main page tour dates live reviews and photos news downloads buy albums 45s video books lyrics gallery features history and timeline memorabilia related bands and artists sessions/covers links help using Strawbsweb search site tell a friend book Strawbs get Strawbswebnews join Witchwood change your e-mail Facebook etc


Part 1 - from White Bear (5 Jun) to Bury St Edmunds (9 Jun)


Forest Arts, New Milton, 13 Jun 2002
  • Back On The Road Again - review and photos by Nigel Bennett
  • Setlist - New Milton
  • High Wycombe Town Hall, 14 Jun 2002
  • Blistering Close - review and photos by Dick Greener
  • Comments from Louise Richardson
  • The Witchwood, Ashton-Under-Lyne, 16 Jun 2002
  • We'd Better Do This First ..... Acoustic Strawbs At The Witchwood - Review and Photos by Les Cotton
  • Setlist
  • Nettlebed Folk Club, 18 Jun 2002
  • Chris Bates' photos page
  • Corn Exchange, Newbury, 20 Jun 2002
  • A Story For Every Song.....Well Almost! - Review by Chris Mugridge
  • Spoilt - Review by David Claridge
  • Smashing! - Review by Nigel Bennett
  • Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, 21 Jun 2002
  • Something Special - Review by Barry and Beverley Smith
  • Boardwalk, Sheffield, 23 Jun 2002
  • Always leave them wanting more… - Review by Nick Evans
  • The End of the Tourette - Review by Mike Barker
  • Setlist

  • Setlist

    Tears And Pavan
    You And I (When We Were Young)
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Alice's Song
    Simple Visions
    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    The Golden Salamander
    The River/Down By The Sea
    Lay Down
    Hero and Heroine



    We overdosed on good music yesterday at The National Forest Folk Festival- (following me on stage were Hand on Heart, Graham & Carla Taylor, Dalta, Joe O'Donnell, The Wrigley Sisters and Lindisfarne Acoustic Trio), so we travelled to Sheffield in need of another fix. We walked in at 7.30 to find the sound check in progress, and after a brief word with Neil the Manager, we were thrown out on the street to meet several friendly locals who were also waiting for the concert. We busied ourselves endorsing Baroque and Roll, (successfully, it seems).

    Once inside at 8pm we were soon entertained by the support act- a trio from the local band "Dead Like Harry" who sang some impressive original material.

    When Strawbs began to play, we knew we were in for a great night as the PA sound was perfect. "Benedictus" was crystal clear with a pretty clean dulcimer sound (usually overdriven), and most of the first set was reminiscent of their earlier tour, with the exception of "Flying", newly rehearsed for June. This was the final regular venue of this 'tourette' (a repeated reference from DC - some festival dates now follow), which had started on 5 Jun 2002 at Hounslow, and as usual, the band has grown ever tighter with each performance (no alcohol reference intended there).

    Set 2 began with "Autumn" and "Evergreen", again newly rehearsed, and followed with "A Glimpse Of Heaven". These three songs were the pinnacle of a perfect night from my point of view. All too soon "Lay Down" ended the set with a little crowd participation, and the encore of "Hero And Heroine" rounded the night off perfectly.

    As Strawbs left the stage, the audience chanted away for a second encore for what seemed ages, before background music signified an end to proceedings. Always leave them wanting more, lads!

    THE END OF THE TOURETTE - Review from Mike Barker

    And so it came to June 23rd and the Tourette comes to an end in downtown Sheffield. The Boardwalk has hosted many famous names - Van Morrison, Joe Cocker in its 30 year history but not the Strawbs ..... until last night.

    Although the set was shortened to accommodate a local band - and I have to say they weren't that bad either - it nonetheless proved to be the best Acoustic Strawbs set I've heard. The sound mix was excellent to my uneducated ears - Brian higher up in the mix which I think enhanced the overall sound but overall the balance was excellent.

    Of the new numbers I thought "Autumn" was outstanding along with "Evergreen" and I suspect "Flying" will get better each time they play it. I thought "Hero And Heroine" was much better than the electric version - in fact if I was given the choice I'd go and watch the Acoustic line up everytime:

  • it's easier on the ears
  • DC doesn't have to shout himself hoarse
  • given the size of venue the sound quality is better
  • Of the the normal setlist I think "Tears And Pavan" is probably due a rest (ouldn't we slip "Blue Angel" in as its replacement ?) but overall it was a high quality gig and I hope they come back to the Boardwalk in either the acoustic or the electric guise.


    SOMETHING SPECIAL - Review by Barry and Beverly Smith

    My wife and I went to see the Acoustic Strawbs at the Marina Theatre Lowestoft. We were taken aback by an audience that would be best described as intimate in size, but the theatre could have been full by the sound of the applause and the appreciation of these three outstanding performers. I have loved the Strawbs for thirty years and have seen many concerts but none could surpass the excellence of the evening's entertainment - we both felt privileged to be there.

    As the years go by peoples' voices change and are sometimes not so good, but Dave Cousins and Dave Lambert's voices were better than ever. Of special note was the new acoustic version of "Autumn", one of my favourite Strawbs songs. The instrumental start on the album with Dave Cousins intro and then "Hold On To Me" sung by Dave Lambert is a classic piece of work and I could not imagine it being performed live acoustic style in the outstanding way it was. I remember reading on the Web site Dave Cousins recalling a concert at Harvard University when they decided to perform just the instrumental start of "Autumn" written by John Hawken because they were so pleased with the piece as the rest of the track had not been completed and the crowd went crazy. I am not surprised and I would have loved to have been there.

    I enjoyed Dave Cousins' introductions and the jokes that accompanied most of the songs. Dave is a natural comedian, and I greatly respected the way the band treated the audience as if it was a full house - a sign of true professionalism.

    I hope Brian, Dave and Dave get to see this E-mail, as I would just like to say a special thank you to them and the other band members past and present for over thirty years of the best music. The Strawbs have never received the acclaim they so richly deserve especially in this country: I just cannot understand why this has been the case, but I know for a fact that everyone who left the Marina theatre last Friday week had witnessed something musically special from a unique band.


    A STORY FOR EVERY SONG.....WELL ALMOST! - Review and photos by Chris "StringJinx" Mugridge

    This is the second time I've seen the acoustic line up and I have to say that this time round was even better than the Swindon gig in January. An extremely polished performance all round from Dave L, Brian and especially Dave C, who I thought was on especially splendid form throughout, despite Brian's assassination attempt (more of which later).

    I didn't take notes so I won't attempt to reproduce the full running order here. The first set started with "Benedictus", played as beautifully as ever, and for the first time in my experience the dulcimer seemed to be mixed properly. The general sound quality at Newbury was very good from where I was sitting, although I did here mutterings from other people who weren't quite as centrally placed as I was. Dave C told me afterwards that he was having trouble with the monitor throughout, but this wasn't obvious from the performance. Other highlights of the first set for me were "Alice's Song", "Witchwood" and the splendid "Flying" which has always been one of my favourites. More banjo please on future tours please Dave!

    The second set was no less splendid, although the sound quality did seem to deteriorate slightly in places. "Autumn" is another number which I've not heard live before, along with "Evergreen", complete with an accompaniment which I would have sworn was Dave L on cello, if I hadn't witnessed it first hand. The cognoscenti amongst you will know that I'm referring to the EBow, which is an amazing piece of kit and whose sound is quite beyond my limited powers of description. The set drew to a close with "Lay Down" followed by an encore "Hero and Heroine" which was a real eye opener for someone who had only heard the full band version before. It would be great to hear a studio acoustic version of this at some time, lads.......

    Now to the "attempted murder". At one stage in the second set, Brian broke a string. At an appropriate juncture, he stood up to change his guitar, and unplugged the lead. At this point there was an almighty BANG, which resulted in several members of the audience leaing their seats temporarily and involuntarily. At the end of the number Dave C said "I thought he'd shot me". Dave must have really thought there was a contract out on him when later, in the bar, Dick G attempted to sever his foot with a broken glass. Allegedly.

    [Missed - Dick G. (just joking!)]More on the broken string: Brian informed me that he's only broken a handful of strings in his career [most of them on this tour - snide comment from DG]. I told him in reply that I'd seen him break four of them. As promised, Brian, I'll let you know in advance when I will next be in the audience so that you can bring plenty of spares (plus a flak jacket for Dave!).

    Dave C in storytelling mode was at his very best tonight, with a story for nearly every song. I say "nearly" because for some reason he couldn't think of one to introduce "Golden Salamander". I suppose that's understandable if you can't remember writing it! He made up for this by recounting a long story about New Orleans and Marlene Dietrich later on. By this stage, I was trying to guess which song would be next from the story that was being told at the time. Some were easy, but this one had me completely stumped. It turned out that the point of the story was not so much about Marlene herself, but rather about Marlene leaving the stage, which is exactly what Dave C did next. This left DL and Brian to perform a superb version of "Live Inside Your Hell Tonight" which is my current favourite amongst the "new batch".

    Well, all too soon the musical part of the evening's entertainment was over, and we retired to the bar for lemonade and crisps. Dave L kindly signed my copy of "The Magic Shoemaker", and we chatted for a while about cricket and EBows. I spoke to Brian about the effect I was seemingly having on his strings, happily he didn't give me a bill! We also chatted about Asperger's Syndrome - my nephew Sam also has this condition, so please buy the single - you'll be helping Alice and Sam, as well as countless others who suffer far more severely. Dave C also found the time to chat, and I was amazed when he remembered me and my company (Witchwood Engineering) from a brief meeting at Milton Keynes a year ago. It was during this conversation that the attempted foot severing incident took place.....[ I deny all charges ecept being (a) animated and (b) (not quite) terminally clumsy - DG]

    Well, all that remains is for me to thank Dave, Dave and Brian for a splendid evening, and for once I didn't have to drive 100 miles to see the show. It would be nice to see you in Wiltshire again soon guys, but I suppose I shouldn't complain, if David Slichter (nice to meet you David) can get to Newbury from Nova Scotia........

    SPOILT - Review by David Claridge

    Does it get much better? Five minutes after leaving home I'm at the venue- or rather, at the pub next to the venue. Moderators, Witchwooders, parent of a Witchwooder, and a long suffering wife (namely, the delightful, present Mrs Greener) were all gathered prior to kick-off.

    Kick-Off. Apologies, but for the life of me I cannot accurately remember the set list. On the other hand there is a lot I DO remember. These guys are consummate players, and the blend of the three instruments is as near perfect as I've heard. Brian directly injects his acoustic, whereas Dave L mixes the combination of miked and D.I.'ed. The two sounds therefore sit in their own position within the mix, but in tandem with Dave C either on Dulcimer, banjo, or acoustic, songs such as "Autumn" do not lose anything in the translation, and a veritable wall of sound is achieved. In fact "Autumn" displayed Dave Lambert's lovely slide playing- very mellow, not a fret-buzz in sight. And whilst we're on the subject of D.L., I got the chance to talk to him about the use of an ebow. Les mentioned this in his review recently but alas, I had no idea what an ebow was. It's a little right-hand-held gizmo that resonates the string into a constant note so that you can just finger the fret board, with no need to strum. The effect is not unlike a bowed instrument (hence the name). Dave Cousins added that they'd put it on the dulcimer and it sounded fabulous.

    Another thing that came up whilst talking with Dick G., Dave L. and Dave C. was the recent tour in Italy. Apparently, they received levels of applause that took them all by surprise- especially "Tears And Pavan". And you can easily see/hear why. Staggeringly beautiful inter-twining melody lines from Brian and Dave L. and Dave C.'s singing, IMHO, is pitched perfectly, with feeling, but a tad short of full-blown melancholy.

    I said to Dick before the gig that "Hero" as my only pet-hate as a live track. I felt that it had turned into a speed-country yomp, a kinda "doe-see-doe" on acid. Dick implored me to give the new re-working a listen, and I must hold my hand up and say once again, our Guru was right. It's returned to folkier roots, but has a tempestuous feel to it. Again, the three guitars, careful reverb, and Dave's vocals add up to a formidable multi-layered sound.

    And another thing, Messrs Dave L. and C. were discussing the future. Dave L. was saying that maybe change the set slightly to which Dave C. was saying that they've only scratched at the surface- there's a lot yet to come.

    And yet another thing, I thought I'd chance my arm with Dave C. about our deciphering of The River (I thought I owed it to us) but he wouldn't be drawn, only to enthuse about the lyrics to "Hummingbird". He quoted three or four lines, but I must admit, what on earth do you do when someone quotes a line from a song you've obviously never heard - answer, you talk about football!! Yep, there we were, with D.C. wondering how the gig tonight will go if (which is now the case) England are removed from further world cup duties.

    And yet another thing, which should stand as my abiding claim to fame........

    Whilst talking to Dave L. about his ebow, he was saying that the internal workings were the same as the electric toothbrush. I saw my moment, thought do I or don't I, before ripping back with a quick aside referring to other objects with similar properties! It did bring a laugh, so, mission accomplished- not only did I hear quality musicians at the peak of their powers, as well as talk to those musicians who I've been listening to for years, but I managed to slip in a gag about vibrators as well!!!!!!

    And yet another thing........

    SMASHING! - Review by Nigel Bennett

    Having been to this theatre before to see another act I knew the locals would not be dancing in the aisles or getting too excited. A view endorsed by the local witchwooder from 5 minutes down the road, (Mr Claridge), who understood my thoughts, observations and words of wisdom.

    Having left Dave Slichter, ( I hope the "t" is in the right place this time Dave) propping up the bar in New Milton as I left the previous week, it was good to meet up again and hear about his week trecking around the country. What I was not prepared for was the infamous glass smashing incident by DG. Unless my memory fails me I seem to remember a similar incident in the not too distant past, the only difference this time, was that DC's foot, was in danger, of being the recipient of the shattered vessel. It was certainly all action after the gig, as DL enjoying his usual post gig, roll up , was quickly shepherded to the door as he was in great risk of setting off the fire alarm.

    Plenty of action then off stage, so what of the performance on it. One thing is for certain, an audience that is prepared to listen in silence is a real plus for the acoustic band and the locals, not used to letting their hair down, reserved all of their enthusiasm for their warm applause between songs. In fact on a couple of occaisions the length of appreciation went on far longer than is the norm, leaving Dave C wondering when he could start his introduction for the next number.

    Previous reviews have debated the sound quality and my view on the issue was that the sound clarity was great, but the depth could have been just a little better. Perhaps, it was the size of the venue, which was just a little bigger than many of the venues the acoustic band have played in, had more to do with it than anything else.

    The evening started with "Benedictus" restored as the opening number. Personally, I thought that the change at New Milton, where it appeared later, seemed to enhance the delivery. Apart from just a couple of minor errors the first half was perfectly played and as already mentioned the clarity was superb. With the exception of the inclusion of "Benedictus", the order was the same as posted for New Milton. The second set included, "The Flower And The Young Man", again otherwise similar.

    How "Autumn" has remained unplayed as a live number for over 20 years I will never know. [DG - Well it hasn't quite - they used to play it in 1986/87 so I suppose it's been offline for about 15 years.] The performance was absolutely superb, from seagulls through to the vocals on the ending of "The Winter Long". Acoustically, it works tremendously well. Other highlights of a glorious evening were "Evergreen", "Inside Your Hell Tonight", this is far better, I feel with just the two guitars, than with the added strings on the album, and finally "Hero And Heroine". I was really looking forward to hearing this stripped back version again and was not disapppointed.

    It was unfortunate and unlucky for Brian that a string gave way just as we were reaching the climax of "The River"/"Down By The Sea", that needed him to pick up his second guitar, although played perfectly, the difference in sound quality between both instruments could easily be heard, no doubt the reason Brian loves his new Gibson.

    The promise of further tours next year and new releases gives us all a great deal to look forward to.


    Tears and Pavan
    Remembering/You And I (When We Were Young)
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Alice's Song
    Simple Visions

    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    The Golden Salamander
    The Flower And The Young Man
    Live Inside Your Hell Tonight
    The River/Down By The Sea
    Lay Down

    Hero And Heroine



    A more fitting venue in name I doubt exists.....(and only 10 miles away for us!) The Witchwood is an pub in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester. Its deceptively small from the front, but once inside there's a concert extension room at the rear. What it lacks in decor is made up in the quality of the in-house sound system, a dedicated Concert Systems setup with permanent mixing desk and Soundman who knows how to use it. Sue and I met up with fellow local Witchwooders Geoff Alexander and David Smith on arrival, who introduced us to the intrepid David Slichter, and Alison Brown. David S had travelled by train from the south for 8 hours today to be here tonight, and of course 5,700 miles to get to the UK for the tour!

    After some confusion re starting time (some tickets said 8pm, band had arranged 9pm..) the rest of the audience arrived and the gig was underway at just after 9, DC took to the stage and said "well, we'd better do this first.." and straight into "Witchwood". For setlist see right:

    The sound was excellent, we were as close to the stage as possible and the mix was great. The band were confident in their playing and relaxed, the Acoustic band have really honed the unplugged set to a higher level now, as Geoff commented, there's loads of little subtle changes and guitar harmonies that have crept in here and there to give a polished performance. Highlights for me were a stunning rework of "Autumn", many people's favourite Strawbs song I'm sure (certainly one of mine), an excellent "Evergreen" with Dave L and Ebow providing an authentic cello effect on the trusty Washburn, and the truly staggering unplugged "Hero And Heroine". Im sure it's much closer to the original DC demo version, almost a "sea shanty in a Dublin bar" sound to it, brilliant foot stomping stuff that ended to loud applause. The chants for more continued for a good five minutes after this clearly end of night encore.

    Witchwooders David Smith, Les Cotton, Alison Brown, Geoff Alexander, David Slichter (5,700 miles away from Nova Scotia - again!)


    BLISTERING CLOSE - Review by Dick Greener

    Just a quick update on last night in High Wycombe. Boys played better than ever, but the gig was a game of two halves, the first marred by some inept sound mixing. Lambert, his guitar often the loudest thing on stage, had his vocals mixed way up, even distorting, ruining for me at least his would-be tasteful harmonies on various songs in the first half - his low harmony was far louder than Dave's lead in "Witchwood", and on "Hangman", it looked like DC was backing up DL!

    I assume that someone told the sound man, because he then started playing around during songs: first we more or less lost Cousins vocal altogether at a crucial point, then Lambert was mixed out. Sitting next to Bob and Lou from Solihull (who'd very kindly saved me a seat - thanks !) we conferred and agreed that the first half wasn't a triumph for the science of sound engineering, though I stress, that was nothing to do with our heroes. Only saving grace was that Dave's between song chat was very audible throughout - he even threw in a joke later on in the gig.

    Highlights of the first half - "Flying" - the banjo picking delicate but extremely fluent now.

    Second half, maybe different hands at the sound board, but in any case, a splendid balance, consistently throughout the set, and none of the problems suffered in the first half. "Autumn" was a triumph, DC beaming at the end of it; nice also to see Brian and Dave L do Lambert's "Inside Your Hell Tonight" in the set again.

    Cooking towards the end of the second half, a spirited version of "Lay Down", and then the best version of "Hero And Heroine" I've seen. The arrangement has changed slightly: at first DL picked up the bodhran, went to guitar, then back to bodhran for the closing playout (unless he got tangled up in his guitar strap - which he now carefully takes off before the encore); now, he plays the hand drum further into the song in the first instance, but sticks with the guitar thereafter for the climax. And what a climax: the closing instrumental builds and builds, with as much power as I remember seeing the electric band provide, and comes to an abrupt blistering close. Fantastic. That needs to be on the next acoustic album whenever that is.

    Nice venue by the way, laid out in tables in a huge high hall - good acoustically. Thanks especially to the friendly front of house staff - I don't think you're cheap at all! Cost-effective, maybe, but no doubt worth every penny{grin}.

    Comments from Louise Richardson

    As usual another great Strawbs Concert. At the start of the show the microphones were playing up a a little and the lighting wasn't quite right, but as usual it didn't interfere with the Strawbs performance. What stood out in my mind at the show aside from the great jokes and stories from DC (which he is brilliant at telling), was "Autumn", "You And I (When We Were Young)", "Down By The Sea", and the finale of "Hero And Heroine", which has got to be one of the finest versions I have ever heard. The lads were in fine form again.

    Met a nice chap who sat next to us and he hadnt been to a Strawbs Concert since 76, he said he will never miss them again. Met the lads in the bar later briefly, had a chat with Dick and then it was back home to the Midlands, well worth another journey. Next stop Sheffield and then we have a break until the Looe Festivals. Great night. Regards Louise and Bob.

    Setlist (running order not guaranteed)

    Tears And Pavan
    Remembering/You And I (When We Were Young)
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Simple Visions
    Alice's Song

    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    The Golden Salamander
    Inside Your Hell Tonight
    The River Down By The Sea
    Lay Down

    Hero And Heroine


    BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN - Review by Nigel Bennett

    Captured on camera, a rare vocal performance from Brian onstage. He really needs that microphone, so we all too can enjoy those happy moments and the banter. True to say everyone was happy after this evening's entertainment, nice venue, good sound and plenty of fun from the moment Dave Lambert realised he had set up to play Benedictus at the start only to find he was the only one ready for that song. In fact by the end of the evening all of the trio had to be constantly coaxed and cajoled to get back to the van long after the bar had closed and most of the audience had left. It bore testament to what had gone before.

    Dave Slitcher from Canada successfully made the concert and after 5700 miles was clearly enjoying the experience and the prospect of the days and gigs ahead.

    It is virtually impossible to determine what would be a perfect set list, with so many great songs to chose from, but again the inclusion of several new "old" songs was a spectacular success. "Flying", delicately played and "Autumn" - a real classic - was a treat. I was pondering on when I had last heard that prior to this tour and my best guess was 20 plus years ago and Dave L suggested the last time he had played it was in the States in the mid 70's. Does anyone know the actual answer. Being within walking distance of the sea from the theatre we could have had the real thing, but DL's "seagulls" were very much in evidence.

    [DG - "Autumn" was included in the set of the reformed Strawbs from around 1985 (first reference I have is a setlist from the 7 Apr 1985 gig at the Cubby Bear Lounge, Chicago. Tony Hooper would sometimes take the Dave Lambert vocal in "Hold On To Me". But Lambert won't have played it since the 70s - last reference I have is the celebrated gig on 4 Dec 1976 at Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ, USA]

    The inclusion of "Evergreen" was a particular pleasure as I really wanted to hear this performed in a live environment. Most of the other songs on the night had been previously played on Acoustic tours and were played with verve, and without going through the whole list I particularly enjoyed "Simple Visions", which even acoustically, is very powerful.

    "Having seen "Hero And Heroine" played as an encore on the final night of the last tour I was particularly looking forward to it being included this time round, but now it was played totally differently. It had a huge impact on the audience many of whom were humming the tune as they left their seats. It was a bouncy encore, following "Lay Down", during which there was an invitation for audience participation and brought to a close a fine gig.

    Plenty of time to chat after the event and seems thart there may be more good news for fans around the corner on top of the Wakeman/ Cousins CD and DVD releases, but for now everyone will have to remain in suspense whilst plans reach fruition. Hopefully will see David Slitcher and a number of other regulars at Newbury, next week.

    Please enable Javascript to view Strawbsweb

    . Click on my name to e-mail me.