Monday, June 12, 2006


La Famile Stevie attended a Fairport Convention concert on the evening of Sunday, June 11th, at the University Cafe on the Stonybrook campus.

The lineup was:

  • Simon Nicoll - Guitar, vocals
  • Ric Sanders - Violin
  • Chris Leslie - Mandolin, Bazouki, Flute, Violin, Maracas and Vocals

The set list (as far as memory serves me) was:

  1. Over The Next Hill
  2. Woodworm Swing
  3. Banbury Fair
  4. Sheriff's Ride 1
  5. The Upton Upon Severn Stickdance 1
  6. Already There
  7. Sophisticated Lady2
  8. Here, There and Everywhere3
  9. Now Be Thankful
  10. Canny Capers
  11. The Wood And The Wire
  12. Over The Lancashire Hills
  13. Rose Hip
  14. The Fossil Hunter
  15. Slipjigs And Reels
  16. John Gaudie
  17. Hiring Fair
  18. Cosmic Fiddle Break
  19. Summertime
  20. Written on the Stone
  21. Meet on the Ledge (Encore)
1: Albion Band
2: Duke Ellington
3: McCartney

The concert was of the usual high standard, and although there were bound to be reservations about the "rhythm section free" lineup, the musicians' skill and years of experience more than compensated and the lineup stood well on its own merits.

The setting was small, I'd estimate a total capacity of a hundred or so, making for an intimate atmosphere that lent itself well to the evenings entertainment (notwithstanding a clerestory window that allowed the setting sun to blind everyone at times). And entertainment there was in spades.

When musicians are as accomplished as the three we are discussing here, and moreover have such a lengthy pedigree of live performance that one might imagine nothing could derail them once they are on stage, one is almost guaranteed a rewarding musical experience. Add to everything else a chemistry between the band members that enables them to anticipate each other and work together to imbue the music with a rare energy and verve and you have the ingredients for a really good time for the ears and eyes, and Sunday night was just that - a really good time.

Material varied from staples of Fairport performances such as John Gaudie and Hiring Fair to rarities like the haunting Over The Lancashire Hills and the unrecorded-as-Fairport The Upton Upon Severn Stickdance. Ballads were followed by rapid-fire jigs and lazy jazz-era numbers that were a treat to see done "Fairport-style". The band looked like they were having a good time and the audience definitely were.

I look forward to seeing them again next year, and to the return of Peggy and Gerry to the line-up, but would urge anyone to go and see this show if they have the chance.

The only fly in the ointment was that this was also a "Matty" free performance, the first I've ever seen. I confess to being disappointed by that

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