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Steve Brown
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St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« : 22.06.07 at 17:15 »

Hi - Attended the gig last night with my lad, Rob. Missed the first half unfortunately due to the low profile of St George's in Bristol (amazingly any number of locals did not know where it was) but the second half alone was brilliant. Can't wait for the CD. Many thanks Pete and the band.
 
Steve
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Mike Walters
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Posts: 126
Re: Major gig alert: June 21st
« Reply #1: 22.06.07 at 21:56 »

It's been surprisingly quiet in here today, but I think the silence might be a slightly stunned one.  Last night was the performance I've been waiting to see for about thirty years.  All the  way from the extraordinary re-working of 'Master of the Revels' through to 'The Original Original etc etc', it was close to breathtaking.  I'll leave a full review to those more capable of it, but it was a joy and a revelation to hear those songs backed by musicians who are not only highly talented but who had clearly invested real feeling and commitment into their contributions.  In the face of Clive's lyrics, it's easy to overlook the strength of the melodies and Pete's gifts as an interpreter - both shone through last night.  Some of the high points were predictable - 'Faded Mansion', 'Thirty Year Man' - but others were less so - 'I Wouldn't Hear a Word Against the Spring' (which I could easily imagine Pete performing on, say, 'Parkinson' as the mature person's Michael Buble) or 'Be Careful When They Offer You the Moon'.  But there was scarcely a moment that wasn't terrific.  
 
And the fact that Pete has taken this as an opportunity to re-record a selection of the old songs with this band is even better news.  Not just those songs available again, but in versions that are likely to surpass the originals.  Blimey.  Thanks, Pete.  
 
Mike
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Gerry Smith
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Re: Major gig alert: June 21st
« Reply #2: 23.06.07 at 00:51 »

And Now For Something Completely Different...
 
And when I say different, I mean different!
 
Seriously, what an amazing experience it was last night at St. Gerorge's. An Atkin gig - yes, with all the old songs we know so well, but more different than I could have ever imagined.
 
I knew Pete was going out with a band for the first time since before I took my 'O' Levels - exciting enough in itself - but I didn't really know quite what to expect. I suppose I had imagined that it would be some sort of attempt to create a live rendition of the albums.  That vague notion was soon dispelled on entering the auditorium. Centre stage was a stool with guitar on stand (think it was the Taylor..?) a double bass, grand piano wired and ready for action, and a drum kit.  
 
Yes, it was a jazz quartet, with Simon Wallace playing piano, not for a young girl singer, but for Pete, who directed much of his energy into delivering some fine vocals. Mark Hodgson played some cooly executed and inspired bass lines with a very fluid feel throughout much of the set , with Roy Dodds on drums holding it all together with some very subtle (freuqently brush) strokes.  
 
For those of us fortunate enough to be there last night, we witnessed a renaissance. The songs truly came of age and took on a whole new dimension which unleashed a sensitivity, depth and maturity latent until now. In terms of style, there were hints of Jacques Loussier and Tord Gustafson. The piano introduction to The Faded Mansion On The Hill had echoes of a Beethoven piano sonata (this is my all time favourite PA/CJ and hearing this new version nearly had me reaching for my hanky..honestly. Still don't like the replacement of 'believe' with 'retrieve' though.  Etiquette of rhyming aside, it just doesn't work for me).  And in Thirty Year Man Simon Wallace introduced some wonderful 'blue notes' throughout and particularly into the motific 'da da ..daaa' figure.  I'll leave it to your imagination to figure out the treatment the band gave to An Empty Table. Simply fantastic.  
 
Another highlight was the second half opener Beware of The Beautiful Stranger which featured Pete doing a more traditional rendition of the song (well, it is his signature!!) accompanied by Mark Hodgson on Bass.  More upbeat numbers included Be Careful When They Offer You The Moon achieving a similar style to that in the TPMO archive recording, and The Original Honky Tonk... which just romped along.
 
The great news from Bristol is that a new CD is in the offing which will feature the line up of last night's show as well as a fine saxman and female vocalist (we'll wait for the album, Pete - please don't yodel! It's just not worth it Cheesy ). The CD is to be called Midnight Voices which is probably better than 'And Now For Something Completely Different'.  Wink Pete dedicated the show to Steve Birkill and Midnight Voices
as well as to the Late Paul Gunningham.
 
This new direction is truly awesome. Suck it and see. You won't be disappointed.
 
It was a pleasure as always to renew passing acquaintance with MV's, amongst them Steve, Carol, Alexis, Keith and Andy.
 
Set list was as follows:
 
1 - Master Of The Revels  segue into
2 - Laughing Boy
3 - Thief In The Night
4 - Sessionman's Blues
5 - Perfect Moments
6 - I wouldn't Hear A Word Against The Spring
7 - Senior Citizens
8 - An Empty Table
9 - I've Got Me To Thank  segue into
10 - Payday Evenings
 
Interval
 
11 - Beware Of The Beautiful Stranger
12 - The Hypertension Kid
13 - Screen Freak
14 - The Faded Mansion On The Hill
15 - Touch Has A Memory
16 - Be Careful When They Offer You The Moon
17 - The Flowers And The Wine
18 - Thirty Year Man
19 - Between Us There Is Nothing
 
Encore
 
The Original Original Honky tonk Night Train Blues
 
« Last Edit: 23.06.07 at 02:48 by Gerry Smith » IP logged

Out playing the saxes
Jan
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Posts: 304
Re: Major gig alert: June 21st
« Reply #3: 23.06.07 at 00:54 »

Definitely a stunning performance!
Thoroughly professional double bass and percussion from Mark Hodgson and Roy Dodds with superb piano from Simon Wallace bringing out the strengths of the melodies but making his own contribution as well (actually the Steinway itself wasn't bad either).  
Plus the news that there is to be a new CD of the old songs in the Autumn, "Midnight Voices" with the same lineup as last night but including a duet with Sarah Moule on "Be careful..."
 
1. Master of the revels
Not light and jaunty this time but, well, masterful.
2. Laughing boy
3. Thief in the night
Performed without guitar!  
4. Session man's blues
To be on the new CD with sax. This was wonderful, even without the saxophone
5. Perfect moments
6. I wouldn't hear a word against the Spring
Only its third outing since the "Revival"
7. Senior citizens
8. An empty table
9. I've got me to thank
segue into
10. Payday evening
My writing is illegible in places but I think it says Wow! next to this one.
I've always said I preferred this on guitar, rather than the recorded piano version which seemed to be missing something. This performance was exactly what the song needed.
After the interval
11. Beware of the beautiful stranger
(without piano but I think with bass)
12. Hypertension kid
There was no way you could guess what this was going to be until just before the lyrics started. It was very unusual, playing with the rhythm and key. Interesting and fun (- Pete was looking very happy with the things Simon was doing to his melodies)
At this point Pete talked about the Midnight Voices and dedicated the evening to Paul.
13. Screenfreak
14. Faded mansion on the hill
15. Touch has a memory
16. Be careful when they offer you the moon
17. The flowers and the wine
This was another lovely one. The treatment made it a bigger song.  I can't remember if this was one for the CD.
18. Thirty year man
19. Between us there is nothing
Gorgeous!
20. The Original Original Honky Tonk Night Train Blues (encore)
Tremendous finish.
 Vocally it was a very strong performance without the problem of playing and singing at the same time (well most of the time anyway). I think this is the first time we've seen Pete on stage in a suit, very suave Smiley We checked up on the socks later and they were definitely not a pair.
 
Thanks Pete, it was a lovely evening.
 
Jan
PS I hope Cary enjoyed her birthday!
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Re: Major gig alert: June 21st
« Reply #4: 23.06.07 at 11:47 »

Huge big thanks to everyone who came and responded so positively to Thursday night.  It was a real blast to get to play with those guys; they really did me proud.  I'll be doing my best to try to organise a reprise of the experience somehow somewhere.   And (I forgot to say on the night) another big thank to St George's for giving me the opportunity.
 
I'll post news of the forthcoming CD elsewhere on the Forum, but meanwhile, for the sake of completeness, as a footnote to the setlist:   I played the Atkin (steel strung) on Laughing Boy (but not plugged in (!)), Senior Citizens (chorus only), Touch has a Memory, and Be careful when they offer you the moon;  the Taylor (nylon strung) on Perfect Moments, Me to Thank, Payday Evening, and Beautiful Stranger;  and nothing on all the rest.
 
Pete
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Gerry Smith
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Posts: 222
Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #5: 23.06.07 at 14:43 »

So there were two guitars on stage? Well that eluded me completely! Good job I was never on Screen Test! Mind you, Screen Freak might have been better in my case...
Enough self-deprecation, Ed...
 
Gerry
 
PS I've moved reviews/responses to the St George's gig to a new thread.
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Keith Busby
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Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #6: 23.06.07 at 15:38 »

I echo previous comments about the St. George's gig. It was good to see the usual suspects and to meet a few new ones.
 
Best to all.
 
Keith
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Pete Atkin
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Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #7: 23.06.07 at 17:22 »

No, you were right, Gerry - there was only one guitar on stage when you came in;  I came on with the Atkin, which I instantly forgot to plug in.
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Carole
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Posts: 115
Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #8: 23.06.07 at 17:51 »

Just back from a couple of days in Winchester, after the gig. Wow! This must have been *the* gig to be at this year! Smiley Brilliant performances from all concerned. As Janice said, Hypertension Kid had a very unusual intro - Paul Leighton was sitting in front of me and I saw him shake his head in disbelief when it became apparent that it was HK! One that worked especially well for me was Payday Evening but even Original... romped along, as Gerry said. Like everyone else, I can't wait for the CD.
 
From Screen Freak at FoD '97 to Screen Freak at Bristol 2007 - my, what a long way we've all come!
 
Lovely to see familiar Voices again and hear some new ones.
 
Carole
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Theo Clarke
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Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #9: 24.06.07 at 22:08 »

Having been away for some time, it was great that I was able to return in time for this remarkable gig. Sad though to return to Pete's reference to Paul's death (being the first that I heard of that).  Sad too, that I am still having trouble remembering faces. So, Steve: I think I smiled vaguely at someone who I think looked like you. I actually spoke to Andy (although even then I was sufficiently uncertain that I had to check his identity) and I am kind of sure that I knew the front man on the stage.  Anyway, if I blanked you, it is nothing personal... normal service is being resumed.
 
More importantly, I was delighted by the set. It was like opening the best box of chocolates ever made.  And the acoustics of the space were astonishing. What a great venue for a great show.  Thank you to all the musicians.  The CD cannot come soon enough for me.
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Paul Leighton
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Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #10: 26.06.07 at 15:51 »

What  a triumph! From the opening moments of a measured - but masterful - Master of the Revels - through a set list that provided endless musical surprises - including a more traditional,but immensely effective version of BOTBS ... via the best rendition of Empty Tables I've heard....and to close a terrific Original, Original.....
 
Carole is quite right!  I did shake my head in disbelief at the wonderfully innovative opening to Hypertension Kid...but I think I may have shaken it a few times more in sheer joy at the imaginative re-setting of songs that first grabbed my - our attention - in the early seventies. I have hugely enjoyed  (totally unforgiveable semi-split-infinitive) every live show of Pete's that I've seen, from the Road of Silk tour with Mama Flyer ('74) to Rugby, Pirate Jenny's, Milton Keynes, High Wycombe, Aylesbury...St George's...but this was an evening to especially savour.
 
Pete,  grateful thanks to you and your very talented musical colleagues for a fabulous night.  My wife,  Davina, said she thought you had never been in better voice! The news that a CD is on the way replete with these re-workings of some of my favourite music......well...
...don't suppose you can get it out for my birthday at the end of this month?!!!
 
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Paul Leighton
S J Birkill
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Posts: 594
Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #11: 27.06.07 at 00:39 »

Well, wasn't that amazing? A triumphant (and triumphal) concert on Pete's home turf, launching a new direction for some of his old songs into the bargain. I'll be brief, and not duplicate what's been said so well in Gerry and Jan's reviews (posted within three minutes of each other!), for I agree with it all.
 
Pete has recently in his solo work hinted at making more space in the arrangements, but with what was to all intents a jazz trio backing him at St George's he's been able to develop those ideas more fully. So we had a most assertive Master of the Revels, liberated from its usual driving rhythm, and a Hypertension Kid with at least three key changes. But it wasn't all change: BotBS, Be Careful and Honky-Tonk Train rattled along just as they should, while the mix of old and new achieved perfect balance for Payday Evening, Faded Mansion and Screen-Freak. Simon's pianising was most respectful of Pete's traditional arrangements, while adding intriguing touches of his own style, and the bass and drums were faultless throughout. Pete's vocals were outstandingly good, benefitting I think from receiving his full concentration on the songs without guitar.
 
I'd have preferred the sound a little clearer at the front of the hall -- the bass (double) and piano (Steinway)'s lower registers seemed a little muddy (to the extent that an electric piano and bass guitar might have sounded better to me than these fine acoustic instruments), and Pete's guitars (even when plugged in) could have been more audible. The nylon-strung Taylor was most remarkable for a twangy quality on some of the chords, with not much low and middle coming through. But those niggles might be blamed in part on the hall acoustics (or my ears).
 
Pete very generously, as always, acknowledged the part played by my own ventures Smash Flops (the Website) and Midnight Voices (the Forum) in relaunching his musical career, a tribute he has carried through to the naming of the new CD. He dedicated the concert to our late friend Paul Gunningham.
 
I saw David and Dave of the Shrinks in the audience, and there was a good turnout of MVs (sorry to any whose names I couldn't fit to faces) as well as members of the public. The crypt bar turned out to be closed after the show, so most of the crowd exited through the rear doors of the hall rather than past the merchandise table down below, where Pete was selling CDs (though not the new one yet) and signing posters. This also meant that the MV party closed early, with a nuclear sclonch of members breaking off to seek drinks elsewhere. The showers stayed away and it was a fine evening in Bristol, the bars of Park Street and Queen's Road buzzing with life after the gig.
 
The Birkill contingent (all three of us) forgot to bring a camera apart from the one in Alexis's phone, which didn't cope at all well with the low light and the contrast ratio: this one of the empty stage came out best!  
 

 
But Cary managed a good shot of the band from the gallery before having her collar felt, kindly but firmly, by the St George's photo police: see it (the photo) on the Smash Flops front page, gigs section (and don't forget to click on it for the full picture -- remember most of the images on the Website are clickable to advantage).
 
Thanks to all concerned, and a great big thank to Pete and his new accompanists!
 
Steve
 
PS [March 2008] : Cary's photo (mentioned above) has now been displaced by newer material on the Smash Flops front page, so I'm including it here, now:
 

 
If you'd like to see the high-resolution version, please click here.
« Last Edit: 15.03.08 at 18:46 by S J Birkill » IP logged
Richard Bleksley
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Posts: 164
Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #12: 28.06.07 at 02:15 »

Well, I seem to have maintained an eerie silence (for me) so far about this gig. The reason is that I was waiting for Jan's set-list to assist my ever-deteriorating memory, and then, when it appeared, I found that Jan and Gerry between them had said just about everything I would have said. A few comments occur to me, though.
 
I'm afraid I have to agree with Steve about the sound balance, though maybe it was better further back (I was sitting right behind the Birkills). Most of the numbers on which Pete played guitar sounded little different from those on which he wasn't, even after he'd remembered to plug it in! One reason I'm looking forward to the CD is the prospect of having this little niggle rectified and hearing these wonderful new versions in crystal clarity.
 
One thing that struck me was the contrast between those songs that fell naturally and beautifully into the jazz trio format (Sessionman's Blues, Perfect Moments, Thirty Year Man) and those that were transformed by it to take on a whole new lease of life (most notably Master of the Revels and Hypertension Kid). I think Steve's comment about MOTR being "liberated from its usual driving rhythm" applies even more to HK. This was a favourite of mine back in the seventies, but nowadays I find its backing a little too insistent and overpowering. The version I heard at St. George's was utterly wonderful.
 
I've always enjoyed the guitar / double-bass arrangement on Luck of the Draw, so it was a treat to hear Beware of the Beautiful Stranger performed in similar style. Not so much a transformation this time, more an enhancement.
 
Keith Busby, sitting next to me, was audibly overwhelmed by the superb version of Faded Mansion.
 
Pete's dedication of the evening to Paul was especially poignant for me, as it reminded me that my bum was filling the seat that would have been graced by his.
 
Though I had a jolly super time at the pre-gig sclonch down in the crypt (except for the incredibly long wait for the food to arrive!), I was unable to join the "hard core" for post-gig sclonching, as I had economised on hotel bills by arranging to spend the night at my mother's in Caerleon, and had to shoot off further down the M4.
 
As everyone has said, a wonderful evening's entertainment. Now waiting with bated breath for the CD.
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Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #13: 28.06.07 at 11:35 »

on 28.06.07 at 02:15, Richard Bleksley wrote:
songs that fell naturally and beautifully into the jazz trio format  

 
Doesn't Pete count as a member of the band, then?  Shocked
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Richard Bleksley
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Posts: 164
Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #14: 29.06.07 at 14:23 »

I took my cue from our noble webmaster, who also refers to a jazz trio. Most of the time that's what it sounded like to me - a singer backed by a jazz trio.
 
A rose by any other name, etc. Whatever you call it, it was still great music.
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Rob Hill
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Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #15: 01.07.07 at 19:33 »

Hello MV
 
I was hoping to be among the first to applaud the Bristol performance on the 21st but due to various registration problems (probably of my own making) and other delays it turns out I'm among the last. I never was good at timing. Nevertheless, one more well done to Pete and the band, it was great to see him and hear the songs again after so long, and even better to find out I'm not the only one who remembers them. No I don't know where I've been these last ten years either. Hope for a repeat gig soon, and looking forward to the CD.
 
Regards
 
Rob
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Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #16: 02.07.07 at 13:20 »

And welcome to the forum.  Nice to see another person join the clan!!
 
How did you find out abot the gig?
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Rob Hill
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Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #17: 02.07.07 at 20:05 »

Thanks for the welcome. As for hearing about the gig, well, long story, the shortened version of which is that having recently become extremely trendy and bought an I-Pod (must be the male menopause) I decided it was finally time to trawl the web looking for the CD versions of those albums for which I still only have vinyl. For reasons that are well documented elsewhere, Pete's CDs are harder than most to track down, but while typing his name into the search engine I arrived at his homepage, and through that the gig, plus a whole ten years of activity of which I'd been entirely unaware.  Yes, I owe it to my I-Pod......
 
I've been a fan of Pete's music since nineteen seventy-something when he did a set at what my memory tells me was the Bristol Locarno, but may well have been somewhere else entirely (does anyone remember that gig, and if so can they recall who topped the bill that night - was it Family? ). Anyway. having now been reunited with what I can only describe an old friend, (if Pete'll forgive the familiarity - I've never met him) I'm chuffed to bits. The older stuff may still be missing from my I-pod but the newer stuff is definitely there and hogging the play count. And again, it's gratifying to know that I'm not the only one left alive who remembers those songs with fondness.  
 
My best regards to all.
 
Rob
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Ian Chippett
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Posts: 330
Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #18: 02.07.07 at 20:18 »

Rob wrote:
 
<<I've been a fan of Pete's music since nineteen seventy-something when he did a set at what my memory tells me was the Bristol Locarno, but may well have been somewhere else entirely (does anyone remember that gig, and if so can they recall who topped the bill that night - was it Family? ).>>
 
It was the Locarno but the band was Man: I missed it because of migraine, alas. The complete Pete Atking gig list is available at Smash Flops if you want to check the date.
 
Ian C
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Rob Hill
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Posts: 4
Re: St George's Bristol - 21st June 2007
« Reply #19: 02.07.07 at 20:29 »

Thanks Ian, one out of two's ok for a man of my age.
 
Ah yes, Man, the old Welsh wizards. Now whatever happened to ...... ?
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