Mostly Autumn

December 16, 2012 - W2, Den Bosch (NL)

Two years ago I saw Mostly Autumn perform for the first time with Olivia 'Livvy' Sparnenn being  their official lead singer. This happened at the W2 concert hall in Den Bosch approximately six months after Heather Findlay had left the band. After this concert (see review) I wondered if I had missed Heather and my answer was: yes and no! Since that concert in April 2010, Livvy recorded two albums with the band: Go Well Diamond Heart (2010, see review) and the recently released CD The Ghost Moon Orchestra (see review).

Olivia Sparnenn
About a week before Christmas I saw the band at the same venue performing one of their usual Dutch Christmas shows. If you were to ask me again whether I had missed Heather or not I would have given a different answer. This time I didn't think of her at all and I didn't miss her presence either, mainly due to Olivia Sparnenn having become a more matured lead singer on stage. I already noticed this when I heard her sing on the latest studio album. I think she has definitely found her place in the band.

This could also be seen during the performance of Mostly Autumn on that Sunday afternoon in W2, the former Willem II cigar factory. Confidently Olivia made her entrance after the other musicians ended the instrumental opening piece Distant Train. She immediately got her first great moment with Unquiet Tears, the opening track from The Ghost Moon Orchestra. Just as on the album she sang this piece wholeheartedly. She just gave everything she had for which she was rewarded by the audience with a lot of cheering and applauding. In the course of this gig more of these magical moments appeared with most of the other tracks from the new album like Drops Of The Sun, Tonight, Wild Eyed Skies and King Of The Valley, but especially with Questioning Eyes, a cover from Breathing Space. This rather emotional song about the loss of Olivia's father and the events after his death even made people in the audience cry...

Liam Davison in 'Merry Xmas Everybody'
Of course, this concert was not only focussed on Olivia Sparnenn's wonderful voice. During the two performed sets and the final encores, the other musicians showed to be great performers as well. The band just sounded fabulous while they played many classic Mostly Autumn pieces like Never The Rainbow, Evergreen, Passengers, The Last Bright Light, Heroes Never Die and the new classic song Top Of The World from their latest album, which was the first one of the encores.

Even during the Christmas tunes they showed to be able to play this stuff very seriously. This time the rather funny Christmas show included I Believe In Father Christmas (Greg Lake, ELP), Fairytale Of New York (The Pogues) and Merry Xmas Everybody (Slade). Unfortunately they left out Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Judy Garland). However, during some other Dutch shows they didn't though, but then again they skipped the Slade cover. But even without this missing song, the audience could look back at an amazing show. Mostly Autumn are currently in great shape and the sound from the mixing desk was excellent. What else could I wish for as my finest Christmas present!

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Mostly Autumn:

Set 1:
Distant Train
Unquiet Tears
Close My Eyes
King Of The Valley
Never The Rainbow
The Last Climb
Changing Fast
Questioning Eyes

Set 2:
The Dark Before The Dawn
Drops Of The Sun
Deep In Borrowdale
Wild Eyed Skies
The Last Bright Light
Heroes Never Die

Top Of The World
I Believe In Father Christmas
Fairytale Of New York
Merry Xmas Everybody

Pictures Mostly Autumn by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Mostly Autumn:

(left to right)
Bryan Josh:
electric guitar, lead and backing vocals
Andy Smith:
Olivia Sparnenn:
percussion, lead & backing vocals
Gavin John Griffiths:
Anne-Marie Helder:
keyboards, flute & backing vocals
Iain Jennings:
Liam Davison:
backing vocals, acoustic & electric guitar

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