Concert Review

Rod Clements & The Ghosts of Electricity

Market Bosworth Rugby Club - Saturday, 6th March 2004

by Derek Walmsley, pictures by Michael Clayton

Haunting Melodies from the Rugby Club

After a good train journey from Barrow-in-Furness to deepest Leicestershire, I met up with Mike, Charles and Alison at Hinckley station and was whisked off to our comfortable Guest House just round the corner. After watching and discussing some rare Lindisfarne-related video footage we travelled the 8 miles to the historic market town of Market Bosworth. Meeting up with Peter in Ye Olde Red Lion Hotel for refreshment and more Lindisfarne-related conversation we headed for the Rugby Club for the middle night of the momentous occupation by the Ghosts of Electricity.

Geoff and Sue welcomed everyone into the club house, scrupulously checking tickets to avoid the serious risk of gatecrashers. They had clearly done an excellent promotional job as soon the room was filled to capacity. Although some (including John, Pauline, Tim, Sue, Caroline and Linda) had travelled like ourselves from distant parts, many others were locals coming to see what all the fuss was about. They were certainly not going to leave disappointed!

Proudly introducing the Ghosts, Geoff asked the capacity audience to time their trips to the bar between songs as the gig was being recorded. Rod came up with a more practical solution as the gig progressed- they would synchronise the songs round the bar trips!

The Ghosts launched into the title track of Rod’s fine “Stamping Ground” album, starting where Rod usually finishes his solo gigs. Two weeks earlier I had seen Rod live at Dalston Hall near Carlisle (please see  for my review) and was interested in comparing the two gigs. His dobro or acoustic guitar accompanied lead vocals were tonight enhanced by additional electric, acoustic and vocal colour from Ghosts Dave and Ian.

The set list was similar but with a few key changes (apart from G Major to E Major!) which allowed the additional musical muscle to shine through. Two new songs had been borne out of Rod’s visits to Nigel Stoner’s in deepest Cheshire and both turned out to be group tour de forces. A few Rod-penned old Lindisfarne favourites had been added to replace more solo-orientated items. Overall, the 20-number set included 19 Rod written or co-written songs (10 of these from the Lindisfarne canon) plus a Hank Williams cover.

Why Can’t I Be Satisfied?” was the first addition to the solo set and it was interesting to contrast the more laid-back trio arrangement as sung by Rod with the full band version as sung by Billy. Sticking to the dobro for “Blue Interior” and “Train in E Major”, Rod switched to acoustic for the North-East based ballads “Charity Main” and “Roads Of East Northumberland”.

Dave and Ian had a few guitars to choose from and the benefits of this were fully shown on the new song “Deadman’s Karaoke” which rocked along in cracking style. An upbeat “One More Night With You” was followed by my highlight of the evening, the infectiously catchy and melodic “Morocco Bound”. On first listen, it’s up there with the best of the Clements catalogue!

A half-hour interval was strictly enforced due to the 11.00 curfew or as Rod said, “We won’t be invited back again”. The second half saw Rod starting an intro on his own before the Ghosts returned for a romp through “Road To Kingdom Come”. “When Jones Gets Back To Town” was followed by an extended “Candlelight” with a nice Dave guitar break. The story of original-Byrd Gene Clark drinking Lindisfarne’s entire backstage alcohol allowance single-handedly during their 1985 tour was followed by the touching tribute “Cowboy In The Rain”.

Rod then returned to his dobro for “Working My Way Back Home”. This, “Remember Tomorrow”, “Whole Lifestyle Thing” and “Freedom Square” all benefited from support of the Ghosts’ spectral vocals and harmonic power. The recent Top 40 hit “Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong” closed the main set before a curfew-breaking encore saw the country cover “Lost Highway” and “Meet Me On The Corner” round off the night nicely. Will the local early-to-bed resident get support from anyone if he complains? He hasn’t a Ghost of a chance!

So now for the Ghost story. How did Mike Clayton’s shoe spookily find itself on stage beneath Ian Thomson’s chair? Perhaps this was its true Stamping Ground!

Special thanks to Geoff and Sue for organising this momentous occasion, something which kept us going during the dark days of the Lindisfarne split. Now we have seen the Ghosts of Lindisfarne future, things are looking up. We’ve not only Rod’s gigs but the Lindisfarne Acoustic Spring and Billy’s “Backtrackin’” Autumn Tours. Add to this the Ghosts and Acoustic CDs plus various re-issues in the pipeline and we have quite a 2004 in store!

    Lindisfarne are dead. Long live Lindisfarne!