Newcastle Walker Festival - Saturday, 3rd June 2000
by Michael Bailey - photos by Judith Watson
"It rained and it rained and it rained".
You can ask any Novocastrian for their memories of June 3rd, 2000 and this will undoubtedly be the reply. You can't blame them - this was no summer downpour. It was the coldest rain I've ever known, with raindrops as big as marbles.
So, we left not-very-sunny North Shields and made our way to an even-less-sunny Walker, not quite knowing what to expect. Was the show still on? Would we catch Hypothermia? Would everyone do the sensible thing and stay at home with a mug of cocoa?
Not quite. The powers-at-be saw sense quite early on in the day and made sure a marquee was built in time for Lindisfarne's evening appearance, and full marks to them!
There we waited with a couple of hundred others for Rod, Ray & Co. to take the stage. When they did, it was about about four bars into the opener, 'No Time To Lose', that any reservations I had disappeared in an instant. They played a blinder.
I'll not go in to the set too much as I noticed my good friend Tom making a note of the set list - no doubt he'll fill you in on the specifics. I can tell you my personal highlights - Mr. Laidlaw continually frustrating Levon Helm's attempts to run away with the 'Best Drummer There Is' award, 'Devil of the North' (see you up at Berwick, Rod!), 'January Song' (ably assisted by an enthusiastic chorus of soggy tent-people) and 'Driftin' Through', the play-out of which is incredible.
Ah yes - 'Driftin Through'. Throughout the whole evening, Marty played and sang like it was his last show ever - which is quite apt, really. We'll all miss him - the man is a star. But as someone once said - "Lindisfarne isn't Marty, and Marty isn't Lindisfarne". The show goes on, and I'm looking forward to it. [Well spoken!! RG]
Disappointments? I would liked to have heard 'Two-Way Street' - that should be a staple in the set in my opinion. But then again, what on earth would you drop? Not an easy decision. Besides, the people dancing on the tables would probably have overdone it and ended up in casualty.
Then, after what seemed like five minutes since it began, the closing notes of 'Clear White Light' faded into applause. We joined a disorderly queue to give our best wishes to Marty, and ventured out into the mud.
Michael Bailey June,2000