Astor Community Theatre, Deal -18th October 2019

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Astor Community Theatre, Deal -18th October 2019

Postby BRC » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:25 pm

This was the fist time in nearly 5 years since I had last seen Gordon play and really looked forward to the concert.

It was a 90+ miles round trip for me in less than ideal weather conditions, involving a trip along the M2 and A2 at peak Friday commuting traffic time ... mainly in darkness. Okay, I did switch on the car lights but the rain made it a less than pleasant journey - both ways. Am I complaining? No, far from it as the concert was well worth the journey.

When booking the seats I opted for front row, centre stage seats, though had some reservations when told that it was a high stage and would be effectively looking straight up Gordon's nose! Arriving at the theatre immediately dispelled any such reservations as to booking foolhardiness. The stage was about just over 4 feet away and only about three feet high, with Gordon's position right to the front of the stage. Just about ideal for being able to see if I could follow his guitar playing techniques.

So, what sort of a concert was it? I won't give a tune by tune account but just refer to some highlight moments. There were a couple of new numbers. One about 'Kisses' and another about 'Starlight' (I think those were part of the titles) and look forward to hearing those when the new album(s) are ready. Amongst the familiar tunes were 'On Camber Sands', always evocative of past visits there - not for well over 40 years though, 'Isabella's Wedding' (complete with introductory anecdote) and 'Appalachian Dreaming' with renowned 'pin-pong'.

However, the highlights were the familiar but unexpected performances of 'Heartsong' and 'Dodo's Dream'. Of course, as most of you will know, those two are a mainstay and, dare I say, demanded of Gordon in any concert. On this occasion fate took a hand, first of all on 'Heartsong'. Unusually, from past performances I have seen, Gordon played this in the first half of the show and that in itself was unexpected - the energy level used in that performance would probably finish off most guitar playing mortals, though not Gordon. He also used the super Gibson jumbo guitar given to him by Pete Townsend (yes, that one, though I won't recount the accompanying anecdote - you'll have to go to a concert to get that). The 'unexpected' was that part way through a technical glitch cut off the amplification leaving Gordon playing completely acoustically. Now that might irk some guitarists and even more of the audience! Not a bit of it. Gordon momentarily stopped to enquire of the sound desk what had happened, and then continued playing acoustically, undeterred.

My choice of seats for this concert proved to be an inspired decision as I was able to enjoy, for the first time, Gordon playing acoustically, unenhanced and brilliantly that oh so familiar musical piece. The Gibson guitar was just right for that and will be a memory etched in my mind for a long time to come. Fortunately, the sound system was returned to complete the performance of 'Heartsong' for the rest of the audience - sadly those further back in the auditorium will have missed the privilege of the acoustic part rendition that I experienced.

The 'unexpected' part of 'Dodo's Dream' was a repeat of the technical glitch to the sound system shortly after Gordon had started and whilst setting down tracks on the loop station. There is no 'acoustic' opportunity of redemption for this one and a 'start again' situation was demanded. Many well-known musicians may well have had a hysterical moment or outburst - not Gordon, as all taken it his stride and recommenced with apologies (none needed really) and continued to completion. This was the response of a consummate professional whilst maintaining a friendly relationship with the audience.

I always look forward to performance of 'Dodo's Dream' as there is always something a little different in each performance - whether deliberate or accidental (doesn't matter) - giving it the 'organic' feeling that Gordon has alluded to in concerts. Long may it continue thus.

Sadly, the concert was over all too quickly - does time speed up as you get older? Note: must re-read my Stephen Hawking' 'Theory of Everything' as I must have missed some of the answers to that question.

I must mention the Astor Community Theatre in Deal. It has a single level auditorium of about 130 seats permitting a reasonably intimate setting for the audience and performer and is my sort of preferred type of venue. Added to that was the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff throughout my visit making for just that little bit extra enjoyment to the occasion. Thank you to all at the theatre.

Thank you especially, Gordon, for a wonderful evening entertainment. I gave up trying to learn any techniques from the performance and just enjoyed it from my privileged seat position. Really good to see you back to health Gordon.

Kind regards to all

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Re: Astor Community Theatre, Deal -18th October 2019

Postby GORDON » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:21 pm

Hi Brad.

What can I say about such a lovely and detailed review.Thankyou so much it means a lot to me.

Thanks for travelling all that way sir.

Be well.


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