Kings Lynn, Arts Centre - Saturday, 9th November 2002
The Waterfront, Norwich - Sunday, 10th November 2002
by Chris Groom
"A Weekend in East Anglia"
First set: Anyway the Wind Blows / When Jones Gets Back to Town / This Too
Will Pass / Lady Eleanor / Under the Promenade / Can't Do Right / Freedom
Square / Ghost in Blue Suede Shoes / Breakfast / Meet Me on the Corner /
Born at the Right Time / Statues & Liberties.
Second set: Unmarked Car / JustAnotherSadSong / Winter Song / Log on Your
Fire / Fog on the Tyne / Significant Other / Jubilee Corner / Unfinished
Business / Rock & Roll Phone / Road to Kingdom Come/ Devil of the North.
Encore: Run For Home (plus Clear White Light at Norwich)
I know that East Anglia is a little outside of our usual remit, but with only one scheduled gig in the South East, it was a case of "needs must, when the devil (of the North) drives"! As the dates fell nicely over a weekend and with the addition of a visit to Julia's aunt just a few miles outside Kings Lynn, it was too good a chance to miss.
We had seen the lads at Kings Lynn Arts Centre before and knew what to expect; it is a lovely, friendly little venue, with an accommodating after-gig bar, plus this time the concert was almost sold out - almost that is, apart from one seat slap bang in the middle of the front row - which Billy took great pleasure in pointing out. What we didn't expect, however, was the inclusion of two songs from Hully's back catalogue, that according to Ray the band have never performed prior to this tour. Not that you would have known, as their treatment of these two classics was simply stunning - I'm sure that James Alan would have approved.
'Breakfast' is the first surprise; this "intimate breakfast scene" from Alan's Pipedream album is handled brilliantly by Billy and as the song rises and falls, the band lock in, and rock out - think of the power they recently put into 'Passing Ghosts' - it's that good. Now, I could be wrong, but Ray's drum sound seems to be far more prominent than on previous tours; maybe they're miked-up differently, maybe he received a new snare for his birthday, but there is a definite extra kick in the Laidlaw kit, that's for sure.
'Statues & Liberties' is back in the set and Dave spits out the lyric with the confidence and venom that it deserves; it's a great way to close the first half, leaving everyone itching for the second set to begin and when it does, it's Dave again with 'Unmarked Car'. Rod really stretches out the solo at the end of this one; at Norwich, even the security guard comes to the side of the stage, open mouthed, to check out Rod's biting guitar work.
Time for surprise number two as the band crunch into the intro, Julia and I look at each other quizzically (alright, I always look like that) but what on earth is the song? Just a case of human misunderstanding, indeed - it's 'JustAnotherSadSong', released as a solo single for Alan back in 1973. With a bouncy rhythm and catchy chorus, you can see why Charisma thought it would make a good single, but you know how fickle the charts are, perhaps it was just too damn good to be a hit!
I was particularly pleased to see 'Log on your Fire' and 'Jubilee Corner' reinstated in what was a seamless second set. Dave and Ian's moving rendition of 'Winter Song' even settled a hush over the 'stand-up, rock and roll' crowd at the Waterfront - no mean feat in itself. On 'Significant Other', the band, minus Ray, hit a real groove, while Rod effortlessly adapts the lyric to bring the characters within bang up to date. I won't give away the new inclusions - just listen out for them at a concert near you. At Lynn, we were a sedate but appreciative audience; at Norwich, the Waterfront is more of a sweat-running-down-the-walls type of venue. This produced a more responsive, all singing, all dancing crowd and we were rewarded with a spontaneous second encore of 'Clear White Light' to guide us all home.
Credit due too, as always, to Sparks, Paul and Jamie for sterling work on sound, stage and lighting - and to Jed Laidlaw who kept the merchandise ticking over nicely. And finally, it was good to meet geordie George and his family at both gigs - having lived in Norfolk for the last seventeen years, this is a man with Lindisfarne in his blood and 'made in Gateshead' tattooed on the back of his neck!