Ray's Gigs

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Monday 03 April 2023.

Monday 03 April 2023. TORI AMOS live at The Royal Albert Hall. Tori Amos ( now aged 59 ) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. She is a classically trained musician with a mezzo-soprano vocal range....She has recorded 16 studio albums since 1992. I have seen Tori Amos twice before....both at The Royal Albert Hall in 2012 and 2017. This is the last show on Tori's UK tour before heading to mainland Europe. Tori played the The Palladium this time last year, and is back again in the UK. Support act is female singer-songwriter SKAAR , who hails from Norway. -------- The venue is not sold out, but it is very full. A couple of timings were a bit odd today. The support act was down for 40 mins but only played for 25 mins. Why was there a piss-taking 50 mins interval gap between the two acts? SKAAR arrived on stage at 7.45pm and played for 25 mins. Opening the show, was the angelically-voiced and very well-received Norwegian songstress SKAAR, who performed beautifully written songs accompanied by a pianist and by herself on guitar. She also endeared herself to the audience by telling stories and displaying her slightly ‘kooky’ personality. TORI AMOS arrived on stage at 9pm and played for 1 hour 40 mins. Half a dozen photographers have told to take their photos from the mixing desk, rather than stage front. Taking the stage , many in the crowd rose to give Tori Amos a standing ovation. Backed by two outstanding musicians, bass player Jon Evans and drummer Ash Soan, the talented Ms Amos took her place seated between two keyboards on one side and a grand piano on the other. Throughout the evening, she alternated between the instruments, or expertly played one with one hand and one with the other. The overall sound was perfect , and Tori changes has been changing the setlist around a bit each night. There was a big curtain with some basic projections behind her. Of course, there were many hints of Kate Bush. Loyal fans down the front give her a standing ovation after every song, and the entire crowd stand up for a stunning version of her big early hit 'Cornflake Girl'. A really good show. Full TORI AMOS setlist played tonight... God Ocean to Ocean Crucify Bells for Her Give Pandora's Aquarium Losing My Religion (R.E.M. cover) (Solo) Silent All These Years (Solo) Climb Little Amsterdam Addition of Light Divided Daisy Dead Petals Cornflake Girl Encore: Precious Things Take to the Sky (with "I Feel the Earth Move" interlude) ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- Sunday 02 April 2023...7.30pm to 10.15pm... MANE CHANCE CHARITY GALA live at The Theatre Royal , Windsor, Berkshire. Mane Chance Sanctuary are dedicated to providing sanctuary and relief from suffering for horses, while promoting humane behaviour to all animals and mutually beneficial relationships with people. I have been to this lovely old theatre opposite The Windsor Castle several times before. The evening was a really good old fashioned evening of variety acts. First set was 7.35pm to 8.40pm... Compare Hilary O'Neil introduced the acts and told a couple of jokes each time... Basil Brush & Kevin Cruise - Unleashed - was on from 7.40pm to 7.55pm. Max Fulham - Comedian & Ventriloquist - was on from 8pm to 8.15pm. Terry Alderton - comedian - was on from 8.20pm to 8.40pm. Second set was 9pm to 10.15pm... Basil Brush & Kevin Cruise - Unleashed audience Q n A - 9pm to 9.10pm. Matt Daniel-Baker - Mind Reader & Mentalist - was on from 9.15pm to 9.35pm. Mane Chance head Jenny Seagrove gave a speech. Joe Pasquale - comedian - was on from 9.45pm to 10.15pm A very enjoyable evening, with lots of laughs. ------------------------------ ------------------------------ Very sad news that American record company executive SEYMOUR STEIN has died aged 80. Seymour Stein founded Sire Records and signed Ramones, Talking Heads, Pretenders, Madonna, The Cure, Depeche Mode and many more. ------------------------------ ------------------------------ Saturday 01 April 2023. STEVE HILLAGE BAND live at The Forum. Steve Hillage (now aged 71) an English musician, best known as a guitarist.He is associated with the Canterbury scene and has worked in experimental domains since the late 1960s. Besides his solo recordings he has been a member of Khan, Gong and System 7. Steve's career includes prog rock / jazz fusion / ambient dance and as a producer on many albums. He has produced albums by the likes of Simple Mindscand The Charlatans. I saw him headline Hammersmith Odeon back in 1976. Hillage was also a key figure in getting the Glastonbury Festival to recognise the dance scene and set up the Dance Tent, which he programmed in its first year. His band includes members of Gong , and the show will feature tracks from his 1970s albums and high-powered psychedelic projections and visuals. ----------------- The circle was closed tonight as only 800 tix sold , so this older crowd are suffering a bit with the standing. Many of them had that frazzled hippy look of having spent too much time at Glastonbury Festivals. The venue put out extra seats at the rear of the stalls, rather than opening the upstairs seating. Support band UTOPIA STRONG arrrived on stage at 7.45pm for their 45 mins set. Utopia Strong feature snooker legend STEVE DAVIS....yes that STEVE DAVIS. Steve Davis saw French prog rock band Magna in 1974 and has championed them ever since. Get over the novelty aspect, and The Utopia Strong make perfect sense. World Snooker champion Steve Davis and left-field visionary Kavus Torabi – whose extensive list of projects includes Knifeworld, Cardiacs, Gong, Guapo and The Holy Family – are music obsessives with a shared outlier sensibility, first pooling their love of all things strange and experimental on their long-running radio programme, The Interesting Alternative Show. Their progression from DJ sets to a band was secured with the addition of Michael J York, once part of the Coil collective and, latterly, Torabi’s cohort in Guapo/The Holy Family. The Utopia Strong’s compelling 2019 debut set the template: synth-heavy instrumentals salted down from long-form improv pieces. Through Bandcamp, they’ve since issued three album-length live recordings on limited-edition vinyl, all of which sold out in a heartbeat. Clearly, this thing has legs. The trio’s MO seems straightforward. Davis makes no great claim to being a musician, but provides a grounding for Torabi and York, armed with a battery of modular synths and an impeccable sense of musical taste. “I see myself as a strong midfielder or a centre back,” he says, dipping into football parlance. “Kavus and Mike are like the Lionel Messi or Ronaldo of the equation, and I’m setting situations up for them.” Nothing is over-discussed or pre-planned, they just set up and play. Soon enough, a direction will present itself. Steve Davis twiddled some knobs on stage. It sounded like one continuous track to me but someone said there were a few tracks played. No vocals or chat whatsoever. Not really my cup of tea at all. The trio had use of the big screen for some visuals. STEVE HILLAGE BAND arrived on stage at 9pm and played for 1 hour 50 mins. As promised the big screen pyschedelic visuals and the light show was stunning. Music trends come and go, but Steve Hillage just doing his own thing for over 50 years is admirable. The six piece band – including Steves partner Miquette on keyboards – all line up across the front of the drummer. Steve Hillage himself is decked out in his System 7 shirt and the by now familiar Steinberger guitar – as iconic as his 70’s Fender – eyes behind the glasses closed as he spirits out those guitar leads in front of the backdrops of swirling graphics. Amidst the Dervish riffing, we can close our eyes and imagine being in the UFO Underground of the experimental 60s. The Pink Floyd could be waiting in the wings, minds not already altered are getting a little nudge, the retinas being imprinted by the kaleidoscopic projections that run through the show, enhancing the psychedelic soundtrack. The band sound great, and there are more vocals than expected. A couple of great cover versions near the end..... A much better than expected show. Full STEVE HILLAGE setlist played tonight... Fish It's All Too Much (The Beatles cover) The Golden Vibe The Salmon Song Octave Doctor Sea Nature Ether Ships Why Are We Sleeping? (Soft Machine cover) Lunar Musick Suite The Fire Inside Solar Musick Suite The Dervish Riff Hurdy Gurdy Man (Donovan cover) Encore: I Can Hear the Grass Grow (The Move cover) Crystal City The Glorious Om Riff Are You Experienced