Lindisfarne were one of the first ‘proper’ bands that I ever saw, back in the heady days of the mid 70’s, and I can distinctly remember seeing them on my 18th birthday at the Assembly Hall in Tunbridge Wells too.
So when the chance came to see them again on Saturday evening at St Mary In the Castle, albeit over 40 years later, it was an invitation I just couldn’t resist.
Lindisfarne have been through a number of line up changes over the years, and of course suffered the premature death of founder member Alan Hull back in 1995, so it was good to see another original member Rod Clements still at the helm today.
The two part set started appropriately enough with two Alan Hull songs including the first of the bands classic hits ‘All Fall Down’.
There was an early outing for personal favourite ‘Lady Eleanor’ as well, which I felt was very nicely done, capturing the spirit of the original version.
This is a band full of multi instrumentalists with Rod Clements, as an example, switching between acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and a guitar which sounded like a sitar with ease.
He can also play a mean slide guitar too, which was shown to great effect when the band launched into what was almost a blues rock song.
To my ears Lindisfarnes sound seems to have hardened in those intervening years, if my memory serves me right, with the band having a more rocky edge to them now.
That well be due to the drumming of Paul Thompson, ex of Roxy Music, who provided a very solid back beat throughout the set.
The near full house, many of whom have clearly been fans of the band from those early days, were thoroughly enjoying themselves, and as a friend said to me on the night, reliving a bit of their youth at the same time. I must admit to being in that category myself.
It was nice to hear high praise from the band about the venue for the night.
Rod Clements was obviously impressed with St Mary In The Castle and its history, encouraging the audience to donate to the future of the building, a nice touch I felt.
The two part set drew to a close with the expected run of the bands remaining classic hits.
‘We Can Swing Together’ was followed by ‘Fog On The Tyne’, both of which got the audience nicely warmed up for an extended sing-a-long version of ‘Meet Me On The Corner’.
I was singing along with the rest of the audience, and wondering how on earth I can still remember every word to a song from over 45 years ago!
‘Run For Home’ rather appropriately ended the main set.
As guitarist and vocalist Dave Hull-Denholm said, the band don’t bother going off stage before the encore these days, it saves time and effort not to bother.
So there was no real interruption before the final song of the night, a rousing version of ‘Clear White Light’. One of those songs that you forget just how good it is.
When you see a band again after a gap of many years, you’re never quite sure how it’s going to go, but I can happily report that Lindisfarne exceeded my expectations on the night, and I think everyone who was present would agree with that.
I don’t think I’ll be waiting another 40 years before I see them again.
For more info about Lindisfarne visit: lindisfarne.com
Find more gigs from promoters Spyboy at: spyboy.co.uk