The Stewartistas gather early in Dalry for John Stewart's first UK appearance in two years. Bloodliners and other travellers assemble in the bar of the Turf three hours early, and swap tales of the distances travelled, awfulness of overnight accommodation and the simultaneous closure for holidays of all (well, both) the Chinese Restaurants in Dalry.
A fun time is had putting names to Bloodliners' faces, and then two pints each further on a raid is made on the only eaterie in town - fittingly, the Phoenix Cafe (a fish & chip shop). What will the Californians make of this?
8:15pm - back to The Turf and an early raid on Andy Fergus' kitchen, where the faithful fall whooping on the (tiny) stocks of "Teresa & The Lost Songs," and the greater stocks of "Havana" and "Stories Behind The Songs." Doors open, all into the Turf's tiny (100 seats) back room. Bloodliners (who knew about the gigs in February, thanks Bob) swap stories with "Finger" readers who didn't find out about the shows until all the hotel rooms in Dalry were booked by the Bloodliners.
9:20pm - Andy Fergus gives a 5 minute warning,
then in strides the Big Guy - dressed in black suit, dark shirt & cowboy
boots. Pure John, just the man, 2 guitars & effects pedals.
A brief remark about how pleasant it is to be in a "bistro of this calibre",
and then on with a 6-string guitar for 'Turn of the Century,' which
was well received - no one in the UK had heard any of the new stuff.
"Anyone come any distance?" asks John.
"Yeah, Bristol - Shropshire," a voice from the audience shouts.
"How Far's that?" asks John.
"400 Miles," came the reply.
"London," says another.
"How far's London"? John quizzes.
(Scots voice in the audience) "No' bluidy far enou'."
Personal greeting to Helen from Leeds, who had seen John and "Dave" in Vermont, Arizona & Route 66 last year, then into 'Dreamers on the Rise', which sent all into a flurry.
A switch to 12-string and apologies for "Dave"'s absence ("in bed after a bad haircut." "Can't afford to come over - This is the kinda gig you gotta save up for"). Greetings to Bloodliners (7 in tonight) then 'Davy on the Internet' - This rocks with a capital R-O-C-K-S. Is this the first post-modern rock 'n' roll song?
Cheers and whoops for 'July You're a Woman', then lots of context for 'I Want To Be Elvis', including a flashback to the Furies. Elvis stories and authentic quotes from 'All Shook Up.'
The first set comes to a rousing singalong end with 'California Bloodlines' and 'Chilly Winds.'
Suitably refreshed the second set runs on in the
perfect mixture of old and new songs, the old ones getting the warm greetings
and instant recognition, and the new ones promising to get the warm greetings
and instant recognition next time we hear them. The set "closes" with a
call for requests, which brings forth 'Cody,' 'Kansas,' 'Neon Road' and
a Kingston Trio medley ('Hear the Whistle Blow / Coal Miner').
"Dave Guard did these better," remarked John - somehow we doubted that.
The encore two-step ritual performed (and deprecated) the set closed properly with 'Waiting For Castro to Die' and 'Mother Country' - rousing applause and off he goes till the morrow. Great stuff, and still two days to go!
Turn of the Century
Dreamers on the Rise
Shadows of the Angels Wings
Davy on the Internet
July You're a Woman
Before the Night is Over / I want to be Elvis
Johnny Flamingo & the Blue Dream Road
Dreams of the Starman
California Bloodlines / Chilly Winds
* Interval *
Angels With Guns
Star in the Black Sky Shining
Who stole the Soul of Johnny Dreams?
Under Heavy Fire
? / Hear the Whistle Blow / Coal Miner? (KT medley)
* Encore Two-Step (off, out the door, & on again)*
Waiting for Castro to Die
Reviewed by Ray Butler
Photos : Bob Elliot