Lindisfarne Concert Bulkeley Hotel, Beaumaris, Wales - Wednesday, 13th Nov 2002 by Keith Jones
and some wizardry from Rod "how does he make all those sounds?"
So once more back to Henry Chesterton's "Front Room" that is becoming a renowned "intimate setting" of choice and the latest Lindisfarne excursion to north Wales. Becoming something of a habit now, I'm pleased to say and probably also the other 107 people that crammed into the Bulkeley Hotel's function room for another night of "magic in the air".
This time it was the entire Jones family that came, saw and admired, with younger son Matthew (aged 6) attending his first concert! A slight problem when we arrived though - having booked our tickets some time ago over the phone, we were disconcerted to find that our order hadn't been processed. But Henry himself came to the rescue with four tickets on the front row, which made for two very excited young men (and one old one!) when the concert started.
We had a quick chat with Rod in the bar before the gig and it was apparent that the band look forward to these smaller gigs where they can almost talk to the audience inbetween songs and this night was just that. Starting breezily with "Anyway the wind blows" and "Jones is back in town" (dedicated, said Billy to probably half of the audience!) the guys went on to "This too will pass". Then it was hackle on the neck raising time with a spectacularly eerie performance of "Lady Eleanor" followed by "Under the Promenade", "Can't do right for doing wrong", "Freedom Square" and "Ghost in blue suede shoes". Then it was blast from the past time with a reworked version of "Breakfast" off Alan's Pipedream album (when I got home I rushed upstairs to dig out my old vinyl collection - I'd almost forgotten about them!). Then "Meet me on the corner" and "Born at the right time" before finishing off the set with "Statues and Liberties".
The crowd had been a little too reserved for my liking in the first half. But I don't know what substance(s) they partook of during the break but when the second set started with "Unmarked Car", "Sad Song" (almost forgotten that one as well) and Dave's now-classic interpretation of "Winter Song", there was a buzz in the room. Then came "Log on the fire" (wasn't that from "The News" album, all those years ago? - haven't heard that for a while either!). By now it was way past little Matthew's bedtime and he was beginning to nod off, but the first chords of "Fog on the Tyne" - his personal favourite - brought him back to life and to see the enjoyment on his face as he recited the chorus (having recently learnt it) along with his new-found heroes in person was a delight to see!! Rod kept up the tempo with a topical version of "Significant Other" (think Burrell and Barrymore - I'll say no more!), then "Jubilee Corner", "Unfinished Business", "Rock and Roll Phone", "Road to Kingdom Come" and some wizardry from Rod (how does he make all those sounds? Beats me) on "Devil of the North" for the finale.
Of course a Lindi concert is nowadays incomplete without "Run for Home" and the boys obliged us, with the crowd doing a mean effort on the chorus and none more so than me, if I say so myself! Anytime you want a break Billy, I'm yer man! It was disappointing when the band were last at the Bulkeley that it was a Sunday and so the hotel management did not let us stay on to talk the boys after the concert. This time though no such problem and for once Matthew was speechless when Billy and Ray signed his ticket (sorry boys but I couldn't buy a CD 'cos I've got them all already!!) as well as asking him what he was doing being up so late!!
It's nice to see that the band are beginning to mix more of the "old" with the "new". I remember talking to Ray a couple of years ago that they would never want to become a "pastiche" band, just churning out the old tunes. I agree, but there's life in the back collection yet, as was witnessed at this concert. Reading through the newsletter that has been produced to coincide with the tour (and I was really chuffed to see one of my pics from the Llandudno gig in Mar 02 printed on it!!) it seems that 2003 is going to be a good year for Lindisfarne, what with the acoustic tour and the idea of delving into the vast number of songs that never get played nowadays, except when people like me rush home and dig out their old collection!! I look forward immensely to what is going to be (another) vintage year for Lindisfarne!