Fairport Convention – Camberley Theatre
The first band I ever saw live was Fairport Convention – on 6th August 1972 at the Rainbow Pavilion, Torquay, if my memory serves me well – and even then, they were a shadow of their former glory, having lost the likes of Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson along the way. Still, the legacy lives on and when I eventually heard they were playing at the under-publicised International Music Festival in Camberley, tickets were purchased.
The current band – Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Ric Sanders, Chris Leslie and Gerry Conway – ran through a selection from their latest album, Myths and Heroes, laced with a few from their extensive back catalogue. Portmeirion was as beautiful and haunting as ever and it was lovely to hear Crazy Man Michael again. The evening’s highlight, undoubtedly, was their send up of their erstwhile rivals, Steeleye Span’s Gaudete.
Walk Awhile was played with zest and to hear the old standard, Matty Groves, again is always a treat, although the acoustic version lacked the power of the original. The encore, inevitably Meet on the Ledge – nailed on for my funeral – was poignant given the death of Dave Swarbrick a few days earlier. His ghost hung over the gig and I couldn’t help reflect that the current incarnation – technically proficient and entertaining as they are – are journeymen compared with the pioneers of folk rock.
On getting home I put on Liege and Lief to remind me of the mighty group they once were.