Monday, 20 July 2009

Fairport Convention at the Barbican

The Fairport Convention show on Saturday was simply a joy to witness. With the exception of Dave Swarbrick it seemed everybody who could be was there. And despite a slight quibble over the sound, in that Richard Thompson’s guitar could have done with being a bit louder, particularly when Chris Leslie was playing fiddle, and my personal wish that they play Eric Andersen’s ‘Close The Door Lightly’ not being fulfilled, there was no cause to carp.

The show began with Judy Dyble, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, and Simon Nicol taking to the stage and, after a few words from Judy, beginning the proceedings with ‘Satisfied Mind’. Then Joe Boyd appeared and recounted seeing them in Soho playing an American song he didn’t know and being convinced he should manage them. This song was ‘Time Will Show The Wiser’ which, joined by Iain Matthews and Dave Mattacks, they proceeded to play. It proved a highlight even from a first half full of highlights.

This first half features songs from the first three records revisited, with a variety of guest vocalists taking the Sandy Denny role; Linde Nijland for ‘Fotheringay”, Kellie While for a fabulous ‘I’ll Keep It With Mine’, and Kamilla Thompson joining brother Teddy for ‘Who knows Where The Time Goes’. Teddy himself does an excellent job on ‘Genesis Hall’. Martin Carthy had been expected to sing ‘A Sailor’s Life’ but Norma Waterson’s ill-health prevented him appearing. Thus Kellie took the vocals on what turned out to be a pretty fine reading. This was though the moment where one did wish Thompson’s guitar was more prominent.

After the interval it was on to Liege And Lief and Full House. Singing duties now taken over by Christine While, Kellie’s mum. Fine versions of ‘Come All Ye” ‘Tam Lin’ ‘The Deserter’ and ‘Matty Groves’, then Christine’s exit followed by the arrival of Dave Pegg for ‘Walk Awhile’, ‘Doctor Of Physic’, Sir Patrick Spens’ and ‘Dirty Linen’.

That seemed to be it but in calling for an encore we knew there was at least one song that still needed to be heard. And in fact there were two, with almost all the company present and augmented by Linda Thompson, still in her raincoat. First the hit, as Simon Nicol explained it, ‘Si Tu Dois Partir’ and then inevitably, thankfully, ‘Meet On The Ledge’ in which Richard Thompson’s third verse induced a massive tingle down the personal, and I’d guess collective, spine.

Set List

Satisfied Mind
Time Will Show The Wiser
One Sure Thing
Jack O'Diamonds
Some Sweet Day
I’ll Keep It With Mine
Genesis Hall
Who Knows Where The Time Goes
A Sailor's Life

- Interval -

Come All Ye
Tam Lin
The Deserter
Crazy Man Michael
Matty Groves
Walk Awhile
Doctor Of Physic
Sir Patrick Spens
Dirty Linen

- Encore -

Si Tu Dois Partir
Meet On The Ledge

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