMAZING. The first half of the show had its major highlight, "The Hangman and the Papist", where Cousins proves he has the longest standing vocals in rock or folk music. He still sounds completely amazing and it was just incredible to watch. I was unfamiliar with one or two of the newer tracks, but everything sounded great anyway! "Song of a Sad Little Girl" was mind bending and nostalgic, bringing back all the days of ones first listen to Antiques and the truly best folky days of Strawbs. Dave also pulled out "Ways and Means" and "The Shepherd's Song" which I would never have expected to see live, another bit of nostalgic power in there and again, the violin went so perfectly with all of this.

    The two took a short break and returned to the crowd to chat a bit. When they got back on stage little did anyone know how special the next few songs would be. Dave pulled out all the stops, playing beautiful renditions of "Grace Darling" and "I'll Show You Where to Sleep" among others. With introductions and stories so captivating, including some very intriguing bits on King Crimson and Robert Fripp, Wakeman and his keyboards, some insight on his relationship with Sandy Denny, his family history and all else. Most intriguing and stunning of all was his description of the meanings behind the most mind blowing track of the show, "Blue Angel". Still not really fully understanding, we all got a little bit of what that song is about, especially the crippled boy bit. When Dave played the song it was completely entrancing, hypnotic. Almost brought to tears at the sight of it, I believe it was the only track that received a high standing ovation because of the sheer awe that I am sure we all felt after watching and hearing it. Again, love for Ian Cutler working perfectly with the song and keeping the vibes so strong and perfect. Dave and Ian came right back with "We'll Meet Again Sometime" to lift the spirit of the room and this was just such a happy moment. Hearing this with Cutler's violin was perfect again, and really gave it an even more uplifting mood! The two could have ended the show on perfection right there, but decided to do even another ditty, which sadly I was quite unfamiliar with "Skip to my Lou", the song was certainly a joyous one, though, and it was a real showing of Cutlers violin talents. Seeing the show end was a spirit lifter as always, and Dave left us with his now classic "I'll see you all in another 30 years" - pure joy and peace.

    Solo tours don't get much better than what Dave has done here with Ian Cutler. The moods captured are wonderful, the spirits are so high and peace of mind just flourishes. Thanks again to Dave, Ian and all those affiliated with Strawbsweb and Witchwood Media for this incredible experience!

    Comments from Nick Cinque

    It was my first time there, the venue was different I'll say that but I really liked the show, Dave was great. I took someone who was hearing Dave for the first time, he and the Strawbs have a new friend.

    Photos by Dick Greener More photos from Dick


    EXCEEDED MY WILDEST EXPECTATIONS - Review by Judi Cuervo of Tin Angel and Cutting Room

    Just when I think I have this whole Strawbs thing figured out, along comes Dave Cousins: Songs & Stories. My immediate assumption was that this first-ever solo tour would be comprised of shows filled with informal performances—a longer version of Cousins' solo stint at Joe Langer's Witchwood gig a few years back. I viewed it as nothing more than an hors d'oeuvre—something to hold us North American fans until the main electric course would be served in June.

    For me, the tour did not start off on a good note. The Cutting Room is a popular New York venue that I had never before visited but now hate with the fire of 1000 suns. Owned by actor Chris Noth (of Law and Order/Sex in the City fame), the jam-packed front bar leads to the "music room," a cramped, oppressively hot and airless venue. Even before the show began, I began feeling light-headed and queasy and the one glass of overpriced pedestrian wine I managed to order didn't help. My condition (and a fear of ending up on The Cutting Room floor, literally) prevented me from focusing at all on the music and, because of that, a review of the show is impossible. I seriously considered LEAVING mid-way through the second set but, with Dick Greener at my table, believed I'd be stripped of my Witchwood badge if I had committed such an atrocity.

    I should point out that I attended The Cutting Room with my friend Mary, a woman who was less than enthused with the Acoustics show see saw a few years back and who was lured to Thursday's solo gig only with the promise of dinner before at Sapa, a fab French-Vietnamese restaurant on the same street. Though the heat bothered her, as well, she thoroughly enjoyed the show. "110% better than the acoustic show," she told me the following day. "I may have to re-evaluate this whole thing. And I'm intrigued by all the people who follow this guy around like he's George Clooney." That last part was triggered by us meeting up with a couple who fly up to NY from North Carolina for most Strawbs NY shows, Dick Greener coming over from London, and Jean Dulsky who joined us for dinner and revealed that she's gone to England to see some gigs. Suddenly the fact that I was going to the show the following day in Philadelphia—a short 90 minute train ride away—didn't seem nearly as dramatic.

    Fast-forward to Philadelphia 24 hours later. Following dinner at Serrano, the club's ground floor restaurant, Dick, Joannie, Cinnie, Maryanne Laws and I ascended the staircase to the Tin Angel, site of some of the best Acoustic Strawbs shows I've ever seen. Cinnie had made all the arrangements and though I offered her the up-against-the-stage seat of our front table, she declined—something about me being short (which I'm really not, didn't understand, but certainly didn't put up a fight about). Soon, Cousins and Cutler took the stage, Dave in what appears to be the tour's signature red silk shirt with crystal embellishment (see Secret Paths album cover or about 72,000,000 different concert pictures on Witchwood), and a fabulous pair of bright crimson loafers from Tod's the masters of refined, understated luxury. While red, top and toe, is an effective complement to Cousins' similarly-hued guitar, he might wish to rethink the red guitar strap in favor of a color that provides more contrast.

    Ooops…sorry…got into that fashion thing again.

    Back at the Tin Angel, the music began and the horrors of the previous night dissolved. After an introduction that emphasized the difference between other artists and the songwriter, the haunting "Hanging In The Gallery" filled the room. Immediately I realized that this was to be no laid-back living room strum-along as I had imagined. This was a polished performance with an enormous sound and no way was I going to interrupt my enjoyment of it to take down a set list or take photos.

    "Never Take Sweets From A Stranger" came next and if I hadn't already realized the importance of Ian's contribution during "Gallery", this time it would have smashed me over the head. (In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that if Ian was participating in the full tour, its title be changed to Cousins & Cutler: Stories, Songs & Strings--I'm not a creative director for nothing, boys and girls.) Not being a musician, it's difficult to explain it. Imagine the clarity of Dave's emotion-drenched words and voice accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. Now imagine that sound with a powerful string backdrop, yet one that's not so strong that it overshadows the guitar or voice but enhances it until all three elements are one unit, none of them competing for dominance but perfectly balanced.

    In keeping with the theme of the show, Cousins' "stories" came in the form of song introductions that traced their inspiration, often revealing highly-personal accounts in his life. From my front-row perch, I could see the pain triggered by talking about things like his friendship with Sandy Denny and her death, his family and past relationships. Once I thought he was making a weird face and then I realized he was fighting back tears.

    While Dick does have the set list, I'll say here that it included "Blue Angel", "Grace Darling". "Ways And Means", "We'll Meet Again Sometime" (with a decidedly country flavor!), "Song Of A Sad Little Girl" and "The Shepherd's Song".

    Deserving of its own paragraph, maybe its own review, was "The Call To Action". "THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!!!!" was my first reaction. I knew the song, I knew its power as the opening track on High Seas. When the song began, I wanted to leap onto the stage and say "IMPOSSIBLE!! No way two guys should even THINK of attempting to recreate that song live!!" But, as I sat there, it happened right in front of us. The same power, the same explosive sound was somehow emitting from a guitar, a fiddle and a voice. It reminded me of the rumors years ago of the Monkees not playing their own instruments and how there was a full band behind the stage. I half expected the curtain behind Cousins and Cutler to part and reveal Conny Conrad and a bunch of other German guys all outfitted with electric instruments that supplemented the sound I was hearing.

    Dave Cousins: Songs & Stories is a show that far exceeded my wildest expectations. Remember: I expected this to be nothing more than a peripheral gig, a one-off curiosity, which would do little more than ignite in me an increased desire to see Acoustic Strawbs and Electric Strawbs. Instead, Cousins & Cutler delivered an entirely new option for Strawbs fans, one that often matched and, certainly, in the case of "The Call To Action", actually exceeded the excitement of electric Strawbs.

    It's funny. I keep thinking of my friend Mary's comments after the show at The Cutting Room on Thursday night. "110% better than Acoustic Strawbs," she said. As a lifelong Strawbs fanatic, I feel tremendously uncomfortable saying this, but maybe she's got something there.

    HIGH ENERGY - Review by Cinnie Morgan (from Cinnie's Myspace)

    After The Strand, I was ready. Even though the Tin Angel has an entirely different atmosphere, it had not yet occurred to me how important the venue and the audience are in how the music comes out. As I said, The Strand's gallery was intimate. The Tin Angel is, essentially, a big city small folk club. Up the stairs, long and narrow, very small stage at one end, bar at the other, stairway in the middle. If you need the toilet, you have to walk right by the stage. I had reserved a table for five right in front of the stage – one Strawbs fan refers to it as "sitting in Dave Cousins' lap." Just about right. That close.

    So I was ready. Another emotional night with love songs like "Grace Darling," which might be about his darling named Grace, or it might be about a woman named Grace Darling, first recorded by the Strawbs, in 1975.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong! At least half of the songs in the show are NOT love songs, and aside from that, Cousins' love songs and not usually soft and tinkly. So he has been doing "The Call To Action," which he recorded a couple of years ago with Conny Conrad on a great album called "High Seas." There is NO love in that song. It's a strong, pounding, dynamic song, and Cutler answered the "Call" extremely well.

    They also did "Never Take Sweets From A Stranger," a song in the tradition of the guy who picks up the phantasm who is already dead, in this case a beautiful girl. Another not-so-soft song. And so it went that with each song, Ian Cutler and Dave Cousins just interlocked and got stronger and stronger.

    This was just 48 hours later, but it was a whole different experience. Somebody lit the fuse, and the performance was as explosive as any electric performance I've ever seen by anybody. The sum of Cutler + Cousins is MUCH greater than one plus one.

    Setlist from Ken Prospero

    Hanging in the Gallery
    Never Take Sweets from a Stranger
    Song for a Sad Little Girl
    Ringing Down the Years
    The Shepherd's Song
    Grace Darling
    Ways And Means
    The Call to Action
    Blue Angel

    We'll Meet Again Sometime


    IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT - Review by Ken Prospero

    It was a dark and stormy night in Pawling, New York, the audience sat in the dark theatre in rapt anticipation of the evening, staring at the candle-lit stage, and then, the lights come on, and the concert can begin.

    Wait a minute, isn't that backwards, shouldn't it be the audience is sitting in the theatre and the lights dim so the concert can begin – well normally, yes. However, in this world where anything can happen, we had a black-out about an hour before the scheduled start time before the concert. The folks at Towne Crier were fantastic as always, making sure we all were served, finding a non-electric violin for Ian, "just in case." The warm up singer, a local singer named Maggie Seligman had performed 'au natural' meaning with just her acoustic guitar no amplification of either voice or guitar, and any of you who thought I meant anything else well, you should be ashamed of yourselves. For a while, it looked like Dave and Ian would have to do the same.

    To be honest, I was almost hoping that the lights wouldn't come on, because the intimacy of true acoustics would be wonderful to experience. However, as Dave Cousins informed us afterwards, he had put in a word with his "Father," so the power was restored in the nick of time.

    Now, the for the show ..

    For anyone who is a real fan of Dave Cousins and the Strawbs this tour is a must see. (and if you're not a fan of Dave and the Strawbs, honestly, how did you find this web site and why are you reading this?).

    Recent Strawbs tours (both acoustic and electric) have a very definite pattern. Certain songs form the core of the set lists with new numbers rotating in and out depending on the tour. However, if you go to a Strawbs concert you pretty much know what to expect. As a solo act, Dave Cousins had the freedom to redefine expectations. The set list, contained songs that we've heard before on the LPs and CDs but which are rarely, if ever performed live. Songs like "Song for a Sad Little Girl" and the "Shepherd's Song". Songs like "Ringing Down the Years" (Dave Cousin's homage to his great friend and former Strawb, Sandy Denny). "Non-Strawb" classics like "Call to Action" (from the recent collaboration between Dave Cousins and Conny Conrad), "Ways And Means" (from Two Weeks Last Summer) and of course "Blue Angel", a highlight of any show.

    Those of us who are privileged enough to attend the first eight shows in this tour are lucky in that Dave is accompanied by Ian Cutler. Ian, a member of the Blue Angel Orchestra, and many other bands is fantastic. As with the re-imagining of many electric Strawbs songs when the acoustic Strawbs emerged, the violin accompaniment shows a new side to many of these songs. To hear the difference, all you have to do (and you HAVE TO do this) is buy Dave Cousin's new CD, Secret Paths and compare how they sound with steel guitar accompaniment vs the violin. The reinvention, which presenting the songs in a different light only enhances one's appreciation for the songs.

    As to the presentation, musically, it was excellent and Dave was in fine voice. The hall, Towne Crier is one of my favorite venues. It's a hall that really appreciates musicians and knows how to treat both audiences and artists with the respect that each deserves. Although many of us would have preferred a longer set with Dave (and no warm up act), Towne Crier's commitment to local musicians like Maggie Seligman (a very gifted performer in her own right) must be applauded.

    Some random notes.

    As I mentioned, Dave Cousin's new CD Secret Paths is out and available at the concert. This is Dave's third solo CD. After a 35 year gap Two Weeks Last Summer and his second solo effort (The Boy in the Sailor Suit,) Dave waited less than a year to release this collection. Softer more acoustic than much of Dave/Strawbs work. An excellent album. The CD is a must have.

    Many of the "regulars" were in attendance last night. Hi again to all. It's great to catch up with friends. Also present was a gentleman who bore a striking resemblance to Dick Greener. Always good to see you Dick!!!!!

    When asked about the upcoming Strawbs plans, those affiliated with the tour said something about having to Kill Me if they told me. For those unafraid of death – The owner of Towne Crier announced that the Electric Strawbs (Hero& Heroine line up) will be playing there On June 21st and BB Kings (New York) web site shows a June 10 show. Both great places to watch a show. However, and I can't stress this enough – don't let the impending US Tour cause you to even think about missing Dave's solo tour. You'll be kicking yourself forever if you do.

    LO AND BEHOLD - Comments from Barry Gimpel

    Last night I caught Dave Cousins performance at the Towne Crier in Pawling, NY and thank God I did, for it was a night I will not forget. Although, I did not think I'd make it due to the weather. My wife and I drove WAY over an hour, for I live in Yonkers (a city just north of NYC). The wind was just incredible, and I had to avoid two huge trees uprooted and tossed across the road, driving way off the shoulder to get around them (thank goodness there was enough room to do so), got lost several times (don't get me started on e-mail directions), only to find the town in total darkness. I was getting extremely frustrated at this point since I had been looking forward to seeing Dave for several weeks and thinking "Oh great, there's no power, I can't find the place, I've driven all this distance for nothing, fifty bucks down the drain, etc. etc.".

    FINALLY, we found the Café by sheer luck after driving back and forth through the town in total darkness and stumbled to the entrance door, which we could barely see. Opened the door (surprise surprise) to find candlepower engulfing the audience. By this time it was around 9:30 and we came in on Maggie Seligman's set, to which we heard her last three songs. A sigh of relief came over me as I realized I had actually made it in time to see Dave Cousins perform. We sat in the back, slightly above the rest of the crowd. Dave came out, wandered around a bit and sat down directly across the side of the room from me and listened the rest of Maggie's set. I was so tempted to get up and go over to talk to him, but thought better of it as it would have been rude of me to interrupt his train of thought and Maggie's set.

    And then, lo and behold, THE POWER CAME BACK ON! By the way, Dave made a comment when he came on about being insulted that he couldn't perform by candlelight (kiddingly of course) and how he had trouble getting a Visa through the American Embassy due to power failures and implied that our "mighty" (LOL, and I use that term loosely) country can't produce enough "juice" here and there. Well, maybe it's not America's fault, but it's HIS. After all, wherever Dave goes there's a power failure. I'M JUST KIDDING, DAVE!

    It was just great seeing him once again. He performed (with Ian on violin) TONS of my old favorites, "Hanging in the Gallery", "The Shepherd's Song", "BLUE ANGEL" (YES!!!, my FAVORITE), "The Call to Action", I could go on and on, but I won't. YOU know, for I saw you walking around with your "Do I look like Dick Greener" T-shirt on. Am I to assume that Laura Wiggers was there too? (for I read both of your reviews on your web site before I left, and couldn't wait for what was in store for me).

    Well sadly, the night had to come to an end. But not before I was able to approach Mr. Cousins after the show, and talk to him briefly. I had not seen him perform since 1975 at the Beacon Theater in NYC (he said '74). Regardless, I had taken some pictures from the balcony and asked him if he sign one of the 8x10 sheets I had brought with me (which included a picture of him, one of Dave Lambert, and one shot of the whole group). Dave was very gracious and did so. I had brought TWO copies with me, and told him to keep the other for himself. He was nice enough to accept and mentioned on showing it to someone in his entourage (hopefully you'll be able be see them). I wish they looked a lot better than they do, but the originals were slides (shot on high speed Ektochrome), copied and transferred to my computer and adjusted with Adobe Photoshop to the best of my ablity. I hope it doesn't get wet, as dye-transfer photo paper is the pits. But those slides are shots I'll always treasure till the day I die, of a night thirty three years ago of one of the greatest bands that have come across THESE ears. Long live Dave Cousins (and the Strawbs).

    Stupidly, I didn't introduce myself to Dave, because I was in such awe of him (starstruck if you will) being in the presence, of what I consider, one of the greatest poet/artists of our (or at least mine) time. I'm glad I didn't give up being able to see him once again, despite the weather and power outages. It was, once again, a memorable night NOT to be missed. I can't wait to see the band in June as I saw them in '75 (or '74, Dave) except John Hawken will be included, which I don't believe he was at the Beacon. Well, enough of my babbling on and on. I'm sure I'm beginning to bore you with my raving so much about Dave. I just like to say one more thing, Dick. Thank you for one incredible web site. I visit it on a daily basis. Without it, I would not have known about Dave's touring schedule and seen last nights engagement. Maybe I'll get to say hello to you in June should I see you walking around with your "Do I look like" T-shirt on. Stay well, and convey my best to Dave when you see him next. Thanks again. God bless you both.

    Setlist from Bob Polchinski

    Hanging in the Gallery
    Never Take Sweets from a Stranger
    Song for a Sad Little Girl
    Ringing Down the Years
    The Shepherd's Song
    Grace Darling
    Ways And Means
    The Call to Action
    Blue Angel
    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    Skip to My Lou


    GREAT PERFORMANCE - Review by Bob Polchinski

    Great performance at the Jersey Proghouse last night. Definitely a different show than the Acoustic Strawbs. Cousins and Cutler standing throughout the performance rather than sitting, probably a necessary thing to generate the energy and ferocity for some of the songs. Dave was his usual joking self (comparing the city council of Deal to smugglers) and at times telling sad stories (Grace Darling and Sandy Denny). Cousins was in strong voice with just enough tiredness at the end of "Blue Angel" to signify defeat. Cutler is a wizard at the fiddle. At times Ian plays sweetly as on "Song Of a Sad Little Girl" (in my opinion, a better version than that on Secret Paths) and other times a string shredding maniac ("Shepherd's Song", "Skip to my Lou"). I loved the version of "We'll meet Again Sometime". It's really the way that the version on Two Weeks Last Summer should have sounded .

    FULL CIRCLE - Review by Cinnie Morgan (from Cinnie's Myspace)

    I took my husband to this show. My husband doesn't like acoustic music and generally doesn't appreciate Dave Cousins' work, other than electric Strawbs. My husband was on his feet before the end of the show.

    The setting for this show was an old one-room school house, filled with folding chairs. I couldn't say how many people were there, but you can imagine the space, I would guess more than a hundred years old. "Informal" would best describe it. There were a handful of empty seats, and there was an opening act, for which the audience was courteous. I felt sorry for him.


    When the show first started, I was a little concerned. After seeing two of the first four shows, I had very high expectations, and I was a little disappointed. Where was the chemistry? Where was the emotion? Where was the fire? Ten minutes into the show, I was rewarded for my patience.

    For me, personally, it ran full circle from the emotion of The Strand Theater show, through the high energy of the Tin Angel show, and came to rest in this tiny town in New Jersey. Once Ian and Dave got going, a few songs into the show, it became a thing of wonder. As I've said before, I've seen Cousins many, many times, over a period spanning more than three decades, but I have never seen him smile on stage, the way he smiled when they launched into "Skip To My Lou." The audience was clapping in time, and in another place, we might have been dancing. Dave Cousins was 30 years younger, if only for a few minutes.

    But then, I have to admit that I burst into tears during "Blue Angel." I know why. I knew that it was getting toward the end of the set. I knew that I wasn't going to any more shows. And I knew that electric Strawbs wasn't coming to Philadelphia on the June tour. Again. I knew that I had spent hundreds of dollars on the last five days, and I am not certain that I have it to spend on tickets for out of town electric Strawbs shows, and I thought, "Dave Cousins, you've gone and broken my heart." Which has nothing to do with music, but "Blue Angel" does. I sat there sobbing, tears rolling down my cheeks, as he sang, "Treat me kindly, dear Blue Angel..." And I prayed for one of my own.

    So, how do I sum this up? I say that as much as Ian Cutler and Dave Cousins feed off of each other, I would add that there is another player involved, possibly two, and they are the audience and perhaps the venue, too. Not just "the picture," not just "the painter," but the gallery, as well.

    And I say, go to your God, go to your muse, go to whatever life force it is that makes you what you are and say, "Thank you -- with all of the horror and hatred in this world, there is a tiny ray of hope." And to Ian Cutler and Dave Cousins, I will quote from a Cousins song, "We'll Meet Again," and I hope that we do: "I only have my memories to last me the remainder of my days."

    Thanks for some great memories, guys. I doubt that I'll ever see shows like these again.

    Set List from Amanda

    Hanging In The Gallery
    Never Take Sweets From A Stranger
    Song Of A Sad Little Girl
    Ringing Down The Years
    The Shepherd's Song
    Grace Darling
    Ways And Means
    The Call To Action
    Blue Angel
    We'll Meet Again Sometime


    DYNAMIC DUO - Review by Amanda Baughn

    Going to Krogh's to see Strawbs (or even to see one of the Strawbs) is very special to me. The reason being because Krogh's was the first place I saw the Acoustic Strawbs play five years ago, this December. There's a very Strawbs-y feel about that venue and I am sure that other Witchwooders who have been there will know what I mean by saying that.

    A Strawbs evolution has occurred within Kroghs, as several different incarnations of the band have played there. The Acoustic Strawbs played there with Brian Willoughby, then later with Chas Cronk. In 2004, the Electric band played there, and now that Dave Cousins had his first ever Songs and Stories performance there, it seems quite appropriate.

    I heard from several other people that to see Ian Cutler and Dave Cousins play together was something special, but I wasn't sure what to make of that until I saw it for myself. Together they are a dynamic duo. They played off of each other well and at times they even created a bit of a "Cajun" sound which was nice. Also, the sound system at Krogh's was quite loud, but balanced. This was beneficial because it gave an auditory illusion that there was a full band playing, not just Ian and Dave.

    I was also very pleased with the set list. It was wonderful getting to hear the Strawbs songs that I've never heard played live before, such as "Ringing Down The Years" and "Song Of A Sad Little Girl." It was equally nice to hear the newer songs "Skip To My Lou," and "The Call To Action," which, in my opinion, came across more powerfully live than they did on the albums.

    Any Strawbs fan should take the opportunity to see the Dave Cousins' tour and if you can't make it this year, I can only hope you don't have to wait "another thirty years."

    PERFORMED FROM THE HEART - Comments from Ed Noroski

    Just a note to let you know that I went to see Dave on the 10th at Kroghs. I cannot tell you (although you probably know) how absolutely wonderful seeing him perform in person. Also, the fact that it was a small venue added to the richness. This is a man who has class and style and truly loves his music. It's evident. He performs from the heart - you just can't get any better than this.

    I brought some CDs for him to sign. He was very gracious. He told me I had a rare one. It's called "The Bridge" done with Brian Willoughby. I cannot believe they didn't release more because it's excellent. While there, I purchased "The Boy in the Sailor Suit" and, again, it is excellent. Hearing Dave's music is one of the great pleasures of life. Would you relate that to him please?

    I am so happy I got to see him, especially since I missed Nearfest a short while ago. I do want to thank-you for all the work you do for Dave and the Strawbs. Being involved with those talents must be very rewarding. Please thank Dave again for signing and thank-you for sending me an e-mail making me aware of this tour.

    Setlist from Karl

    Hanging In The Gallery
    Never Take Sweets From A Stranger
    Song Of A Sad Little Girl
    Ringing Down The Years
    The Sheperds Song
    Grace Darling
    Ways And Means
    The Call To Action
    Blue Angel
    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    Encore#1 Skip To My Lou
    Encore#2 Beside The Rio Grande


    Setlist and comments from Karl

    The show was great, the crowd was very into the show as was Dave and Ian - no opening act so we got the full show and the power stayed on! A Great Night it was

    ABOUT AS PERSONAL AS ONE CAN GET - Comments from Ken Stasion

    It is sort of a personal triumph for me to get any of The Strawbs at The Turning Point. I've been rallying [on Witchwood] for some time for them to play there. It really is just the sort of place The Strawbs fit in with. Dave commented from the stage that he had always heard about it and now that he was there he really loved it.

    For me on a mercenary level, it is just 1 mile from my door. I arrived a bit early and was delighted to meet the always affable, Bev and Bill. I along with my two friends Lauren and John took seats alongside them. The Turning Point seats just 69 persons and I believe there were just under that number in attendance.

    I believe the set list followed the running order of those already posted. The performance was about as personal as one can get with Dave not only recounting stories from the road but also detailing emotional moments of his own personal life including his marriage. "The Call To Action" was really, really powerful. "The Blue Angel Suite" was performed in its entirety . It is always a stand out piece.

    Dave and Ian really got it rolling with "Skip To My Lou". Ian Cutler is an amazing player. He can easily fit in any performance context from folk to fusion. I had the great pleasure to chat with him afterwards. He has his own band, "Hot Rats" which I asked if he got from Frank Zappa.. indeed he did. This of course brought to mind two other "fiddle" players, Sugar Cane Harris and Jean Luc Ponty both of whom played with Zappa. Ian Cutler could easily fit the bill with either of those two esteemed musicians. Besides being a fantastic player, Ian is really a great guy; very easy to talk with.

    After the gig, I got a chance to talk with Dave (always a treat) and he signed my Live At Calderone CD. Just great. Well, judging by the turnout and the enthusiasm, The Turning Point said they hoped to have Dave back. Well, for sure I hope so too and while we're at it why not The Strawbs too.!!

    NO TURNING AWAY FROM THE TURNING POINT!!!!!! - Review by Mark De Clemente

    With great anticipation I showed up with my wife early to the Turning Point to get a seat with a good view. I was welcomed at the door by a few very social folks, one of which I would learn later was Ian Cutler. The audience was warm and friendly and when Dave and Ian appeared they were greeted with great applause.

    Dave's story telling and humor was right on as always. As my wife Shelley said, "He was so mesmerizing I was like a kid in school at story time". I was presently surprised to hear Dave sing songs that were not part of the traditional sets. Ian's violin fill-ins and solos were a great accompaniment! "Ways And Means" brought me back to the Old School Songs record I used to play 24/7 (yes I know it was on Two Weeks Last Summer). The "Ringing Down The Years" tribute to Sandy Denny was one of the highlights of the show. Other highlights for me were "Blue Angel" and "Song Of A Sad little Girl".

    I'm sure each fan in the audience had their favorite song but the response to all was so favorable that Dave came back for a second encore and said "you have been such a good audience, I'll play "Rio Grande"!

    And yes we did hang out with the gang a bit afterwards. Thanks Dave and Ian for a great show! Looking forward to more Acoustic Strawbs, Electric Strawbs and Dave Cousins solo concerts!!!

    Photos by Marc De Clemente - A few more photos from Marc


    Pictures from Jean-Claude de Grandpanais

    My friends I visit in Rochester encourage me to send you photos of Dave Cousins and Ian Cutler from the concert, perhaps you might need some for the website. Because the hall was not adequately lit for good photos, I altered these with my computer, so they are not for realism but more the artistic effect.

    Photos by Jean-Claude de Grandpanais

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