Wakefield - Theatre Royal & Opera House - Saturday, 25th March 2000
by Derek Walmsley
The final gig of the Spring tour was at Wakefield Theatre Royal and Opera House on Saturday, 25th March. I made the four hour train journey from Cumbria across the Pennines, calling in Manchester at a record fair on the way. Amazingly, the Wakefield couple sat next to me had stayed at an isolated and rarely visited Cumbrian farm close to home which I’d walked past only a week ago. An early 7.30 p.m. start allowed the band to get through 26 songs with a full house AND have an hour in the bar at the end.
Unusually for a Lindisfarne concert we were seated throughout although a few lively souls were bopping at the front. This was probably due to the absence of “We Can Swing Together” which normally forces the issue! It was still a hugely enjoyable concert with many of my favourites in the set, including the opener “Why Can’t I Be Satisfied”.
Next, “Working My Way Back Home” and Marty’s lively “Driftin’ Through” preceded a superb Billy-led rendition of “Scarecrow Song”. Dave, Marty and Rod provided the instrumental “Ardnamurchan”, the full group returning for “Ghost In Blue Suede Shoes”. Dave provided the main vocal for “Marshall Riley’s Army”, Billy for “One Day” and Marty for “Anyway the Wind Blows”. “Meet Me On The Corner” got the audience singing. Billy’s classic “Born At The Right Time” and Woody Guthrie’s “Jackhammer Blues” ensured the first set closed on a high.
Dave’s “Unmarked Car” provided a moody guitar start to the second half and Rod’s mandolin enhanced both “Jubilee Corner” and “Lady Eleanor”. Dave and Ian then took the spotlight for a fantastic return to the set of “Winter Song”, reminding me of Alan and Rod. Billy’s vocal brought out the quality of Rod’s ballad “Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong”. The current breakdown of the peace talks gave an added poignancy to Dave’s rendition of Alan’s “Poor Old Ireland” before the group dug out another old favourite “Alan In The River With Flowers”. As Billy said, this was the fancy title of “Float Me Down The River”, the pensive verse and evocative chorus harmonies transporting us back in time.
Next, Ian’s “Two Way Street” made a welcome return, it’s rockier drive being reflected in the Rod-led “Devil Of The North”. The “Mercury years” were represented with nice versions of “Call Of The Wild” and “Run For Home” and the concert ended superbly with “Road To Kingdom Come”, “Fog On The Tyne” and “Clear White Light”. All the major hits and breathtaking variety from the wealth of group material.
In the bar, I was delighted to talk to Marty, Ray and Ian. I even found out what had happened to Keswick’s old “wooden hut” Century Theatre. This was replaced by the new Theatre by the Lake which the band played twice in November and January. Ray recalled Keswick’s “blue box” theatre from his camping days and was astounded to find himself playing in it at Coalville on 16th March. It had returned to its origins as part of the Victorian “theme park” there!
I just hope that Ian didn’t miss the bus as we became engrossed in discussing the repertoire of Ray Davies and the Kinks!
Derek Walmsley 27/3/2000