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STRAWBS - UK DATES NOVEMBER 2012

Updated: 27 Nov 2012

Contents
  • Strawbs definitely have the XXX-factor - Comments from Lindsay Sorrell
  • Thursday 8 November 2012 - The Beaverwood Club, Chislehurst
  • The Young Pretenders - Review by Dick Greener
  • Comments from Lindsay Sorrell
  • Photos from Marilyn Kingwill
  • Setlist
  • Friday 9 November 2012 - The BoomBoom Club, Sutton
  • Hero And Heroine As Good As It Ever Gets - Review by Nigel Bennett
  • Comments from Dick Greener
  • Setlist
  • Sunday 11 November 2012 - The Garage, Swansea
  • Powerful, evocative and full of emotion - Review by Nigel Bennett
  • Tuesday 13 November 2012 - The Green Hotel, Kinross
  • Comments from Neil MacPherson
  • Pictures from Stan Ginter
  • Setlist from Neil MacPherson
  • Wednesday 14 November 2012 - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
    Thursday 15 November 2012 - Citadel Arts, St. Helens
  • A Terrific Show - Review by Les Cotton
  • Comments from Joseph Fereday
  • Friday 16 November 2012 - Exchange, Bristol
  • Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head - Review by Nigel Bennett
  • Setlist
  • Sunday 18 November 2012 - Robin 2, Bilston
  • Photos from Alan Perry
  • Friday 23 November 2012 - Astor Community Theatre, Deal
    Saturday 24 November 2012 - Soundhouse, Otford
    Friday 23 November 2012 - Astor Community Theatre, Deal and Saturday 24 November 2012 - Soundhouse, Otford
  • Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside .... Review by Dick Greener
  • Setlists
  • Sunday 18 November 2012 - Robin 2, Bilston, Friday 23 November 2012 - Astor Community Theatre, Deal and Saturday 24 November 2012 - Soundhouse, Otford
  • A Triumvirate Of Triumphant Gigs.... Review By Nigel Bennett




  • The "new boys" (photos by Marilyn Kingwill
    more pictures from Marilyn)


    GENERALLY

    STRAWBS DEFINITELY HAVE THE XXX-FACTOR - Comments from Lindsay Sorrell

    The current tour has been amazing and it is even more incredible, knowing that the current line-up only had three days' rehearsal before putting together such an exciting and stunningly tight show. Strawbs have always had top-rate musicians in the ranks and the two Adams (Wakeman and Falkner) definitely both pass the Strawb test with flying colours, adding sensitive/exciting keyboard and drumming respectively. Even the most seasoned fans I have spoken to agree there is not a hint of feeling that either Adam (Wakey and Flakey as jokingly referred to by Dave Cousins in a recent interview) is just "going through the motions" - these guys are both very much in tune with what Strawbs' music is about.

    I know it sounds cliched after the countless fan reviews of Strawbs' concerts through the years, but I honestly cannot ever remember hearing Dave Cousins' vocals sound more powerful. Chas's bass is a dream to behold and complements everything else so perfectly, and Dave Lambert's guitar-playing is superb (with some interesting Hendrix type sounds to start "Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth", and countless other interesting goodies). The vocal harmonies for which Strawbs have always been known are spot-on as ever.

    Unfortunately I couldn't make it to Bilston last night, though I have heard it was excellent and I'd be astonished if that wasn't so, given the outstanding quality of previous shows on this tour - I have overheard countless "what a fantastic night" type comments from complete strangers. I've also noticed how Strawbs' audiences (even more than policemen) definitely seem to be getting younger these days. Whether it's a trendy retro thing for teens and twenty-somethings now to want to experience the buzz which chronologically-challenged rockers took for granted in the days of less "manufactured stars" I don't know. Whatever, I think it's terrific to see the Strawbs' experience being recognised and valued by more and more young people who have grown up in a largely throwaway and ageist society though. Strawbs definitely have the XXX-factor as far as I'm concerned.

    At the risk of sounding even more like a dinosaur, I'm still pinching myself that I must be one of the luckiest people on the planet to be able to go and watch the band that I absolutely fell in love with over 40 years ago! (Eeeeek!!) Today's Strawbs' concerts are no nostalgic rehash of mind-blowing concerts in the 70s either - the members of Strawbs are still singing and playing timeless, relevant musical masterpieces with every bit as much passion, talent and skill as ever.

    Anyway, The Astor Theatre in Deal (a lovely place which has delivered many a great concert in the past) and The Soundhouse, Otford still await - if you have the chance and are ummming and aaahing, stop that immediately and buy your tickets now!


    SUNDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2012 - ROBIN 2, BILSTON,
    FRIDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2012 - ASTOR COMMUNITY THEATRE, DEAL AND
    SATURDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2012 - SOUNDHOUSE, OTFORD

    A TRIUMVIRATE OF TRIUMPHANT GIGS.... Review By Nigel Bennett

    A triumvirate of triumphant gigs to report on as this Electric tour comes to an end. Firstly Bilston.

    As Witchwooders and many others have come to acknowledge a very welcome venue to any electric band show. This Sunday evening was no different, despite the horrible weather and an air of expectation was present on my trip Northwards. It also answered a question that had been stuck in my head, since it was announced that Adam Wakeman was rejoining the band for this tour.

    I could recall him playing an particularly long intro to "Burning For Me" as an encore, waiting for DC to return to the stage, but was really struggling to remember the venue. Time and again I tripped around the many venues, but tonight got the answer to my question as I in turn waited for the band to hit the stage. Like a flash of inspiration ,it was after all "The Robin", albeit not tonight's Robin 2, but the old one "Robin 1" in Dudley, now flattened into a car park.

    More friendly faces appeared once inside, including Adrian the Rock - seen his photos ? (Try this .... www.roscalen.com/strawbs/Bilston121118/index.htm ) ..... Andy Slack and Keith and of course Bob and Lou, Dave and Paul.

    The support act this evening was Red Shoes, who I had heard good reports of with the vocalist apparently sounding a bit like Sandy Denny and links with Fairport. Played stuff off of their latest CD, but in reality they were not the main attraction that night.

    With a support act in place it was going to be a straight run through from the band with the exclusion of "Ghosts" from the usual " two set" show, so the shortening of performance was only around 8 minutes. The really enthusiastic crowd loved the show and for the only time I saw on the tour ( and as happened at Cropredy ) a bout of rhythmic clapping by the audience on "round and round". and if I may be so bold.... check out this Youtube link.

    I cannot recall the band ever surpassing the performance in this venue that we saw this night. Truly excellent and very much appreciated by those there and the many I spoke to afterwards.

    And so to Deal.

    In the midst of what seemed a West Country deluge, the trip down to Deal was met by a single day of respite and parting clouds and dry road ahead. No Strawbs tour would seem complete without a trip at one time or another to the seaside (Sorry Swansea ! haven't forgotten you) so Deal it was and of course DC's present home town.

    Having missed the regular touring party at most of the gigs I had been at, Bristol excepting, it was good to join up again with the other distant travellers, Ali, Lindsay, Dick, Sue and Mike ( the latter two didn't actually have to travel far tonight), but Dirk and Angelika had travelled all the way from Germany and Paul B from Brighton and as is usual we settled down for a bit of reminiscing..wait that was after the gig, I'm getting just a bit ahead of myself.

    The Astor Theatre has certainly had a makeover since my last visit and with the posters outside bearing stickers on blue tack saying "sold out" the show was certainly going to be very well attended. Pre gig fish and chips were fantastic, thirst was quenched in the nearest pub to the venue (it was actually a Hotel) meaning that we were not quite there earlier enough before the doors were opened. Blast, nothing like queuing outside a gig to get the anticipation raging.

    Having been to a few gigs on the tour already, of course that anticipation was already there.

    Two sets "Ghosts " included and what's more, but being filmed in the hopeful possibility that the show may be available at a later date, but don't quote me on that and wait for any official word. Terrific night it was too "superb" to quote some overheard comments afterwards. Just 7 gigs in and the band have been in fantastic shape and played superbly from first gig of the tour, until the one in Otford the following night.

    Great show, great audience and to make the night, the pub of choice had arranged a drinking "extension" for the band and us all as we chatted away the night. Not before a certain member of the party was subjected to some all night fawning by someone unknown individual in the pub. When the opportunity came at the end of the night we all made a hasty and quick retreat to down cups of tea and coffee....

    The Weatherman had promised anything but warm soft summer showers on the Saturday, as the wind and rainy deluge from the West finally, caught up with the East of Britain. Nothing to it, but to get damp around the edges and a stroll along the length of the sea shore and pier, before the worst of the storm hit and drove us all indoors to examine yet another pub from the inside. Poor Dirk and wife sat there fearing the worst as they were due to catch the ferry back to mainland Europe as the wind grew stronger whipping the sea to a frenzy, with white horses at play to the horizon.

    All too soon it was time to be leaving, the gull flew ahead us bobbing and weaving...well actually that wasn't true - there were hundreds of them..and so off to Otford.

    Otford... not the easiest place to get to from the motorway despite it being very close geographically to it. By the time everyone got there I was happily ensconced in the nearest pub to the venue..recurring theme that ..and as well as those mentioned before we were joined by Pete B, Roy with his friend Paul, Phil and Yvonne, Ferench ?? from Hungary and Steve P from just up the road, plus a few other familiar faces from other Strawbs shows. A desperate night and day of weather, didn't put Roy Hill off coming to visit us and tempt us to his late night show just 5 miles away, but weather or no weather, virtually all seats were taken as the band took to the stage.

    Two sets and a total standing ovation at the end says more about the night than I can write about again. It was just a shame the tour was over just thankful that it had begun a few weeks earlier.

    There were so many plaudits at every venue all along the way and the addition of the two Adams to the band added a fresh and dynamic spirit that was seen and witnessed and enjoyed, from beginning to end. Every tour has its own memories and this one carries many very special ones of the sparkling muscianship displayed in abundance at every show. Just one final question to Adam F .. Who ate those Haribo's?


    Deal Setlist

    Lay A Little Light On Me (prelude)
    Autumn
    Sad Young Man
    Just Love
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Hero And Heroine
    Midnight Sun
    Out In The Cold/Round And Round
    Lay A Little Light On Me (including Hero's Theme)
    Round And Round (reprise)
    Turn Me Round
    New World
    The Promised Land
    So Close And Yet So Far Away
    Ghosts
    The River/Down By The Sea

    Lay Down
    Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth

    Otford Setlist

    Lay A Little Light On Me (prelude)
    Autumn
    Sad Young Man
    Just Love
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Hero And Heroine
    Midnight Sun
    Out In The Cold/Round And Round
    Lay A Little Light On Me (including Hero's Theme)
    Round And Round (reprise)
    Turn Me Round
    New World
    The Promised Land
    Ghosts
    So Close And Yet So Far Away
    The River/Down By The Sea

    Lay Down
    Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth

    FRIDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2012 - ASTOR COMMUNITY THEATRE, DEAL AND
    SATURDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2012 - SOUNDHOUSE, OTFORD

    OH I DO LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE SEASIDE .... Review By Dick Greener

    DEAL

    Not a great journey down, problems with the Blackwall Tunnel and the A2.M2, but pulled up outside the Malvern Hotel at 7.00pm, in time check in and then meander round to the Astor (no time for fish and chips thuogh - boo!).

    The Astor Theatre in Deal is one of the nicest places I know to see the Strawbs - it's got a big proscenium arch, with glittering "star" lights on the black backdrop; there's plenty of space on stage for the boys to spread out a bit. The sound, courtesy of our man Paul Smith is very good, and there's a well-stocked bar in the room next door (it used to be an open area to stage right, but now it's a separate area, which cuts down the bar noise), The seating is in rows, enough space to fit 150 or so folks, and this time the show was sold out.

    Rightly so, as, in my view, that was the best show I have seen, even though I spent much of it peering through a video camera, taking some close-ups for Dave Cousins for use in a future project. I'd speculated from the first two shows being as well held-together as there were, just how much better it could get, but my expectations were definitely exceeded - this really is one of the best Strawbs line-ups I've seen - new blood bringing a freshness of approach to the familiar songs, and the core three players lifting their game even higher than ever before as a result.

    As with Tony Fernandez, watching Adam F on the drums is a fascinating pastime - not so much in the way of facial expression as our man Fernandez, but watching the others carefully, and a few smiles and grins as he interacts with the others - Lambert in particular who regularly turns round to face him to emphasise the rhythmic intricacies of certain sections. He keeps a close eye on Chas too.

    Adam W looms over the top of his high stack of keyboards - difficult to get a shot of unless you sneak round the side - but his keyboards came through clearly and his tour de force solo on "Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth" whilst reflecting his style, also has some nice little nods to his father's playing on the original, 42 years ago.

    The lighting at Deal was very good too, with Lambert in particular being unusually well lit, so again, watching him work was easier than usual. The accuracy with which these now familiar parts are played is stunning. Lambert always delivers, whether it's his solo in the instrumental break in "Down By The Sea", the careful runs in "Out In The Cold" or his seagull impersonations and other slide playing in "Autumn" - all spot on. And his guitar sound is better than ever.

    Chas - one forgets how much of a melodic role the bass plays in the Electric line-up - there's quite a few songs in which the bass picks up the main melody. And of course there's the driving insistent beat on "Round And Round", partnering with Adam F whilst Lambert and Wakeman add guitar and synth riffs respectively.

    And, centre stage for most of the night, Cousins is in fantastic form vocally, whether it's spitting out the lyrics of "New World", or "Round And Round" (which would be incomplete these days without the manic laughter at the end of the reprise), or the sheer expression of "So Close And Yet So Far Away" or "Lay A Little Light On Me". The second half is all pretty uptempo stuff, apart from "So Close" and, after the energy and soul pumped into the Hero And Heroine "all the way through" experience, it must be pretty daunting to come back to the likes of "Turn Me Round" and "Promised Land", both challenging vocally. The guitar sounds great too, mainly using the 6 string Chet Atkin, with the red (or orange) Gretsch coming out for differnt tunings ("Ghosts" and "Midnight Sun".

    Highlights for me:

  • "Sad Young Man" - that song has really come alive for me once incorporated into the set
  • "Hero And Heroine" - huge energy - hope that stays in the electric set even when they stop doing the full album
  • "Out In The Cold" - some really nice understated guitar from DL before the powerhouse "Round And Round kicks in
  • "Turn Me Round" - great opener for the second half
  • "So Close And Yet So Far Away" - nice piano from Adam W - a different pace, one of Cousins' most expressive performances, hands fluttering like the dove on the front of Hero And Heroine; and really powerful when the rest of the band, including a great electric solo, joins in this "power ballad" (was that a well-known term back in 1976 when this came out - if not DC must have written one before its time!)
  • "Promised Land" - I really like the slightly atonal opening instrumental section, and lots of nice organ and that piano figure from Adam W. Thumping great hits from Adam F (different from the Fernandez version previously which was one, two, three, four hits).
  • "Down By The Sea" - the crashing cymbals behind that riff, some really great vocals and guitar from Lambert
  • "Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth" - the riff and pounding beats/bass of that second encore is really very difficult to get out of your head - I'm sitting here writing this before going to look at Pete Bradley's video online of the song from the following night and I know it'll get me going all over again.
  • After the show, great to spend some time with the band and fans in local pub The Deal Hoy, which was as hospitable as ever under newish management. How many bands organise a get-together after the show and invite their fans to join them ? Well our boys do, and it's much appreciated.

    OTFORD

    Breakfast first in the Malvern - as good and huge as ever. Sadly the weather in Deal was just awful (irritatingly it was a beautiful day on Sunday when we weren't able to enjoy the idyllic seaside town of Deal, but were limited to the trading estate which houses the Travelodge and a Burger King!) After a brief wander round the streets well away from the front where it was blowing a force nine wind-soaked gale, we hit the Bohemian pub for coffees and a light lunch. No real inclination to leave I'm afraid to say - had we not been driving on I suspect we'd have tried more of their excellent beers....

    Dirk and Angelika leave first to catch their ferry back to Germany - they drove through 5 countries to get to Deal and the same again on their return - thuogh they seem to be hoping for a wildcat ferry strike which will force them - entirely against their will you understand - to stay on for the second night on Otford. Eventually we head of in convoy to check in at the Dartford Travelodge (where despite me neglecting to book in advance there are still rooms available thankfully) before heading on to find the gig and the Bull pub opposite which is the designated meeting zone.

    One Mr Roy Hill pops in - he can't attend the gig as he is playing down the road on the same bill as a prog band for a private party - he'll be doing sone songs on his own, but some with the band at a much later stage in the evening, a treat which is strangely enticing!

    The Otfrord venue is a smaller, but pleasant stage and a similarly good sound, and the boys again deliver this show to the utmost. Didn't have to video this time so was able to sit back and really watch and enjoy every minute.

    Again, particularly striking, were "Down By The Sea" and "Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth", delivered with vim and vigour for the last time. Pete Bradley's video of the latter from Otford is at: http://youtu.be/EPj77XW8rMk .


    Ide Hill Setlist

    George's Bar

    IDE HILL

    So after the show a whole bunch of us head out into the wind and rain and find the Woodman in Ide Hill, where Roy has already delivered his solo set, but has yet to join the band on stage. Given that we have just enjoyed one (or two) of the best sets the Strawbs have ever deliivered, actually we find we quite enjoy the band, who are now playing to the remnant of this family party we have just crashed as Roy and Celia's guests. (A few brave souls shamelessly pick at the renaining catering, filling up on pizza slices and chicken nuggets - you know who you are!). And Roy finally heads to the stage for a 30 minute extravaganza version of "George's Bar" with plenty of raucous humour interposed. The band cope surprisingly well with Roy's changes of timing and general approach (perhaps channeling the absent spirit of Roy's absentee accompanist extraordinaire Steve Whalley, who has a hard life ...).

    "It was monumental" - I said to Roy as we headed out into the night, "though perhaps erecting the monument will take less time than the song!" A nice way to end the night, a bit like the time in Hailsham where opposite the final Acoustics gig of a tour a Deep Purple tribute band was playing ... though longer !


    SUNDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2012 - ROBIN 2, BILSTON

    Photos from Alan Perry





    Photos by Alan Perry - more pictures from Alan


    Setlist

    Lay A Little Light On Me (prelude)
    Autumn
    Sad Young Man
    Just Love
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Hero And Heroine
    Midnight Sun
    Out In The Cold/Round And Round
    Lay A Little Light On Me (including Hero's Theme)
    Round And Round (reprise)
    Turn Me Round
    New World
    The Promised Land
    So Close And Yet So Far Away
    The River/Down By The Sea

    Lay Down
    Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth

    FRIDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2012 - EXCHANGE, BRISTOL

    RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD - Review by Nigel Bennett

    After a rubbish trip over, fog and heavy traffic for my shortest trip of the tour this was definitely a night to remember for many reasons.

    OK the venue was not best suited to the band, being too small and cramped in area and timing, but the packed crowd created a really great atmosphere and the band played magnificently given the constraints - not that they could have played any better given a perfect area in which to perform.

    There was plenty of whoops of joy throughout the evening and great appreciation of a band on the top of their form. Many seasoned "regulars" were heard to comment after the show, that this was as good, if not better, than any time they had seen the band in the many past years.

    There were two support acts, "Also Eden", caught some attention and as a result it was just one set played straight through, but having said that there was only one song left out from the two set offering - "Ghosts". Last observation of the night was a threat to crowd surf off the stage as it could have been the only way to escape the stage to get back to the dressing room, so tightly packed was the gathered throng.

    The weather took centre stage again and a turn for the worse after as heavy rain threatened to soak me as I walked to the car... thankfully still bouncing after "Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth" the raindrops may have permeated my clothing, but not the spirit of the gig that went before.


    THURSDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2012 - CITADEL ARTS, ST. HELENS

    A TERRIFIC SHOW - Review by Les Cotton

    Wonderful gig at The Citadel, St Helens last night. A quirky little theatre, in the old style with semi circle balcony and "mosh pit" below, where I bopped away with usual suspects, Ali and Linds :) Flawless full Hero And Heeroin performance, with outstanding contributions from the two Adams. AW blends in very well indeed, and I must say, he has totally nailed the Mellotron sounds, very, very close to the original, via samples on his twin Korg keyboards (one is a K/Cronos ?). Adam Falkner is a rock solid timekeeper, who wrings out some astonishing stuff from an extremely basic kit...two toms, bass, and snare, two cymbals and hihat....and fab tambourine playing...I won't spoil the surprise, if you've yet to see the show, YOU figure out how he plays a proper tambourine AND plays the full kit at the same time. Both "new boys" are great guys too, they gave loads of time to chat to us after the show..I could have talked all night, but we got literally thrown out as last to leave !

    DC is in fine voice, and visibly beaming with pride, justifiably, its a terrific show. I commented to DL after the show, that his Les Paul sounds the best I've ever heard it. Partly due to an amp blow-up earlier in the week, the trusty Marshall has thankfully been reborn with a new set of valves (EL34's for the techs..), and it sounds truly phenomenal. Chas rock-solid as ever, also throwing in some bass pedal stuff too.... and sporting a very short haircut ( he says I'm a trend setter, and he 's copying me :)

    Nice to catch up with everybody too, glad I made the trip.


    Comments from Joseph Fereday

    Went to St Helens gig last night, wow the boys were in fine form as usual and the young drummer and Adam on keys well fantastic. I was so proud of them both, and feel that Dave, Dave and Chas must feel the same way. To me the Strawbs are like wine - as it gets older it gets better.


    Photo by Les Cotton


    Setlist details from Neil MacPherson

    Lay A Little Light On Me (prelude)
    Autumn
    Sad Young Man
    Just Love
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Hero And Heroine
    Midnight Sun
    Out In The Cold/Round And Round
    Lay A Little Light On Me (including Hero's Theme)
    Round And Round (reprise)
    Turn Me Round
    New World
    The Promised Land
    Ghosts
    So Close And Yet So Far Away
    The River/Down By The Sea

    Lay Down
    Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth

    TUESDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2012 - THE GREEN HOTEL, KINROSS

    Comments from Neil Macpherson

    Band in fine form at Greens Hotel last night. I was a bit worried about the size of the crowd when I arrived near the scheduled starting time - counted 13 folk in room. However, the crowd did grow to about 70/75 by the start which was circa full. The set list and order was as noted for Chislehurst, except there were two extra songs (after "Promised Land") - "Ghosts" and ""So Close And Yet So Far Away".

    Photos from Stan Ginter


    Photos by Stan Ginter - more pictures from Stan


    SUNDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2012 - THE GARAGE, SWANSEA

    POWERFUL, EVOCATIVE AND FULL OF EMOTION - Review by Nigel Bennett

    There was a warm welcome in the hillsides, well OK Swansea isn't exactly the "hillsides" as it is better known as a Welsh coastal city. Having said that the welcome received in "The Garage" was no less warm than the traditional Welsh hospitality.

    The venue was a new one for me (and the band) and is situated on the ground floor of a building that doubles as a snooker club on the first floor which may initially make you wonder just what you will find when you get there. The surprise was more than pleasant with a lovely concert area with a capacity of around 250 and a really good sound system. Tick here... definitely a venue I would want to go back and see the band in.

    To all intense and purposes, it can double as a standing or seated area and having spent some time relaxing "upstairs" I made my way into the venue about half an hour before the 9.00 pm scheduled start and found it was already well populated with a packed bar area and all the chairs seating around the walls already occupied, causing the local organisers, to race to bring even more chairs in to seat the later arrivals (including me). So the Strawbs had drawn a large and very enthusiastic audience to their one gig in the principality on this November tour.

    With no support act tonight we were to be treated to two sets, the first of course, the whole of Hero And Heroine and from the first "watch my hand see it shakes" as an intro to " Autumn" you could just tell this was going to a be a really good night. The enthusiasm of the Welsh remained unbowed and as seen previously, virtually all the pieces being linked by Adam W's solo links.

    A voice called out from the back at the start of "Round And Round", "Go for it Rick" or something similar at which point Adam W and DC each shared a big smile as they looked at each other. Well that's what it sounded like from my vantage point close to the front - what ever was said, it did catch the pair's attention.

    Obviously with a longer second set , starting with "Turn Me Round" was going to throw up some different material from the first two nights, but that song was followed by, a tour de force "New World" which was performed in a way that " it was good as it gets" and then "Promised Land", or were the latter two the other way around..you'll have to excuse my lack of note taking.

    As "The River/Down By The Sea" finished a welsh guy sat to my left asked the name of the piece, so I gave him the whole detail , album etc and then noticed not only moist eyes, but tears on the cheeks. Realising I had noticed this, he quickly said sorry and profusely apologised (of course there was a no need for that ) and said to me "I really don't cry often , but that piece was just so moving".

    So like so many over the years, Strawbs have left another indelible mark with their words and music. The Welsh are very emotional about their music and somehow that moment was an indication of the great gig we saw tonight. Powerful, evocative and full of emotion.

    The double encore of "Lay Down" and the re-worked "Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth" leaves everyone thinking, well what were the "extras" I mentioned earlier...OK "So Close And Yet So Far Away" and.....well you'll just have to get out and see the tour and not have me spoil the anticipation....

    I've started a collection of single shot venue photos, which I will put into the Witchwood yahoo files, for every gig I attend on the tour. Don't expect miracle pictures, but just ones to remember the night.


    Setlist from Dick Greener

    Lay A Little Light On Me (prelude)
    Autumn
    Sad Young Man
    Just Love
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Hero And Heroine
    Midnight Sun
    Out In The Cold/Round And Round
    Lay A Little Light On Me (including Hero's Theme)
    Round And Round (reprise)
    Turn Me Round
    New World
    The Promised Land
    The River/Down By The Sea

    Lay Down
    Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth

    FRIDAY 9 NOVEMBER 2012 - THE BOOMBOOM CLUB, SUTTON

    HERO AND HEROINE AS GOOD AS IT EVER GETS - Review by Nigel Bennett

    After missing the tour opener the previous evening, made it to Boom Boom despite a cold that still lingers, as long as the journey did on my way up to Sutton. Once inside the warm environment that the Boom Boom provides and luckily in time to get a seat...normally prefer to stand for these electric shows but tonight a seat was most welcome.

    Settled down to the support act as the club gradually filled and the Dave Sinclair trio led by ..yes ..you guessed..Dave Sinclair who doubles as a rock journalist entertained the ever growing crowd with a nice mix of self written and well chosen and different covers to those you would usually expect.

    During the evening those in the front were asked twice (very nicely) to move forward to let late arrivals in as the audience swelled and took up every vantage point in the place by the time Strawbs took to the stage creating a really good atmosphere.

    I cannot compete with the dissection that Dick did on the set list from the opening night, but confirm the set list was the same. Was really looking forward to seeing the Electric lineup again and especially the two new "Adam" boys ..although Adam Wakeman is not really new having played with the band as a stand in for Blue - was it 10 or 12 years ago..time flies. Without doubt they passed the test for me with more than flying colours and really looking forward to seeing them again later this weekend and on the tour ahead.

    An excellent night..don't expect a quiet evening... this is a hard rocking loud outfit and as Dick said earlier after just one rehearsal and a gig, if they are this good already with a few more along the way there is going to be lots of excitement and energy to enjoy.

    Of course everything was great..but "Hero And Heroine" was as good as it ever gets..wonderful.


    Comments from Dick Greener

    The Boom Boom was absolutely heaving with people - great for both bands - it really is a great place, though not easy to find if you don't know what you are doing.

    Sound much better at the Boom Boom than the previous night, and as a result I enjoyed the support act much more. David Sinclair Trio (DS being the Times' rock journo) turned out a range of stuff from up tempo poppy stuff (which I really liked) such as "Eight Rounds Later" (see David Sinclair Trio website for a listen - great riff-based music, good writing, great guitar and some intelligent harmony vocals from the bass player. Others that stuck in the memory were "Loneliness (Won't Leave Me Alone)" and "Livin' Like A Yo-Yo" both off their latest album.

    For me the standout number of the night was "Hero And Heroine" - just lifted to sublime heights. I don't think I've ever heard "Big H" so powerfully played.

    I spoke to Adam F about the beaters he uses in "Where Is This Dream" - they're called "flix".

    Also, Les pointed out to me that Adam has also brought along his "Stomperine" - a foot powered tambourine, which he is marketing with a UK drum company. See picture right - click on it for a larger version. For more details of the stomperine see Adam's Stomperine page.

    To buy one of the beasties, head over to: the Stomperine website



    Setlist

    Lay A Little Light On Me (prelude)
    Autumn
    Sad Young Man
    Just Love
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Hero And Heroine
    Midnight Sun
    Out In The Cold/Round And Round
    Lay A Little Light On Me (including Hero's Theme)
    Round And Round (reprise)
    Turn Me Round
    New World
    The Promised Land
    The River/Down By The Sea

    Lay Down
    Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth

    THURSDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2012 - THE BEAVERWOOD CLUB, CHISLEHURST

    THE YOUNG PRETENDERS - Review by Dick Greener

    It's inevitable for someone like me who has seen the Strawbs play live on many occasions to focus on the new and unexpected. Which of course leaves on one side the impeccable performance of the usual suspects, DC, DL and Chas, which can't really be faulted - a great performance all round.

    But there was plenty new to focus on after this evening's really stunning first night of the 2012 electric tour, so that's where this review is headed. These new boys are classy - DC came up to chat afterwards with his best smirk in place: indicating HE knows he has some great new recruits and he knows YOU know it too. As Dave commented during the show, this line-up only met a scant three days earlier on Monday at 11.00 am - there's no sign of that at all, this band is already cooking with gas - Chas commented that he felt they could have performed after the first run through. If they're this good now, they'll be awesome by the end of the tour!

    The first part of the show is the Hero And Heroine album (nice turn around - it used to be the second half - though it's weird to see "Autumn" with Lambert's guitar hero pose in the finale so early in the show). John Young's linking keyboard pieces are replaced with links with an Adam W flavour.

    After the "Lay A Little Light" intro, Falkner from the start showed his authoritative drum style in "Autumn" - Cousins playing the six string Chet Atkins throughout which I prefer to the twelve. Great piano from Adam W in "Winter Long" and electric piano in "Sad Young Man". "Just Love" was really rocking and "Shine On Silver Sun" has some more exaggerated changes in tempo, which are new. A big finish on cymbals from Adam F.

    Turning the record over (which dates me!): 'Big H' is always a crowd-pleaser, some great mellotron and organ sounds from Adam W. "Midnight Sun" a change of pace - Cousins on the orange Gretch, Chas switching to 12-string and Adam F not (so far as I could see/hear) supplying any percussion until a last stroke of the cymbals with the close. "Out In The Cold", always a pleasure to hear, the Cousins acoustic riff, with a really great electric guitar sound for Lambert. Segueing into "Round And Round" with Adam W picking up the synth riff, and Adam F demonstrating that he really has nailed those complex multi-rhythms without so much as turning a hair (he said he needed his cheat sheets by his side, but I don't believe him). DC is in spectacular voice throughout, a great new DL guitar chord ending with echo. "Lay A Little Light" is a really expressive performance from DC. Nice to see Adam W getting to add chorus vocals on the Shine On Silver Sun refrain - the man can sing as well as play! Some organ stabs in the coda which really stand out.

    And on to the non H&H numbers: first out, "Turn Me Round" works well with this line-up, followed by a powerfully grating vocal from DC on "New World" (nice low volume section as well, giving lots of light and shade) - some great keyboards and again, those complex drum patterns from Falkner, which add counterpoint to the Cousins acoustic and the stately keys. "The Promised Land" follows the arrangement from its last outing, some nice piano from Adam W.

    "The River/Down By The Sea" was felt by many to be a standout track on the previous tour, and I think it shapes up to be so here. Some nice work on the sticks from Adam F, and a "phat" organ sound from Adam W. Noticed that Chas was also playing bass pedals on this - a first for the electrics? This was one where I thought the sound "almost overwhelmed" the room space and the instrumental coda was to my ears a bit muddy and lost; but in the right environment this will be astonishing.

    Soundwise generally there were a few patches where I could have done with the keyboards up higher, and then again a few spots where they are a little too high; and couple of times where I think DC's vocals could have been lifted a bit. But I'm picking holes in a gig which was pretty amazing performance-wise.

    "Lay Down" as an encore, and then, to great delight, a second encore, a newly arranged classic Strawbs number, which has featured the keyboard magic in the past of both of the other Wakeman family members, so it's Adam's turn now (look away now if you don't want to know what follows).

    It's a really quite novel version of "Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth" (I didn't guess at first) with Falkner bringing out some fluorescent beaters which look like cheerleader pom poms (I'm sure there's a technical drummer term, - I'll ask him tomorrow!) and setting up a hypnotic rhythm, over which Lambert lays down an unusual wah wah riff. After the verses, Adam W is given chance to shine, with a keyboard solo which picks out a few homages from his father's performance on Antiques And Curios. A standing ovation at the end for a really stirring rendition. Something I'm really looking forward to hear again in a better audio space.

    Chatting to the new boys, Adam W and Adam F, in the bar beforehand, apparently there's a plan to get Chas to rename himself Adam, so that the Daves are in the minority. Watch this space ...


    Comments from Lindsay Sorrell

    The band sounded terrific and both Adams were highly impressive in their respective roles - absolutely amazing that they had spent only three days rehearsing; everything sounded so tight already!

    Great though it always is to hear the "Hero and Heroine" set (and I have heard it more than a few times) for me the stand-out track at The Beaverwood was "Turn Me Round" (closely followed by "Promised Land"). The whole band was on great form and, I'm sure, the performance bodes extremely well for some fantastic nights ahead.


    Photos from Marilyn Kingwill from Chislehurst and Sutton








    more pictures from Marilyn


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