Scala, London
UK, March 31. 2003

Last Update: 13. oktober 2003

7&7 Is
Andmoreagain
Your Mind And We Belong Together
Signed Dc
My Little Red Book
Orange Skies
Bummer In The Summer
You Set The Scene
Old Man
A House Is Not A Motel
Everybody's Gotta Live
August
Alone Again Or
My Flash On You
Robert Montgomery
The Good Humor Man
Red Telephone
Singing Cowboy
.
Daily Planet
Between Clark And Hilldale

 

Wow - what a day! Having spent two days in bed with a gastric bug (and not eaten), I awoke feeling worse than ever. I felt certain I would have to cancel, and was on the verge of selling my ticket, when I suddenly went through a miraculous transformation (ah, the power of Love!). I met David and Chrissie Housden at Kings X, as arranged, in the early evening, to give them the tickets that I had purchased on their behalf. Since Chrissie was in a process of recuperation herself, special seating had been pre-arranged for them, in the balcony. Fortunately, I persuaded the manager of La Scala to let me sit with them (normally, I would have been down there at the front). We climbed numerous steps to get to the top (which gave added meaning to the word andmoreagain") and it turned out to be the stairway to heaven!
We sat at the front of the balcony, looking down onto the stage. When Lovecame on (just after 9.30 pm) Arthur took to the stage holding a small girl by the hand. He was dressed in a dark cowboy shirt with red roses, and the customary wide-brimmed hat, head-tie and shades. The band kicked off with Seven and Seven Is, and then Andmoreagain, which set the scene, and let us know that we weren't going to hear Forever Changes in sequence. Some non-musical highlights of the gig were Arthur throwing his tambourine into the audience and retrieving it, and his accepting the bunch of red roses from a lady in the audience. Some things I noticed musically were Rusty's contribution to vocals; and Mike's guitar work in Signed DC. It was brave to hear Arthur attempt Old Man without the orchestra, but though it was maybe not the best he's sung it, I heard some of the words clearer then ever. I'm not one to scribble down set-lists, but there was not much that we didn't get (okay, we missed Live and Let Live, Stephanie, Always See Your Face and Listen to My Song). There was no Anthem this time, either. Bummer in the Summer, My Flash on You, and Your Mind and We were as powerful as ever. Arthur's improvised vocals in Alone Again Or (replacing the trumpet solo) worked very well. Okay, no real surprises, but I've seen the band seven times now since Arthur's return, and it just gets better and better. The various permutations of this set never lose their power to uplift and excite me. Dave and Chrissie had to leave before the two encores to catch a train. Towards the end of the show, Arthur commented that there was a lot of bullshit going on in the world right now, and that his message to us all was "Love One Another". After the gig, I made my way downstairs, and saw their friend Mike on the way out. Down by the stage, several people were still hanging out, including Robbie Brooke-Howard (Caledonian Road's answer to the beat poets!). Unusually, Mike Randle, Dave Chapple and Rusty Squeezebox were all standing around, and I was able to have short chats with all of them. And then (surprise of all surprises!) Mr. Lee himself appeared onstage...looking extremely elegant, and the epitome of cool in a dark hat and coat, wearing shades, and with a white scarf tied vertically round his head. I edged in apprehensively...I could not risk the culmination of a life-times devotion being crushed in an instant (as it once was by Bob Dylan!). Arthur seemed in good spirits..."Has anyone got a bottle of wine?" he said cheerfully. Whipping out my original Forever Changes cover (which some sixth sense had told me to bring with me), I said "Arthur - if you sign this for me, I'll buy you a bottle of wine!". "Okay, are you gonna buy it first?" he quipped. "Yeah, sure I said...where's the bar?". "Oh never mind", he replied and proceeded to personally sign my album. I felt that Arthur had a very gentle and almost mystical presence. As he walked away, I said "Hey man, I really want to buy you that bottle of wine" and he said "Aw...only kidding!". "Next time!", I replied". So I returned down the Cally, a happy man, and (quoting the other guy) "danced beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free".

Love on earth must be! John E