Katie Doherty and the Navigators

The Globe, Newcastle

9 October 2020

It's eight months since I was at a live concert. That was Katie Doherty at the Alphabetti Theatre.

I've possibly gone that long between concerts in years past. But it's not the length of time that was killing me, it was the feeling that I would never do this again. On my more positive days, I made lists of who I thought I might see if I ever could go to a concert again. Katie Doherty was always at the top of the list.

And here I am. Eight months later.

The Globe is a new venue to me, but I'm very impressed. It's a small venue, and because of social distancing there are only 15 people in the audience, seated at widely spaced tables. It should hold several times that number, and Katie Doherty and the Navigators should fill it to capacity. I feel bad for the venue and the band, who must all be losing money at these ridiculously low ticket prices. I would have paid four times the price and considered it a bargain.

So The Globe people are taking all the precautions that are expected these days, but they are all very friendly about it and it's all run smoothly and I don't feel at all inconvenienced. I don't come to a concert to mingle with the audience, or visit the bar, and I don't need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in a packed crowd to feel "atmosphere". All I need is me and the band, and music I that I feel an emotional connection with. And there's not much music that affects me emotionally more than Katie's songs do.

But that's enough about me. I should be talking about Katie Doherty and the Navigators: Katie Doherty (vocal, piano, song writing), Shona Mooney (violin, backing vocal), Dave Grey (melodeon, backing vocal, heckling).

This band always seems happy to be playing together, playing music because they're old friends not because they're in a band, and the smiles and the banter are all there as usual, but there's also the feeling that tonight is as important for them as it is for me. Despite the long break, their playing is, as always, flawless, and the sound inside the venue is perfectly balanced to make each instrument clear without drowning out the most important element: Katie's words.

There are no surprises in the set, it's the one I have heard half a dozen times before, maybe a couple of songs shorter because the stage time is limited to an hour. To fit in the maximum amount of music, Katie's song introductions are shorter than usual (and Dave Grey's interjections shorter than usual, which is miraculous), but that's fine because I know the story behind every song already. And even if you don't, the songs explain themselves. That's the beauty of Katie's songs. Each one tells a story, has a meaning, and feels like it talks about real people and real, honest emotions, all wrapped in the most beautiful and memorable tunes. I've loved these songs since I first heard her sing Bridges 13 (eek!) years ago. They play it tonight, as well as Something Warmer from that debut album, and large part of her long-awaited second album. And even a tune from Dave (which I've heard before but I can't remember if it was at a Navigators gig or his own gig).

And I just love them all. I don't know what else I can say apart from that.

I missed this so much. I'm happy that I can say Katie Doherty's voice was not only the last I heard when this madness started but also the first voice to give me hope that it's going to end.

Thank you. I couldn't say that last night because of no mingling. But thank you.

Best concert I've ever been to. For many reasons.