Thursday, 21 January 2010

628 LOVE, The Keys, Bristol Academy, Wednesday 11 February 2004

Arthur's on the road again! Despite pushing (or pushed over!) his sixties, legendary 60's psychedelic songsmith Arthur Lee is touring again, pushing his 60's masterpiece "Forever Changes" like it had only been released last week, and proving that the Bristol Fleece gig of a couple of years back wasn't just a one-off. Fellow Lee devotee Beef picked both Rachel and myself up - somehow I'd persuaded my better half to hear this "hippy shit" live! Got there early doors, and after we discovered The Keys were support, we took our pre-gig drinks in the foyer bar!

Found out Love were due on at 9, from the merch lady who advised us that a taxi had just been despatched to fetch Arthur from his hotel room, where he was "chilling". Yeah, so that's what they call it these days! Took a wander in beforehand and got a very good viewing position on the floor, stage left. Despite this apparently being sold out, there were acres of space on the floor! Mind you, as before, the audience made both Beef and myself feel young, and Beef's just turned 40!

Love, i.e. Arthur Lee's young backing band, were on promptly at 9, before Arthur himself made his entrance, a long, languid figure shaking a tambourine nonchalantly. He then provided a masterclass performance run-through of this most overlooked of iconic 60's bands' varied repertoire. Proto punk (the jagged "Seven And Seven Is" and my favourite "My Little Red Book"), wistful psychedelia ("Orange Skies"), 60's classic pop ("Everybody's' Gotta Live") and unorthodox old school rhythm and blues ("Bummer In The Sumer") all collided together in this set, as Arthur, backed with admirable restraint by a supremely talented group, put on a show worthy of a man half his age. An icon who's still got it!

The set dragged a little as Arthur decided to deviate from the set-list, clearly enjoying himself and stretching this to 1 3/4 hours, before an excellent "Clark And Hilldale" drew a great performance to a close. Even Rachel liked it, albeit grudgingly!

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