Sunday, December 06, 2015

Review: Kate Rusby's Christmas Show At Bath Forum 5/12/2015

Storm Desmond was battering Britain on Saturday evening as I headed for the Railway Station where I met my friend Dave. Luckily there was no travel disruption in our area and we caught the 17.46 train for the short journey to Bath. The city was bustling with Christmas shoppers as we made our way to the pub for a pre-show drink. The Lion & Lamb was so crowded it was impossible to get to the bar and we gave up and left. All this bustling was getting on my nerves. We tried another pub called The Cork and managed to get served and sat outside. The wind had died down and it was very mild weather so I cheered up. Then it was time to go to the Forum.
                                                                                         The show was about fifteen minutes late starting because of the traffic chaos causing delays. They decided to give everyone a chance to take their seats. Finally Kate and her band took the stage. She looked great in her sparkly dress. Kate said jokingly that she was trying to look like a human mirror-ball. The first song was called Bradfield. I think in Yorkshire the various versions of Christmas carols are named after the places where they originated. Apart from Yorkshire the other area of the country that has the tradition of wassailing at Christmas time is Cornwall so the second song was called The Cornish Wassailing Song. The next song was Hark, Hark, What News?. This was really good and then Kate introduced her band who are Arran Jones, Nick Cook, Duncan Lyle, Stevie Iveson, and her husband Damian O'Kane.
I hope I have got everyone's name right. Then they sang Little Jack Frost which is a song that Kate wrote for an animated film which I think is on the telly this Christmas so I will have to look out for that. As I Sat On A Sunny Bank  was next and is another song from Cornwall. Kris Kringle was the next song and featured Gary Wyatt on trumpet. As well as her regular band the Christmas show features a brass section. When they are playing there are eleven musicians on stage. There is no expense spared with Kate. It must cost a fortune to keep this show on the road so you have to admire her for that. Cranbrook  was next sung to the tune of  On Ilkley Moor Ba Tat. Kate informed us that Cranbrook is actually in Kent so the Yorkshire national anthem originated in Kent. It is very educational going to a Kate Rusby concert. The first half ended with a fabulous rendition of  Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem. The brass section on this song were absolutely wonderful.
  During the interval I met someone I knew from Westbury called Norman who was working there on security and I asked him if he could inquire for me with the manager if I could have the large poster from outside. I didn't hold out much hope of getting it though. I bought a t-shirt at the merchandise stall and returned to my seat.
                                                                                  The first song of the second half was called The Frost Is All Over which is the title track of Kate's new Christmas album and is great. Kate said she was inspired to write it after taking her dog Doris for a walk on Christmas Day last year. Here We Come A Wassailing was next followed by The Dilly Carol which is sung to the tune of Green Grow The Rushes O'.  Mount Lyngham was next which is a mixture of two versions of While Shepard's Watched Their Flocks By Night. Kate then had a break and left us in the capable hands of the boys in the band who performed three tunes called I think Swonk Fing, The God Daughter and Castlerock Road which I think is in Coleraine where two of the band come from. Kate then returned and sang the brilliant To Drive The Cold Winter Away which was followed by her equally great version of Walking In A Winter Wonderland. I really enjoyed Sweet Bells as well from her previous Christmas album which I bought last year after seeing her Christmas show in 2014. If you scroll down I have put a video of this song below which I found on youtube. All the band and Kate took a bow and left the stage but soon returned for an encore. I had put my notebook away and I know they did The Holly And The Ivy which was great but I can't remember what the very last song was.

         In the foyer on the way out we met Norman again who gave me the poster. Good old Norman. That deserves a pint next time I see him. I'll get that poster framed and put on my living room wall as a great souvenir of a really good night out. Thank you very much Kate Rusby, the band, the brass section, the sound man, all the crew and the Bath Forum for a memorable show.

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