December 17, 2009 - Perron55, Venlo (NL)
In April 2009, I saw Mostly Autumn during one of their live shows at De Pul in Uden; The Netherlands (see concert review). At the time, that gig was a big surprise, because background singer Olivia Sparnenn did all the female lead vocals instead of Heather Findlay, who was not available due to family problems. The Christmas-show they performed at Perron55 in Venlo surprised me as well, because this time Olivia Sparnenn was absent. She had to stay in England, because her grand father passed away, so she had to attend the funeral. This time the sound of the band hardly changed. Multi-instrumentalist Anne-Marie Helder was a perfect stand-in; she did all the additional backing vocals to fill in the gap Olivia left behind.
The set list of the gig at Perron55 was almost similar to the one of their spring tour in Uden. They only skipped Half The Mountain in the first set, but instead I could enjoy Shrinking Violet, one of my favourite Mostly Autumn-songs. Together with The Spirit Of Autumn Past, part II and Evergreen these songs formed the highlights of the first set. The band was in a perfect shape and willing to do something extra. The beginning of the second set showed that the break didnít have a negative effect on the musicians. They even came more concentrated out of the dressing room. Their sound strongly reminded me of the years 2003 and 2004, when I saw the band perform on a regular base. For me, they were at the peak of their creativity then. Together with guitarist Bryan Josh and Heather Findlay, Angela Gordon (flute & keyboards) and Iain Jennings (main keyboards) were essentially responsible for the great live sound. The latter two left the band and I missed them very much, but fortunately, Mr. Jennings returned in the band lately. However, he didnít impress me that much in April this year, but this time he did. His fine synthesizer solos and great keyboard playing during the second set in songs as Mother Nature, Dark Before The Dawn, Carpe Diem and Half The Mountain were breathtaking. Anne-Marie Helder proved to be a good substitute for Angela Gordon as well and played her parts in an excellent way.
The beginning of the second set was also the start of the Christmas-show. A special version of Silent Night harmoniously sung by Heather and Anne-Marie left the audience speechless. We could enjoy more Christmas-treats during the encores, but first we got two pieces that had nothing to do with the birth of Christ. Heroes Never Die is a homage to Bryanís father - who passed away a number of years ago - followed by a splendid version of Passengers. The band once again proved that Pink Floyd inspired them a lot. I donít think Emerson, Lake & Palmer have inspired them, but I almost got tears in my eyes during their fine rendition of the Greg Lake-song I Believe In Father Christmas. Very beautifully done! The Pogues- tune Fairytale Of New York has become a real Christmas-traditional for the band. Itís always funny to watch Heather and Bryan during this piece. They act like two lovers having problems with their relation.
At the end of this wonderful concert Bryan, Heather and Liam Davison discussed the final encore. Mostly they finish the Christmas-shows with the Slade-song Merry Christmas Everybody. Liam sings this song just as Noddy Holder does on the original version, but Liam seemed to have problems with his throat. Anyway, they performed the song, but this time sung by Heather and Bryan and with the participation of the audience. The song got a great live performance and was a wonderful ending of this Christmas-concert in Venlo. Mostly Autumn certainly knows how to entertain an audience. Bravo!
Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Caught In A Fold
Flowers For Guns
Spirit Of Autumn Past Part II
The Dark Before The Dawn
Answer The Question
Close My Eyes
Half The Mountain
Heroes Never Die
I Believe In Father Christmas
Fairytale Of New York
Merry Christmas Everybody
Pictures Mostly Autumn by Arthur Haggenburg
Click on the picture to enlarge.
Line up Mostly Autumn:(left to right)
electric guitar, lead and backing vocals
lead vocals, percussion and acoustic guitar
backing vocals, keyboards, flute and acoustic guitar
Gavin John Griffiths:
backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitar
keyboards and backing vocals.
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