The play's the thing

Trower Thompson Pattison Letsch. Photo by Alan Howard


Thursday 29 May 2008, Cox’s Yard, Bridgefoot, Stratford-Upon-Avon CV37 6YY


Something rather extraordinary happened tonight, something quite magical. Robin, totally spellbound it seemed, delivered some of the most unusual lead breaks I have ever heard. It was jaw-dropping improvisation, totally intoxicating.


The magic started as early as “Shame the Devil”, the second song in, and lasted until the end of the show. There was much ado about something here. He made it sound like he’d discovered notes that hadn’t ever been played before.


Sold out in Stratford. Photo by Alan Howard


What’s more, he managed to weave all his weird and wonderful cadenzas together in a dazzling display of craftsmanship. Measure for measure, it was, quite simply, a breathtaking performance and one of the highlights of the tour, thus far.


Davey Pattison. Photo by Alan Howard


Cox’s Yard is an attractive wooden, pitched roofed, clubhouse-style building, located on a green on the edge of Stratford town centre, beside the River Avon.

The band was positioned at the far end of the hall on a tiny six inch riser. Visibility was not the brilliant but; at least, the venue provided two ceiling mounted TV monitors for the benefit of punters in the middle and at the back of the room.


Glenn Letsch. Photo by Alan Howard


As Pete rightly noted at the end of the evening, as a venue, Cox’s Yard “shouldn’t work but somehow it does!” The band’s performance seemed to suggest “no one else would do its wood more good!”

Maybe it was the venue’s excellent acoustics, which so inspired our leader, on the night?


Pete and Davey. Photo by Alan Howard


Huddled together on the tiny stage yet dazzled by the bright lights in front of them, Robin, Davey, Pete and Glenn mesmerised their audience with the most perfect elegy, “For Earth Below”. Robin’s soaring lead break at the end was a huge shock and another outstanding highlight of the night.

Even the outro on “Day of the Eagle” came hideously close to clipping the wings of Robin’s seminal performance at ‘Night of the Guitars’ back in London, in 1991.


Robin Pete and Davey. Photo by Alan Howard


By the time, we got to “Bridge of Sighs” Robin was on Jupiter or Mars. Or so it seemed. Lucid, fluid and cascading lines of notes emotionally spun to perfection and scattered like stardust, almost as though, Oberon and Titania were in the room, aiding and abetting our hero.

The show was a complete sell-out. Great to see Karen and John Wilson! Fabulous to spend a little post show time with Angie and Pete! Many thanks to the Manager and staff of Hussains on Chapel Street!

This is Alan Howard reporting live and direct for ‘Steve’s Place’ from Cox’s Yard in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of the world’s greatest ever playwright. 29 May 2008.



Click here to view photos taken at the gig by Karen and John Wilson

Return to homepage for more fan photos and reviews or click below for more reviews

Brighton No Time for farewells      Exeter Totally sold      Bilston Blistering Bilston
Glasgow Dedicated to Jimmy      London Let me hear you say YEAH!      Manchester Pride comes before a fall
Sheffield Balls of steel      Southampton From Portswood to poignancy
Stratford-Upon-Avon The play’s the thing      Birkenhead Fab Four in Birkenhead
Fleetwood Fulfillingness’ Fleetwood Finale      For more reviews visit Steve Shail’s site here!


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