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CLichfield Cathedral, a sold out audience and an established folk-rock band of international standing were the main ingredients in a successful concert.
Support for the evening was provided by guitarist Kevin Dempsey and fiddle player Rosie Carson, who played a number of instrumental pieces and songs, with dextrous and muscular rhythms contrasting with delicate melodies, the highlight of which was The Last Train/Frank’s Tune.
For their final number All For You they were joined by the five members of Fairport Convention, who powered the mid-paced ballad, with some fine close harmony singing and rousing guitar,bass,drums and fiddles.
Since forming in 1967, Fairport Convention have blended folk music, songs and styles with a rock orientated sound and stage presentation, and have attracted some of the finest players and writers into their ranks. With alumni including such figures as Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings and Dave Swarbrick, they have led from the front. Their sound, although based in tradition, has adapted with technology and modern times to provide a show that is vibrant and relevant.
The current line-up – lead vocalist and guitarist Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg on bass, violinist Ric Sanders, Chris Leslie on lead vocals, fiddle, bouzouki, banjo, harmonica, whistle and mandolin and Gerry Conway on percussion and drums – sell out venues throughout the country, and on an international level.
This tour was in support of their most recent release, Myths and Heroes, and it is testament to the ensemble’s integrity that they continue to release new material that is of equal quality to their back-catalogue.
Fairport Convention has always been a popular live draw, which was proven by the strong support that they managed to attract to this concert.
The concert started with Sir Patrick Spens, which was well received and an energetic starter to the set, but the title track from Myths and Heroes was full of almost punkish energy. Clear Water was an energetic and tuneful ballad that featured some fine singing and instrumental interplay.
Around the Wild Cape Horn was a sea song, while the first set closer, Bring Me Back My Feathers, showed the band at their best.
The second half of the concert was equally packed, but the long song introductions at points diluted some of the energy of the concert, but the ease that Fairport Convention has with their loyal fans is plain to see.
The sonic adventure of the band was shown to good effect during The Flyde Mountain Song, and The Wassail Song was an upbeat song with a toe-tapping beat. However, the best audience reactions were saved for the group’s older material, with Matty Groves in particular being well received.
The inevitable encore of Meet on the Ledge, where Fairport were joined by Kevin Dempsey and Rosie Carson, was a song about the passage of time and friendship and was a more than fitting end to the concert.
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