On Saturday, June 13, 2009 I finally attended my first Richard Shindell concert. I had come all the way to England from Germany after logistics prevented me from seeing any of the Dutch gigs. This occasion warrants a long, verbose report (which is actually a condensed version of my post on the RS mailing list), although it’s going to bore you all to death. I’m very sorry.
The Headgate Theatre in Colchester was a small place (83 seats); the people there were incredibly nice and polite. Pavlov’s Cat opened with half a dozen songs that fit the bill, but (in my humble/ignorant opinion) lacked the overarching melody lines. This is, of course just me – I saw several people happily buying their cd afterwards. The talk in between songs was very entertaining and helped to access the songs (which I hadn’t heard before). An unannounced support followed their wake: Hannah Scott & John Carden. Again, there was a lot of musical talent on stage, on the spot, but not tense. Again, the music was nice, but didn’t have gripping stories/soaring melodies gripping my attention.
There was a short break and Richard came out to do a quick sound/line check. He played a verse and a chorus of an unknown song. It turned out to be a new composition. He opened his set with it, eventually. It has a steady beat and a rather upbeat mood, although it’s actually about the loss of a pet/dog. It’s possibly called “Abby” as the chorus goes something like “Abby’s gone to the country” – but maybe it just doesn’t have a title, yet. Funnily, there was a guide dog in the audience. All in all, it was a neat opener and a welcome surprise. Still, its lyrics are more in the vein of “Get Up Clara”; there’s not as much drama as in songs like “Fishing”.
The setlist (see below) contained a few surprises (mainly from the album “Blue Divide”). Richard’s guitar work was stunning (e.g., “Get Up Clara”). The dynamics he got of his guitar were amazing. By the way: Richard played only one acoustic guitar during the whole evening; no bouzouki, no electric guitar. Also, no 50-piece orchestra. After the formidable encore “Cold Missouri Waters” I was both happy and sad. It was a worthy ending, yet, of course, so many great songs remained unplayed; no need to list them here.
Richard played about 85 minutes and was (I think) very talkative in between songs. I got to chat with him a bit after the show and he was so humble and nice and everything. He also described in great detail to someone else the (imaginary) location of Mariana’s in relation to the “Not Far Now” cover picture. All in all, the concert was really great (“Reunion Hill”!) and well worth the trip. I sat in the third row and had a perfect view and all was good!
- Blue Divide
- Get Up Clara
- Balloon Man
- Reunion Hill
- There Goes Mavis
- Are You Happy Now?
- You Stay Here
- Cold Missouri Waters