Lindisfarne Concert Review

Danesfield School, Williton, Minehead - Tuesday, 7th October 2003

by David Mortimer

" by the time we were three songs in, the audience was won over"

Some advice - if you really want to enjoy a Lindisfarne gig, don't put yourself in the position of being the person organising it. Having said that - what a patient man Ray Laidlaw is considering how appalling I was dealing with the paperwork and also managing to arrange accomodation which meant two of the band having to share a double bed! Lindisfarne was the first band I ever saw "live" and I drove all the way from my then home town of Hereford to see Genesis, Rab Noakes and Lindsfarne at Bristol's Colston Hall. Now in the twilight of my concert going years I find myself running Quaywest Radio in West Somerset, an area where there are few opportunites for bands to play outside of the Butlins Holiday Resort in Minehead.

Spotting a gap in the bands schedule and also noticing they were playing in Weston the night before I suggested to Lindisfarne they might like to play down here - just a few miles further down the coast. Short of a venue I contacted the local Middle School and we decided to stage the concert as a fund-raiser for Performing Arts at the School. With a capacity of 250 plus the ability to advertise it extensively on the radio, we had a very good chance of selling out, and we did! 

I mentioned earlier that it's more fun to just buy a ticket rather than the whole band, though it is an educationI have never unloaded a van full of equipment, helped set up the stage and even put numerous plugs into sockets prior to the band going on stage. Nor have I been warned before by the (brilliant) road crew to stay sober for loading up at the end of the evening.

By the time the band came on stage, the hall was packed. I think we were the first venue to sell out. But it was still difficult to relax. I had seen Lindisfarne at least 20 times but knew full well that most of the audience were likely to be unfamiliar with new millenium Lindisfarne and far more familiar with Fog On The Tyne era Lindisfarne. I need not have worried. I wont go through the set list but by the time we were three songs in, the audience was won over. If Lindisfarne had played the entire Promenade album they would have got away with it. So here we all were in a school hall, where one of my children attends anyway and there on the stage is one of my all time favourite bands. By now it was definately time to relax. The sound was absolutely superb and by the encores everyone was on their feet. 

This is a very close knit part of the country and most of the audience were our customers and listeners. I have talked to so many people since the concert and the only question is when are we doing it again. If anyone is reading this and would like to try something similar then give it a go is my advice now. Bear in mind the publicity is all important - not everyone has their own radio station with unlimited advertising but the feeling of most of the audience after was - "going to a theatre is a night out, attending an evening like this was a unique experience". 

Next concert? Acoustic Strawbs at Minehead Middle School - Friday February 13th. And tickets selling well already. Incidentally, we did manage to sort the accomodation problems and the band did not have to fight over the double bed. The landlord of the Mason's Arms in Williton who kindly provided his entire rooms for the night did offer to put a paddling pool outside in case anyone wanted to throw a television set out of their room but by all accounts they were perfect gentlemen. Rock and roll, West Somerset style.

David Mortimer, Station Director, 102.4 Quaywest Radio