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Mostly Autumn

Grand Opera House, York

9 November 2007

Better than the best concert I've ever seen. I don't think I've ever seen a better performance from the band.

Best sound mix. Best light show (absolutely beautiful). Best back projections they've had so far (being mostly abstract images, which are less distracting from the music than films, mixed with selected real-time film of the stage to great effect). Five songs from the last album (Fading Colours, Pocket Watch, Broken, Silver Glass, Dreaming) and plenty of choice songs from each of the older albums. And everything I could ever want. It was a bit weird sitting right at the back of the balcony — I'm not used to seeing Mostly Autumn from so far away! — but it was an excellent seat for the view and the sound and it didn't affect the atmosphere of the gig at all (I don't need an audience to generate an atmosphere, I just need me and the band).

Anne-Marie Helder played flute on Dark Before the Dawn, keyboards on about half the songs, and backing vocals. Angela played flute on everything else, keyboards on the other half of the songs, and backing vocals. Most of the time there were eight people on stage, six of them were singing, and they were playing about 25 instruments between them. Bryan switched between guitars and keyboards, so did Chris. Angela, Anne-Marie and Chris moved around their multiple keyboards and other instruments in seemingly random combinations. Heather played guitar while Angela sang The Last Climb (or did I dream that bit?), Olivia came forward for a duet on Never the Rainbow, and so on... and all this moving of band members between different instruments, which I found distracting at the Astoria gig earlier this year, was so polished, so seamless, it was just beautiful in itself.

Everybody sounded great. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is the best line-up of Mostly Autumn ever. And I'm not going out on a limb when I say that Andrew Jennings is the drummer who belongs in Mostly Autumn. Welcome back!

The vocal arrangements are amazing, playing to all the strengths of this line-up. You've got to hear all the voices harmonizing on Dreaming or Mother Nature to appreciate it.

The arrangement of Pocket Watch is changed so much that it's almost a different song and sounds better than ever I think.

The call/response duet in Never the Rainbow has a new lease of life. I've said before that the format is getting bit tiresome, but this one had me sitting up and taking notice — is Olivia's vocal range actually getting wider? How is this possible?

And the performance of Broken reminds me why Heather is my favourite singer of all time. As if I needed reminding!

Honestly, this band is incredible. So good at what they do and so versatile. There isn't another band in the world that can do what this band does and I don't think there ever has been. It's almost too limiting to call them a rock band. What other band would play an encore of songs as diverse as Heroes Never Die followed by Broken followed by Which Wood? followed by Mother Nature/Echoes?

Oh, wibble. They played Which Wood?. Bryan said they put it in the set at the last minute as a surprise, and, well, that's so obviously because they found out that I was in the audience. (No, there's nothing you can say that will shake me from this belief!)

The most perfect thing ever.

Thank you.