Tuesday, 20 November 2007

a rainy night in Soho....

Edwyn Collins and friends:
the Arts theatre 19 th Nov

Dodging the puddles and the spray from surging taxis, we splashed our way towards the Arts theatre, the pavements brightly reflecting the west end lights. My friend L was trapped in Wales so a friendly German Subway Sect fan took my spare ticket. The bar filled with slightly grizzled couples in their 40's, leather jackets with hoodies beneath, sequined berets and quiffs, late comers at the back would've been dazzled by all the bald pates and the swamped bar quickly sold out of Guinness.

I was curiously nervous about the gig having looked forward to it for so long. I was worried it would be mawkish, the musical equivalent of hospital visiting. The support Vic Goddard thrashed and shouted his way through his set, throwing away his hit before most people had settled into their seats, a dapper high waisted chap in a suit with pen in his pocket.

After the break (during which a first at a gig the queue for the men's was longer then the ladies), the lights went down and a curious bunch ambled on stage, dapper to a man, Roddy Frame sharp looking and friendly , some younger guys (one alarmingly Eddy Grundy like) backed by a marvelously waistcoated drummer (did anyone catch his name?),
Then after a short wait and an introduction, the main man. Helped along by his roadie Edwyn eased on to stage and his seat at a lectern, the crowd on their feet cheering and clapping.
What followed was marvelous; the most telling thing was that it was great gig regardless of all that has happened to Edwyn in the last 3 years. I knew this because for long periods I was taken away totally by the music with no thoughts but the playing and singing.
It helps that Edwyn has a brilliant pool of work to draw on, any gig that starts with "falling and laughing" is never going to be shabby.

This morning on start the week the famous psychiatrist Dr Anthony Sachs was telling of the restorative nature of music on the damage mind. This was clearly the case with Edwyn, who stumbled over simple words in his between song banter , but was transported by particular his older songs. The odd high note may have not been there but richness of his baritone shone through particularly when he sang just accompanied by Roddy Frame.
It's strange when we live in a world were you don't hear or see what you like for large parts of the time, to go to a concert we you can sing every song is just bliss. There was one of his new songs which faltered a little and the sound could have been a tad sharper but considering this gig could well have never happened, nothing worth dwelling on.
If I had to choose a highlight it would be a close run thing between "rip it up and start again" and the finale of "Blue Boy". After which Edwyn carefully stood up and left aided by his old (and selfless) mate Roddy, the rest of us on our feet whooping and cheering . A perfect gig.

One marvelous bonus in an already great evening was meeting up with the delightful Ms Woo and her long lost friend. We retired to the mirrored cosiness of the Salisbury and as they say on test match special, drinks were taken.


timfg said...

The drummer was Dave Ruffy, formerly of the Rutts, and one of the best session drummers in the UK.

I thought Edwyn was generally more at home with the recent material: I wonder if he's not pushing himself a bit too hard, he wavered quite a bit in the first 20 mins. But have to agree: It was a stonkingly good Blue Boy at the end....

BLTP said...

timfg cheers fella and welcome along. Let's hope EC paces himself and continues to improve.

ally. said...

i somehow ended up stuck in manchester ringing the box office to see if they could give away my tickets. there are days i'm more stupid than it's possible to be.
i'm glad he was good even so.

BLTP said...

Ally, I did wonder which gigs you had tickets for, that's a shame. I think when he's even more recovered he'll be doing some more shows , although he looked quiet frail.