Lindisfarne Concert Reviews

Great British Beer Festival - Wednesday, 6th August 2003

by Chris Groom & Julia Revell

First set:
Fog on the Tyne / No Time to Lose / This Guitar Never Lies / Anyway the Wind Blows / This Too will Pass / Working my Way Back Home / Ghost in Blue Suede Shoes / Freedom Square / Born at the Right time / Meet me on the Corner

Second set:
Lady Eleanor / Under the Promenade / Unmarked Car / One Day / Jubilee Corner / Unfinished Business / Rock & Roll Phone / Road to Kingdom Come / Run for Home

First encore:
 One More Bottle of Wine

Second encore:
Clear White Light


'Lindisfarne turn up the heat'

Wednesday was the hottest day of the current heatwave thus far, and so what do we do? - take a combined train, tram and tube journey into a sweltering corner of west London, to the giant Victorian exhibition halls at Olympia for the Great British Beer Festival - and oh yes, there was a band! 

By the time we arrived and had queued to get in (lapsed CAMRA members, you see - card carrying drinkers got in quicker), the time was just after 7.00pm and a voice announced over the tannoy that the band would be onstage in ten minutes. So in order to find the stage area and get a good position stage front - here comes the crazy bit - we opted to wait until the break to grab a beer, walking swiftly past rows and rows of neatly tapped barrels, featuring a mind-boggling array of porters, milds, stouts, and cool refreshing ales from all parts of the country.

However, all thirst was soon forgotten as the lads opened with 'Fog' and 'No time to lose', leaving no-one under any illusion that this was to be a no holds barred - we mean business - take no prisoners - wham bam yes, you get the picture, a festival set!

Scheduled in between Sidmouth and Cropredy, this was a set finely honed to please both the fan and the non-partisan - and it worked to perfection. The majority of the crowd were primarily there for the beer, but were won over by the strength of the new material and the renewed energy of the band, who threw themselves into their work - and when the drinkers recognised the opening chords to some long forgotten classic, they sang their hearts out with the rest of us. Billy seemed genuinely surprised by the response.

Unusually there was a good hours break between sets, so Julia and I finally got our beers and chatted to Bertil about various things; his backpacking exploits around Sidmouth and how reading crime novels has improved his already excellent English - especially when he made me an offer I couldn't refuse - a Ballards Midhurst mild!

Several people have already mentioned the sound, and Olympia certainly isn't acoustic heaven, that's for sure. I'm not even sure the band could hear what they were doing that well - Rod even suggested that anything could happen to the acoustics on 'This too will pass' - but professor Sparks worked his magic to ensure that everyone who needed to hear did so, before the the sound drifted up and away into the high vauled ceiling.

The second set warmed up with 'Lady Eleanor', simmered during 'Under the Promenade' and following the sizzling 'Unmarked Car' they really turned up the heat. The final four songs were taken at a blistering pace and even the hardened drinkers rocked and rolled to Billy's phone and waved their pints as they ran for home. 'One More Bottle of Wine' was a surprise encore, but just right for the occasion and Dave's reading of it was beautifully judged. A stamping, cheering mass of happy people brought the band back one more time for 'Clear White Light' to raise Olympia's already lofty arched roof.

I remember thinking how the lads were fired up just in time for Cropredy and I envied Bertil his tickets for the festival and the next part of his trip. The band were really coming good - which reminds me, perhaps that is a song that could reappear on the Autumn tour

        Chris Groom