Milton Keynes, The Stables, Wavendon
6 February 2000
First Set:
Introductory Fanfare
Time Again
Sole Survivor
Bitches Crystal
Dave Kilminster's Guitar solo
The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
All Along the Watchtower
Battle Lines
Paddydog (John Young  keyboard solo)
Second Set:
Walking on Air
Only Time Will Tell
Last One Home
Fanfare for the Common Man
- Carl Palmer drum solo
Fanfare ... reprise
Heat of the Moment
Don't Cry
All photos used on this page are taken by myself at the shows and copyright Doug Anderson 2000.
My first impression of the Stables was that I'd arrived too early - much too early - (despite being late having come off at the wrong exit of the M1) as the car park is next to a building site! Talking to local punters after the show it turns out that they are building a larger stage, extending the building backwards into the area I first drove.  When I did arrive it was to frantic calls of "You're doing all the merchandise tonight - Gary's not turned up!". Ah well, no show for me I thought. There followed a mad panic to get some merchandise out, work out what there was to sell, find somewhere to hang the T-shirts, note the stock (after The Dome's merchandising lack of organisation I knew to note who's CD's I'd sold) and generally be ready for people pouncing on the stall when the support act (or solo artist ?) had finished.  Judging by what the first punters to the stall had to say about the support I was glad to have missed Dave Kilminster showing us how to play the acoustic guitar - The Dome 2 Feb 2000it. Plenty of people turned up at the stall and I apologise if the service was a little slow - I was doing my best, honest!

Just before the band appeared on stage, Gary arrived, relieving me of my merchandising burden - thanks Gary. I managed to get to the hall just after the music started, standing just inside the doorway for most of the first half of the show. After the break, wait for the full review to explain that comment, I managed to find a free seat on the front row - good luck or what - and should have some great pictures from there. The set was played in a slightly different order this evening - John Young playing his solo one track earlier than normal! Apart from that it was business as usual - a pretty excellent show and a nice, intimate way to end the short tour.  At one point Carl mentioned that he'd never played the venue before.  As the said it it seemed that he was not used to playing in such a small, not to mention oddly shaped, hall.  I should probably explain that comment. If you can imagine a long thin hall with the stage placed in the centre third of one of the long walls, extending out almost half the width of the hall and seats placed all around it then you'd have a pretty good idea  of the venue. Compact and bijou - but great if you have one of the expensive seats in the third in front of the stage. I don't know quite what the band made of it - but there were some bemused looks from them during sections of the performance. I guess the extension mentioned above will expand the area for the audience and probably make for a better view of the stage - though the intimacy of the place will no doubt be lost in the process.

I missed the Introductory Fanfare but arrived just in time for the first of the opening salvo of Asia tracks, Time Again. As usual (see previous reviews for fuller details of performance of individual tracks) Dave Kilminster really attacked these two Asia tracks, Sole Survivor being the second. Carl introduced the third track, and first of a fitting trilogy of ELP tracks, Bitches Crystal which John Young seemed to cope with admirably.
The first of the solo sections followed directly the other members having left the stage, Dave Kilminster's Guitar solo providing acoustic wonder for all to behold. John Wetton returned to duet on The Smile Has Left Your Eyes before  Carl and John Young returned to help return the set to electric part way through All Along the Watchtower.
John Wetton's solo masterpiece, Battle Lines filled the breach next with a powerful, both vocally and musically, version of this track from his solo album of the same title. At this point, possibly due to the power of his bass playing, the bass amp blew a value (or that is what they commented onstage) and so, after calls for a drum solo, John Young stepped in early with his keyboard solo, Paddydog. With the bass amp still playing up the guys decided a short break was in order and filed out the main door, right past me.

The second set began with the track which would normally have proceeded John's keyboard solo, Walking on Air. The true power of John Wettons bass playing can be appreciated with this track - a new on on the audience - though something John has had waiting around I feel. This is one heavy track and the guys really gave it their all. There was no way they could have done it justice without the bass amp - now the audience could feel the reason for the short break. something a little lighter next, though still a powerful version, Only Time Will Tell. A bit of fun next, Aaron Copeland's Hoedown, made famous by the ELP threesome (to this crowd at ay rate).
Last One Home, a track John's Wetton and Young had written and played with Carl back on the 1989 European Asia tour supporting the Beach Boys. Probably the best known ELP tune was kept for last and used to wrap around ELP's drummer, Carl Palmer's set piece: Fanfare for the Common Man complete with duelling guitars and keyboards followed by Carl Palmer's drum extravaganza before reprising Fanfare to lead us all into the main set's finale, Heat of the Moment
A quick trot out of the hall until the clapping and shouting audience howled loud enough for an encore to bring the guys back for a spirited version of Don't Cry to bring proceedings to a close.

An excellent show - despite the obvious problems - and a great, intimate, end to the brief UK tour.  If the guy's can't get something concrete off  the ground after these five dates then there is no hope for the music industry.  The shows had everything, showmanship, great music, excellent performers, something old as well as some (relatively) new material and most of all, a sense of a band enjoying themselves. Roll on the live album and the supporting tour!

Funniest comment I heard all night: "Who is this John Wetton guy anyway - I'm here to see Carl Palmer"! Poor John. Still, I think the guy who made the comment was a drummer himself so he should be excused.

A  fuller review will follow soon - if I can find my notes! If not I may have to leave it like this.

You can find more pictures from this show at Caroline Mockett's John Wetton site.


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This page was created on 15 Feb 2000. Last updated 14 Mar 2001.