Monday, June 30, 2008

The Trees They Do Grow High

I went to see Pentangle at the Royal Festival Hall last night. It was like a dream for me. I was really looking forward to it, and usually I look forward to nothing to avoid disappointment. But I did look forward and they didn't disappoint. It was magnificent.

Their particular blend of jazz folk lends itself very well to the acoustics at the RFH, and because it's such a Sixties venue anyway, we may was well have been in 1969.

Lead singer Jacqui McShee too a few numbers to get going, but with their being a lot of high notes and considering how old she must be, she really found her voice and was a pure and beautiful as she was 40 years ago. The guitars, sitars and banjos of multi-talented instrumentalists Bert Jansch and John Renbourn melded wonderfully. Terry Cox on drums distracted me because he was the spit of my next-door neighbour. Statuesque Danny Thompson is a master of the double bass. That man's fingers must be made of steel.

They all look ancient of course, but everyone I like is old. My gig-going pal TT remarked in the interval that we've seen all the folk greats who are still with us: the entire Waterson clan, Bert Jansch a few years back, Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, Linda Thompson - if only Sandy Denny and Nick Drake were still alive.

Anyway, they did all the greats: LIght Flight, Wedding Dress Song, Market Song, Once I Had A Sweetheart, a spectacular Pentangling, and many, many more.

The audience age was surprsigingly non-average. Years back if y ou went to a gig like this, you'd be the youngest there. Now folk is all the rage and all sorts of riff-raff turn up. Still, it's good for the genre to at last gain mainstream acceptance.

Another box ticked.

Most wanted: The Sallyangie


Roman Empress said...

That looks like one concert I regret procrastinating over.

Five-Centres said...

They're touring. Catch them while you can.

Cocktails said...

Hello F-C. Like you I was nervous about being let down last night but they were fantastic.

The only low-point for me was hearing 'Will the circle be unbroken', one of my least favourite songs ever.Wish they'd played the Train Song instead.

Five-Centres said...

Cocktails! What a shame we don't know each other - we could have had a drink at the bar.

We were right up the front in row B, with no one in front of us. It was like I was actually in the band.

Now, I don't mind Circle so much, but there are songs I would over and above that one. From where I was sitting, Bert Jansch looked very unimpressed that they did that final number too.

Cocktails said...

Well, next time you manage to get row B seats to Pentangle, let me know and I'll definitely meet you! Would have been amazing seeing them that close up.