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Mostly Autumn

Tyne Theatre, Newcastle

17 May 2008

The Tyne Theatre had a lot of empty seats but was still more full than the last time Mostly Autumn played here four years ago. And I know a lot of people (including, I think, some band members) dislike seated venues, but personally I'm quite happy to sit and just quietly absorb the music without worrying whether my knees are going to give out tomorrow. Having said that, the audience did seem very subdued, the band taking the stage to almost complete silence (though I wonder if people were confused by what seemed like mis-cued entrance music). But I honestly don't think anybody could have gone away disappointed by the show.

How good was it? Good enough for me to start considering plans for getting to Edinburgh before I'd even left the theatre!

Anyway, this isn't a review, just some random observations:

Henry Bourne is a tremendously powerful drummer and a great addition to the band.

Heather sings better and better every year. Above the Blue might be the best thing I've ever heard her sing.

Olivia's voice is (as usual) absolutely phenomenal. The call/response at the end of Never the Rainbow was the most impressive yet. And I can only assume it was Olivia doing the ridiculously high line at the end of Simple Ways...

Simple Ways... I haven't heard this since the V shows I think; it was a highlight then and it's still a highlight now.

Anne Marie's flute was generally too low in the mix, but that might have been because I was sitting on the wrong side of the stage.

It's two years since Iain Jennings left the band and I can honestly say I didn't miss him — the band adapted magnificently and Chris Johnson's contributions for the last two years have been fantastic. But... but... it sounded so good to hear Iain back again. You can hear the difference and he just sounds right up there. I hope Breathing Space continues for many years to come, but I'm still glad he took the time out to make these guest appearances. Hmmm... I suspect the rest of Mostly Autumn agrees, as he got the most name-checks on stage and they put Distant Train and Spirit of Autumn Past Part 1 in the set to showcase him. I'm never going to complain about a chance to hear those two again.

I'm not going to say anything about Liam, hiding in his old spot at the back as if he'd never left it, because he always gives the impression he wouldn't want a fuss being made. He just unobtrusively gets on with being supremely competent and generally essential. As always.

And a set list, not necessarily in the correct order:
Fading Colours
Caught in a Fold
Flowers for Guns
Unoriginal Sin
Another Life
Distant Train
Simple Ways
The Spirit of Autumn Past (Parts 1 and 2)
The Second Hand
Tearing at the Faerytale
Nowhere to Hide
Broken Glass
Never the Rainbow
Pocket Watch
Carpe Diem
Encores: Above the Blue, Heroes Never Die