Rick Wakeman’s Charity Bowie Tribute

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14145282641_fda223d196_zRick Wakeman has released versions of Life on Mars and Space Oddity in tribute to David Bowie. Rick played on the original versions of both tracks.

The proceeds are going the charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

You can buy a download from Amazon or iTunes – and there’s a physical version too, which includes a free download.

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Nik Kershaw and Go West with Carol Decker – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall 15th November 2015

23071180381_69ca16f045_oI realise that quite a lot of my gigs tend to be proggy or rock, but I do like my pop music too. If you took a trip back in time and asked 13/14-year-old me what would be the best gig line up I may have replied with this one. Honestly, I poured over articles in Smash Hits, avidly watched them all on Saturday morning TV shows and Top of the Pops etc…

Anyway…I went to this gig with Emma who was rather excited at the prospect of seeing Nik Kershaw, more than I expected to be honest. I do love going to gigs with Emma, she really gets into them and dances away.

The show opened with Carol Decker who was a bit of a hero of mine when I was younger. I kind of wanted to be her when I grew up, she just seemed so rock and roll to my teenage self. She still sounds amazing and belted out the hits, filling the hall with sound. There were two new songs too which will lead me to investigate the new album as soon as I find a few minutes to do so. I barely had time to recover from hearing some of my favourite T’Pau tracks (Sex Talk! Yay!) before Go West and Nik Kershaw appeared on stage to round off the first part of the evening, returning after a short interval to entertain us a whole lot more!

The set was a whole load of hits, with a smattering of covers. As Emma commented afterwards, you really do forget how many hits they clocked up between them. There was a lot of dancing going on too. It was a brilliant night! Thirty years seems sounds like a long time ago but it feels a lot less than that since I was singing into my hairbrush to these tunes and cutting pictures out of magazines to stick in my scrapbook.

Highlights –
– Carol Decker and her magnificent coat
– Finally getting to see Go West
– Don Quixote.
– Richard Drummie!
– Emma’s face when Go West sang her favourite Nik Kershaw song.
– Emma realising that Nik was the perfect sized pop star for her
– The One And Only!
– Okay….let’s face it, the whole show was one big highlight. I couldn’t even be annoyed by audience chatter and people checking facebook because I was having such a brilliant time!

Nik Kershaw, Go West, Carol Decker slideshow

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Donovan – RNCM 17th October 2015

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It had been a while since I’d been to see Donovan, and somehow the 50th Anniversary tour seemed to be the right time to go and see him again.

Sat cross-legged on a small stage with Kelly, his guitar, Donovan took us all on a trip back through his career. The first half included some more obscure early stuff, but he assured everyone that they were never more than a song or two away from something that they would know.

Purely acoustic until the final number, the set list was full of delights interspersed with tales from the past, all told with fondness and amusement at his own antics.

The show ended with Mellow Yellow, but instead of playing the song on the guitar the single was piped through the sound system while he sang along. There was a meet and greet afterwards, which gig buddy Alix stayed for, but I chose to skip out and head home.

Donovan RNCM October 2015

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Rick Wakeman – Lancaster Priory 16th October 2015

I have fallen a little behind with things, the next couple of posts are a bit of a catch-up.

In October, I went off to see Rick Wakeman with my gig buddy Phil. The concert was in Lancaster Priory and was the first of what they hope will be several Prog at the Priory gigs.

Gordon Giltrap was the warm-up for the main show. I’d never seen him before, I loved his set and sense of humour.

The Wakeman section of the evening was  a bit different to usual. Most of the regular favourites were there, including the Nursery Rhyme Concerto (I think this was only the second time I have heard it live), but due to the Priory Choir being part of the show we got a bit more 1984 stuff. The soloist also featured on Amazing Grace and The Meeting.

Lovely setting, fine show and Rick got his hands on the church organ for Jane Seymour, excellent stuff.

Rick Wakeman Lancaster Priory October 2015

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Crosby Stills and Nash – Manchester 21st September 2015

21612526311_8cd9e4a755_zVenue – Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Gig Buddies – Stephen and Phil
Gig Booty – None, I’m still skint from my last gig!

I don’t think I’ve been let down by a CSN live show since the first time I saw them in 1992. Last night was no exception (once the sound settled down after the first song sounding like we were in an empty warehouse). First thought as they walked on stage was how great Croz is currently looking. This makes me happy as he makes such lovely music and I want him to carry on for a good while yet.

I went to this gig, tired and achy and wondering if I’d make it the end but I needn’t have worried, these guys have the power to lift me right up and by the end of the gig I was buzzing from the show.

So many great moments, but I’ve picked out a few highlights –

– I love Southern Cross so getting to hear it live is always a bonus.

– Graham dedicated Our House to the youngest member of the audience, who was seven.

– There was a good helping of newer stuff from everyone. I particularly enjoyed the Stephen Stills offering Virtual World.

– Almost Cut My Hair was epic, as usual.

– The nod to George Harrison in Suite: Judy Blue Eyes at the end. (Stills plays a bit of With In You With Out You)

Some of the audience took a while to warm up, but others were very enthusiastic. I think the two girls dancing on the front row were sat near me last time I saw them at the Manchester Arena.

I’ll leave you with some pictures.

CSN Manchester Sept 2015

 

Crosby, Stills & Nash Setlist The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England, World Tour 2015

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King Crimson – Salford 11th September

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21313955272_725a9894be_zVenue – The Lowry, Salford
Gig Buddies – None.
Gig Booty – Two shirts, a tour book (with two CDs) and a badge set.

I still feel like I’m struggling to find the right words to describe the experience but here goes –

I’ll be honest, it had never crossed my mind that I’d have a chance to seen Crimson – I’m reconciled with the fact that a lot of the people I like are either retired or no longer with us – so when it was announced that a new incarnation of the band was to play my home city how could I not leap at the chance? (And my actual home city, not Manchester for a change!)

The Lowry is very plush and purple inside and, at least from the perspective of being seated downstairs, it feels very intimate. I was at the side of the auditorium, a handful of rows from the back and it was still a good view. At this point I am compelled to point out how fab the audience was around me. The gentleman who ended up sat in front of me was pretty tall and he actually took the time to ask if he was obscuring my view too much and tried to sit as low as he comfortably could. I can’t recall that ever happening at a gig before, at least not with someone I didn’t know. (Tall friends at standing gigs usually let me stand in front of them)

Back to the gig – the stage set up was a tad different to most gigs. The three drummers were lined up on the front of the stage and rest of the ensemble was on a riser along the back, including Robert Fripp who spent the whole gig perched on a little chair appearing almost oblivious to the fact there was an audience most of the time.

At a lot of gigs, three drummers would have been overwhelming, especially in a small venue like this, but the sound was stunning in both the emotional and technical sense. The interplay of the percussion was fascinating to watch.

The audience around me took it all in with not much more than an intake of breath at the recognition of a favourite track or an excited hiss of quick whispers during the applause. Mesmerising is the word I keep coming back to about the experience. The was no idle chatter from the stage, no faux banter, just the music.

A friendly announcement at the beginning politely requested that technology be put away for the duration, and largely it was. There was a small flurry of attempts to grab a quick snap on mobiles while the band took their applause at the end of the night but other than that the wishes of the band were mostly respected.

A more than satisfactory setlist, a truly astonishing performance and a very appreciative audience made the whole thing my favourite gig of the year so far.

King Crimson Setlist The Lowry, Manchester, England 2015, The Elements of King Crimson

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Elvis Costello – Liverpool 15th June 2015

2015-06-16 08.54.40-tiltshiftVenue – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Gig Buddies – Stephen and Ellie
Gig Booty – none, though I was tempted by guitar picks.

The ticket said no support, but there was indeed a support band in the form of Larkin Poe. I didn’t see their support slot as I was waiting with Ellie’s ticket to get in. However, they did come back on stage later to join Elvis for a few songs.

I love seeing Costello. I’ve never been disappointed by a gig. A quick count up reckons that I’ve seen him around eight times now, possibly nine.

Armed with a series of guitars, a piano, a fantastically dressed stage set, and an occasionally used loop pedal we were treated to a career-spanning set list. I’m sure I’ve expounded on the subject before so here’s some photos and the set lists (both the one from the tech desk showing the song choices available and one from setlist.fm showing which ones were performed.)

Elvis Costello 2015 (edited pics)

Click the arrows to browse images.

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Elvis Costello Setlist Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England 2015, Detour

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“You better duck down the alley way”

The day after seeing the Bonzos was spent sight-seeing in London and one of the places that Ellie took me to was the location for the Bob Dylan video “Subterranean Homesick Blues”

It was filmed behind the Savoy Hotel on a tiny street named Savoy Steps, just off Savoy Hill Road.
It was too good a photo opportunity to miss, even if all I had was a notebook rather than cue cards.
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