Mostly Autumn

April 4, 2009 - De Pul Uden, The Netherlands

Most of the time, the live performances done by Mostly Autumn are very special occasions. The band brings so much energy on stage and it is no surprise if they play for three hours or even longer. Their latest gig in De Pul in Uden certainly was a very special one, because not Heather Findlay but Olivia Sparnenn did all the female lead vocals. The leading woman of the band had to go back to England for personal reasons. At the start of the band's short Dutch tour, she was alive and kicking. People told me that she did a wonderful version of Above The Blue only accompanied by piano. The band left this song out during the following two live shows, because Heather dedicated that song to her newborn son. At the Nieuwe Nor in Heerlen Olivia stand in the spotlights for the first time. I do not know how she performed in Heerlen, but in Uden, she did an outstanding job. Of course, she is a different vocalist compared to Heather. She sings less emotional, but her voice has a higher range. She had proved this already for the past four years during her guitar/vocal duel with Bryan Josh on the extended live version of Never The Rainbow (also during this tour). Her performance on stage is very strong; she must have learned a lot from Heather since she joined the band. No stage fright at all.
After the intro tape - with Heather on vocals - the band started with Fading Colours. Most of the material performed during the first set before the break, came from the bands latest efforts. However, at the end there was room for three Mostly Autumn classics: The Spirit of Autumn Past Part II, Half The Mountain and Evergreen. The fantastic guitar solos done by Bryan in Half The Mountain and Evergreen of course were highlights. The public responded with a lot of cheering. The show after the break certainly was my favourite, because it featured much older material. They played songs from my all time favourite Mostly Autumn-album The Last Bright Light. We could enjoy strong versions of the title track Dark Before The Dawn and Never The Rainbow. It was obvious that I was not the only person who enjoyed the older material more than the new stuff. Keyboard player Ian Jennings sang along with songs as Winter Mountain and Nowhere To Hide. He still knows the lyrics of all the songs he recorded with the band in the past. Pocket Watch was dedicated to Richard Wright, the keyboardist of Pink Floyd who past away last year. Floyd's music has always been a big influence to Mostly Autumn. A good example is the great guitar solo at the end of Heroes Never Die. Bryan Josh wrote that very emotional song in memory of his father, but Dave Gilmour could have written it. Most of the time this is the last song of an official Mostly Autumn concert and so it was this time. The band performed two songs during the encore. Tearing At The Faerytale from their latest effort Glass Shadows and the Genesis cover Turn It On Again. I missed the male vocals done by Phil Collins on the original recording. In general, the band covers the Pink Floyd-songs very well, but it is better to stay away from the Genesis legacy. Besides, their own material is strong enough as we could witness during this special gig. I expected more material that featured Bryan on lead vocals, but the band had all the confidence in Olivia. She passed the test with flying colours, but she got great support by the other band members. Most of all Gavin John Griffiths on drums and Anne-Marie Helder on keyboards and flute were amazing. I hope that these former members of Karnataka and Panic Room stay in the band for a long period. Gavin on drums is the engine on stage and Anne-Marie can play almost everything. She perfectly replaced Angela Gordon. She played some extra acoustic guitar parts and above all, she has a strong voice as a backing vocalist. Let me finish this review by confessing that I really missed Heather during the concert. No matter how well Olivia replaced her, but Heather will always be special to me. She ultimately is Mostly Autumn's eye-catcher.

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Set list:

Set 1:
Fading Colours
Caught In A Fold
Flowers For Guns
Unoriginal Sin
Simple Ways
Spirit Of Autumn Past Part II
Half The Mountain

Set 2:
Winter Mountain
Dark Before The Dawn
Answer The Question
Last Bright Light
Carpe Diem
Nowhere To Hide (Close My Eyes)
Broken Glass
Never The Rainbow
Pocket Watch
Heroes Never Die

Tearing At The Faerytale
Turn It On Again

Pictures by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up: (picture left to right)

Bryan Josh: electric guitar, lead and backing vocals
Gavin John Griffiths: drums
Andy Smith: bass guitar
Olivia Sparnenn: percussion, lead and backing vocals.
Anne-Marie Helder: backing vocals, keyboards, flute and acoustic guitar
Iain Jennings: keyboards and backing vocals.
Liam Davison: backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitar

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