Llandudno, North Wales Theatre - Monday, 20th November 2000
by Keith Jones
I've been a Lindisfarne fan since the early days, through school and college and now mid-life. Having last seen the band live (at Rhyl - my home town) during the Autumn '94 tour, to say that my trip along the North Wales coast to Llandudno for the concert on November 20th was long-awaited is a bit of an understatement.
What would the gig be like? No Alan? No Marty? It was also the first time my elder son Jonathan, aged 10, had seen the band live. He has been weaned on a diet of Buddy Holly (his choice) and Lindisfarne (my choice) from an early age and he too was looking forward to his first Lindisfarne concert. Needless to say we were not disappointed. From first song to last and a rousing encore the sizeable audience (I reckon about 400 to 500 in the 1,000 capacity theatre).
To be honest the two hour show went by so fast that I forget the 'playlist' but memories still abide of 'Refugees' and 'Marshall Riley's Army' and I empathised totally with Billy's acerbic comments about the modern day Jarrow 'protesters' even if the farmers in the audience didn't!! Mind you Billy's Cymraeg (Welsh) is coming on nicely, to judge from the way he pronounced 'Llandudno'!
It was nice to see Rod finally getting the attention and plaudits that his ability deserves (I remember the early years, when he was content to stand in the background and just strum his bass) and what ability. Rod's guitar work was tremendous and likewise my son (learning the violin) was particularly impressed with his violin work.
Dave's voice has an eerily uncanny likeness to Alan's and the subdued lighting at the start of part two simply added to the experience. But time marches on and likewise the band and it was refreshing to note that the set was not like a 'cabaret' with just the old songs - there was plenty of new stuff as well. But of course the biggest cheers of the night inevitably went for 'Lady Eleanor' and 'Run for Home' with full backing vocals from the audience.
And so to the end of the show and son Jonathan was absolutely gobsmacked when the lads came through to the bar. "But they're pop stars" he said, "pop stars don't do such things". This is what is part of the Lindisfarne 'charm' or 'magic' - the fact that they are genuine guys who have never forgotten their fans. So it was just time to pose with the lads for some pictures, buy 'BT3' and away into the night to have a good old sing-along in the car home.
Just one little moan - there was no tour programme and Louise told me that they haven't done one for a while now. Call me old-fashioned but I feel that having some souvenir of the night to look back on (I've still got all my programmes from the 70's onwards) is part of the concert. It hasn't got to be too flashy, so please reconsider the idea for the future. There is definitely a market for Billy's new hi-tech beer holding device, too!!
Talking to Ray after the show (or at least trying to, me still being in awe of my 'heroes' after over 25 years of 'adoration') I suggested that they might not leave it so long before the next North Wales gig. I'm sure that it's not my doing but what do I now see on the website - a March 2001 date on the Isle of Anglesey, 18th to be exact - we'll see you there lads!!
Keith Jones, Dec 2000