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Author Topic: December Tour 2004 - Reviews  (Read 47937 times)
Sir Robert Peel
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« on: December 04, 2004, 01:55:42 AM »

Sir Robert Peel reporting to you from the Royal Box of the Playhouse Theatre in Shaw, near Oldham Lancashire, on the first night of St. Agnes Fountain tour.  Usually, Oldham is the last night of their December offering - a relaxed, confident and polished affair after a long journey with, it has to be said, only the fag-ends of merchandise left for our consumption .  But tonight was a quite different performance to the one we’ve grown accustomed to - they were testing new as well as much-loved material.  We had a shed load of merch to drool over, too.   There were new talking-head interludes, new arrangements and twists to the core songs.  We saw an edginess to the performance that we’ve never experienced before on a Last Night - they were probably in need of some feedback from a live audience.  Well, they got that feedback from a sell-out packed audience……

My companion for the evening was my great-great-etc grand-daughter who had driven all the way from her student digs in Leeds.  She had seen them for the first time in 2003, and now declares that Christmas isn’t Christmas without a dose of the Aggies, so to speak. 

I’m not going to spoil your enjoyment by describing the set-list or stories in detail.  The surprises are half the attraction of an Aggies Tour.  Some of us can get queasy at the thought of a gig of Carols and the sentimentality that surrounds the  December festival - but the Aggies overturn the cliches and put us back on course.  You’ve never heard ‘Away in the Manger’ sung like this before - you’ll get jazz, gospel, ballad, close harmony singing, rock, and exuberant folk-dance music - and that will just be in the first song :  ‘I Saw Three Ships.’  Grin  No only joking, but I have to say that ‘ I saw three ships’ is a stonking overture to start the night.

There are songs to break your heart - Silent Night - oh Julie, Julie, Julie. Cry
Or Chris’s poignant song about being second-best in the present-receiving line.  Had to get my silk handkerchief out for that one.  Cry
The new songs were fabulous - Weather Vane, sung by Mr Hughes, a Chris While song about an Innocent New Year, and a country ’n western song from Mr. Leslie - source unknown but God Bless the songwriter whosesoever they may be .

Julie gave us a heart-warming ’ahhhhhh’ interlude with her talking-head piece.  Chris had a cleverly written, funny, and  novel take on the mystery of Father Christmas.  Mr. Hughes made our sides split, and gave us belly laughs - I will not spoil it, you’ll have to experience it yourself.   Take a spare pair of underpants, though.  This year, Chris L. has come up with a gem.  A fascinating piece about the birth of the folk revival on Boxing Day 1899 that he uses to introduce a particular song.   Great stuff, Chris - I remember it well.   Cool

Peel’s favourite piece has to be the astonishing rendition of ‘We Three Kings’.  It’s a song where Hughes and Leslie’s voices blend seamlessly and strongly on alternate verses with the While and Matthews partnership.  (Incidentally, Chris and Julie are Nominees for the Not the Radio 2 Folk Awards Best Duo - vote now!)  Leslie gives us some folk-thrash on the fiddle, the music underneath the voices drives and pounds forward to a climax - a masterpiece. 

How can one follow that in a finale?  Easily and expertly if you’re the Aggies.  You perform a jaw-dropping ’Gloria in Excelsis Deo’ in the style of…… No, I can’t tell you.  You won’t believe.  Shocked

 Oh, since you press me, I’ll give you a clue.

(Sings) ’I’m leaning on a lamp-post, at the corner of the street in case a certain little lady comes by…. when I’m cleaning windows.’   You don’t believe me, do you?  Well go and witness it for yourself.  It’s true or my name’s not

Sir Robert Peel
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« Last Edit: December 07, 2004, 08:23:02 PM by sandy » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2004, 10:47:14 AM »

An excellent review of an outstanding concert, Sir Bob, you’ve really covered all the bases without giving too much away. Wink  Suffice to say if you’re still thinking about going to watch St Agnes Fountain then contemplate no longer, get on the phone and order your tickets today!

Right I’m off to put the Christmas decorations up, accompanied by music from the Aggies, of course. Grin

Merry Christmas

Somehow it feels right saying this now I’ve seen the Aggies. Cheesy
Dunc
« Last Edit: December 07, 2004, 08:23:17 PM by sandy » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2004, 10:51:35 AM »

Wow what a great review Sir Bob...

I was talking to two Aggies in Kendal on Wednesday and now can't wait to see them next Saturday.  I'm playing one of the Cds right now as I trawl through the million missed posts from five days of fun in Cumbria.

They are in Hull tomorrow night, but we can't get which is such a shame!

Sounds like there are loads of real treats in stire for us all this year as before....

Roll on Saturday!!

Amy Sleepy
« Last Edit: December 07, 2004, 08:23:40 PM by sandy » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2004, 07:51:00 PM »

Really wish we could see them, but I don't think they are in Kent

Angela
« Last Edit: December 07, 2004, 08:24:00 PM by sandy » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2004, 03:26:12 PM »

Maldon tonight! only 4 hours to go!!!! Chris-Full Grin
« Last Edit: December 07, 2004, 08:24:15 PM by sandy » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2004, 03:53:32 PM »

Maybe a link to St. Agnes Fountain web site would be a good idea: CLICK HERE
« Last Edit: December 07, 2004, 08:25:25 PM by sandy » Logged

but BEING PAID -- what will compare with it?
Sandra
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2004, 08:26:56 PM »

All posts edited to change date in title as we had got a bit ahead of ourselves!

Sandra
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2004, 09:14:28 PM »


Moving swiftly on........has anyone seen the Aggies in Decmber 2004?

Sir Robert Peel
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Yus, but I put it in The Aggies' High Barn thread by mistake...Should be here really... Embarrassed
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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2004, 10:58:04 PM »

Not yet... drooling in anticipation for Bromsgrove and Worksop though...

Amy Grin
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2004, 11:00:21 PM »

Spoilsport.

Look, some people on this board are mentally challenged enough as it is (no names, no pack drill Wink) without confusing them further.

Sandra
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2004, 11:38:09 PM »

Fantastic review from Sir Robert, thank you so much Mr. Prime minister sir. (grovel grovel)
 
Well you never know, the New Years honours list will be announced soon. Cheesy
 
Fareham on Friday for me, what a great way to start the weekend !!
martin
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2004, 08:06:08 AM »

Last night, Maldon - wow, what a night! Fantastic acoustics, voices and instruments and humour all top form! A nearly full St Mary's church. Isn't that backdrop of the three ships beautiful? Lovely atmosphere! An amusing, entertaining evening, set me up for Christmas! Now - where are those chocolates?!!!  Grin  Smiley Chris said he is starting to get a little longing for home now, been touring since September. Still have those harmonies of Julie and Chris buzzing in my head - thanks David, book it again for next year please! Won't spoil it for others, but wasn't the encore superb!  Wink They must have sold lots of fountain pens for the charity, or, as it was Essex, they said "Fantin pens!" But did have a laugh with Chris about his 'country bumpkin' accent! Next stop, Oysterband at the Forum and then Steeleye on 12th! -  Need a lie down now! - "In the bleak mid winter................. Still grinning from ear to ear  Grin
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2004, 08:17:46 AM »

Sounds like a great night then JJ...

Amy Cool
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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2004, 01:33:24 PM »

Counting down the hours to Fareham tomorrow night.  Grin The Aggies in concert, Grin  Don't forget to wear your Fez badge Paul.
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« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2004, 11:11:50 PM »

A great evening. Managed to meet Martin, and Issy and her husband. Saw David Hughes afterwards, and he was kind enough to sign our CDs.

Many old favourite carols, in a folk style. Very well done, and all foot tapping numbers. They also did some very nice versions of more obscure carols. One I particularly liked was the seven verses of Mary. There were also a few new numbers. A nice song by David about Snow on the Weathercock.

There were also several though provoking and amusing monlogues.

Fareham Arts Centre is a good venue for folk music, and this time they were in the theatre, not the bar, which was better. Beer unfortunately was not up to the normal standard, it was Gales, but rather flat.

Tried out the new CD player on the way home  Grin

Paul
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2004, 12:06:29 AM »

I endorse Paul's comments with one exception, my pint of "The Robins Revenge" was fine, unfortunately by the time the interval arrived, the keg of the afore mentioned ale, had sadly run dry.  You probably got the dregs at the bottom of the keg Paul.

Anyway judging by the host of smiling faces by the close of the evenings proceedings, each and everyone of us lucky enough to be present, was ready for the arrival Santa and his reindeers. Thanks to St. Agnes Fountain, a truly wonderful evening.
If you are fortunate enough to have a ticket for one of the remaining shows on the tour, believe me, you are in for a real treat.
martin  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2004, 12:10:34 AM »

Hi Martin

I am afraid I have been a bit spoiled by living a couple of miles from Gales brewery. That was not up to normal standards. i do however salute Fareham for doing their bit for real ale. Havant Arts Centre can't get it toigether at all.

A great night, and enjoyed by all ages in the audience.

Paul
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2004, 12:44:46 PM »

We had a delicious evening at Fareham yesterday.. nice little arts centre.. couple of board members in attendance.. and a fabulous helping of St Agnes Fountain.   We took a large and unstable ensemble of in-laws (combined age in the region of 450 years) who really ought to get out more and had a fabulous time.

The setting was intimate and the backdrop of ships created a great atmosphere for Christmas songs. All the Aggies were looking lovely and the singing and playing was gorgeous.  I also especially liked the 7 verses of Mary - I was just all a tingle the whole way through it - and also Follow That Star and Sweet Bells.   There were some 'new' songs which complemented the more traditional ones, and I was especially pleased to hear the one by Shawn Colvin, as I'm a big fan of hers.   The 'talkie' bits were good too.. very well done and very memorable.

It was really nice to talk to David, and to see Chris, Julie and Chris too - got all the CDs signed by them all which was good going as we bought quite a lot!  Great Christmas presents!

Just such a talented bunch of people and such a lovely evening..  warm (actually very warm!), friendly, comforting, Christmassy..  wish i could go all over again..

Issy  Kiss
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2004, 02:05:14 PM »

Hi Izzie,
Good to meet you and Mark at the Ashcroft in Fareham last night. What a delightful evening we all had, at the end, the joy on peoples faces as they set off home was there for all to see.   
If not before, I'll see you in February somewhere.  Fez
Happy Christmas to you and yours
Martin  Kiss
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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2004, 04:56:27 PM »


Well, I've been and gorn and dunnit.  I just gave the ole plastic card a bashin' and bought some Aggie CDs.  Was reluctant at fiirst, cos I've not seen/heard them, but there is so much good stuff written on this board that I had to give it a go. Wink

They (the Aggies) don't come anywhere near my patch, and they're not performing in 2005 (why???) so I have been forced to take drastic measures.

However, if disappointment results, I shall be forced to have severe words with the likes of Sir Bob and Martin Driver (to name but two.)

Mind you, that Chris Leslie is involved, so it's gotta be good, hasn't it??

Gower flower.
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