Great evening - game of four halves.
I eventually found the Head of Steam pub, where I met A. Roberts (one of 240 including a stone), P. Davison (the very mild mannered enforcer), T. Farrand (he of the sealed knot) and his lovely lady Kathleen (must take you home again) and sundry other harpers on (not all as big as Moxon).
Then found The Bloomsbury - and a half of Nick. Terrifyingly good.
Then a half of Roy - 3 alone and then a duo with Nick and then The Green Man with an enlightening introduction. Being an old fart I think there was something for everyone - but for me every song was evocative for personal reasons and I really appreciated Roy doing songs that I had never heard live before (e.g. Hangman, Miles Remains) and the sound was superb (but then I was sitting in the middle thanks to my ticket purchaser).
After the show, Nick came and chatted to those who were reluctant to go home. I was among them and so was my ticket purchaser, who had been to Brighton on the Saturday and advised that tonight's gig was altogether better - even though the set was the same. Roy definitely seemed more relaxed and, allegedly, this encouraged Nick. Whatever - I had a great evening - as the sole Steve Clarke representative of the Stormcock list.
I usually try and put a few words down when I go to a gig, and I just got back from the Bloomsbury and thought I'd do just that. I haven't read any reviews about previous gigs on this tour, so it'll all come across 'fresh', although I realise Roy plays pretty much the same set throughout a tour.
Anyway, strange gig in many ways. Large crowd, with what must have been 30 or 40 people standing at the back of the circle because there weren't any seats. Apart from the fact that there must have been twenty or more in good positions in the stalls. I didn't get my act together and put my two tickets very late, and was told that the only two together left were in the slips, right at the very top. And yet from that high altitude I could see how many seats there were empty in the stalls. Maybe Ticketmaster had taken a load and not sold them, or a load of people decided not to bother coming, but either way, many people were left with a pretty poor view when it wasn't at all necessary.
Very odd crowd, too - quite vocal, but hardly with any particular humour, and a few people shouting out very strange things. And a very odd mood on the part of Roy, too - subdued, and not very friendly towards the 'talkers' either. One poor guy got a withering put down largely as a result of Roy's not getting what he was on about, I think.
Nick's set was good but unremarkable - the newish song about Lily which he wrote while touring in Scotland didn't sound as impressive as previous times I've heard it. Roy's set, on the other hand, was amazing. In sixteen years, and probably nearly 50 gigs, of seeing Roy, to go to a gig and hear maybe four songs I'd never heard live before was going some. And all (save three?) of the rest were old rarities.
So from memory, but not necessarily in order:
Commune - I love Nick's stuff, but hearing this the way Roy played it
tonight just reminded me that Roy is the man. So poetic and lyrical.
Short and Sweet - I love the melancholy feel to this song - 'to strive to make it any more or less than short and sweet'...
Drawn To The Flames - brilliant version with Nick of a song I'd never heard live.
Francesca - I never in a million years thought I would ever hear this live.
Sleeping At The Wheel - I guess I could have heard this on the Once tour but didn't remember it. Brilliant version again - I hardly ever play Once, but will have to try it again after hearing this.
Sophisticated Beggar - by this time I was thinking, 'Oh yes, something up here...'! Never heard this live.
Hangman - not heard in quite a while. I remember it from my first ever gig, in Chester in 1986, when he played One Of Those Days In England, just like on Between Every Line...
Miles Remains - great version, not heard in ages. I was beginning to think I would never hear Death or Glory tracks ever again.
Tallest Tree - one of my favourite tracks. People who have said that this song doesn't cut it really should get to hear it live and experience the joyous celebration that it is.
The Green Man
I'm sure there were a few more, but I forget now. I'll have to read up on previous gigs. But the strength of these little played songs just reminded me if I so needed, but also so clearly, just what a great artist and poet Roy is. He really should play what he termed his 'second class' songs more often. It was a joy.