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OCT/NOV 2005

Updated: 18 Nov 2005

Part 1 - First leg - 07 to 19 October
Part 2 - Second leg - 20 to 30 October

Hugh's Room, Toronto, Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 November 2005
  • Loveliness, Loneliness And Spells Of Breathtaking Beauty - Review by Doug LeBlanc
  • Setlist
  • Aeolian Hall, London ON, Thursday 3 November 2005
  • Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Comments from Phil Floyd
  • Oakville Centre For The Performing Arts, Oakville ON, Friday 4 November 2005
    Hamilton Place, Hamilton ON, Saturday 5 November 2005
  • Hot Time In Steel Town - Review by Ian Stewart
  • Bonfire Night In Hamilton, Canada - Review by Roger Hill
  • Comments from Tammy Kowalski
  • From A Life Long Fan - Comments from John Ewen
  • In Awe - Comments from Alan Eccles
  • Redemption - Comments from Chris Flora
  • HOLD ON TO ME , I'LL HOLD ON TO YOU - Review by Bill Curran
  • Setlist
  • Cafe Campus, Montreal QC, Monday 7 November 2005
  • Rocking - Review by Dwight Hodge
  • Way Beyond High Expectations - Review by Andre Lambert
  • A Glimpse Of Musical Heaven - Review By Stephen Takacsy of Musique ProgresSon Music (ProgQuebec)
  • Setlist from Alain Beaudreault
  • Ginger's Tavern, Halifax NS, Wednesday 9 November 2005
  • Thrill Of A Lifetime For A Hopeless Strawbs Fan - Comments from Rob Luscombe
  • Imperial Theatre, Saint John NB, Thursday 10 November 2005
    Capitol Theatre, Moncton NB, Friday 11 November 2005
  • What A Wonderful Evening - Review by Mike Forest
  • I Have Journeyed To The Witchwood - And There I Remain! - Comments from Alan Eccles
  • The Fredericton Playhouse, Fredericton NB, Saturday 12 November 2005
  • So Many Highlights - Review by Glen Doucet
  • Comments from Brenda Melanson
  • Mersey House, Liverpool NS, Sunday 13 November 2005
  • Comments from Millard Steeper and Barry Kent


    Setlist from second night from Doug Leblanc

    Simple Visions
    Hangman and the Papist
    Barcarole (For The Death of Venice)
    Cold Steel
    Shine On Silver Sun

    Midnight Sun
    Oh, How She Changed
    New World
    Lay Down
    Hero And Heroine

    A Glimpse Of Heaven


    The Strawbs played in Toronto last night. This was the first of two shows in Toronto at what has been termed by Dave Cousins as "their favourite place to play anywhere!" Perhaps he was caught up by the exuberance of the moment, but there is no question they love to play here, and we love having them. And they seem to respond each and every time by putting on an incredible show.

    Last night was no exception. In fact, last night they pushed the envelope and went beyond even their stellar abilities to bring Hugh's Room higher and higher as the show progressed. Just when you think they've reached the peak of what they can do, they do it even better the next time!

    You'd think Dave Cousins would run out of ideas on introducing his great songs, but again and again he proves he is a true showman, putting his all into a performance that is truly amazing.

    And the wonder of it all is that we've heard these songs a thousand times before. You'd think we'd be sick of hearing "Hangman And The Papist" after God knows how many times. And yet every single time he brings us to the precipice of human longing and passion with the same song. Not to mention the fire they put into new additions. "Barcarole (For The Death Of Venice)" was given new life, and to do this to a song that was awesome to start with was truly an emotional experience for yours truly.

    Of all of these, though, the one that took on the most intense new life was the title track from their second album, "Dragonfly". Dave Lambert's e-bow work here excelled, again bringing to life an old classic.

    Yet even the standards shone this night. "Lay Down" burst with fire, "Autumn" touched as deeply as the fall frost on the brightly coloured leaves. "New World" still burned like an old wound. "Hero And Heroine" took on new life with an energetic dance performance added to the scene. And "Simple Visions" was as clear as a limpid pool of cool spring water in a forest where the trees go on forever.

    You'd think that after all these years the songs would be stale, and the act dull. After all, they've been here in Toronto playing multiple shows for several years now. And yet every night, we still stare into the eyes of loveliness, loneliness and spells of breathtaking beauty that the Strawbs lead us on again and again and again. God willing, they'll be doing so to our delight for many years to come.

    PS. What was truly unique for both shows was something I had never seen before. During "Hero And Heroine", a tall young black man stepped forward. Then he began to dance. Yes, dance. He moved like a ballet dancer, actually accentuating the music, rather than detracting from it. We thought he was a part of the show! He was there both nights, and he was magnificent! His name is Victor Crowl, singer, songwriter, filmmaker, and producer, according to his business card. I will find out more about him, because his dancing brought the song to a whole new dimension.

    Victor captured on film by Peter Rowe


    FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Comments from Phil Floyd

    Saw the Strawbs for the first time ever at the Aolian Hall, here in London, Ontario. FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am an expatriot Brit, been here 31 years. Back in the UK, I saw Fairport, Steeleye, Ralph McTell, Pentangle among the great folk/rock/classical/jazz/blues fusion groups. I have no idea why I never went to see the Strawbs - I knew they were great - maybe I didn't have the money for all the concerts I'd like to have gone to - in fact that must be the reason, cos I never did have any money!!


    Setlist from Roger Hill

    Simple Visions
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Barcarole (For The Death Of Venice)
    Cold Steel
    Shine On Silver Sun

    Midnight Sun
    Oh, How She Changed!
    New World
    Lay Down
    Hero And Heroine

    A Glimpse Of Heaven

    HOT TIME IN STEEL TOWN - Review by Ian Stewart

    England has Sheffield, America, Pittsburg, but Hamilton is Canada's steel city. The Acoustic Strawbs played in an small room inside the cavernous belly of Hamilton Place. The band arrived at the front door just like us. No more stretch-limos with airconditioning and double glaze. No back stage door, past high-heeled groupies. No dressing rooms with with cases of beer, fried chicken and bowls of jelly beans with the green ones removed. Nope, they just sauntered past us in line like they had come to clean the windows.

    A wise lady named Lindsay e-mailed me an said that I would be crazy to miss this show. She was right. Just when I think I am going to get Strawbed-out. They hit the stage, start to play and it is like they have wiped the slate clean. Just like the first time.

    I can't add to any previous descriptions about this show. I will bore you by saying it was terrific. They don't pour as much molten steel as they once did in Hamilton, but "Cold Steel" is becoming one of my favorites. Spike and I got a front row table with Roger Hill and his better half Ann. I was able to finally give Roger his Witchwood badge. I think I've had it for almost a year. Unfortunately with transportation costs and storage fees Roger's badge cost him $82.76. Full Bloom producer and stereo store owner Jon Connolly was also at a front row table. I did not get a chance to ask him about a possible show in Waterloo next year.

    Roger and I got to say thankyou to D/L and Chas for coming out. We couldn't get near Cousins, he was swamped. Roger will be posting the setlist, anon [he did - see Setlist box - DG]. Then it was off to The Gown & Gavel for a pint of Caffrey's.


    To raucus applause, the lads took the stage in a delightful venue in Hamilton, on Saturday night. Launching straight into Benedictus, it was instantly apparent that Mr Cousins voice was in top form. Chas, too, with his 12 string was adding layers to the song, but, once again, I was captivated by Dave Lambert.

    I don't know what more can be said about Lamberts playing. Each time I see him, he just keeps getting better. The quite remarkable subtlety of his playing followed withing seconds by some incredible power, keeps raising the the bar.

    Perhaps with it being November the 5th, the "standard fireworks" I have come to expect from his playing were rocketed to a higher level.

    In a couple of songs, he has added some deligtful little flourishes and runs that I have not heard before. His use of the e-bow has become quite restrained, compared to a couple of years ago, and I remain in awe of what he can produce with a simple guitar. There were hints of "Hard Hard Winter" in the intro to "Midnight Sun".

    Don't get me wrong...I love Dave Cousins poetry, and the music he creates. I love the stories, too. I was chuckling a couple of minutes ago in remembrance of two, and the introduction to "The Hangman And The Papist" brought tears to my eyes before a note had been played.

    I love what Chas brings to the mix. Not that I don't value the contribution of the delightful Brian Willoughby, I do, but frankly, I just LOVE watching Dave Lambert play. And I could bask in the effervescence of his smile all night, too.

    A great night of wonderful music.


    Comments from Tammy Kowalski

    I was once again thankful for the wonderful performance of the Strawbs, as I saw them at the Hamilton Place Studio Theatre, November 5, they are always and forever excellent and amazing.

    This was not my first venture to their subtle, yet mystic beckoning. The stories, as much as the songs that accompany David Cousins vivid and wonderful visions.

    A wonderful storyteller, as much as a great visionary of the music that he sees and feels, from the stories that he carries in his heart.

    What more can I say ....

    FROM A LIFE LONG FAN - Comments from John Ewen

    Being a fan of the strawbs since the early 70's I only first saw them at Hugh's room the night of the DVD recording (how's that for good timing) - certainly a night I wont soon forget. This time out I get to see them in my hometown of Hamilton and once again they did it to me. How these three guys can do what they do with acoustic guitars is just beyond me and shows the love they have for their music as well as their fans. The sound was rich and clear, the setting was intimate and the band once again delivered an outstanding performance. Congratulations Dave C, Dave L and Chas on a show well done.

    IN AWE - Comments from Alan Eccles

    Saturday evening, November 5th, it was my great pleasure to attend the Acoustic Strawbs concert in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I wish I could find enough words of praise for the 'the boys' but even now, three days later, I am still in awe! It's difficult to explain here in one short e-mail but suffice to say that I was, and still am, spellbound!

    I had no idea what to expect - I had seen The Strawbs here in the late(?)1970's but heard little of them after that. As life went on and I became busy with the 'family thing' I just presumed they had disbanded and taken themselves off the market to pursue their private lives - then I saw them being advertised. Not only did I have to see them but I also took my son and daughter - he having his own band, for it was important to me that they could experience the music and the artists who were such a great part of my younger years. They too were awestruck.

    Additionally, since it was a small venue (or so I assume), Messrs Cousins, Cronk and Lambert made themselves available for autographs, chats and pictures - such class again rendered me speechless. It was a magical evening.

    I could go on and on but I had better recognize that your time is limited and that you must certainly get your fill of likewise testimonials so I shall sign off and close with my thanks once again to you for this site, and to 'the boys' for being the beautiful people they are.

    REDEMPTION - Comments from Chris Flora

    I attended The Strawbs show (acoustic) at the Hamilton Place Studio Theatre, a couple of nights ago, Saturday November 5, 2005, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, and Chas Cronk.

    I think it was 1985, or may have been sometime later, but the Strawbs were playing The Diamond club in Toronto, and I was one inch from attending, but somehow it didn't happen. Then the loneliness [of the lone Strawbs fan - DG] set in, and I thought I would never see or hear of them again. And I listened to the haunting music by myself, not finding many who could appreciate it for poetry and music. More than a decade later, they were in Toronto again, to my surprise, but I was still filled with ennui and scepticism, and simply let them pass (my young friend Roman had heard me discuss them and was up on the scene re: their Toronto acoustic show, but I chose not to make the necessary arrangements with him at that time to travel to Toronto to see the show, holding out the hope for redemption that I would still, eventually, one day, see them in their musical glory).

    And it was Roman who again in August 2005 first pointed out (email) the Hamilton Place Studio Theatre show scheduled for November 5. This time the venue was a ten minute walk from my home. This time was for real. The time was now. It is here. They will be here. And so I went and purchased four tickets.

    And the show was tremendous. The first set opened with "Benedictus," and ended with "Autumn," and included "Shine On Silver Sun." The second set included "Hero And Heroine," "Oh How She Changed" and "Dragonfly." To see Cousins, and Lambert, and Cronk, performing... on hearing "Hold on to Me," I foolishly burst into uncontrolled tears and emotion, intensely feeling this song I had lived with for nearly a quarter of a century performed before my eyes - and then the first set was abruptly over and the glaring lights came back on with me red-eyed and sniffling, quickly composing myself a la some Roman Coliseum spectator of a Greek tragedy.

    I had intended to yell out at the propitious moment, as a request, "The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake". I didn't know exactly when I would yell it out. But I found myself yelling it out just as the three walked on stage. I noticed Cousins slightly turned my way as if noting my call. I again yelled it out during applause somewhere into the first set. Then, once again at a more silent moment later in the second set, and Cousins replied to me and the audience, "We haven't got all night now have we?".

    HOLD ON TO ME , I'LL HOLD ON TO YOU - Review by Bill Curran

    Hold on to me , I'll hold on to you ... Me - a grown man reduced to goosebumps and near tears by a song from deep in the well of my youth. My 15 year old son beside me, totally in awe of what he was experiencing. The band was only 15 feet away from where we sat, closer to Chas (where we watched him play midi bass pedals, 12 string acoustic and a gorgeous sounding acoustic bass.). Dave Lambert was incredible ("Oh How She Changed" and "Cold Steel" were definite highlights) - his guitar playing better than ever. Dave Cousins wove stories through every tune; brandishing, embellishing and cajoling and his voice was in great shape. The vocals were stunning all the way around - as were the acoustical arrangements. "Dragonfly" was a special treat.

    After the show we stayed and talked with both Daves at the bar - Dave Lambert was cracking one joke after another - mostly at the expense of the sound man. Chas didn't say much, but having the opportunity to just hang out and buy the guys a beer in such a relaxed atmosphere after such an emotionally intense show. All this after having just seen Steve Hackett three weeks before at the same venue !!!! Steve had played Hamilton Place back in the 70's as had the Strawbs, they all remembered playing the main hall before. Many thanks to Rich Rakoczy for booking these shows that I'll never forget.

    Dave was saying that they will be back to North America with the H&H lineup for an electric tour, but there's no way they could finance it with the smaller venues they played this time around. So we can expect a less intimate show the next time around. So I'll cherish this one even more.


    Setlist from Alain Beaudreault

    Simple Visions
    Cold Steel
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Oh! How She Changed
    New World
    Lay Down
    Hero And Heroine

    A Glimpse Of Heaven

    ROCKING - Review by Dwight Hodge

    All this talk of whether Strawbs is prog, they still have a prog following in Montreal if the conversation in the lineup outside Cafe Campus on Monday night was any indication, as fans exchanged stories of recent prog gigs they'd attended. Inside, one fan who drove from northern NY proclaimed the Strawbs number 2 behind Pink Floyd in his book, and the punter from Vermont I was chatting with discovered the gig while browsing the Quebec Progressive music site (

    Anyhow, whatever it was The Strawbs were playing, it fit the bill as the lads delivered a pretty rocking set to an appreciative crowd. And I do mean rocking - seems adding Chas has made the trio heavier, as "Simple Visions", "Ghosts", "Cold Steel", "New World" and "Hero And Heroine" all really kick, with lots of room for Lambert's power chords and solos. The quieter stuff worked well too, "Dragonfly" was a treat - was that a e-bow Lambert had out [yes - DG] - sounded great.

    The venue was pretty good, my only gripes being the occasional thumping of dance music coming up from the club below and, for whatever reason, they were selling Molson Dry, of all mediocre beers, exclusively. But intimate and good sound.

    WAY BEYOND HIGH EXPECTATIONS - Review by Andre Lambert

    I just wanted to tell you that last night's Strawbs' performance at the Cafe Campus was way beyond my expectations, and they were pretty high (I mean REALLY high). They opened with one of my all-time favourites ("Benedictus"... minus the dulcimer), and then it just got better from there. All the songs I love, "Simple Visions", "Autumn", "Ghosts", "Witchwood", "Lay Down", "A Glimpse Of Heaven", "New World"...; one classic after the other (they even performed "Hero And Heroine" as an encore, a brilliant arrangement, very well done). "Oh How She Changed" interpreted by Lambert took me by surprise, it was strange not to hear it sung by Tony Hooper, though Dave L. did a fantastic job (him being a better singer than Tony H. ever was). I didn't know Chas Cronk could play the 12-string like that. I couldn't believe my idol Dave Cousins was singing and telling anecdotes 15 feet away from where I was sitting, I was in awe! I only wish Dave L. and Chas would've said a few words. They never spoke once, only sang (great harmonies)! All in all, a fantastic evening with 3 living legends!

    A couple of very minor disappointments: I was hoping to hear "Blue Angel", or at least part of it, though I understand it isn't really a Strawbs' song as it is a Dave Cousins solo number (although Dave Lambert did play on Two Weeks Last Summer, didn't he?). Also, I enjoyed the tunes from Déjà Fou, however the melodies aren't as strong as those Dave C. used to write. He did set an incredibly high standard for himself, true enough.

    Can't wait for the band to return to Montreal... hopefully before 2035!!!

    A GLIMPSE OF MUSICAL HEAVEN - Review By Stephen Takacsy of Musique ProgresSon Music (ProgQuebec)

    It was a dream come true to finally see the legendary Strawbs in Montreal, as I missed the only other time they were here in the past 30 years, which was last February 26 as part of the Mundial/Folk Alliance Conference (the full "electric Strawbs" line-up sadly bypassed Montreal in 2004). As in February, it was the "acoustic Strawbs" line-up that performed, featuring Dave Cousins (guitars, banjo), Dave Lambert (guitars) and Chas Cronk (bass, guitars and synth pedals).

    Within seconds of opening the show with only vocals (in perfect harmony) at the start of "Benedictus" (Grave New World '72), one knew that these guys are true professionals. The set began very strongly seconded by the melodic "Simple Visions" (Deep Cuts '76), and followed up by my all-time favorite "Ghosts" (Ghosts '75), before going way back to "Witchwood" (From The Witchwood '71). Finally a piece from their crown jewel, "Autumn" (Hero And Heroine '74) with Lambert making special effects with his guitar, a new track "Cold Steel" (Deja Fou '04), followed by the addictive "Shine On Silver Sun" (Hero And Heroine '74). Cousins dug even deeper at the half way point of the show, with a stunning rendition (sung by Lambert) of "Oh How She Changed", the Strawbs first single from 1968 (also featured on their first eponymous album in '69), followed by the beautiful "Dragonfly" (Dragonfly '70). These older tracks sounded ever better today than they did over 35 years ago ! A dramatic version of "New World" (Grave New World '72) was next, followed by the sentimental "If" (Deja Fou '04), leading into the grand finale of rocking versions of "Lay Down" (Bursting At The Seams '73) and "Hero And Heroine" (Hero And Heroine '74). Only one encore was offered to the crowd of under 100 fans, "A Glimpse Of Heaven" (From The Witchwood '71). All in all, the music was sublime and the vocals powerful and perfectly sung, while Cousins recounted numerous stories about the Strawbs' glory days with a typically dry British sense of humor.

    Alas, the show went by too quickly, it seemed like a dream, or maybe just a glimpse of musical heaven. My only critiques are that I would have preferred to hear two sets by our heroes, than the Canadian guitar duo opening act that had little in common with the British progressive folk giants that are the Strawbs. Also, the Café Campus is a poor place for an acoustic concert, as twice I had to go downstairs and complain about the thumping music arising from the first floor. Let's hope that we can bring back the Strawbs, in a better venue and in front of a larger audience, so that more Montreal fans can enjoy such musical wonder.



    I am originally from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. it was in St. John's at the Arts and Culture Centre that I first saw Strawbs perform in concert. The year was 1970 and I have waited ever since then to see them again.

    Last night, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to see Dave, Dave and Chas here in Halifax and it was well worth the wait. They were outstanding. Thrill of a lifetime for a hopeless Strawbs fan.


    Setlist from Mike Forest

    Simple Visions
    Hangman and the Papist
    Cold Steel
    Shine on Silver Sun

    Midnight Sun
    How She Changed
    New World
    Lay Down
    Hero and Heroine

    Grace Darling


    You don't just 'see' an Acoustic Strawbs show - you become a part of it, or rather, it becomes a part of you. Once the 'connection' is made you simply know that you have been changed for ever. Perhaps the experience could be described as an instant addiction - not unlike the most potent addictive drugs - best description I can give though is to say that I have journeyed to the Witchwood - and there I remain!

    It's beyond me to be able to offer a review of sufficient detail for the performance in Moncton but I can say the audience were as spell bound as ever. Dave Cousins opened with words of tribute for Remembrance Day then we were hit with "Benedictus" - don't know how many dry eyes there were, or if I managed to hide my tears, but that emotional charge never left throughout the entire performance. Sorry - I can't give the setlist as I was too pre-occupied.

    All too soon the show ended leaving a craving that can never be fulfilled. Most manic really - to go from such a high and be plunged into such a low. One other great sadness, in my mind, is the fact that Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert and Chas Cronk will never know what it is like to sit and watch them and experience their magic - another verse could be added to "Benedictus" - to 'Bless the Boys'.

    WHAT A WONDERFUL EVENING - Review by Mike Forest

    What a wonderful evening at the beautiful Capitol Theatre in Moncton, New Brunswick on November 11, 2005.

    The Strawbs have always been popular in this area of the country. A crowd of about 400 turned up for the show. The Strawbs were really into the performance with Dave C. adding an extra little touch with his arm waving. After receiving a tremendous standing ovation immediately after "Hero And Heroine", they returned to the stage for an encore and surprised the Acadians in the crowd by performing "Grace Darling" in French. What a treat!!

    Dave Cousins' voice was incredible. I don't know how he does it night after night. I cannot add anything to what has been said regarding Dave Lambert's guitar playing on this tour. You have to see it to believe it and his voice was perfect too. Chas Cronk on the acoustic bass and 12 string guitar gives the band a pleasing full rich sound.

    The Strawbs came out into the lobby after the show and chatted and signed autographs until everyone was satisfied. The band and crew joined about 20 of us at a pub close by and we shared stories, laughs and a few cold ones. We begged them to return next year with their electric show.

    Ticket scan from Mike Forest


    SO MANY HIGHLIGHTS - Review by Glen Doucet

    Well, November 12th has come and gone, I've been waiting anxiously for this night as soon as I heard the Strawbs were going to be playing in my city. I bought my tickets the day they went on sale in July. I've listened to the Strawbs since I was a teenager in the 1970s and have never had the chance to see them live.

    The show last night was outstanding, although not as crowded as I had hoped, about 200 people were there in a playhouse that holds 800.

    So many highlights, "Shine On Silver Sun" being one of them and of course the beautiful "Autumn", now one of my wife's favourite songs. I didn't write down the set list but each song was a real treat to listen to. The guys were spot on and delivered a great performance.

    I'm no musician, I only know I either like something or I don't and I loved last night, which was a magical evening to put it mildly.

    The only bad part of the evening was we were not allowed to take pictures during the performance, but as you can see I did get lots of pictures afterwards, got lots of stuff autographed and the guys were very gracious. Bought the Strawbs Across Canada t-shirt and the Strawbs Acoustic Full Bloom Live at Natural Sound CD. I'm listening to the CD as I'm writing this review, very similar to the Baroque And Roll CD.

    After the show ended, my wife and I ventured over to the pub across the street, and shared a few beers and talked with Dave L., Chas and Neil until about 2:00 AM. The guys are very nice and so easy to talk with. Dave C. didn't seem like he was in the talking mood so we just let him be, probably feeling a little tired after such a grueling tour.

    My only regret is not having the time to be able to travel to Moncton and Saint John to watch them play the previous two nights, which I heard were also excellent shows.

    Thank you very much to Dave C, Dave L. and Chas for a night I will treasure the rest of my life.

    After show shots from Glen Doucet - Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert and Chas and Neil (lurking in the shadows)

    Comments from Brenda Melanson

    You know it's times like these that I wish I were British…….or at least I wish I was living in England, just so that I could absorb more of Strawbs. They came to Moncton, NB, Canada on November 11 and we also went to Fredericton to their November 12 show. They are incredible……their performance put me in "AHHH" and I'm still in a state of euphoria to just think that I was able to see them perform 2 nights in a row and have a chat and a beer with them, again (we went to see them perform in NS & PEI, Canada two years ago). After all these years they still do it to me!!!!

    Thanks so much Dick for your Web site and all the info you provide us. We are lost in Canada without your info.


    Comments from Millard Steeper and Barry Kent

    God bless them, absolutely incredible on their wrap gig in Liverpool, they should be knighted. Exquisite vocals, Cousins was amazing, held every note and Lambert was likened to 1974.

    We are so thankful for their efforts and yours, hope to see them again.

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