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Gerry Smith
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Posts: 222
Canterbury 221005
« : 23.10.05 at 14:58 »

The trouble with writing these post-gig reports is that the shows just keep getting better and better; I need new words to fight with!  And Pete and Clive's performance at the Gulbenkian Theatre at the University of Kent, Canterbury, last night, was no exception.  
 
The Gulbenkian is a superb venue with a great acoustic and the 350+ seat theatre was sold out for the show - not an empty seat to be seen.  The duo came on stage at 7.45 to warm applause, Clive getting the ball rolling by announcing in a gravelly voice "Mr Atkin will play."  
 
The set generally mirrored the other dates of the present tour, so no surprises there.  But what stands out for me is the increasing depth, maturity and sensitivity with which Pete endows the songs. He adds new and subtle nuances along the way, perhaps a pause in just the right place and greater ranges of tempo and dynamic which seem to give even greater body and effect  to Clive's lyrics.  One of the stand-out songs from last night was  Carnations On The Roof to which Pete added some very haunting guitar harmonics (I think they were harmonics anyway) in just the right places.  And what a superb rendition of An Empty Table which seems to have earned its place as the essential track from Winter Spring.  Great to hear the two new songs as well.  My mind is still recoiling from the harmonic acrobatics of Me To Thank . However, I came to a bit of a grinding mental halt on hearing the re-worked Prince of Aquitaine.  It was a bit like coming home to find the Changing Rooms team had paid a visit and done a makeover of one of my favourite rooms! I may find it takes a bit of getting used to!
 
Clive was as entertaining as ever and it was good to hear him read some of his more recent work.  The poem about his father was particularly touching.  Equally good to hear him once again join with Pete for the last number and encore.  Keep those singning lessons going, Clive!  It would be great to hear you do A man Who's Been Around.
 
Nice to see a fair smattering of Voices last night, inter alia the Birkills, Oliver Ash and Alan Manton.  
 
Thanks to Pete and Clive for another memorable evening.  How far things have come since 1997!
« Last Edit: 24.10.05 at 01:18 by Gerry Smith » IP logged

Out playing the saxes
Carole
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Posts: 115
Re: Canterbury 221005
« Reply #1: 24.10.05 at 11:37 »

Absolutely agree with Gerry about the quality of the performances on Saturday night. Both Pete and Clive were on top form. The audience was responsive and enthusiastic, an enthusiasm matched by front of house. While queueing to get into the auditorium we spotted a publicity poster with the Sold Out banner across it. Ah, we thought, we'll have a photo of that at the interval. No dice - it had been pulled already!
 
Unsure I agree with Gerry about Prince Of Aquitaine though. I quite liked the slightly different version, especially the way the spacing emphasised the two sets of chords (if that's how best to describe it) between 'Prince' and 'of Aquitaine'. I also loved But Here We Stay. But I've always been a sucker for anthemic songs.  Please don't slow this one down, Pete. In fact, just a little more thumping rhythm and I'll be with Mike on the cigarette lighter!
 
We had also been to the IOW the night before, where the performances were just as good and although the hall was not full, it was a good audience. People in the signing queue with vinyl albums too. We have never before combined the words 'car' and 'ship' as a mode of transport so it was a whole new adventure! A brilliant weekend!
 
Carole
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S J Birkill
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Posts: 598
Re: Canterbury 221005
« Reply #2: 24.10.05 at 13:29 »

Yes, Canterbury rocked. House lights down on this tour, and no preamble, straight into a driving Master of the Revels, showing the audience what the whole thing was about. The full house brought out Pete and Clive's best, and the sound was louder and clearer than I've heard on any of the tours. Unfortunately the concert wasn't recorded, as there were no suitable auxiliary outputs on the Gulbenkian's mixing board. But IOW was, and although Pete's vocal mics sounded rather thin and his guitar a little boomy out front at the Newport venue, those faults should be capable of remedy when he transfers it to SADiE.
 
Pete wore a more subdued (for him) shirt, the same colour all over. I didn't check (sorry, fans) the socks. His guitar throughout was the Atkin, and its maker, Alister of that ilk, a most personable young chap, was present in the Canterbury audience.
 
Two new songs were played. (I've Got) Me To Thank was the easier, a gentle but ultimately desolate lament for roads not taken, set to a rising and falling scale but with the trademark Atkin surprise melodic intervals, and one of those delicious endings where an extra phrase and extra line are inserted into what would otherwise be the same shape as the first verse.
 
But Here We Stay by contrast is a staccato machine-gun of a song, mostly short lines of one- and two-syllable words, a little reminiscent of Prayers against the Hitman or My Brother's Keeper, with doom and desolation all around. Apart from its typical Jamesian theme, this could almost be a pop song. Voices who missed the tour (more than two hundred by my reckoning) will enjoy these when they get a CD release -- roll on the next album!
 
A new poem from Clive, When we were kids, employed a consonant rather than vowel rhyme scheme. Clive explained afterwards that it was a trick he'd borrowed from Welsh bardic tradition, where all kinds of strict consonance patterns were explored. I forget the Welsh name he gave for this one -- was it a form of cynghanedd?  
 
No sign of nervousness or forgetfulness on stage: a most professionally executed show that engaged and entertained everyone throughout; I thought of how far the duo have come since their reunion concert of the modern era at Buxton in 1998.
 
Here is a page of photos and reviews.
 
Steve
« Last Edit: 25.10.05 at 13:21 by S J Birkill » IP logged
slaybrook
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Posts: 4
Re: Canterbury 221005
« Reply #3: 31.10.05 at 19:25 »

It's taken me a while to get around to posting on the new site. I shamefully admit to being a lazy MV and cyberspacily disappearing after the mail list turned into a web site.
However what a delight once again to see and hear Pete and Clive, and to catch up with Carole Steve Alexis and Gerry.
I have never heard a more professional sound from Pete. It was slick and well rehearsed, not like the performances of a few years ago when the MV types would sing along and help with the forgotten lines. If anything I had even more of a tingling down my spine listening to my favourites (Be careful When They Offer ....and Laughing Boy,  to name but two) than in the old days, so clear was the sound, so strong was Pete's voice and so perfect was the Atkin guitar sound (  although for reasons a few may understand I have a certain nostalgia for the original Gibson...). I felt just the faintest shadow of nostalgia for those early days when we were only fifty listening and all fanatics to the core...and we didn't have to share Pete with all these people who don't appreciate him as much as we do!
For my friends who were discovering P & C for the first time it was a strange experience. They found the interaction on stage between P & C rather awkward and some of the songs are not easy to grasp on first hearing. I would have loved for their sakes for one or two of the 'old favourites ' ( eg BOTBS ) to be on the play list...  
All in all a memorable evening, as Gerry and Steve say, how fantastic to see how far things have moved on in a few MV years.
Oliver Ash
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