Lindisfarne Concert Reviews **

Two Days in Cumbria

Keswick - Theatre By The Lake - Sunday, 29th October 2000

Millom - Palladium - Monday, 30th October 2000

by Derek Walmsley

 ** plus some expressions from Hexham, Friday 27th Oct by Michael Bailey

Article taken from "North West Evening Mail" newspaperTickets sold out a month before the concert and with extra seats added, Lindisfarne made their third visit to the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, within a year. The following night, they travelled to the south end of the Lake District for the biggest gig the small town of Millom has experienced in years. Monday Night At The Millom Palladium will be remembered for some time.

Both venues were in easy reach of my home town of Barrow-in-Furness and provided an effective contrast of surroundings. Keswick is a new purpose-built theatre with an excellent but dry acoustic whereas Millom Palladium is an old characterful theatre-cum-hall with a more echoey sound. The band mastered both venues and were taken to the hearts of their Cumbrian audiences. On an evening of torrential rain, Billy said he'd heard that Millom had a dry day back in 1984. However, the lack of modern heating here was compensated for by three extra songs! At Keswick I was pleased to meet up again with Charles Orr, another fanatic and web-site contributor.

The opening number took long-standing fans by surprise- a one week-old Clements composition sung by Billy. "When Jones Gets Back To Town" adds further to the creative outburst of Rod's new solo album "Stamping Ground". At Millom, I was additionally treated to the jaunty "Why Can't I Be Satisfied" with Ray's drumming sending the band to fever pitch. Featured on BT3, the atmospheric "100 Miles To Liverpool" was followed by a stunning Rod/Dave version of "Refugees", Marty's flute being replaced by superb mandolin/guitar work. Dave then led "Marshall Riley's Army", with the added bonus of Rod's multi-coloured fiddle. Rod followed his guitar and vocal tour-de-force "Train in G Major" with a spirited version of "Working My Way Back Home", backed by the full band.

Dave's Hullesque "City Song" was followed by Billy's moving version of the "Amigos" track "Anyway The Wind Blows". At Millom, Rod introduced this song as being influenced by Norman Nicholson, the Cumbrian poet. Nicholson (1914-1987) lived his entire life in Millom, a town built on iron ore mining and deeply impacted by the decline of the industry.

Dave worked closely with Alan Hull on his final solo album "Statues and Liberties". One of the highlights of the night was hearing him sing a storming band version of the title track. Billy then followed his "Neighbourhood" masterpiece "Born At The Right Time" with a rousing version of "Meet Me On The Corner". While everyone else went to the bar, the boys then went off to drink their cocoa and phone their mams.

After the interval, Ian provided bass for Dave's version of "Winter Song", the full band returning for Rod's fine ballad "Can't Do Right for Doing Wrong" with Dave on slide guitar solo. At Millom, Dave preceded his moody and nicely contrasting composition "Unmarked Car" with "January Song" from "Fog" and Billy followed it with a great version of the "Statues and Liberties" song, "Money".

"Lady Eleanor" was highly effective even without the flute of recent years and is in fact now truer to the original version, Billy taking vocals. Mitch continued with the "Neighbourhood" songs "Ghost In Blue Suede Shoes", "One Day" and "Jubilee Corner" before leading Ian's manic "Two Way Street" (on BT3), Ray counting in a highly effective opening. Billy and Dave then shared verses on the classic hit "Run For Home" with the audiences in good voice for the chorus.

The encore was short but highly effective. Rod sang a blistering version of his rocky "Devil Of The North" before a crowd-pleasing and highly satisfying rendition of "Fog On The Tyne" closed proceedings.

Any worries I had about a "Marty-less vacuum" were quickly dispelled. Experiments with the "Chemistry Set" have succeeded. The transition back to a five-piece is seamless with the magic intact. Harmonica duties were shared by Billy and Dave, these confined to effective moments in a handful of songs. The guitar and mandolin performances are highly impressive, with Rod especially working like a Trojan to create every effect imaginable. We must also not forget how well the drums and bass hold the band together- Ray is another Ringo. The arrangements varied over the two nights, keeping each gig fresh- for example Rod's "Fog" solo was performed by electric guitar at Keswick but by mandolin at Millom.

Most impressively, you can tell that the band is still thoroughly enjoying every concert, spreading enthusiasm to followers old and new. The lads are also so friendly and approachable in the bar afterwards. Louise is still providing sterling service on the merchandising, selling BT3s by the cartload. Indeed at Millom, Billy said she was making up for the lack of an H.M.V. and Virgin Megastore in the town!

Absolutely superb. Two nights on the run and I can't wait for the next gig!!

Derek Walmsley 31/10/2000

Hexham, 27th October, 2000 - Queens Hall Theatre

General observations, in no particular order: There's a lot more electric guitars, but never too many - Dave plays a black Strat a fair bit and Rod had a Blonde Telecaster that I've never seen before. They open with a new song which is quite Rod-y (it is one of his). Refugees has been re-jigged totally. It 'swings' now, and Rod, Mitch and Dave share verses. It knocks spots off the original. 

Unmarked Car is back with a vengeance - the 'Don't nobody touch me' middle eight is HUGE when it comes in. Mitch and Dave's harmonica playing is now far from functional - they're both really impressive. Statues and Liberties! with Dave on vocals. Money Game - Brilliant. Rod's vocals were immaculate throughout the whole set. We got Winter Song and January Song, but no Clear W L or Road to K C.

Devil of the North - encore. People were dancing in the aisles just like the old days! They are so fired up now - the audience loved it, the crack inbetween songs was great and from what I gather Louise sold loads of BT3 & Neighbourhood.

Michael Bailey 29/10/2000