Lindisfarne Concert

Durham, Gala Theatre - Sunday, 31th March 2002

by Chris Armstrong




Its always nice to return to a place that you know so well. I spent 10 mostly happy years growing up in Durham and saw many new pubs, new shops open in that time. What Durham missed in that period, and indeed for many years, was a venue for plays and gigs which forced its citizens to Newcastle, Sunderland, or even as far as Middlesbrough. Now, things are different with the opening of the Gala Theatre which has filled a yawning chasm in the Durham cultural scene.

As Billy said during the gig, “we don’t normally get invited to new posh places like this”, the Gala is certainly posh, very similar to the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. It is certainly very compact, but ideal for Durham’s needs, with a marvellous veranda overlooking the old Durham Ice Rink and the 6th Form Centre where I spent two years where many friendships were formed, hearts broken, and much fun was had. Getting a little misty eyed for the past, I was pleased to see the doors to the auditorium open!

Being back from Yorkshire, I didn’t expect any tickets to be left, but there was the odd single available and I was situated three rows from the back of the stalls which I thought may be a poor view but it was fantastic. I got talking to a group of people in their sixties who had not been to a Lindisfarne gig since the late 1970’s so I tried to fill them in on a bit of recent history, but so much has happened over the last 25 years, I think I lost them around about 1989! Anyway, in return for a constant supply of Fox’s Glacier Mints, I could at least guarantee them a fantastic night’s entertainment.

The lads arrived on stage to a warm welcome and went straight into THIS GUITAR NEVER LIES which sounded even better live than it does on “Promenade”. Billy had a little banter with the crowd, stating that “we had to make a few late additions to the set list when we saw the average age of the crowd!”. It certainly seemed top heavy with, and I hesitate to write this due to reprisals at gigs in the future, with “middle-aged people”, but there were a few people in their twenties like me, with one lad in his late teens with a bag of goodies that he had just purchased from a lonely looking Sarah! Don’t worry - the future is safe in our hands! Anyway, back to the gig

I haven’t written a set list down unfortunately but the highlights in the first set were a lovely version of ALL FALL DOWN from Dave. Also from DHD, THIS TOO WILL PASS from the new album which had me in tears yet again which continued with Billy on lead vocals with a Eagles-esque version of OLD PECULIAR FEELING. It would be nice if Dave could do his own solo album. Don’t get me wrong I love his and Billy’s voices equally, but Dave could be as big as David Gray or Fran Healythere again, maybe not - we want him to stay in the band!!! There was quite a bit from the Amigos album as well with Billy doing ROLL ON THAT DAY and ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS and Rod had a chance to shine with FREEDOM SQUARE and SIGNIFICANT OTHER and the first half finished with a jolly version of COMING GOOD.

The second half began with a sing-along to FOG ON THE TYNE, which upset one lady no end when at the encore she shouted for the aforementioned song, and Billy had to gently tell her that we’d already had that and to spend a little less time in the bar in the future. The highlight for me in the second half was Dave with ONE WORLD where even the rest of the band stood and applauded him at the end. Billy continued in fine form with ROCK N ROLL PHONE, UNFINISHED BUSINESS, and WALKING BACK TO BLUEBERRY HILL - the latter performed by just Billy and Rod, when as Billy put it, “the younger ones went off to ring their mams!”. The lads finished with RUN FOR HOME and went off to wild applause and the inevitable calls for an encore - and the lads promptly returned with LADY ELEANOR and DEVIL OF THE NORTH, though Billy underplayed the line, “the devil put the ball over the Sunderland line” and Durham is a city bitterly divided between black and white, and, red and white. It’s a very thin line between love and hate.

The gig finished and I turned to my friends in the seats behind me and asked them if they had a good night and they said it was fantastic and much better than the ABBA tribute band they saw the night before.

Lindisfarne - The Best Band In The World - Definitely!!!