Updated: 1 Nov 2017
The Nails From The Hands Of Christ
So Close And Yet So Far Away
The Promised Land
The Ten Commandments
The River/Down By The Sea
Turn Me Round
The Familiarity Of Old Lovers
Hero And Heroine
Out In The Cold/Round And Round
Lay A Little Light On Me
We Have The Power
Online review by Darren Johnson at: Get Ready To Rock
The songs from the new album rock! Chas breaking his A string during "The Nails From The Hands Of Christ" if I remember well - a few beers were consumed to ward off the long and tedious bus replacement pilgrimage - was eerie as well as funny, "The Ten Commandments" is reminiscent of Cream. Good to note Dave has not lost his sense of humour or his unmistakable vocal delivery "If you were me, what would you do?"
I encountered The Strawbs some 25 years ago, have witnessed different line-ups, always mesmerising, they take you on a journey you wish will never end. They are unique! Also getting my signed copy of "Exorcising Ghosts" along with the new CD will do nicely for All Souls Day and to keep me out of mischief!
Well I think a "tour de force" just about covers Sunday's performance. Venue just right, not keen on too much seating for a rock performance so this was fine. Sound excellent. Beer prices? Well as long as it's only once a year! Band were as good and together as I've seen for a while. Practice makes perfect it seems! Dave Bainbridge a definite asset. New songs were just great as well. The fans in the States are in for a treat.
I have always preferred the acoustic Strawbs as the guitars can get overwhelmed by the key board but not so this time. This is definitely the best I have seen the Electric Strawbs . I have seen this show 3 times now as we went to Bury St Edmunds and Hull. Wish the band the best of luck in the states and we'll look forward to seeing them again next year .
Blackburn, last night. The gig? Well, The Strawbs passed me by when I was listening/going to Camel, Alan Parson's Project, Greenslade etc as well as the more obvious prog bands. No more. THE STRAWBS WERE BLOODY FANTASTIC LAST NIGHT. Go and see them asap.
A couple of hours of smile inducing, head bobbing, foot tapping melodic prog, from the genius of "Hero And Heroine" to the blues rock feel of "The Ten Commandments".
Great guitar work from Dave (Lambert), you could hear every note, beautiful phrasing in particular, no meaningless shred nonsense.
Rhythm section of Chas & Tony were immense from staccato to sustain. Some absolutely divine arpeggios and melodic fills. And groove. Oh yes, groove.
Mr. Cousins? Just immense. A beautiful strong voice, theatrically taking the audience through every number, a master craftsman.
And Dave Bainbridge. Just astonishing. In "The Ten Commandments", couple of times I was sure Jon Lord was in the building.
A tear came to my eye when Dave (Bainbridge) did a guitar duel with Dave (Lambert). It took me back to Elim Pentecostal Church, Darlington, 1974 with Dave playing a Rapier 33 like it was part of him.
The night was just a wondrous, joyous occasion. I got into The Strawbs 40 years too late. But fortunately not TOO late.
If you like prog, get The Ferryman's Curse as well as Hero And Heroine (no 44 Rolling Stone greatest prog rock album of all times). Go from there.
And thank you Dave Bainbridge, an inspiration. Nice guys CAN win!
Fantastic gig by Strawbs last night in Blackburn. Superb mix through a fab PA by Paul Smith . I was also recognized in the Street as a Strawberry Fools member...and signed an Autograph ! lol...
Photo by Les Cotton
Photo by Ken Rowe
Been one of my two favourite bands since "Lay Down" made me rush down and buy Bursting at The Seams when I was but a child and for the first time out of the many times that I've seen The Strawbs live since the BATS tour, I only had five miles to go home!! Wonderful last night, with Dave Bainbridge fitting in perfectly. Great gig. Hope they do something special in 2019 for the 50th Anniversary!
Saw them in Stirling the other night and was on a high. Brilliant performance. Loved the whole show and the new songs are excellent. They played a great set. Loved Dave Bainbridge's "organ" solo song intro and Tony was powerful all the way . Too many highlights to really mention. I've been a fan since 1971 . Looking forward to getting my hands on the new album as well.
Capturing the Cousins/Bainbridge swap - photo by Ali Brown
The Core in Solihull is a very comfortable theatre style auditorium just outside a decent shopping centre with good undercover parking. Andy Slack, Keith Brown and I arrived an hour before the anticipated start – having forgotten our earplugs we set off in search of some new ones ..... John Lewis came to the rescue so we found the local Costa for a quick coffee and sandwich.
The concert started promptly at 19.30 with the first track off the new album – unfortunately this was when we entered Costa !! 19.30hrs is not a normal Strawbs start time (even though the ticket stated 19.30). So we got in halfway through "Ghosts" ..... it was a welcome return to the varied setlist that I prefer – the first set, which included a great version of "So Close And Yet So Far Away" along with "New World" and "Promised Land" (I'd still like to see Lambert sharing the vocals), ended with a rousing "River/Down by the Sea".
The second set was equally enjoyable with a mini H&H section – the musicianship was of the usual high quality with Dave Bainbridge providing excellent keyboards plus some nifty guitar and Tony Fernandez as powerful and energetic as ever on drums. Dave Cousins provided impassioned vocals with Chas Cronk and Dave Lambert keeping everyone in order.
The new tracks came over really well especially "The Familiarity Of Old Lovers" and "The Ten Commandments" – the trip back to Chesterfield gave us the opportunity to play.the new CD three times and I can certainly see why DC is so proud of it.
Despite having been a fan in the '70s, I had never seen the Strawbs in concert until Monday night at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds. They were brilliant. Dave Cousins is still possessed of a truly distinctive voice and time does not seemed to have lessened either its tenderness or its power.. Dave Lambert has always been one of my favourite guitarists - thoughtful and tasteful, yet also with a cutting edge. Messrs Cronk, Fernandez and Bainbridge created a fantastic sound. Highlights for me - "New World" (with a brief introduction from DC that shows it to be as relevant now as it was when it was written), "River/Down by the Sea" ( with a wry introduction by DC), "Hero And Heroine" (lump in my throat), "Lay Down" (tear in my eye) and two songs off the new album, "The Nails From The Hands Of Christ" and "We Have The Power", that already sound like classic Strawbs songs. Sorry to have gone on a bit but it was a truly fabulous gig and I only hope I get the chance to see them again. Dave Cousins looked a little frail when he first came on stage but once the muisc started, the years fell away.
With the additional temptation of some new songs, ventured west to catch one of the earlier gigs on tour. Wasn't usual for the Severn bridge toll booths to be bereft of traffic, or indeed the tunnel at Newport, which both usually cause major headaches on my way to gigs in that part of the world. That was a good start !
Now the Globe is one of those atypical older traditional rock venues that may not look too spick and span and gives the impression of a rather early 70's style of venue where the sound of rock music is far more of a draw rather than the decor. The sound system certainly did and left ears ringing for a couple of days after. There must have been a sweet spot in there somewhere, but sadly I didn't find it, and it wasn't close to the stage...
Recognised a few friends seen on previous tours and other musical offerings, always nice to see some friendly faces.
As to the gig, was looking forward to hearing the new stuff and wondered how the rest of the gig would unfold. Opening with "The Nails From The Hands Of Christ" a new song was up front and an introduction that at the start of the show was perhaps was slightly unexpected, but the prelude piano by Dave Bainbridge announced to me that the band were certainly back on the road and tonight would be giving us a bit more Strawbs magic.
"So Close ... " was sung by a lady stood in front of me with such gusto and emotion that my imagination wondered just how many times elsewhere she would have sat with the recording and poured out the words of the song to herself or may be even other(s)?
Dave Lambert's "Ten Commandments" featured well in the set with Dave C leaving the stage to the other four to perform the song. A new feature which happened also in the other gigs I am about to report on. Sounded really good and was very much appreciated by the audience. Whilst I knew this song, it was still new to a live performance by the band, but at least its lyrics were still at least partially in my head and the familiarity put a different aspect on the performance in relation to the other three pieces of new material which were a brand new listening experience.
I managed to catch a few words with Dave C afterwards and wish him well as after his recent medical issues as it was good to see him back on stage giving all within his power, performing the songs with the passion we have got to know over the years....may his health be restored.
Then it was back at midnight to yet another M4 closure at Newport! Everytime I go to Cardiff it seems the same thing happens! Still another night of motorway closure wasn't going to dampen any thoughts of the Strawbs gig on the opening night for me of the tour....
Now this gig was quite a bit closer and after the performance there last year I was so looking forward to going back and seeing the band in an old traditional but gorgeously fantastic theatre with sound quality at the top end of excellent.
Dick was there with friend whose name escapes me, which reminds me what's the name of the chap in the band who plays drums? (*) I'm hopeless with names - anyway had a great view of his impassioned playing from the raked seats including all the cymbal work including the opening song.
The set list was pretty much the same as Cardiff, so a second chance to hear the new tracks in a great deal better quality than the night before due to the theatre's audio offering
"Ghosts", "New World" and "The Promised Land" - a triple offering from recent tours - and it was good to hear them again in that superb listening environment and "Turn Me Round" used as the opening song on recent tours has now been "relegated" to starting the second set alongside a few more from the Hero And Heroine album. Indeed those final tracks closed the gig, except for encores with much aplomb and of course a huge applause.
It was good to see the New Forest Folk festival contingent out in full force after hosting the Acoustic lineup at last years festival.
Oh - I've just remembered the name of the chap behind the drumkit .. *Mr Fernandez .. Hi Tony! p.s. He's pretty damn good at beating those skins and cymbals... Oh and Hi Chas, the other part of the fantastic rhthym section ... seen and most definitely heard. Great to see them back playing.
Now I have a bit of a soft spot for this venue after a visit last year and even a softer spot now after this recent visit.
Whilst a fairly modern new build theatre, it benefits from state of the art lighting and sound which makes your visit really quite memorable. Couple that with a terrific band performance and company to match, what more can you ask for?
Again there were plenty of faces and friends who I have met at gigs over years gone by and with so much in the state of flux in the world today, always comforting as time passes by to still see those faces taking in gigs.
So maybe it's time to reflect on the highlights of my little tour ... It's always good to hear new music from the band so the four additions gave a nice sense of anticipation and look forward to the arrival of "The Ferryman's Curse" - not in a literal sense of course.
Of the additions to the set from that album "The Familiarity Of Old Lovers" has risen to the top end of that particular quartet for me - for the time being at least. Unique it may have been, to see DC swap places with DB during this set takes my mind back over 40 years to when Dave played piano at Crokers Folk Club in Bristol during a duo tour (gig?) with Brian Willoughby. (If again I remember the song correctly it was "Grace Darling" and sung, not in English, but French.)
But, the new songs were not just what Newbury was about and not sure how but the finale to "The River/ Down By The Sea " just seems to get better everytime in recent times and on this night it was once again outstanding.
Once again the band have delivered three cracking shows and as they venture around the country take your opportunity to see them you will not be disappointed.
Two amazing sets from the Strawbs at the Globe in Cardiff last night (7th October 2017). It's been a few years since I last saw the Strawbs and that was the acoustic set back at Swindon Arts Centre. Such a prolific band, so many great albums and a wonderful pedigree of musicianship. The line up these days alongside Dave Cousins features Chas Cronk and Dave Lambert, the wonderful Tony Fernandez on the kit, who I have seen playing with Rick Wakeman on several occasions and a very pleasant surprise for me in the shape of Dave Bainbridge (Iona) on the keyboards.
The set opened with a track from the new album 'The Ferryman's Curse'. "The Nails In The Hands of Christ" is a strikingly beautiful tale, I bought the album last night and it really is a cracking piece of work. The set included a couple of other tracks from this album, plus lots of the classic material including "New World", "Round And Round". The set closed with the classic 'Lay Down.
Opening night of the tour, pretty full house at the Stables in Wavendon, Milton Keynes. Good sight lines from a side seat, usual prohibition on photos lifted and my camera failed to work!!! Argh!!
The band were in very fine form indeed. Dry ice wreathed the stage, the band members apart from DC took to the stage and after a brief delay to get rid of a loud hum in the PA, launched into "In The Begining", the keyboard-heavy intro to the first of the new album tracks "The Nails From The Hands Of Christ". Dave Cousins came on, resplendent in a dark frock coat, and they moved into the main track. It's a powerfully delivered number, Cousins's vocal keeping above the driving beat from Cronk and Fernandez, some prog keyboard pyrotechnics from Bainbridge and searing guitar work by Lambert (who excelled throughout the show), and the whole thing very well received indeed by the audience.
"Ghosts" was pretty faultless, and "So Close And Yet So Far Away" paired some emotive vocalising from Cousins and some more excellent guitar from Lambert. A few little changes on "New World", and "The Promised Land" I think pretty much as good as last time round.
"The Ten Commandments" used to be performed in acoustic gigs, where Cousins would leave the two guitarists Lambert and Willoughby on stage, and here again, DC took a breather as Dave Lambert stepped up to introduce the song. Another excellent track from the new album. And finally for the first half, as dynamic a version of "The River"/"Down By The Sea"as I have heard in a long time.
Second half started with "Turn Me Round" from earlier sets, then the third new track "The Familiarity Of Old Lovers". The song itself is excellent, but after the vocal part of the song itself is over, Lambert took over for some guitar work. And then, the big surprise: Bainbridge reached for an electric guitar hidden behind the keyboards, came out to the front of the stage, with Cousins filling in on keys in his absence, whilst Bainbridge and Lambert traded lead guitar licks for the remainder of the extended instrumental coda. A storm of applause from the audience, Cousins waving each to take a bow.
We're into Hero And Heroine territory - the cut-down version to allow roonm for the new tracks. "Autumn", followed by "Hero And Heroine" itself, which got a big cheer. "Out In The Cold/Round And Round" got some of the fans clapping the rhythm, and a big ovation. The finale "Lay A Light Light On Me" and "Round And Round reprise" finished the second ha;lf and the audience got to their feet for a standing ovation.
The first encore was "Lay Down", again faultless, and then our fourth new album track "We Have The Power". Prefaced by DC that it was the first time they'd really done this, it wasn't quite perfect, but it's a track of some considerable power and anthemic enough to be a good closing number of the show. Again, the audience took to their feet and an emotional DC thanked them for it.
The new tracks work splendidly in the context of the overall show and have already bedded in nicely (with a little more time on "We Have The Power" perhaps) - by the end of the tour I think they'll be regarded as Strawbs classics. Looking forward to the next show ....