Lindisfarne Concert Reviews

Keswick - Theatre By The Lake - Thursday, 7th March 2002

by Derek Walmsley

When Lindisfarne last played Keswick in October 2000, they could have filled the venue twice over, having impressed so much on their previous visits. A residency of two days this time around ensured that as many Cumbrians as possible were treated to the superb new songs from “Promenade”, spiced with well-selected old favourites

On the second night there were only a dozen empty seats together near the front. These soon attracted Billy’s attention and he jested that the busload of nurses hadn’t turned up. Two songs into the set, the latecomers filed in, causing much hilarity. “Can’t rely on British Rail” joked Billy. If only- the last train ran in March 1972 when “Meet Me On The Corner” was riding high in the charts. There’s a project underway to re-open the branch line from Penrith; Lindisfarne come back to Keswick and so should the trains!!

This Guitar Never Lies” is a superb album and concert opener sung by Billy. Rod’s Harrison-esque slide guitar, a swinging rhythm and the subtle transition from verse to chorus make this a freshly minted classic. Billy continued with “Anywhere the Wind Blows”, the first of three welcome raids on the “Amigos” album, and then handed vocal duties to Dave for the next two numbers. First the oldie “All Fall Down” with Rod switching to mandolin and then the lovely new ballad “This Too Will Pass” supported by Billy on harmonica. A good revival of the Theakston ale tribute “Old Peculiar Feeling” was followed by Billy’s timeless “Born At The Right Time”.

We were then treated to the be-hatted Rod singing his own song “Freedom Square”. Enhanced by “that’s right” backing vocals by the others, this could have come straight off his highly recommended solo album “Stamping Ground”. Billy continued with Rod’s ballad “One Day” from “Neighbourhood” before the band launched into a passionate rendition of “Passing Ghosts” from “Fog”. The not-quite-title-track “Under The Promenade” sung by Dave is Ian’s follow up to “Two Way Street” (on “BT3”) and shows the group has yet another talented songwriter. It must be catching! An interesting instrumental break adds a further dimension to this memorable song in waltz time.

The vibrant 60s feel and riff of “Coming Good” could be described as “Byrds meet the Monkees” but is also a new Lindisfarne classic in its own right- the guitar work and the vocal harmonies at the end are worth it alone. The first half was crowned by a rousing rendition of that song which was in the charts when that last train rolled into Keswick- “Meet Me On The Corner”.

The second half unusually opened with “Fog On The Tyne” catching the audience off guard as they failed to remember the words of the verse. As Billy said, we should have attended the rehearsal! A spirited “No Time To Lose” wore out most of the band, leaving just Rod and Billy in the spotlight. Billy’s new homage to Fats Domino “Walking Back To Blueberry Hill” has a relaxed feel with fine guitar and vocal work. I suggest it could be rejigged as “Walking Back to Bleaberry Fell” in homage to the mountain a couple of miles from the theatre!! Two more “Amigos” standards followed; after “Roll On That Day”, the rest of the band returned with Dave mirroring Alan Hull’s vocal on the beautiful “One World”.

Next on the list were a couple of contrasting Rod “Promenade” songs. Rod talked through the amusing “Significant Other” which reveals the new status to replace marriage and partnerships. Billy then sang “Unfinished Business”, which reminds me most of Rod’s “Neighbourhood” songs. We then journeyed back along the “Road To Kingdom Come” which Rod apparently wrote when he was 15!!

Billy’s “Rock’n’Roll Phone” lives up to its name and the audience appreciated this frantic number which adds further variety to “Promenade”. Proceedings closed with an emotional “Run For Home” but the Cumbrian audience were certainly not going to run home. Vociferously demanding an encore, the band returned with a spine-tingling “Lady Eleanor”. As soon as “Clear White Light” started, several rows stood up simultaneously to enjoy the rest of the gig on their feet, clapping, waving and bopping wildly. They were rewarded with a magnificent ”Devil Of The North”.

We walked straight down to the merchandise stall and the boys were already stood in their production line signing countless albums. “Keep an eye on your insert” quipped Ray as the signatures mounted. Ian told me that his photographs for “Promenade” were taken in a 2-week spell in the Tynemouth and Whitley Bay areas. [re a msg from Ian ion the board is was: Tynemouth sea-front, 4 pm(ish), late August, 2001. The boys just happened to be there. Serendipity!]The cover certainly stands out in Andy’s Records, Barrow-in-Furness, where it is currently on sale as a “Chart CD”!!

Lindisfarne are always assured of a welcome in Keswick and I’m sure they’ll be back again. Great venue, magnificent scenery and, as Billy said, the Pencil Museum!! My one regret ?- not being able to make the first night as well! Can’t be too greedy- my seat on the Wednesday will probably have been taken by a new fan. I also have the Newcastle Convention to look forward to.

What a Lindisfarntastic week: “Promenade”, re-issue of Alan Hull’s “Squire” and a great gig!

    Derek Walmsley 8/3/2002