Updated: 4 Jun 2016
These dates were moved forward in the tour schedule owing to difficulties in getting visas delivered.
Saw the Strawbs Friday night in Bayshore, Long Island at the Boulton Theater. Had 3rd row center seats. Sound mix was great. New Keyboard player was awesome. He had all the Wakeman sounds and moves. Met two of the Strawbs at the pizza parlor next to the venue. WE all had pie, no not lemon pie. Then met Dave Cousins and Dave Lambert after the show. In a word - MAGNIFICENT.....!!!!
Strawbs at the Wolf Den...what a fantastic show!!!....the band was so tight. My wife & I really enjoyed the whole experience.
Photo from Ron Frey - more photos from Ron
Liz and I saw Strawbs at the Strand Theatre in Lakewood on Wed 11 May and the entire concert was an absolute knock-out! Bainbridge on keyboards is amazing as is Fernandez on drums. What an absolutely marvelous concert!
We were going to stay around after the performance to say hello to Dave Cousins and renew our acquaintance of 19 years ago when we saw him and Willoughby along with you at that basement bistro in London [DG: The Troubadour in Earls Court, sadly no longer operating] . However, since the throngs were thick waiting to press the flesh with the band we decided to take a miss on it.
However, if you could kindly relay this email to Dave it would be most appreciated, as we'd like him and the rest of the band to know what a special night it was for us both. especially "The Winter Long", which was our wedding song.
An exceptional show at the Strand in Lakewood, NJ. Thank you, Ray Coles, for always making it a great experience for the band and audience. The Strawbs are always at their best at the Strand.
But let me do a shout out to the 6th Strawb, Paul Smith, without whom these electric shows would not be possible. Paul is the wizard of sound, the man behind the board, seldom noticed and even more rarely acknowledged as the man who makes these fabulous artists sparkle even beyond their own innate brilliance. We don't often enough thank him for making our favorite band be at their best in any given venue. Thank you, Paul.
Turn Me Round
The Promised Land
So Close And Yet So Far Away
Down By The Sea
Hero And Heroine album
"The Promised Land" with Cousins only on vocals. Powerful "Down By The Sea", orchestra part nicely shared by Dave Bainbridge, Chas and Dave Lambert.
Second set was Hero And Heroine in its entirety. Updated somewhat with an intro of "Lay A Little Light", then into "Autumn" suite. Dave Bainbridge did a great job, respectful of John Hawken 's original key parts, but adding his own touch. I thought the expanded organ solo on "Sad Young Man" was excellent as was the organ on "Just Love".
I thought the Strawbs show at BB Kings was fantastic. They literally blew the roof off of the place with their hard rocking prog performance. I had heard that Dave had fairly recently been in the hospital. If that's the case maybe we should all go to that hospital because his voice was very powerful and for a 71 year old I thought he put on a very energetic performance. The band did the entire Hero And Heroine album and stuck with mostly their proggy songs which was fine with me. I thought the band played at an enormously high energy level unlike some more recent performances that I've heard from Yes. This new keyboardist Dave Bainbridge from Iona added some really nice subtle textures and also some really rocking prog keyboards when called upon. I thought he was excellent and Tony Fernandez on drums has a kinetic very busy style which I just loved.
Personally the Strawbs sounded better to me on this tour than on past tours when I've seen them with a full electric band. The Strawbs instead of sounding like one of those washed up older prog bands sounded like an energetic younger band that has been renewed with energy and vigor. They received a bunch of standing Os. John Ford and John Hawken were also in the audience. So was Ian Lloyd from The Stories I believe.
Turn Me Round
The Promised Land
So Close And Yet So Far Away
Down By The Sea
Strawbs at The Town Crier: standing room only. I got to Beacon, NY at about 3 in the afternoon. Beacon, NY is "up there" in the Hudson Valley and the spirit of Pete Seeger, another banjo driven folkie who forever impacts the world, looms large. The new Town Crier is quite sizeable and really a major improvement since they moved. I had center stage front seats. I met Carl, Sybillae, and yes, the "other" Ken.
The originally scheduled group, The Quebe Sisters opened.. fantastic.. old time 3 fiddle driven country and western, backed by an arch top guitar and stand up bass. I have to say each one of the sisters is just fetching, I was falling in love. Their sound harkened back to a different era. Imagine driving an old Ford pick up with the radio turned on, you hear a bit of static, then the voices of the Andrew sisters, which is vocally what they sound like. The fiddle playing is just world class. The said they actually met The Strawbs years ago in Nova Scotia. They are a great band and lovely people too.
The Strawbs arrive with one of the quickest stage set ups and sound checks I'd ever seen. No stage petulance here.. The Strawbs came to play. Cousins explained how they just drove 4 hrs after doing two shows. The Strawbs were on fire! I'm amazed at the energy and precision. Tony Fernandez is amazing. I saw them back in The Bottom Line days. Tony brings power and drama to everything. Dave Bainbridge... a stunning player who fits in so beautifully, it's like he's always been there. A really lovely guy too. Lamby gets better and better, bring harmonic tapping to the solo of "The Promised Land". Bainbridge brought Mellotron flutes into "So Close". The concert swag: all sorts of cd's ( I bought the re-issue of Old School Songs). Dave's book, also a The familiar "Strawbs Over America tee but with a Hero And Heroine memory theme on the back. The placed was totally packed. totally. I'm told the boys are staying in my town Nyack for a few nights, so I hope I get a chance to hook up at the local. Great, stunning night.
Saw the Towne Crier show, took my son and nephew to their first Strawbs show, we all loved it. It was an excellent show for sure. I have seen every tour since 75. Was hoping for Lay Down as the second encore but the show ended right at 11, not sure if they had to end at 11 or not, but as stated above especially considering the travel earlier in the day, totally amazing!
Pictures taken by Michael de Michele from Rick Haskins more photos from Michael/Rick
Photo from Matt Condon - more photos from Matt
Over a career spanning nearly five decades, Strawbs have come to be known as one of the preeminent British prog rock bands. Though they peaked in popularity, like most of their peers, in the 1970s, and have gone through on and off periods since (going on hiatus for several years in the 80s and the 90s), they have found a new era of success in recent years. These days, the band tours in two formats – an acoustic group, dubbed Acoustic Strawbs, made up of core members Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, and Chas Cronk, and a full electric lineup, which adds a keyboardist (currently Dave Bainbridge, of Celtic prog group Iona) and a drummer (currently Tony Fernandez, who has played with the group on and off since the 70s, and also drums for former Strawbs member Rick Wakeman). The band has largely stuck to acoustic tours when coming to North America in recent years (the last electric shows here were in 2008) due to the cost of touring, but finally this year the full electric group has returned to the US.
On Saturday, the band played two shows at the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, PA, a northern suburb of Philadelphia, with the later show sold out to capacity. The band had to be exhausted – visa issues meant they had been forced to delay two earlier shows (including a headlining stop at the RoSfest prog festival in Gettysburg on Friday, which had to be rescheduled for Sunday afternoon), and they didn't arrive in the US until late Friday night. But if they were tired, they didn't show it on stage, playing two full sets and an encore at each show.
The setlists for both shows were mostly the same, and drew entirely from the band's 1970s catalog. The first set, a collection of hits from the period, began with "Turn Me Round" from 1976's Deep Cuts, a high energy track which from its opening notes showed that the band could still rock after all of these years. "New World" from 1972's Grave New World was the oldest song of the night, followed by a vocal turn from Lambert on "The Promised Land" from 1975's Nomadness. The two centerpieces of the set, though, were long prog tracks with multiple movements to them, "Ghosts" from the 1975 album of the same name, and "The River/Down By the Sea" from 1973's Bursting At The Seams.
It was the second set, though, that drew the most anticipation from the fans which filled the theatre – a performance, in full, of the band's 1974 album Hero And Heroine, a record which has come over the years to become the band's defining statement. The band was playing, Cousins noted, the "21st century version" of the album (which the band released in 2011 as
As the final looping strains of "Hero's Theme" washed out over the crowd (a backward tape loop of the song "Shine on Silver Sun"), the band left the stage, though they returned for a brief encore. Both shows got "Lay Down" from Bursting At The Seams. The late show added another Lambert song, "Heartbreaker" from 1977's Burning For You.
The band comes to the DC vicinity for two shows next week, on Tuesday, May 17th at Rams Head Live in Annapolis, and on Wednesday, May 18th at AMP by Strathmore in Bethesda. If you're a prog rock fan, you owe it to yourself to check them out.