Lindisfarne US East Tour in Feb. 2000

by Barry Shalen

LIFE WITH LINDISFARNE: Five days on The Road in East Coast America

I once again had an opportunity to travel with Lindisfarne, this time for five days on the east coast tour. We each braved a 12" snow storm to meet up in Bethlehem Pennsylvania where the band played two shows at the historic American folk club, Godfrey Daniels.

The bad weather kept the crowd down with the first show played to less than 100 very enthusiastic fans and the second show played to even less equally enthusiastic fans. They were treated to new additions to this years play list, including fantastic renditions of Dave singing lead on Poor Old Ireland, Money Game and Marshall Riley's Army. Woody Guthrie's classic Jackhammer Blues was a perfect fit for the american folk club. The band was housed for the night by a very nice local family who provided brew and bed and breakfast.

The next day, it was a short drive to Valley Forge for a 45 minute afternoon set at the Scottish & Irish Folk Festival. The set was fine, but the band felt a little out of place having followed a very popular hard rock guitar and bagpipes band. Immediately 
thereafter, we left for two shows at Philadelphia's famous Tin Angel, where they treated us like royalty.

First was a cooked to order gourmet meal for each of us, including guiness marinated roast pork. Then the beer was free all night. In addition, the first show was sold out and the second show was still close to capacity. A long time fan gave each band member their own Philadelphia Eagles (football) jersey. Dave wore his for the second show. An enjoyable opening act set the stage for a simply magical performance, with the most enthusiastic and participatory crowd of the seven shows I saw.

We got back to the hotel in valley Forge just in time to see the bar stop serving at 2:00 am, so we went to the Festival hospitality suite where we found a lonely keg of beer. Sparks and Dave found a hand dolly and we took the keg down to the hotel's lobby where we began handing out freebies to everyone that was leaving the hotel bar. Unfortunately, the "beer police" (hotel security) confiscated the keg and shut down the party. Although we only handed out about 12 freebies, we are convinced that when the legend of the "Lindisfarne keg-napping Kaper" is retold in the future, hundreds will claim to have been one of the lucky few that got a beer that night. With no more beer to drink, we retired for the night (I roomed with Billy & Rod; Dave with Ian; and Ray with Marty and Sparks).

Sunday morning we got to sleep in until 11:00 am. Following a hearty breakfast, with a heart to heart, with Rod about existing on the budget that is Lindisfarne, the band prepared for another go at the Scottish Folk Festival. This time the band played a 75 
minute set that had the crowd of 400+ a buzzin'. Both audience members, as well as other bands' members, all came up to tell the lads how much they were enjoyed. 

Following the gig, Billy, Rod, Marty, Dave and myself went back to Philly where the boys did a six song set for Gene Shea's live public radio show. After the gig, we went to Smokey Joes, where Billy taught the young bartender the proper way to serve a pint of guiness on tap (you need to let the head sit before re-topping it off). We waited for Sparks and Ian to join us (Ray stayed back) at which point we went to an Indian restaurant for a wonderful buffett dinner. Marty claims it was the hottest curry he ever 
had. Upon our return back to the hotel, I felt the onset of a cold and retired, while Billy, Rod and Dave enjoyed a nightcap in the hotel bar.

On Monday morning, after another hearty breakfast with Billy, Rod and Ray, the troops gathered for another trip to Philly, this time to do a four song set for a tape for future broadcast of "World Cafe" a nationally syndicated public radio show. Thereafter we left for New York City, arriving at the Bottom Line, a 400 seat club, at about 3:30 PM.

At load in, the manager of the opening act introduced himself as having been an assistant engineer on Jack The Lad's first album, so there was a fair amount of reminiscing and networking. After the sound check, we all went across the street to eat dinner at Do-Jo's, a natural Japanese style eatery. The Bottom Line only gave 50% off on beer, but that didn't stop the boys. Several of my close friends, as well as my sister, gave into Manhattan for the show. 

Each show consisted of a one hour set, with the first show playing to a crowd of about 75. The band was in fine form and the small crowd was enthusiastic. Unfortunately, management wouldn't let the first show's fans stay for the second show, so the 
second show only had about 15 customers, of which about 5 were holdovers from the first show. Needless to say, while the band still put on a fine second show, it didn't quite have the same fire as did the shows at the Tin Angel. The club should have let the first show's audience stay for the second show, since they could have sold a lot more food or drink and the band would have had a better house to play to.

After the show, we drove the two vans to the upper west side, where my good friends Wayne and Madeline, put up the entire band for the night in their apartment and their neighbor's apartment. Marty and Rod got a kick out of Wayne's pet Gecko, which 
they use as a form of roach control. The lads also had trouble understanding the concept of Manhattan's alternate side of the street parking where you can park for free overnight until 8:00 am and at a meter after 9:00 am, but you can't park at all between 8:00 am and 9:00 am (although you can sit in your car and not get ticketed). I tried to explain that it was like driving on a Parkway and parking on a Driveway, but they just couldn't grasp the concept.

At any rate, the vans had to be moved by 8:00 am, so we all headed back down to the west village to pick up the equipment which we had left at the Bottom Line. After a quick breakfast and some goodbye hugs and photos, the band left for Washington D.C., while I killed time at a local Starbucks until my afternoon flight home to Phoenix.

All in all I had a Lindisfarntastic time with the band. While it was frantic at times, I also got to spend real quality time talking to the lads about real life, like our wifes and families. The band truly made me feel like one of their entourage, like it was perfectly natural for me to be with them. 

My only regret was that each show consisted of only a single set, which meant that two shows in one night had primarily one song set, with two or three changes between the two shows. This was in sharp contrast to last year's tour when each venue held one show that consisted of two sets. this allowed for much more original music each night with each set being completely different. Still it was great to hear classics old and new. Jubilee Corner and Born are becoming true crowd pleasers, with Dave adding some extra riffs to spice up the chorus. It was also great to see new set additions like Money Game, Marshall Riley's Army and Poor Old Ireland, which coincidentally were all sung by Dave. And Marty added a kick-ass Any way the Wind Blows in response to a fans request. All in all, I had a great time and I can't wait to do it again, hopefully the next time will be on their home turf.

For those interested, the staple of all sets was as follows:

Lady Eleanor; No Time to Lose; Poor Old Ireland; Meet Me on the Corner; Born at the Right Time; Can't do Right for doing Wrong; Jubilee Corner; One Day; Ghost in Blue Suede Shoes; Driftin Through and Ardnamurchan.

In addition, each set included another three to seven of the following songs (some found their way into the set almost every night, while others made only one or two appearances in the seven shows I saw):

City Song; Why Can't I be satisfied; Uncle sam; All Fall Down; Fog on The Tyne; Any Way The Wind Blows; Train in G Major; Money game; Unmarked Car; Jackhammer Blues; Workin My Way back Home; Marshall Riley's Army.

Barry Shalen, Feb. 2000 - pics shots by Mike Aimino at The Tin Angel, Philadelphia