Lindisfarne Concert

Pacific Road Theatre, Birkenhead, Wirral - Thursday, 14th Nov 2002

first review by Maddie-  second by "Tragic Sally"

forwarded by Graham Maddrell


whatever the line up, Lindisfarne are that rare breed of what can best be described as distinctly British

Much as I hate to admit it, yipes.I first saw Lindisfarne in the very early 70's when they made their first appearance in Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall - one of those package tour things and they may have been on with Audience or Osibisa or Atomic Rooster (not Kitten). Since then a lot of water has passed under the (Tyne) bridge, so it's pleasing to report that judging by the bands glossy and energetic two set performance at Pacific Road, they are still a top drawer act, a crowd pleaser and, in these days of rocks self styled attitude and anger brigade, a band that enjoys playing, and finally - one thing common for over thirty years, they make sure the audience enjoys it all. In the line up are three familiar faces -  Ray Laidlaw, Rod Clements and Billy Mitchell (of Jack The Lad fame) - from way back when, joined by some nearly fresh faces Ian and Dave.


Sadly, no Alan, Si or Ray (Jackson) obviously, but whatever the line up, Lindisfarne are that rare breed of what can best be described as distinctly British. Crossover music taking in all forms of rock, country and folk.well, just about all sorts..whatever it was, smiling faces both on stage and off were very evident on the night. Songs from their latest album, and songs from throughout their long career, mixed effortlessly with the classic tunes from a different time, but still sounded as fresh today as then.

What I had overlooked and was surprised about was the great harmonies emanating from the stage, particularly on classics such as, Lady Eleanor, Meet Me On The Corner, Fog On The Tyne (thankfully no Gazza!), songs which everybody new and loved. They ended the evening with the hit song Run For Home - bet you'd all forgotten that one - joined in vocally by the full house audience. Billy Mitchell with that laid back Geordie tone said that the band had played around 15,000 gigs and this one in Wirral was the best ever - before adding a coy smile and a cheeky wink!!!

After a few minutes the band appeared again to sign autographs and chat with what seemed to be everybody in sight - genuine down to earth guys.

Nice one Lindisfarne, a truly great band which deserves all the acclaim it gets. What also made it really so good was the venue - Pacific Road is one of the best venues in North West England, its distinctive brick based facades provide a friendly, and atmospheric place - its no wonder that bands and performers keep on coming back here again and again. In the audience was Linda Greenham from Heswall: "Pacific Road is a great place to see a great band. Lindisfarne are such a diverse musical treat, lots of styles, no hang ups, loads of smiles, excellent musicians, superb vocals and all round a good time was had by all."

   reviewed by Maddie

"I get to as many gigs as possible but it is great to see them locally in Wirral at a great venue like Pacific Road" (Andy Howe).

Thursday 14 November, Pacific Road Theatre the night before the official start of the 2002 Guitar Festival. But it doesn't matter because the place is full, all seats taken and all to see a class act which has spanned three decades Lindisfarne. Now a five piece band but containing two of the original members Ray Laidlaw and Rod Clements, now plus Billy, Ian and Dave.

Despite being familiar with all their early music it was clear from the outset the band continue to be prolific songwriters and during their two one hour sets they played upwards of thirty songs. Great favourites such as Lady Eleanor, Anyway the Wind Blows, Meet Me On The Corner, Can't Do Right for Doing Wrong, Ghost in Blue Suede Shoes and of course Fog on the Tyne plus several other superb songs written by the late Alan Hull. My particular favourite on the night was Significant Other

Billy Mitchell kept the audience entertained between songs with humorous links and anecdotes delivered in his own distinctive and relaxed style. I counted the use of over ten guitars during the evening including a range of Danelectros, Burns and Fenders six string, twelve strings and mandolins. The subtle blend of guitar sound was fabulous as were the strong vocal harmonies. This was a sound that has matured well. Ranging from subtle acoustic number through to light rock the overall effect was magical. 

The audience joined in and clearly enjoyed every minute. Andy Howe and partner Liz seen here during the interval are big Lindisfarne fans with Andy regularly travelling around the country to see the band "I get to as many gigs as possible but it is great to see them locally in Wirral at a great venue like Pacific Road". 

After the encore the band continued to keep the fans happy by signing autographs and chatting. A great night and a great pre-festival appetiser to the 2002 Festival.

   reviewed by "Tragic Sally"