Lindisfarne Concert

Reading, Town Hall - Friday, 15th March 2002

by Elizabeth Morgan

“Beware the Ides of March” as the famous bard said once. This was one that I’d been looking forward to for weeks however, as this was the first time I had seen the lads for fourteen years! (Long and boring story as to why, don’t worry about it).

So, confession time first – we (me, Simon, Robin and Alf) arrived late (adversity in High Wycombe), this being the first and hopefully last time that the lads tradition of playing two sets with no support was regretted by me! Anyway, we slunk in red-faced to the dying strains of This Too will Pass, just in time for Old Peculiar Feeling – how ironic when we were all desperate for a pint! The set list then followed the same pattern as listed in the Blackheath/Dorking review. As this was the first time I had seen this line up, I can confirm that Billy was indeed wearing his new suit, but I have no basis for comparison as to whether this was an improvement or not! Rod looks lovely in his hat, however, and Ray does not appear to have aged much at all! When Dave started to sing, shivers ran all down all my back – his voice is so uncannily like Alan’s, and this coming straight after Passing Ghosts – spooky, but in a good way. Both Alf’s jaw and mine dropped at the same time! The lads were so tight, and were clearly enjoying themselves; both old and new songs sounding equally fresh and energetic. The equipment was impressive too – I liked the look of Dave’s 12-string electric, Rod had a bit of everything to hand, and Billy’s acoustics sounded great. I wasn’t close enough to see what they were, although on reading the sleeve notes for Promenade, it would appear that they are custom. Simon was convinced that one of them was a Yamaha though. The first set closed with Meet Me on the Corner, of course, (still no 3rd verse harmony although I obliged) and we dived straight for the bar for re-fuelling.

During the beer break, Robin asked me what had happened to past band members. I was telling him about Si (“Well, he’s running a brewery in Canada”), and Jacka (“I believe he’s working for a brewery in Dublin”), when I realised that there was a distinct theme developing here – particularly as I was wearing my Save Our Ales T-shirt! A quick raid of the merchandise table before the second set – got Promenade and Squire – fantastic! I dare not play my original vinyl copy of Squire any more in case it finally wears out, so was overjoyed at getting my hands on a pristine copy.

Back came the lads, and gave us a stomping second set. No Time to Lose really came into it’s own with this line up, Rod and Billy were great together, Walking Back to Blueberry Hill was beautiful, as was Roll On That Day, proving what a fab song it is as it sounds equally moving either stripped down or at full throttle as on BT2. When the others came back they just got better and better. I had truly forgotten what a brilliant guitarist Rod is, as I was used to seeing him play bass; tonight he really reminded me Steve Earle at times. The gutsy blues of Significant Other is a new classic, I’m sure. I imagine that Ray enjoyed the second set best too, if the way he was toshing those toms was anything to go by! By the time we got to Rock and Roll Phone, Ian, who had spent most of the gig up to now pretty stationary as most bass players do, started to duck-walk on the stage – and very good it looked too! I was desperate to get up and dance but didn’t want to be the first. Oh, how I have mellowed with age since the long ago days in the 1980s when I would fight my way to the front and sit on the stage!

Anyway the lads got a big standing ovation at the end, and most of us stayed on our feet for the final 3 songs. When Rod dedicated the verse of Devil of the North to “our absent friend”, there were tears in my eyes – oh, how much Alan is missed, but what a legacy he has left, and what a testament to the band that 30 years on they are going from strength to strength; the current line up gel so well together don’t they? Lovely to see the lads doing their production line signing (how do they get there so quickly?!), very adept at the mantra “Watch your insert!” by now! I spent the rest of the night and all the weekend walking around with a big smile on my face and listening to Promenade. 

Thank you Lindisfarne – I missed you so much, but it’s great to be back – still top of my bestest bands ever!