Mostly Autumn

The Lochgelly Centre, Lochgelly

24 March 2006

To those people who still can't understand why I travel hundreds of miles to see the same band on consecutive nights all I can say is: Passengers, Mother Nature, Echoes. So there.

I think yesterday's review had a bit of a narrow focus so I'll try to be more general this time.

First, I don't know whether it was subjectively due to a better position in a better theatre, or if the band were more settled in on the second night of the tour, or if it's just that I was actually paying attention to the whole band this time, but the sound seemed much more "together" tonight. Arrangements seemed more tight, performances stronger, songs more energetic, and the show just seemed to flow properly. Last night was wonderful but tonight was absolutely the best.

I don't think there's much point in mentioning the band because you already know how good they are. But I'll say a few words about...

1) Chris Johnson, who is the new "second" keyboard player. Although Angela is playing most of the keyboard parts (i.e. doing most of Iain's old role), Chris is making an invaluable contribution filling out the sound and handling keyboards while she's playing the flute (e.g. for Shindig). And I've never seen anyone concentrate so hard on what he's doing, sitting down and reading (the music, I assume) from a huge slab of notes, rarely looking up and even more rarely smiling. I dont know if he was as nervous as he looked but it can't be easy stepping into the best band in the world and I think he deserves a huge amount of credit for doing it so well.

2) Olivia Sparnenn, who adds backing vocals (remember that Iain used to do that too) and duets on Never the Rainbow. I'm still not 100% sold on the format of the duet but she does have a beautiful voice and I really enjoyed her call-and-response with Bryan tonight (more adventurous and worked better than last night, which got a bit repetitive).

3) Fish. I'm really not sure about the wisdom of including Fish as a guest star to sing two of his own songs (one a duet with Heather). He has an amazing voice and writes songs like poetry, but this is a Mostly Autumn show... The big problem I have with Fish is that his PRESENCE is so immense, he totally dominates everything and it's not... I don't know, it's just not why I'm here. But though I found his inclusion a bit annoying in Glasgow, I thoroughly enjoyed his contribution here tonight. He IS good, and the band rose to the occasion, played the songs superbly, and appeared to really enjoy doing them. So yes... I'm glad I saw him... but I wouldn't want him every show.


I wasn't going to come to these two shows at all. It was a last-minute decision, and I made the decision simply so I could see Angela Gordon play the keyboard parts, and I came and I saw and it was worth the complicated travel and the miles I've walked in the rain and everything. When they didn't play Mother Nature in Glasgow I assumed it was because Angela hadn't been able to learn the parts for it and I thought, oh well, can't expect miracles... I'm sorry, I will never doubt again.

What other band could lose their keyboard player — a huge part of their sound — and go on to play the best concert I've ever seen?

Mostly Autumn. They absolutely can't do anything wrong. I will follow them forever.