Sunday, August 09, 2015

Review: Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza 2015

The annual extravaganza at Glastonbury Abbey was a huge success despite the disappointment of the non-appearance of Joan Armatrading. I think this is the 19th year that the great Michael Eavis has organised this event in the ancient setting of the abbey grounds. This is the 5th time I have been since 1999 when Michael was kind enough to send Kim and I two free tickets to see The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play here.


 This year I went with my friends Chris, Chrissie and Sasha. It was a beautiful summers evening when we arrived. Already there were about 15,000 people there enjoying picnics in the sunshine.It seemed even busier than the crowd for Robert Plant last year. We had to walk all the way across to the far side until we found a nice spot with a good view of the stage. When we arrived there was already a band on-stage called 'The Drystones' who had been drafted in at the last minute because Joan Armatrading had pulled out due to acute Laryngitis. It will be interesting to see if she makes her next gig in Scotland on Tuesday. The Drystones are a local folk group and the crowd seemed to quite enjoy them. The most memorable song for me was their version of Plastic Bertrand's 'Ca Plane Pour Moi'.

  We tucked into our picnic after that. As usual we had brought far too much food so I will be living off picnic food for the next few days. We had also brought copious amounts of wine, cider and beer. The next band on were 'The Shires'. They are an English country duo of Ben Earle & Crissie Rhodes. After only one album they have attracted a lot of attention and are the first English Country band to be signed by a major Nashville label. I though they were quite pleasant but compared to other Americana influenced bands such as 'First Aid Kit' I don't think they are that great. The most memorable songs for me were their versions of 'Dreams' by Fleetwood Mac and 'Islands In The Stream' by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton.

           It was up to Ray Davies and his band to make the night really memorable and I must say he was on great form and delivered a brilliant set of songs which included 'I'm Not Like Everybody Else', 'Tired Of Waiting For You', 'Sunny Afternoon', 'Dedicated Follower Of Fashion','Dead End Street', 'Victoria/20th Century Man', 'Till The End Of The Day', 'Misfits', 'Come Dancing', 'Long Way From Home',' Rock N Roll Cowboys', 'Oklahoma USA', 'All Day And All Of The Night', 'Days', 'Waterloo Sunset' , 'Lola' and 'You Really Got Me'.  I think there were a few other songs as well but I didn't know what they were called. I was a bit disappointed that he didn't do Village Green Preservation Society but there can be no doubt that Ray Davies is one of the greatest songwriters in the history of British popular music. Easily up there with Lennon, McCartney, Jagger, Richards etc. He is 71 now so it was a privilege to see such a great artist performing so well.

                                                                   The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display and then we packed our stuff up and headed homeward after a brilliant evening.   Thank you very much Michael Eavis for organising the event
and thank you to Ray Davies for a great show.


The Wild Children ( Born in 1945).

 We were the wild children born 1945
When all the soldiers came marching home
Love looks in their eye
Tennessee, Tennessee Williams
Let your inspiration flow
Let it be around when we hear the sound
When the spring time rivers flow, when the rivers flow
Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando
Standing with their heads bowed on the side
Crying like a baby thinking about the time
James Dean took that fatal ride, took that ride.
I'm going to two concerts in the next few months of artists who are celebrating their 70th birthday this year which means they were born in 1945. In May I am seeing the great Christy Moore in Bristol just three days after his birthday.and in August seeing Van Morrison play on Cyprus Avenue, Belfast on his actual birthday. Both these events will be memorable.
 I just looked on Wikipedia to see what other musicians were born in 1945 when the soldiers came marching home from war. The list is quite astounding. Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, Bob Marley (R.I.P), Elkie Brooks,Arthur Lee of the group Love (R.I.P), Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones (R.I.P) of The Monkees, Eric Clapton (Birthday today), Lowell George of Little Feat (R.I.P), Richie Blackmore and Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, Stu Cook, Doug Clifford and John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bjorn & Anni-Frid of ABBA, Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine (R.I.P), Tammi Terrell (R.I.P), Rita Coolidge, Bob Seger, Keith Jarrett, Pete Townshend, Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, Gladys Horton of The Marvellettes (R.I.P), Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon, Benny Gallagher of Gallagher & Lyle, Carly Simon, Debbie Harry,Kim Carnes, John Lodge of The Moody Blues,Al Stewart, Pigpen of The Grateful Dead (R.I.P), Doug Ingle of Iron Butterfly,Jose Feliciano, Dee Dee Warwick, Bryan Ferry,Don McLean, Donny Hathaway (R.I.P),Brian Connolly of The Sweet (R.I.P), Melba Moore, Neil Young, John McVie, Bette Midler, Peter Criss of Kiss and Lemmy of Motorhead. If you know of any more let me know. I make that 45 well known musicians including a lot of legendary figures. I just looked at 1955 by way of comparison and I could only find about 12 musicians that I have heard of so I think 1945 must have been a vintage year for great musicians to be born.

                                                                        I don't know about any of those other musicians on that list but the only one that I can think of to celebrate in song the fact he was born in 1945 is Van Morrison in his song Wild Children on his seventh album, the very underrated  Hard Nose The Highway released in 1973. It also features on the greatest live album ever made called It's Too Late To Stop Now.I don't know if Van's dad was in the army during the war because he worked in the Harland And Wolff shipyard and was probably kept busy building ships but that is beside the point. Wild Children is probably my second favourite song on the Hard Nose album after Warm Love , (You can listen to the song below if you want) and is about the influences on the kids of 45 growing up in the 50's and the people who inspired them such as Marlon Brando and James Dean, films like On The Waterfront and the plays of Tennessee Williams. Anyway at the concert in Cyprus Avenue on Van's birthday I think as well as the song Cyprus Avenue he should include Wild Children in his set-list. I have never seen him perform it live so that would be great. Roll on August 31st!.