Stables, Milton Keynes
Last Update: 03. oktober 2003
Arthur Lee Smiled at Me - 7 times 7 is….
Well, it was my birthday treat, see the first day of the tour in Milton Keynes, so we set off in the custard tart car on the 250 + miles. I was stitching beads onto my jacket for most of the journey - because it was such a good idea at the time to have the FC cover there, I started on December 11th and it was so nearly finished.
4 hours of road and freezing fog later we pulled into the stables - lucky "I'd been there once".
We walked in, saw Martyn in his south African flag bandana and he introduced us to Dave Housden and Chris - another treat, this was shaping up to be a good 7 x 7 birthday for me. He also had a copy of a photo I took in Newcastle of him with Arthur (I was rendered speechless at the time by the occasion).
Our seats were brilliant, sideways facing, true, but at Mike's side, and close to Gill which was another treat. The stage there was only about 2 feet high, and the venue is intimate, if formal. I reckon we were the closest people to Arthur most of the night and oh! me oh my, he smiled at me, the full on smile, and later a little one when I was gazing through a haze of tears. I couldn't cope, had to look away. Thought I was a bit old for being bowled over. I've often said it's a good thing I didn't see Arthur live when I was young because I would have been following him around for 37 years by now, now I know. "And the women down the line" springs to mind.
I saw the set list taped to the stage before the show and had to run back to Martyn and blubber "always see your face, listen to my song" he'd had an ear to the door at the rehearsal so he knew but tried to keep it a surprise. Glad to see most others have too. Opening with Your mind and we - a personal favourite, and including so many classics. I thought it would just be the album and that was why there was a support act. (PS they were fine, and will improve when they get over being overawed by proximity to Arthur (unlike me? Hmmmm)).
Oh dear, I really enjoyed the whole show. I think Arthur's on better form than ever - we have the smiling and joyful man. He was great in June, but somehow has continued to grow and hone his performances. Has he has extra singing lessons? The voice that we thought understandably stretched in June on Orange Skies now effortlessly delivers Old Man and Listen to my song (both seen through a total haze of tears, it was such an emotional night). Rusty did a grand job of holding the whole thing together, love him. Mike was just terrific, as was Chapple and Daddyo managed to convey warmth and humour from right back behind the drums(as well as brilliant drums I have to add, I really noticed them). The audience were a bit restrained but there were some nice humorous exchanges with Arthur. Requests escalated to "the whole of Da Capo" then "everything". Arthur said "we all want everything, but we can't have it".
Really, words fail me. You really have to take this one in yourselves - I
urge you to get to one of the shows. Must rank as the greatest birthday so far.
How many husbands would drive their wife on a 500 mile round trip to see Another
Man? (after 25 years, Though I did force him not to walk out in Manchester in
1975). He's still singing orange skies, me I'm on "always see your
Next up, Festival Hall, my (slightly late) Silver Wedding Treat (25 years with the first man I met who already had forever changes), and meeting Tina, my partner in playing Love albums in mono in our bedrooms, whom I haven't seen for about 25 years.
Keep on shining
I went to Arthur´s show at The Stables on Saturday night. First time I´ve seen him live since 1975, but have got some tapes/cdrs of shows from recent tours so knew he´s back on form. I wasn´t disappointed
This was really something special!! He played for TWO HOURS!! Several songs were played for the first time ever - Robert Montgomery, Always See Your Face (with trombone), Listen To My Song , as well as those Forever Changes songs that hadn´t been done before.
It started with just Arthur and Love and an amazing ´Your Mind And We...´. About five songs were played as a band before the strings and brass joined for the whole of ´Forever Changes´ . WOW - incredible. ´Old Man´ was absolutely mesmerizing, ´You Set The Scene´ was apocalyptic. For a few songs the strings couldn´t be heard over the band but for most of them it worked really well.
Then they came back for an encore, played some more songs and the band went off again but Arthur stayed and called them back. he seemed be having a great time, he was in fine voice and wanted to play some more. This extra encore included ´Always See Your Face´ - one of my all time favourites, so I had a huge grin on MY face - the band were joined by the trombone player for this, ... beautiful. He also tried ´Listen To My Song´ but his voice wasn´t really strong enough for those high notes and the whistling - it was a good attempt but maybe would have been better earlier on in the show. They finished with a staggering ´August´ and a long ´Singing Cowboy´ with everyone joining in the ´yoohoo´...
An incredible concert! Anyone going to see the other shows on the tour are in for a real treat.
I don´t have an exact setlist, but I think I remember everything that was played but not necessarily in the right order. Perhaps someone else has a better memory!
We didn't need to be told of course. We were in for a treat and we got one, in fact we got two. One with band and one with strings and horns.
Arthur and Love were in great spirits and with first time ever live performances of Robert Montgomery, Old Man, Listen To My Song, and, with trombone, Always See Your Face, well.. it was something else.
The string and horn ensemble performed the entire Forever Changes album after Arthur and the band loosened up with Your Mind and We, Orange Skies, She Comes In Colors, Little Red Book and Stephanie Knows Who. Being told that Signed DC would follow later, we knew that Forever Changes would be the meat of the sandwich with more band numbers to close off.
The eight piece ensemble were note perfect adding depth and real majesty to the songs. Rusty's acoustic guitar playing and his direction of the ensemble were exemplary. Mike's guitar playing (with new added effects by the sound of it) especially on Clark and Hilldale echoing the horns was magical.
There were many highlights. The sublime Old Man, Andmoreagain, You Set The Scene of course and The Daily Planet seemed stronger than ever.
The last half hour/forty minutes was band alone with stunning and rigorous versions of classic Love. 7&7 Is, Signed DC, My Flash On You, Everybody's Gotta Live, August, played with intensity and delight. Arthur was in playful mood (he gave Mike a nice push from behind during his Instant Karma solo), and saying he would even pay to see this show. When he started to chat he remembered that he shouldn't, but he was in good spirits throughout, answering an audience request to see what was on his t shirt, but ignoring a request to play Laughing Stock! (nice idea though!).
The chance to see Always See Your Face was good enough, but with the added trombone the song was suddenly on another level. Bjorn Samuelsson (no relation!!) from Sweden played it impeccably.
For Listen To My Song, Arthur had to stamp a bit to get the timing and rhythm right but with the ensemble back, it worked, even the Roger Whitaker whistling bit!
A horn enhanced Singing Cowboy was the final treat, stupendous playing and a realisation from Arthur that he stole the maraca intro from Jingle Bells!
The crowd loved it and was noisier than the audience at the same venue in June 2002. The band are now more confident and Arthur is singing and looking better than ever.
There were a couple of amp gremlins and a few words that got forgotten but that's being picky. This was the first show afterall and it was astonishing. In the next few weeks, this band is going to perform the best shows anyone has ever seen in their lives and that's a fact.
Now what about hearing Nothing, I'm With You and Dream with this band? A Four Sail tour with strings and horns for a 35th anniversary next year??