Concert Review

Lindisfarne Acoustic

Tudor Folk Club, Chesham - Mondday, 17th May 2004

review by Bob Templeman

The End Of An Era

After 34 years on the road, Lindisfarne say farewell in Chesham.

Starting at the Rex Hotel in Whitley Bay in the late 60’s Alan Hull and the Brethren evolved into Lindisfarne. They debuted with the “Nicely Out of Tune” album, rapidly followed by “Fog on the Tyne”. Singles success followed with “Meet Me On The Corner” and “Lady Eleanor”.

Through various personnel changes the band toured and recorded during the 80’s and 90’s. With the untimely death of Alan Hull in 1995, Billy Mitchell, a past member of the Brethren re-joined taking on lead vocals. Touring with renewed energy the band released the classic album, “Promenade” in 2002 and started to tour as ”Lindisfarne Acoustic” in parallel to the full electric band gigs.

The Final Fling format was, (its hard to accept its all in the past) Rod Clements on Dobro guitar, mandolin and vocals, Dave Hull-Denholm, guitars and vocals and Billy Mitchell guitar and lead vocals.

Talking to Rod and Billy after the sound check, my first question was why the split? After a few wry comments it came down to the fact that Lindisfarne had achieved its full potential and with three key members keen to pursue personal projects, it was time, after 34 years to call an orderly and tidy end to a fantastically rewarding chapter of their lives.

To the future, Rod is touring (with Dave Denholm-Hull and Ian Thompson) as the Ghosts of Electricity. Billy Mitchell will be touring in his own right and working with Ray Laidlaw (drummer and founder member) on a number of TV projects and in maintaining the “Lindisfarne Legacy”.

The Concert , the very last of the “Final Fling Tour”, presented by the Tudor Folk Club, was a complete sell out, with visitors coming from as far away as North Devon, Newcastle and Ayr, all local B and B’s being fully booked.

With 34 years worth of songs and only two hours the task of selecting a set must have been a daunting one. It would be easy to give a list of songs, but that would miss the point, each song having a different meaning for each member of the audience. All three band members are strong vocalists and musicians in their own right, laying down exceptional vocal and instrumental textures that almost define pigeon holing. Dave’s electric 12 string and Rod’s Dobro and mandolin provided a solid base for Billy’s solo vocals and ensemble efforts. In the first set “Refugees”, “Ghost in Blue Suede Shoes” and “Born at the Right Time” stood out for me.

After the break Rod and Billy started the set with a simple but emotive delivery of “Passing Time”. Just to confuse the issue this was followed by “Peter Brophie Don’t Care”, which had guitar parts on Dobro and 12 string that left me in mind of Pink Floyd at their best. ( I did say that they defied pigeon holing). The set developed, evolved and worked its way around a variety of musical styles with amazing set pieces from all three, though Billy’s emotive harmonica on “Candlelight” really did it for me. With emotions fully charged the final number had to be “Meet me on The Corner” and the band did not disappoint.

After a riotous standing ovation the band gave us three more numbers, and recognition of the fact that they both started and finished their career in a folk club. The last Lindisfarne number ever was “One More Bottle Of Wine”, with Billy and half the audience struggling to keep a dry eye.

This has to be a night to remember for all the Lindisfarne fans, Tudor Folk Club members and perhaps it could become a little bit of Chesham’s history

The concert was organised by the Tudor Folk Club who meet every Monday evening at the White Hill Centre, Chesham. Alternate weeks follow a formal concert format with a main guest. In between the club has more relaxed “Come All Ye’s” with the entertainment coming from club members and many talented regulars, with admission being less than the price of a pint. For further information, contact or for a more human touch phone 01494-872859.

Bob Templeman