Oxford, 7. Mai 2009

Oxford & Other Stories

Here's the Oxford set list:

1. I Saw Her Standing There
2. Night Hawk
3. Over The Rainbow
4. Cobalt Blue
5. All Of Me
6. Little Wing
7. Off The Leash

LJ's set was technically very good, with some interesting choices. I feel he sometimes got so into what he could do technically that the musicality would be lost. What song is he playing... oh, yea, now I recognize it again, it's Over The Rainbow. Just my opinion. His 3 compositions sounded a like to me, but then I'd never heard them before Southampton. I'm sure if I was a big LJ fan, I'd have recognized them instantly.

Al's set:

1. Angry Bird
2. Lord Grenville
3. Child's View of the Eisenhower Years
4. On The Border
5. Night Train To Munich
6. Gina
7. League of Notions

At this point he asked if there were any historians in the audience, this being Oxford. One or two Yeses.
8. Hanno
with Gabby Young and Steven Revere
9. Dark and Rolling Sea
with Gabby and Steven Gabby sang alternating verses with Al.
10. Carol
11. Down in Cellar
12. Soho
13. Apache

into a story about Hank B. Marvin putting a comb in the tail of the strings to get a tremelo effect. Also told about  about how he (Al) had gotten 2 Martin guitars, but he didn't like the way they played, so put them up for sale. A man called to say he'd like them, Al said to come over to get them. When Al opened the door, there were Hank B. Marvin and Bruce ? another member of the Shadows, and they bought the Martin guitars.
14. Year of the Cat
into more of Apache.

sung with Gabby and Steven

This was a more subdued show. The audience was very subdued, but then it was a big theatre. Al doesn't play around and chat with LJ like he does with Dave, so shows had a more formal feel. And again, while LJ was technically very good, Dave brings a warmth to the shows, which I missed.

London was similar to Oxford in feel, again because it was bigger venue. I chatted very briefly with Al about that after the London show. We compared it to Southampton, which was in a small club. Audience was standing and dancing, although packed in tightly. Well, I was dancing, as was Jude. Can't speak for everyone. Much friendlier with more interaction with audience.

We were some of the first ones in the door and Jude and I were standing right in front of the stage, in the center. Next to me was a couple that Jude knew whose names I forget. A few songs into Al's set, some man in a leather jacket tried to elbow his way in front of me. Now, I may be short, but nobody elbows their way in front of me! He sat his hand very firmly on the stage, trying to push me over, or push in front of me. It was really a shame that he got so close to me when I was dancing, because, darn I just get carried away, and I couldn't help bumping into him, stepping on his foot, and taking up as much room as I could! He left.

In Southampton, Jude brought the lyrics for Coldest Winter and yelled out a request. Al looked at her waving the lyrics scroll, and said "Ok, you'd better come up here." Then she pushed me up to the stage. Now I'm a ham, love being on stage, but I really thought she would be the one to go up.

Al didn't look at the lyrics often enough, and kept putting the "Guardian Angels" bit in the wrong spot. First time, I had to scramble to find where he was, I looked at the audience, shrugged, pointed to correct lyrics on scroll, shook my head and got a laugh from the audience. Next time he did the same, I shook my head, rolled my eyes, and got another chuckle from audience. I was having a great time. LJ even looked at me once a smiled when I got a laugh from the audience. (You don't do a couple of years of improvisational comedy with Robin Williams without learning to hold your own on stage, even with Al Stewart!)

After the show Al said I looked very comfortable up on stage, so I told him I'd been an actress, a dancer, done improv with Robin, etc. He asked why I didn't dance to Coldest Winter then. I told him I was trying to hold the paper still for him to read the lyrics, not that it did any good as he messed up the order a few times. He replied that it was his song and he could sing it any damn way he pleased! This was all very jokingly, by the way!

Al told some stories I hadn't heard before, but he told them again in London and Oxford, so I won't tell them now so people who haven't seen the show yet can be surprised.

Oh, and I got an email from Antonio (Canto)who said the show after London was the same, no RTM which Al did in London, I think the encore might have been different, but now I can't find Antonio's email to see what the encore was.

Sally Brooks

***) LJ = Laurence Jubber