Lindisfarne Concert

Tewkesbury, The Roses Theatre - Saturday, 13th April 2002

by John Grenfell

So what do you do at the weekend

following the Opera House concert?

On Friday we went for a quiet drink and talked about the Happy Cats, Lindisfarne and all of the people we met. We didn’t make the convention as we had family to visit. The trip to the North-East from our home close to Brighton has to be planned carefully and doesn’t happen very frequently.

During the second drink we looked at Lindisfarnews and found that the lads would be in Tewkesbury the next night. We decided that if it “wasn’t too far” we’d book tickets and go. In the AA glovebox atlas the place is not far beyond Oxford which we can make in under two hours. Thus it was that I booked two tickets. “ I think you’re in luck because we’ve had some returned,” purred the lady in the box office. “It is just the two you wanted?” I smiled inwardly – this is Lindisfarne away from home, there will be plenty of tickets left.

Thus at 3.30pm we left the house with that delicious feeling of anticipation we always get just before seeing the band. So far so good. In reality the journey to the theatre turned out to be 154 miles and we arrived at 6.45 pm, collected the tickets and found an ancient pub by the river (the Avon I think) in this beautiful historic town. Thus refreshed we took our seats and the first thing we noticed was that we were in the same spot as we were at the Opera House the previous week. Secondly, the place was full. Who returned tickets for row E at the last minute? I will forever be grateful to them.

If you’ve read other reviews or been to any of the concerts on this tour you will know what happened next. Again the band received a rapturous reception which was reminiscent of the stirs created in 1971 when they were beginning to happen. However we must look to the future which is very bright. The new songs were enjoyed as much as the hits. There was a gasp from the crowd at the end of This Too Will Pass. Dave is becoming a really top class performer – his lead and harmony vocals were excellent throughout the show. Hearing Under the Promenade confirmed that in my mind this is the obvious choice for a single if the band have the desire. The only reason for doing so would be to reach the single-buying, and inevitably younger, market. The best way in there is to trade on Dave and Ian’s comparative youth. The smattering of applause before the song showed that there were others who have listened to Promenade. I bet it was the Alletts but it did give Billy the chance to use the 6 sitting nudists joke again.

The rendition of Passing Ghosts, including the Alan and the drugs gag, was breathtaking as was Meet me on the Corner and Coming Good, with the former giving a responsive audience their first excuse to rock. I always prefer gigs without seats as I still like to wave the arms and sing along and generally behave like I did at my first Lindisfarne gig 32 years ago.

This being our third show of the tour we were well prepared for the second half to open with Fog on the Tyne and were ready to join in with the vocals. The second half was equally stunning. What has happened to “No Time to Lose”? Once again it was electrifying. Another appreciative gasp followed Walking Back To Blueberry Hill – that little interlude with Rod and Billy gets better every time. Billy really has got a great, mellow voice. Dave and One World immediately followed this. With these two singing in the same band, is it any wonder that the vocal sound now is reaching new heights? After Run For Home the crowd rose to its feet to implore the band to return for more. Although I knew what was coming I still joined in and shouted myself hoarse. The encore was brilliant and the band were clearly having as much fun as the rest of us.

It’s a nice touch to meet the public afterwards and was appreciated by the punters. I got my CD autographed. The comments I overheard as we left the auditorium showed that we weren’t the only ones to have enjoyed the show. I heard several brilliants and only one OK so things are looking up again for the band. The long journey prevented us from going to the bar afterwards but as we made our way home we were glad that we did it. Does anyone else feel that great times could be just around the corner for this wonderful group of people who are playing to audiences that contain members who have never heard of Jacka, Simon or the old hits, people who like them for what they are now?

The journey home was 198 miles (don’t ask) but we listened to the whole of Promenade at least twice and loved it. I’ rather have the real thing but this will keep us going until the next time.