Well it was a religious experience, sort of, until Nick got to the stage. You never know what the tone of a JS show will be, but it soon unfolds.
Before the show Pam & Walt Pinto & Olivia Hodges were in the back patio of The Turf just outside the french doors to the room with the stage. They're looking skyward and talking something about a religious experience. The opening act was Steve Butler from Lies, Damn Lies, is an Episcopalian priest. John takes the stage and a technician kneels down at the foot of the stage to check some wires and John says, "You can't worship here." And the underlying reinforcement to all of this was the silence during the songs. A more reverent audience I have never heard. People came from miles around...
The True Believers on this island were in their glory. But by the second set when Nick joined John & Buffy it turned into family feud over just who was supposed to sing which verse of 'Where Have All the Flowers Gone.... Go figure.
What a trip,
California Roadman, California, USA
I can't say how much I have enjoyed this weekend. I arrived at the Redburn and accosted the first person I saw - luckily a shirt wearing Walt (cheers Shirt Guy) and was completely bowled over by every one.
I have to say a special thanks to Walt, Pam, Julie & John, Mark, Dan (mushy peas) and Olivia for all their lifts to and from meals and shows without them I would have been stranded quite literally. Thanks also to Ray for the lift to Preston (cool music).
The meals and Bloodlines gatherings were matched only by the shows themselves. We had The "Bloodnotes" CD on in the Bar in the Redburn, "Gold" on in the Dalry Inn. And this morning Dan brought his laptop to breakfast so we could listen to Buster!
I was lucky enough to sit next to people who had never seen John before; Pete (with the beautiful voice) and Ed; it was great to share this with them. I met Helen from Leeds, Eric and Joan, Tony, Bite My Foot Bob, Roadman and I can still see some people who's names I have forgotten - sorry.
John rocked, I haven't seen him better. There were more highlights for me than I can possibly type AND he sang 'Freeway Pleasure' for me AND I met Buffy. What more can I say.
Its just like Julie and Roadman have said - it's this feeling that there is nowhere else in the world that you would rather be than right here, right now. I have had a whole weekend of it.
Thanks for the hugs John!
Gillian Walker, Oxford, England
As no Bloodliner was in a fit state to write a set list (no, not booze just mesmerisation), we had to crib this from Helen from Leeds (they are very practical those Yorkshire girls!)
First set : Reasons to Rise, Hand your Heart to the Wind, Ticket to the Stars, Little Road and a Stone to Roll, Long Train of Dreams, Heart of a Kid, Cowboy in the Distance, Irresistible Targets, High Flying Eagle, Walk on the Moon, (Enter Buffy) Sweet Dreams Will Come, Don’t it Mmake you Want to Go Home, Bringing Down the Moon, The Eyes of Sweet Virginia, Fields Where Angels Dance, Wilderness
Second set : The Times They Are a
Changing, Always Young,
(Enter Buffy and Nick) MTA, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Santy Anno/Coal Tattoo, Josie, Hobo’s Lullaby, Reuben James, Star in the Black Sky Shining (John solo), Runaway Train (John solo), Escape of Old John Webb, Wimoweh, Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Buffy solo – encore)
Julie Middleton (Dreamgirl), Bristol, England
Dalry - Night One
This starts with apologies as I'm down to typing with three fingers. After two gig-less years I've hurt my hands clapping - seriously.
No-one who knows Scotland would be surprised to know that for the first Stewart Scotland gig of 2000 in early May the sun was splitting the trees. (Anyone who does know Scotland can ignore the preceding lie and not tell anyone else. Of course the weather is always like this. Come more often, tell your friends. [(c) Scottish Tourist Board]) It was warm and everyone was in t-shirts (including a Bad Rats one I spotted at the back). Being, without doubt, the Bloodliner closest to Dalry I was therefore, again without doubt, the latest one there. This did have its pluses as the reserved signs on the front row seats had been taken off just as I got there. I therefore ended up being a front-row dancer for the expenditure of zero effort. (Don't tell Bob, Mark, Howard, Dan or Olivia this as they're still wondering how I managed to get Andy Fergus to keep me a seat...)
First stop was the CD stall. £84 ($150) just like that. Thank goodness my wife doesn't read this group. By the way, for all you people in America who can't actually get Buster I just have to say that it is excellent and stands up there with anything John's ever done. I haven't heard it yet but I don't think I'll be proven wrong... :-)
Next up was the opening act. Steve ???? from Lies, Damned Lies played for 45 minutes. Very good he was too, as singing priests go, but to be honest I was a touch impatient for the main act. Ten minute break and, at about 9:30 we were on.
At this point I have to remind everyone that I love AB as much as anyone because the following may sound just a bit harsh. Let's just say that the combination of sunglasses, aviator glasses strung around his neck, bandana, denim shirt, the worst red braces this side of _Wall Street_, cargo pants and luminous trainers with those curly laces effected by 16 year olds trying to act cool all topped off, literally, by the home made haircut was, errr, strinking. I've just made up that word but I'm sure you get the idea.
Definitely not strinking was the music. Playing the Taylor strung the same way as in Ireland and with the banjo in the background John launched into a great set. No set lists from me I'm afraid, I was too busy wallowing in the music. Some songs from John solo before Buffy came on looking great. She still seems a little unsteady on her feet but when she sings she blows the socks off of mine. It was the first time I'd seen Buffy live (she wasn't well enough last time round) and I was amazed. All that depth, range and volume in one tiny package.
All too soon the first set was over with John leaving promising a surprise - wonder what that could be. Second half started with a couple of songs by John himself (I think!) before Buffy and Nick joined him on stage to the amazement of some of the people there. The rapport these guys have onstage is amazing. A great set followed covering traditional, Trio and Stewart stuff. One of John's new songs brought a lump to my throat. Don't know the name but I'm assured that it is available on Buster so I'll find out which one.
Just before midnight Buffy ended the gig with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". A great end to a great night.
A couple of vignettes that I wouldn't like to forget-
AB - Want to tell them about this song, honey?
AR - It's called (oops - I've forgotten already!)
AB - Once you get started you just go on and on don't you.
AB - This song's called Coal Tattoo. Want to tell them about it honey?
AR - Errr. Errr. We're going to sing it for you now.
During "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" they got mixed up with who was doing what verse. A full scale domestic raged (including Nick) that I swear lasted longer than the song as they tried to work out who was the girl, the man, and the soldier. Every single person in the place was in hysterics.
Apologies for the dis-jointed nature of the report. After I got home my daughter (who is 14 months) decided that sleeping was not for her so I've had approximately two hours sleep. Whoe cares. I'll keep going on adrenalin.
Tony Gurney, Scotland
Oh boy, where do i Start ?
3 varied & full nights at the Turf, friendships resumed where they left off last time (the left hand corner of Fergus' bar, mostly), new friends, drunken plans that seem sensible in the next days' headaches, and of course John, Buffy and old Nick (Reynolds, not the guy in red tights).
First a Music report, then the social scene later so you can skip it if you want to.
Steve Butler (of Lies Damned Lies fame) opened on all 3 nights and was really good - songs of great beauty & spirituality, mainly of his own device, but with the odd Jackson Browne cover thrown in - He really set the scene nicely, good booking Andy !
Thursday - Several Senior Moments.
Well, I went with good intentions of keeping a set list, but then John opened with Reasons to Rise & I was lost in the moment. Sorry. (I hear that the Foundry Foreman (UK Branch) has the list from 'Helen-from-Leeds', & will be posting it when he's got over his Easyjet lag). Highlight of the first set - Buffy joining John, and the beautiful blend of voices & emotions (hey I was in the front row), playing off each other and weaving a magic web between the Stewarts and their audience.
It occurred to me that John was playing 8 guitar strings and some hunded sets of heartstrings...
After the Interval John opened with 'The Times They are-a Changin' with his voice turned up to 11 on the volume control. A couple more, then on came Nick Reynolds, and a great set of songs once performed by the Trio, some by Darwin's Army, and 'Chilly Winds.'
John was in the best voice I've heard him in live or recorded for ages - He seems to have recovered a lot of his old range & power since he last came over - For those of you who weren't at Dalry last time (April 98).
Compare & contrast the WUMB set (Boy, those East Coast FM Stations sure reach a long way) with some forthcoming spins from Bob the Footman. When he's better.
A great night.
Social fans read on..........
Nice to have you back. The staff of the Phoenix Cafe (a fish & chip emporium) were confused by a sudden rush of tourists - Dan & Olivia Hodges, Walt & Pam Pinto from the States, and another eight or ten Bloodliners, including 4 new ones WHO'D NEVER SEEN JOHN BEFORE ("I've waited 30 years to see him live, I nearly didn't come in case I was disappointed")
Welcome to the Citroen Twins, Pete L, and Gill the wrong Dalry (don't ask)
The meal was enlivened by the introduction of Mr Hodges to a British delicacy - mushy peas - a suspicious green gloop containing traces of legumes. He had seconds and a brief flirtation with the idea of photographing all the married ladies outside so we could have a record of "The Phoenix Consorts".
Then over to the Turf, to meet Roadman and his miniature audio-visual labortatory, Helen, all the unusual suspects, Fergus grinning like a lunatic, (his favourite music - Till bells - was playing) and great anticipation. At this stage, it must be revealed that Mr Elliot commenced his great quest. (There's a shelf at the back of the bar with numerous malt whiskies - starting from the left, Bob's aim was to sample one of each.
And afterwards, all back to the hotels with a song in our hearts and several more on Mr Stewart's DAT machine. And the prospect of video recording on the morrow.
Ray Butler, Manchester, England
"Have a Gorilla" (for those of you who want to know, this is a rare transatlantic cultural reference used by one Mr Stewart to describe his days in the Trio - "Like the Goon Show with banjos."
To get a flavour of this, visit http://www.comedyzone.beeb.com/goonshow/
I was a little better together so actually kept a set list, and even better I can read it, so....
Keeper of the Flame, Strange Rivers, July You're a Woman, Waltz of the Crazy Moon (you guys will LOVE this song), Meteor Man (also from Buster - you'll love it too), A Walk on the Moon, Long Train of Dreams, Reasons to Rise, Cowboy in the Distance (false alarm for Buffy's Entrance - non-verbal communication from Mr Fergus), High Flying Eagle, (the real and triumphant entry of Ms Ford Stewart to rapturous applause) Dreamers on the Rise (this tore me up - the way they sing it to each other made me feel like I was intruding into their lives - major tingles down the neck here), Across the Milky Way (Buffy), Long Train of Dreams (2 takes for the video but it's a great enough song to stand repetition), Bringing Down the Moon, American Way (a fast arrangement )
Intermission and emotional recovery
The Field Where the Angels Dance, Hearts & Dreams on the Line (introducing.....Buffy again & Nick Reynolds - uproar and wild applause), MTA, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Santy Anno/Coal Tattoo, Chilly Winds, Hobo's Lullaby (2 and a half times due to misbehaving banjo & then misbehaving tenor ukelele), Reuben James, Wimoweh, Take Her Out of Pity, No More Cane on the Brazos, (wild Applause, solo for taxi by Mr & Mrs Reynolds)
Encore : Kansas (ome tears in front of me and some mist in my eyes).
All in all 12 out of ten, despite the intrusive videoing - Coming to a VHS foundry near Dalry soon, says Mr Fergus. I guess the end of May would be a good time to start lobbying, but we'll hear it on Bloodlines before it happens I've no doubt.
I won't ramble on - Roadman's given the colour already - But it was even better than Thursday.
OK, that's the music.
Tales of Derring-do among the Bloodliners...
Bob's Quest continues.
Certain parties prepare a gift for mr Hodges.....
A dozen Bloodliners assemble for dinner at the Croft (only a short stagger from the Turf). Welcome Ed (Bloodliner from London). A gift is presented to Mr Hodges (a can of mushy peas, and a brew your own mushy peas kit - just add water to dried peas, soak for ever, then boil to death. A Week's work - sort of like hundred year old eggs. Dan will no doubt give us his gourmet opinion in a later posting if he ever recovers from them). Mushy peas became the saying of the week
And Gill from Oxford is offered a lift partway home to save complex railroad journies (hell, i was just going down the store for some mushy peas, but I'll drive you to Preston...").
Oh, and Pete from Stoke got a hug from Buffy. He floated back to the hotel.
Ray Butler, Manchester, England
It's Saturday morning at breakfast at the Dalry Inn and Bob Elliott has just come into the dining room and confessed that he awakened and found that he has forgotten the words to Hobo's Lullaby!!! Now considering the reverence with which Nick holds this song Bob is bordering on the sacrilegious. And besides, he sure should have memorized it after the three takes they did last night to get it right for the video.
Oh, the video? Andy hired a professional video crew to film the show and video tapes will be available soon.
California Roadman, CA, USA
I'm surprised I can remember anything about the shows after the amount of whisky I drunk. However, it wasn't my own doing. Dan (Mr Mushy) Hodges had to hold me down while Walt Pinto forced the stuff down my throat.
What can I say? Three great days up in the little Scottish town of Dalry and some great weather, for a change. Pete Lavick picked me up on the East Lancs Road (the Scouse equivalent of Route 66) for a leisurely drive up to bonnie Scotland.
Arrived at the Dalry Inn mid afternoon (Thursday) to be greeted by Bloodliners Chris Tucker and Sue, who were also staying there.
A quick forty winks then up to the Phoenix Cafe for a gourmet dinner of fish, chips and mushy peas with Chris and Sue, Pete, Ray Butler, Mark Austin, John and Julie Middleton, Gill Walker, Walt and Pam Pinto and Dan and Olivia Hodges.
Straight over to The Turf to find Helen Woodhead and Alison Elliott had once again got in line first. Fergus was running around like a demented chicken but generously bought all Bloodliners a drink of their choice. On second thoughts, I must have dreamt that.
Once inside the concert room, met Tony Gurney, Roadman and Carla and was approached by a guy in a "Bad Rats" T shirt who turned out to be Willie Knapp from Northern California. Would've liked to have spoken more with him but the show was about to start. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the guy from Coventry (Jim Mason) with Bloodliner, Martin Lloyd. Jim bought one of John's guitars in a recent Internet auction and was due to pick it up the following night.
As for the show itself - John was as good as ever and was joined by Buffy (radiant as ever) about half way through the first set. Loved hearing some of the new songs for the first time. Nick Reynolds joined them for the second set and sang some Kingston Trio favourites including 'Hobo's Lullaby.' Nick looked a little tired but I managed to have a brief chat with him and his wife, Leslie, in the bar after the show.
More drinks with the Liners in the bar then back to the Dalry Inn to hit the land of nod. Thanks for the lift back, Roadman and Carla.
The Friday night pre show get together was at the Croft Hotel. This time the previous night's Bloodliners were joined by Bloodliner Ed Hoare.
Another great gig but, this time, the video cameras were there. A couple of songs were repeated to get it right for the cameras. 'Hobo's Lullaby' has now become one of my favourite songs (thanks for the lyrics, Ron). This time, Nick abruptly left the stage as he had a taxi waiting outside.
The Saturday night pre show dinner was at the Dalry Inn and this time we were joined by Huw Lewis and Eric Johansen and his wife Joan. Got presented with my foot then on to The Turf for John's final show.
This was the best of the three with John, Buffy and Nick looking more relaxed than Friday night. Again, Nick abrubtly left for his cab in the second set. John received a standing ovation and came back to do a second encore of Strange Alliance, Friend of Jesus and Ticket To the Stars.
Bumped into Bloodliner Leith Stewart during the interval and got to chat briefly with John and Buffy after the show.
The highlights are too many to mention but include the new version of 'American Way' (which is really the original version), 'Freeway Pleasure', 'Kansas' and getting together with a great bunch of Bloodliners.
I'd like to extend special thanks to Steve Butler (the support act), Duro Crouch (who manned the CD stall) and, the old skinflint himself, Andy Fergus for once again booking John and keeping things running smoothly.
Special thanks to Pete Lavick for giving me a lift up to Dalry.
I chose the wrong week to quit drinking.
Bob Elliot, Liverpool, England
The UK Bloodliner meet and greet started at 4.00 p.m. (Saturday) in the Dalry Inn. We had JS accompaniment when the bar staff were persuaded to put on some CD's - including Liner Notes. Eventually, when most people had arrived, we sat down to eat at about 5.15. One or two others came in later and by the time we left at 7.15 we had [including "friends and front row dancers"]: Walt and Pam Pinto, "Mushy Peas" and Olivia Hodges [you will have to ask them about it], Howard the Roadman, Summer Child Carla, Mark Austin, Ed Hoare, Huw Lewis, Bob Elliott, Desert Pete, Julie and John Middleton, Jim [potential new Bloodliner and fan since the 70's], Gillian [John's youngest fan?], Ray Butler, Graham Livingstone and his friend Neil [from Fairoaks Entertainments who Bob has put us onto as a good source of USA CD's] and Helen from Leeds with two friends [sorry I did not get their names]. Oh! and me and Joan of course. Apologies if I missed or misspelt anyone.
Only two things of note apart from the general bonhommie and JS discussions were that Graham had been asked to arrange a work permit for John for the BBC - but in the end it was not needed as the Jools Holland sessions did not come off. Also Mark Austin deserves a pat on the back for copying and handing out a large number of cd's of the Boston radio concert and Liner Notes for the Buffy Fund - as he passed them around we all threw money into Rays beer glass [it was clean and empty].
Then on to the gig.
Steve Butler did a great [if melancholic] set of 6 or 7 songs. Then John came on - no video tonight so from the waist up he was relatively conservatively dressed - no hat, or goggles and a plain black jacket. He started with Johnny Flamingo then Wind dies down then Johnny Dreams after that - forget it - I was too mesmerised to remember. This was even better than Kilkenny. The guitar [down to 8 strings] was crisp and no tuning problems [he saved them for the banjo later]. The songs were great and the voice perfecto - he seemed really relaxed. Two songs I can remember - he sang Freeway Pleasure "for Gill" [sorry to embarrass Gillian but I looked across at her and saw a few tears at the end]. After Buffy had joined him they finished with an up tempo "The American Way" which was great. There was some humour but no belly laughs - Just great music.
There was an intermission when Andy Fergus Enterprises shifted another boatload of stuff [sorry I did not pick up any spare Busters as I ran out of readies buying more stuff I hadn't got - he needs to do credit cards]. Then John came back with Buffy and Nick and did a similar rousing set to those I had seen in Kilkenny - with Nick saying at one point "I have had to listen to banjo tuning for 44 years- enough already" and John stopping a song at one point to check if Nick was playing the same key as him [he was]. Then John finished off as mentioned in Roadman's post. [About midnight] We hung around and John worked his socks off making sure everyone who wanted to got their stuff signed or got pictures [more tears from one or two people]. Then eventually the bar staff forced Andy to kick us all out [about 1.10 I think].
"It was a magic time".
Many thanks to Mark for setting up the dinner and to everyone we met for a great time.
'Til the next time.
Eric Johanssen, UK
Mr Fergus, thinking that repetition of his cabaret turn was tending to pall on the assembled three-nighters varied his set by omitting "No Flash photography & no videos" from his announcement of rules. Steve butler played again, and repetition didn't blunt the poignant, reflective songs one bit - Really good, Steve.
Well, if Thursday was settling in, Friday was video, Saturday was fun to the max - The turf was crowded and really buzzing, John was well in voice and (as Roadman & others have already posted) feeling really good.
Tonight was around 20 on a scale of 10.
Johnny Flamingo (almost spoken at the start), Wind Dies Down, Who Stole the Soul of Johnny Dreams (with a wonderfully scurrilous new verse about watching Warren Beaty losing his hair), Always Young, Cowboy in the Distance, High Flying Eagle, Freeway Pleasure (MAJOR tingles here), A Walk on the Moon, Reasons to Rise, (Enter Buffy, to rapturous applause) Dreamers on the Rise, Don't it Make You Want to Go Home, Dilly Monkeys, Fire in the Wind, American Way
Hand Your Heart to the Wind (memo to self - specify that when I die, this is to be played at the funeral), Waltz of the Crazy Moon, (enter non-surprise guests Buffy & Nick) MTA, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Santy Anno/Coal Tattoo (John turned his voice up to 11/10 for this; WONDERFUL), Highland Laddie (the sea chanty "Donkey Riding" with a Scottish tinge take her out of pity), Chilly Winds, Rueben James, Wimoweh, (exit Buffy & Nick)
Mr Stewart "Gosh, those trio years - nothing but laughs and a lota shirts"
Times They are a Changing, I Remember America, Mother Country (exit John, huge standing ovation, and a proper slow handclap demanding of an encore with menaces from the audience)
John comes back...
Strange Alliance/Friend of Jesus/Ticket to the Stars
Exit again, huge ovation, but no more.
Julie's already told the tale, but I confess to tearing up myself several times
In summary -
Best moments - Buffy's Solo 'Over the Rainbow' on Thursday night; John opening with 'Reasons to Rise on Thursday; Kansas; all the tingle moments; all of Saturday without reservation; meeting Buffy (everything you've ever read is true - definitely an earthbound Angel).
Ok, that's the music.
Bloodliner behaviour report follows.......
25 for dinner at the Dalry inn - in 3 shifts. Mr Elliot was presented with a candy foot (To Bite). The assembled party held an improptu bring and buy for the Buffy fund (Mark brought Liner Notes and some stuff & the rest of us bought them - raised a little something to keep the hospital bill collectors at bay). This was presented to John in an envelope (doing a Hamilton as it's known over here) with the words "We raised this from 'Liner Notes & stuff you don't want to know about." And Did Bob reach the right hand side of the malt shelf ? Alas, no - Fergus shut the bar. Better luck next time Bob.
Come back soon John & Buffy.
Ray Butler, Manchester, England
Roadman is right. And it is very hard to find the words to describe how it felt to be there. All I can say is that when John started on the first few notes to 'Ticket to the Stars' I began to feel my bottom lip tremble and then the tears began to pour and they just would not stop. It just made me realise how connected John’s songs are to our emotions. I mean they have been there with me all through my whole life. Through every heartbreak, through every rotten time, they have been constant, they reflect how I feel about life, they encompass my dreams, they are me.
When Olivia realised how emotional I was she took me into to garden and ran off to the bar for a stiff pick me up. Jim Powell (kindred spirit and soon to be fellow Bloodliner) was already there, totally lost for words and taking deep breaths. He took one look at me and said, "I am with you all the way." That was just one of those moments when you feel in total connection with another person. Gillian came out and the feeling of empathy was enormous and Ed too. Ed who does not give away a single emotion but you know he feels it. I let it out for him. Olivia back with stiff drink said "I’m envious, I wish someone’s music could move me in the same way". I said "No offence Olivia, but if you haven’t got it yet you never will!"
But she does have her function! She was determined that John should see how moved I was. She took me (in my fragile state) and Summer Child (who was equally moved but not as transparent) by the hand to talk to John. We were the three Graces! It was quite funny really. When I told him how tearful I had become he said, "Oh dear, was I playing out of tune?" I tried to explain how much his songs have meant to me over the past 30 years. That when everybody and everything has let me down, they have been there for me, and he said "Well that’s what they are there for." How true is that!
There are many more stories to tell. But for now I would just like to say what a total privilege it was to spend 3 days of my life hearing John perform in the company of such wonderful, genuine, and unpretentious people. Thank you each and every one of you – Dan (mushy peas) Hodges, Mark, Bob (Bite my Foot) Elliot, Ray, Desert Pete, Jim, Ed, Gillian, Eric, Joan, Walt, Pam, Chris, Sue, Tony, Huw, Roadman, Summer Child and Olivia (you may not get it but I do love you madly) Hodges.
Julie (Dreamgirl) Middleton, Bristol, England
There are moments in life when the simplest actions can be the most rewarding. This was certainly true on Saturday night, when we walked the Kibirnie Road to see an 'American singer/songwriter.' On entering central Dalry, it is not too hard to find the Turf Inn, up an assuming little side street. Not the place you'd expect to see an American icon or three but perfect for this very reason.
There are two main rooms at the Turf. Upon entering, you see a bar to your left and a pool table to your right. Keep walking straight down a hall and you will enter the back room. A second bar is behind your left shoulder, while straight ahead of you is a door to the small beer garden. Look to your right and you will see the stage, with John's famous painting as the backdrop. I heard many interesting theories about this painting from Eric and co, which added an extra dimension to the evening. Legal reasons refrain me from elaborating here.
Pete Lavick, the perfect host, found us seats and we were enveloped into an evening of bliss. After Steve's very candid set on keyboard and some guitar, the Turf erupted as JS took centre stage. How did JS know that 'Johnny Flamingo And The Blue Dream Road' was my favourite song of the nineties? It had been like a farewell gift when I had seen him in London and here he was welcoming us back with that very song. The chorus came alive as John offered us his words of sheer beauty. Sublime!
Buffy joined JS on-stage into the first set, further enhancing the intimate atmosphere of the Turf. Their banter and craftsmanship was a joy to behold. Among the many highlights was a version of "Don't It Make You Wanna Go Home.' It was reminiscent of another hero of mine, Gene Clark's duet with Carla Olson on the 1990 live recording. I'm one of those fans who began their Stewart odyssey through John's solo work. It is only this year that I have found the delights of the Kingston Trio, through the EP collection. Yet, ironically, I was completely blown away when Nick Reynolds joined Buffy and John on-stage for the second set. 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone' knocked me out. It was like watching history: not of the past but a relative/live history and these three greats were not basking in past glories, which they had every right to do. There was an urgency and vibrancy in their voices, which was inspiring. Their humour and honesty was there for all to see. It was an almost tangible vibe, from Nick's mischievous, smiling eyes to Buffy and John's banter, to a place in my heart which will always be there.
John's concert finished as it had began: the lone troubadour, centre stage. Except he was not alone at all. The whole audience was enraptured as 'Strange Alliance' segued into 'Friend of Jesus' and in turn to 'Ticket To The Stars'. What more appropriate song to finish on?! For we all had ridden that ticket and sailed the starry night.
The informal atmosphere continued as Angel Bravo indulged our spirits well past midnight and waited for us to converse with him. CDs, books, posters, cameras, grown men and women et al. held for him to sign, smile and sketch. The measure of the man is that while he has an extraordinary talent, he comes across with no pretensions or grand ego. This applies to Buffy too. My friend, Katrina really appreciates her new copy of 'Buster'. Thanks John!
12.45 AM seemed a good time to leave the Turf, since that gent, Mr Fergus, was asking us to leave. There was just time to talk to Dan and Olivia and say our cherios. Kilbernie Road and divine thoughts of the grand day beckoned. I was still off in those stars, when I was rescued by the Roadman and Summer Child's kind offer of a lift in their car. With Bob and Ed also in the car and 'Blondes' on the stereo, we headed back to the Dalry Inn.
Next day, I walked that road one more time, just a few hours since the concert had ended. Yet as I passed the Turf Inn, I realised this trip would never end for my heart skipped to the dance of the music of Nick, Buffy and John.
Saturday in Dalry was a day of dreams. The thought of the principals (JS,B &N) and supporting players (Bloodliners and other friends) carried me to the stars, as my train broke down on my return journey, south of Glasgow. For the curious, there was a technical fault in the back engine, slowing down the front engine, allegedly. I was not too despondent, though, because I didn't want to leave delightful Dalry and the many people who made it so special.
Huw Lewis, Welsh Wales
Again the man amazes - 3 nights of quite different shows and all of them excellent. However if I have to declare a preference the highlight has to be the Thursday event when I witnessed Nick in person for the first time. The Nick, Buffy, John Trio were simply sensational. The chemistry was almost tangible and I swear John took on a different persona when he strapped on the Vega and swung into the KT songs (possibly by doing some of the old Dave and Bob solos and harmonies). He was obviously enjoying himself and picking in great style. Nick was in great form (all things considered) and his wise cracks and overall great sense of fun transported me back to "The Hungry I," "College Concert," "Back in Town" and "Once Upon a Time." Buffy was in magnificent voice and I doubt if there was a dry eye in room when she sang 'Years in the Wilderness' and 'Over the Rainbow,' and I am sure that I echo everyone's best wishes for her.
The new songs are just great and I've been playing Buster non stop. I have been especially knocked out by 'Walk on the Moon,' which John taught us all to sing - it has a marvellous hook and 'HIT' written all over it. What it needs is a lot of exposure and I can't help thinking it would be perfect for Springsteen in his more reflective style, a la 'Tom Joad'.
Overall another time of magic at the Turf. Well done Andy Fergus!! Here's to the next time and when will the video be ready?
Tom Craig, Motherwell, Scotland
When John introduced 'Walk on the Moon' during the Saturday night show in Dalry he explained that the song is about how some of our dreams may never come true. He then added that as we do fulfill our dreams we must continue to dream and replace those fulfilled dreams with new ones. Well, I'm in the market for some new dreams today. I can't help but feel that my last two weeks qualifies as at least part of my "Walk on the Moon". I could have easily said before leaving that - I still dream that I will visit far off lands, meet and share times with old friends, and hear wonderful music from great bands. OK, enough - I'm not the writer here - but the message is that this was a "Dream Trip".
Five John Stewart shows, two wonderful countries, renewal of friendships from past trips and many new friendships made! All that without even mentioning the great weather, the beautiful castles, the Guinness Brewery Tour and the great Mushy Peas. All the previous posters have done an outstanding job of letting you know just what went on and how outstanding the shows were - it's a hard act to follow. I will try to share some of my personal observations along the way.
John's voice - I am glad to read that he agrees with me - it is really on. I don't think I have ever heard him better! Range, clarity, all aspects - simply outstanding and it seemed to be getting better each night. It was also very noticeable that he was at ease and having a good time - great to see that.
John and Nick together = pure magic. When the two are on the stage together you can't help but see and feel the energy.
Buffy = a true Angel - she looks and sounds just magnificent. Buffy with Nick and John forms the best Trio I have seen in at least 33 years. The Trio songs really took me back to wonderful thoughts of long ago - but the songs are just as alive today as they were then - 'Flowers,' 'Chilly Winds,' 'Coal Tattoo' and how great is it to hear 'Wimoweh' - so fresh?
Bloodliners - what can I say? "Well no matter where I wander…" - I think I once heard a song that began with that line… what a feeling to travel so far from home and be welcomed by such genuine people who also "get it". I have come to believe that there is no average Bloodliner - the diversity is striking - yet we share the common bond of the love of the best music ever written. Besides being a Bloodliner puts one far above any average. I have also come to believe that the privilege of meeting and spending time with Bloodliners ranks right up there with the experience of seeing the shows on any JS road trip. This trip was no exception and it really reinforced that opinion. Jess, Maria, David, Eric, Joan, Steven, Kristan, Howard, Carla, Walt, Pam, Mark, Julie, John, Gillian, Bob, Ray, Tony, Huw, Peter, Jim, Tom, Ed… (and I hope I did not leave anyone out - forgive me a senior moment if I did) - YOU ARE THE BEST!
New Music - hate to rub it in to anyone who does not have it yet - but "Buster" is outstanding! My personal favorite and one that I got to hear live at least three times is "High Flying Eagle" - what a song to be "lost" since '67 - it is amazing that the songs that John puts aside are better than most anything others push as hits…
Best-dressed award: The Pintos - three matching sets of Bloodliners shirts in three nights.
Greatest imagination award: Bob Eliot for these quotes - "I chose the wrong week to quit drinking."
Emotional moment of the week award: Several participants - at the end of Saturday's encore - described beautifully by Julie in her report and commented on by others: "Julie's already told the tale, but I confess to tearing up myself several times", "its just like Julie and Roadman have said - It's this feeling that there is no where else in the world that you would rather be than right here right now". Extremely well said by all - just let me confirm the same feeling for myself - as a matter of fact it's just this kind of feeling that makes me think that it's perfectly normal and within reason to travel anywhere, anytime to see John Stewart in concert. I have noticed that others have started to consider traveling for future (maybe even this fall!) shows in Dalry - all I can say is if it is at all possible - DO IT!
"All Time Woman Award" - to my Olivia - Please allow me this little personal indulgence. Olivia knew that my obsessions "came with the package" - she is not only a Bloodliner by marriage but also a "Hokie" (Va. Tech Football) by marriage - that's more than a lot of women could take! But Olivia embraces both obsessions of mine with enthusiasm and true dedication - this trip is just one small example. The following two verses describe perfectly my feeling for her:
"Oh, an all time woman
Is the best damn friend I know
Oh, an all time woman
Keeps you ready for the rock and roll
Ready for the rock and roll
An all time woman
With her good love feeding your soul
Oh, an all time woman
Keeps you ready for the rock and roll
Ready for the rock and roll
By the way - Mushy Peas are very good…
Dan (The Mushy Pea Man) Hodges, Williamsburg, VA, USA
Summer Child, Mark Austin, Ed Hoare, Huw Lewis, Bob Elliot, Desert Pete, and I are sitting here in the dining room of the Dalry Inn having breakfast. We are still in the moment of energy that just concluded a few short hours ago.
Last night they all just let it fly. Summer Child and Mark Austin confirm... a much more relaxed yet high energy performance. Even the audience let it go. We were told that here in the UK it is considered improper to interrupt the beginning of a song with recognition applause. I don't know if that's completely true but it certainly wasn't true at this show. The room kicked in and John responded in kind.
Later, after the first encore (which was a medley of tunes revolving around 'I Remember America', including 'The Times They Are A'Changin',' and 'Mother Country') we would not be denied again and after prolonged rhythmic applause John returned at Fergus' encouragement to do a stunning 'Strange Alliance/Friend of Jesus/Ticket To The Stars' finale!!! An absolutely incredible finish! One of those moments that just happens, and you can't believe you're there to experience it.
For many of the UK 'Liners, Pete and Ed included, it was their first time to see John, and they saw the gem of the trio of shows. A memory to carry forever.
CA Roadman, Sebastopol, CA, USA