Lindisfarne Concert, Norwich 14/02/99

A concert review by Reinhard Groll

Set 1

  • Alright on the night
  • Driftin' through
  • Refugees
  • Why can't I be satisfied
  • United States of Mind
  • Lady Eleanor
  • Can't do right for doing wrong
  • One Day
  • Born at the right time
  • Meet me on the Corner

Set 2

  • Unmarked Car
  • Jubilee Corner
  • Ghost in Blue Suede Shoes
  • Uncle Henry
  • Passing Ghosts
  • Two Way Street
  • Train in G Major
  • Road to Kingdom Come
  • We can swing together
  • Devil of the North

I n t e r v a l

  • Call of the Wild
  • Clear White Light

Can a concert review about a band to whom the writer is so highly attached still be objective ? Of course it can and therefore the key question for this particular event might be: "Was it worth to drive about 800 miles (there and back) to see Lindisfarne in concert ?" My honest answer to this difficult question is a very strict and clear "JEIN". This is a German 'term' and means the combination of the words 'Ja' (yes) and 'Nein' (no).

After spending the previous Saturday in London for shopping and attending the Picture Exhibition "Monet in the 20th Century"  it was not too tiring for us to drive the remaining 120 miles to Norwich that Sunday morning. Arriving just in time to be there for the soundcheck around 5 p.m. I was told that the soundcheck time was postponed to 6.30 p.m. because the band wanted to watch Newcastle United on TV (by the way: Newcastle lost). Not a major problem, as it gave me the chance for a chat with Sparks, the hired sound-engineer who is now accompanying the band in his third year. Sorry for not showing any picture of him, but it was too dark in his mixer-corner for a photo. Whoever read the Blackheath concert review by Chris Groom and did not know (like me)  who the hell Woody is, here's a shot of him tuning Billy Mitchell's Takamine guitar in his role as the band's permanent roadie.

The venue: Setting  the concert at Blackheath last November as almost 100% (see Chris Groom's review), this one definitely was less. It was the second concert ever which we attended and again a Sunday and another time at a quite small venue. The Maddermarket Theatre at Norwich is without any doubt a nice place for a stage play, but for a live band ??? Although -Sold Out- it were only about 300 people who "had to sit there" and it had to come to the last song of the show Clear White Light, when Marty Craggs had to ask the crowd to stand up. During We can swing together it was a bit strange to see the usual -arms waving- with everyone staying in their chairs, sitting. Exactly the same that Chris wrote about the Salisbury Gig being housed in an old church.

The concert: Starting around 7.30 p.m. and ending shortly after 10 p.m. we saw Lindisfarne once again being much stronger after the break for the second set. After the show I recommended to Ray Laidlaw to have the break already after the first or maybe second song. However, the band started with a stronge version of Alan's Alright On The Night before moving to the first song that came from their latest CD, Marty's Driftin Through. By the way, all  songs from "Neighbourhood", except Working My Way Back Home, were played during the concert. I can't remember any real highlight from the first set. Maybe a surprise was Can't Do Right For Doing Wrong, which was performed without Dave Hull-Denholm who had no particular role within that song. Billy's Born At The Right Time which was the opener for last year's concerts almost closed the first set, but it was the short single-version of Meet Me On The Corner that finally led the audience into the interval.

Knowing that the band would open the second set with Unmarked Car, I was wondering how they would manage to start with that tune, because on the CD it's linked together with the previous tune Wejibileng. They solved this perfectly. From the 'off' (from tape) came Wejibileng and with no hurry at all the six people joined the stage after two-third of the tune, picked up their instruments and were gliding softly into a very strong Unmarked Car. What else ? That little tune Uncle Henry (Lindisfarne almost named the CD <Uncle Henry>) was great. Announced by Dave Hull-Denholm with the words: "The next tune is dedicated to Sid Griffin, a great man, wherever he may be in this moment". [The band hasn't seen him since the production of "Neighbourhood"]. Another great song which didn't made it to "Neighbourhood" unfortunately (!!) was Two Way Street, an uptempo stormy number written by Ian Thompson similar to Devil of the North. It was followed by Train in G Major, performed only by Marty and Rod. Both did that number as a duo already during the band's 25th anniversary concert. And than there it came Road to Kingdom Come, which gave Rod Clements another chance to pick up his black Stratocaster to give the audience a long, but nevertheless always too short, 'sample' of his excellent slide guitar play. Thanks Rod !! When finally Billy Mitchell presented all the members of the band to the audience it was Mr. Clements who got a little bit more applause than the others (although, I must admit, it should have been twice as much or even more). As always, Lindisfarne finished too soon with Call of the Wild and unexpectedly Clear White Light.