It was wonderful to see Fairport Convention play at the beautifully restored Leeds City Varieties last Saturday. My wife took me for my 55th birthday and boy, was this a treat.
I remember seeing them at Leeds Met on an artic winter’s night back in 1986 (they’d struggled from Norwich and there was no question of a cancelled gig with these troopers) and, previous to that, at the Astoria Ballroom on Roundhay Road (1985).
On this occasion it was great to see a “Full House” (to quote the title of one of their albums). I don’t think I’ve seen such a hard-working band. The sound was unsurpassed in its clarity and they played for over two hours. On this, their 45th anniversary, you certainly got value for money with numerous gems from over the years. They really put heart and soul into it, with some very funny asides and great audience support: “John Babbacombe Lee, the man they tried to hang at Exeter prison but couldn’t. Bad carpentry or divine intervention? The floor’s open!”
An added bonus was a display in the Varities foyer of items found during the restoration. Flyers from shows in 1957, packets of Woodbine and Senior Service cigarette, Caramac and Dairy Crisp (with prices on 5p and 1 shilling – obviously the transition in 1971 from £sd to decimal currency). A history lesson in itself, fascinating, and what a great idea to put them on show.
Thanks to Simon, Dave, Chris, Gerry and all concerned for a superb night of music.
John Roberts, St Johns, Wakefield