The String Band experience was very pleasant, no more, no less. I didn’t feel the absence of Robin Williamson as keenly as last time I saw them. Mike Heron sang quietly for the most part, not risking much, but occasionally let rip the way I like his voice. He didn’t talk much, which is a shame, as I enjoy his turn of phrase (‘When I bludgeoned my way into the String Band at the beginning, from being in the audience watching Robin and Clive …" "We’re going to try a hippie drumming extravaganza now, which will probably exhaust us. Then we’ll have an intermission where we all lie down in a brightly-lit room …") It seemed to have a lot more spirit than the last time I saw them, and the mixed audience (about a third young people) witnessed the return of ‘a different instrument for every song’ from Fluff and Lawson, along with long tuning up periods. (Not as long as the old days – then they really tried to get them in tune; now they make a stab at it, and one of them starts the song while the rest catch up!). Clive Palmer didn’t do much – you might have thought it was Clive Dunn in a long-haired wig. At one point I swear he nodded off over his banjo. But there was a lovely moment after the show where he came out to pack away his stuff and some fans gathered by the stage begging him to sing ‘Empty Pocket Blues’; when he failed to oblige they sang it to him!
Set list (they dropped a couple because Fluff’s voice had gone):
- Everything’s Fine Right Now
- Medley: Air / You Get Brighter
- Cousin Caterpillar
- You Were Meant for Me (Clive solo)
- Water Song (Fluff and Lawson)
- Chinese White
- Ducks on a Pond
- Spirit Beautiful (great!)
- Sleepers Awaken
- Hedgehog Song
- Painting Box (Mike and Fluff)
- How Happy I Am (Mike and Clive)
- You Know What You Could Be
- Cellular Song
- The Old Golden Land (from Job’s Tears)
Free to download - Stories My Killer Told Me: Five surreal story-songs from my Edinburgh Fringe show.
- I Am Not The One For You
- The Ever Open Door
- New Eyes
- A Forest Trail in Autumn
- The Portobello Slam
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