Mostly Autumn

Astoria, London

4 June 2005

I'm usually singing one of the gig highlights to myself as I walk home from. This time it's Broken Glass. Interesting...

Despite my misgivings about the new album, I expected the new songs would be great live. And they were.

This was the best concert I've ever been to.

The show started with Out of the Green Sky, then straight into Broken Glass. I thought they might be going to play the whole of the Storms over Still Water album straight through, as they did with Passengers last year. But no, they mixed a lot material throughout the show. In the end they played eight songs from Storms: everything except The End of the World (shame!) and the two instrumentals.

And the old songs? Of course, not everything I wanted to hear, but in a set that includes Shrinking Violet, The Dark Before the Dawn (yay!!!), The Spirit of Autumn Past part one (yes!!!) and We Come and We Go (!!!!!), as well as all the usual suspects, it seems petty to complain about things being missed out. I loved this set. It was far better than I could have expected. And did I mention Shrinking Violet?

They played for about two hours without a break, then came back for an encore that must have lasted about 40 minutes.

What else? I don't need to tell you that the performances were flawless, the band seemed proud and happy, and that the crowd atmosphere was fantastic. Mostly Autumn always surpass themselves on a big stage. Yes the intimacy of a tiny pub gig is nice, but the band make up for it by making the big shows... different. This time it was multi-screen projections (interesting but not too obtrusive) and a bunch of guest musicians. The guests all performed well, and while Mostly Autumn's songs are perfectly capable of standing alone, without the gimmick of extra guitar players and singers, it does allow some interesting new arrangements and helps make the gig a bit special.

I can't think of a single negative thing to say, I really can't. Well, ok, I'll say that I still hate the Astoria as a venue and the show would have been much better if held in somewhere like... oh, Newcastle, to pick a random example . But I got a great position, right at the front and to the right, exactly as I was aiming for. (Just slightly too far right, but nothing's perfect...)

Actually, yes, tonight's gig was perfect. Or, at least, was impossible to criticise. The technical perfection was there, but so too was the emotion I've come to expect - even in the new songs, which I honestly wasn't expecting as I initially thought that "Storms" was lacking that quality.

My faith is restored. (Not that it had ever really wavered.)

I have to see this again.

I think I'll go to Middlewich.

Where the heck is Middlewich???