Updated: 23 July 2008
Tears and Pavan
The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
Oh How She Changed
Glimpse of Heaven
Shine on Silver Sun
We'll Meet Again Sometime
GILLINGHAM FESTIVAL, 13 JULY 2008
Ah a gig so close I could walk to it – it was only 4 miles away, after so many years of travelling the shortest distance ever travelled to get to a show and a chance to complete my review before 1 a.m. in the morning
The evening was opened by Nick Harper, who was well appreciated by the gathered crowd – in places sounded like his father, with some excellent work on guitar and vocals bringing calls for an encore that eventually put paid to the after gig drinking as the Strawbs ended their slot just as the bar closed. There would have been a bit of time if things had run entirely to schedule.
Ok this is only a "quickie" review, having just had a lift back from Judy, Lindsay's faithful chauffeur who deserves a mention with the other Witchwooders in attendance, Pete and Calli who had travelled all the way from their London home down to this part of deepest Dorset. A few other friends we have met over the years, were also in attendance.
The on stage lighting was terrific and I sure Pete will have some great shots (no pressure Pete !) The PA gave full value to the performance and was excellent.
The name festival attached to this show is a bit of a misnomer in the days of three and four day events because this one lasts for two weeks, with a series of entirely individual evening events held each day, rather than all day long – except Saturdays or Sundays where they do run all day, but there is always a two and a half hour break at tea time (for tea ??) when they re-set everything for the evening performance which is held in the very large marquee.
After all the excitement of the fantastic "electric" stuff, a return to the acoustic show, even with a familiar set, the songs appeared refreshed and revitalised, with some stunning renditions. It was a thoroughly enjoyable night with the lighting, sound and playing all working in harmony to create a quite atmospheric evening.
Not a lot to add to Nigel's review really but say how much I too thoroughly enjoyed seeing the acoustic line-up again last night. Bit of a shakey welcome - friend Judy and I were serenaded by the unmistakable sounds of "Lay Down" ringing out loud and clear in Gillingham High Street while parking the car, as the soundcheck was under way. We assumed we'd casually wander into this "friendly" little festival site for a closer listen, but the security officers closely guarding the gate growled and told us that would not be possible. I explained that a friend was waiting for us in the beer tent with our tickets (ta Nige), and eventually we were escorted through, though God forbid we should make ourselves comfortable. The beer tent had stopped serving and we were hounded at 2 minute intervals by an army of security people to leave the site - not quite what we'd been expecting! It didn't affect our high spirits in anticipation of seeing the band though - Judy gave Dave Cousins a cheery wave while we stood watching a few minutes of the soundcheck and I managed to take a couple of photos, all before we had the rottweilers set on us. Hopefully the photos will be worthy of uploading when I have a minute (not quite to Adie's zoom quality using my mobile phone, but never mind.)
Anyway, none of the aforegoing detracted in the slightest from what came later, a fabulous evening with excellent sound, some of the best lighting I've seen at a Strawbs gig for years, and Dave, Chas and Dave sounding terrific throughout with the mouthwatering harmonies and standard of musicianship we know and love. I would very much like to hear acoustic Strawbs play new/different material of course, particularly when attending numerous gigs in a short space of time, but with several months having passed since the previous acoustic Strawbs gig (Verona in April) that wasn't an issue last night. It was a tonic most welcome.
Photos by Lindsay Sorrell
Not going to write a long review this time, as I'm sure everyone is getting fed up of me [npt true!!! - DG]. Agree whole-heartedly with Lindsay about the shakey welcome. We must have arrived soon after her because we too were turned away rather brusquely. They saw my camera as well and told me that I wouldn't be allowed to take that in. Smuggled it in anyway and was really glad that I did. The lighting there was beautiful. Best I have seen at a Strawbs concert. Not only was it spectacular, it also fitted well with the music.
Only thing I'd add to Nigel's and Lindsay's reviews is that for the introduction to "Cold Steel" DC explained that the track was from Deja Fou, but since then they had recorded a new album. He said that they weren't playing any tracks from the new album, yet, but that they would be "next month". I presume that means it is quite likely that there'll be something from Broken Hearted Bride added to the set list in Norway. If not, it seems pretty likely that the September/October gigs will feature a track or two.
Get your tickets bought soon to avoid disappointment.
Photos by Pete Bradley - more photos from Pete