Fairport Convention / Angela Gordon

Fibbers, York

2 May 2008

I've liked Fairport Convention for years but resisted seeing them live because, well, to be perfectly honest, I don't know anything they've done since the 70s... since Sandy Denny, really... and didn't want to be disappointed by the current incarnation of the band.

Two things came together to change my mind. First, the gig came the day after a friend's birthday, and she's a huge fan, solving the problem of what to get as a birthday present! Second... well, I could be pretty much certain that the first 20 minutes of the evening would make the trip worthwhile...

So was I disappointed by 21st-century Fairport?

Not one single bit. Of the two hours of music, there was a lot I didn't recognise (so don't expect any kind of set list from me) but I loved everything I did recognise and equally loved everything I didn't. It's the kind of music that hooks you so immediately that even "new" songs sound like old favourites. This isn't the kind of music that needs to grow on you.

So good was the whole set that what should by all rights have been the "highlights", a moving version of Sandy Denny's Who Knows Where the Time Goes? and an encore of Meet on the Ledge sung by the entire audience, were topped by several "new" songs that I can't even tell you the titles of!

And the band... absolutely brilliant. Top-class musicians, obviously having a lot of fun on stage. Beautiful weaving of the songs' melodies between the instruments (violin, electric bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and occasional second violin) and perfect three-part harmony vocals.

And it's all happy, joyous, upbeat music. You can't hear it and not tap your toes; you can't come away from a gig like this and not have a huge smile on your face.

I enjoyed every minute.


Oh, and the support act:

Given Time
Waiting for the Snow
Meridon's Caravan
Four-and-Twenty Moons (?)

Angela looked well and happy and sounded beautiful. Of the two new songs I didn't come away with a lasting impression of Four-and-Twenty Moons (I'm not even sure I'm remembering the name right) so I can't comment, but the instrumental Meridon's Caravan is superb. Multi-tracked flutes! Just that made the trip worthwhile.

Overall, best concert I've ever been to.