Reviews header

  1. The Junction, Cambridge, 17th March 1996 (on the 'warm-up' tour for the Dingwalls recording).
  2. The Roadmender, Northampton, 18th March 1996 (another gig on the 'warm-up' tour).
  3. Dingwalls, Camden Lock, London, 21st March 1996 (recording for the "Eclectic" live album).
  4. Northampton Town Show, 13th July 1996, (free, open-air gig).
  5. Nottingham, Wollaton Park, 9th August 1996.
  6. Guildford Folk & Blues Festival, 17th August 1996.
  7. Edingburgh Festival, 1996.
  8. The Mean Fiddler, 31st August 1996.

The Junction, Cambridge 17th March 1996

Lee Bushby writes:
Was anybody at the Junction In Cambridge Last night?

The sheep shaggers played a 90 minute set. The place wasn't totally sold out but everybody was having a good time.

They covered the usual song Rocking In The Free World and also I'm On Fire and Eleanor Rigby.

Great evening.

If you didnt get a chance to see them I would recommend getting down to Camden later in the week. The entire set was acoustic and very casual.


:) Lee

The Roadmender, Northampton, 18th March 1996

Steve Bullman (and Oliver Hunter (italic text)) wrote:
Hi folks

 Oliver wrote:
  >Well, I was at a cracking concert last night at the Roadmender in
  >Northampton (were you there Steve?) which I will review when I have
  >more time later today, but I thought these points couldn't wait. I
  >spoke to the band after the gig and got lots of stuff signed
  >(including the BH13V  "Made In Heaven" CD Steve....)
Certainly was - I was over by the left wall a few yards back - shame I didn't know you were actually going to be there (I may have plucked up the courage to go & see the band myself then - so no, I didn't get my "Made in Heaven" signed!)

Sorry - you didn't get my Email in time.... I kept looking round & seeing people and thinking 'I bet that's them'... I was stood in the middle, 1 person removed from the 'crash barrier' with my friend (who had seen the Bluetones in the same venue the night before and was quite tired, isn't -mad- keen on BC but thoroughly enjoyed himself). I only had to wait about 15 mins to see the band too....never mind...

Perhaps Oliver can confirm if what follows is passably accurate..

I'll do my best...!

"The Sheep Shaggers", turned up as a replacement for Big Country at The Roadmender, in Northampton, England last night (Monday, 18th March), but nobody really missed BC.

They did a 21 song set, including a couple of encores:

All Go Together
You Dreamer
King Of Emotion
Look Away
Just A Shadow
The Storm
Eleanor Rigby
Where The Rose Is Sown
Come Back To Me
I'm On Fire
13 Valleys
Harvest Home
River Of Hope
One In A Million
Peace In Our Time
We're Not In Kansas
Big Yellow Taxi
Rocking In The Free World

Note: I wish I could remember set lists like the above - but my memory is just not that good. The above was brought to you courtesy of Amazing Memory Woman, aka Carol Humphreys, who also did the set & clothes observations bit..

The support was a solo acoustic guitarist - a Scottish lass (by her accent) - but I didn't quite catch her name (we arrived a bit after she came on) - may have been Carla Law.

Her name was Carol Laula and her CD "Naked" was on sale for 12 pounds. (The merchandise stall also had the '93 bootleg tapes for 6 pounds (I will buy one at Dingwalls on Thursday, I think) and a couple of T-Shirts and the programme left over from the WTLF Tour.)

She joined the band for Ships & Big Yellow Taxi (BYT they said they'd worked out how to do that afternoon).

(The 1st encore) Yeah, I thought that was a nice touch - make the support band feel at home - she clearly enjoyed playing with them.

Folk seemed to have a good time, I could still hear after the concert (unlike Derby) and the band were in a good mood.

Yes, it was certainly different to be able to hear properly afterwards... In a good mood - were they ever! They did more banter, mucking around etc than play songs nearly (well OK 21 songs is a lot to beat..)

The recently shawn Slaphead Butler was apparently trying to emulate someone famous in the WBA, but Stuart reckoned he had no chance.

Yes, that was me who shouted out "Where's your hair Tony?" at which Stuart made him come and show it off briefly. (When I spoke to him afterwards I saw that it was a grade 1 all over and dyed blonde)

After the first couple of songs, Stu & Bruce had a bit of banter about how they couldn't see the white dots on the acoustic guitars "'cos these here footlights are in our eyes" (no effect) "which is a subtle hint (no action) CAN WE HAVE SOME F*CKING OVERHEAD LIGHTS, (up come lights) - About f*cking time - Oh look Bruce these dinnae have any little white dots - we must have got the cheap ones - how do we play 'em?"

Stu was really pissed off that someone stole the punchline to his best joke of the show " What's that down there (pointing to ground)" - "Just A Shadow" shouted someone near front "Oh thanks for stealing my best line... my only f*cking good joke and you ruined it"

He also said "Yes that's my f*cking shadow, and this is "Just A F*cking Shadow""... I think the drunk Scotsmen had been to the Cambridge gig the night before....

Someone farted very loudly in the intro to 13 Valleys which folded everyone up, Stu asked if it was a good trump and then restarted the song.

Actually, it was someone going out through the door right next to the edge of the stage which creaked terribly (sounding a bit like a loud fart..). Stuart did stop and said "Someone's got bad indigestion down here at the front!". This was after he'd been playing the first few bars of the song over and over and over for ages and stopped a couple of times. He started the first verse but halfway through, the person came back in and the door creaked again. Stuart stopped and laughed, tried to carry on, realised he'd lost it and then said "I'll start again" and did.

Stu said "Now for something cool..", upon which someone shouted for "Into The Valley", whereupon he retorted "No, something *cool*" - then someone asked for a Slade song, Stu said he hadn't got the right accent and Bruce certainly hadn't got the right haircut. Someone then said "you've got the right trousers" (tartan check - pretty awful - see Carol's fashion report later) - to which he said, "Aye I suppose I do have the right f*ckin' trousers"

After BH13V everyone was shouting loudly for their favourite songs. Someone shouted for Harvest Home and was repeated by others. Stuart shouted "What was that?" HHAARRVVEESSTT HHOOMMEE!!!! came the reply. (Looks at Bruce) "Ya wanna play Harvest Home?", Bruce (shrugs): "OK", Stuart (to croud) "Ok, we'll play Harvest Home".... A sign that the band listen to the fans and react accordingly sometimes ;-)

Whether ironic or not, Bruce lit up a fag (sorry, cigarette for you US folk perplexed by that) and proceeded to disappear in clouds of smoke during "I'm on Fire"

Someone shouted for "the Storm" about 5 songs after they'd done it, to which Stu said "Ah, you're obviously the one who got the beers in, then - we've already done that, you tosser" (or some similar comment)

Other banter included the standard heckler put downs:

In the middle of RIAFW he decided to pull out the guitar riff from "Shaking All Over" by the Pirates. The style of the arrangements was very similar to the recent acoustic IABC and very much like the "All Fall Together" of the NON EP.

I hadn't heard the arrangement of River of Hope before and thought it was quite effective.

I enjoyed it, but was a little disappointed that they hadn't been a bit more adventurous. The set was a very typical electric BC set, and the arrangements were nearly all "take out the electric guitar and replace with acoustic or mandolin. Tony had an acoustic bass - but Mark was never coaxed out from behind the drums - and to be honest, it didn't feel very "unplugged".

Maybe I'm just being ungracious, but I thought this would be their opportunity to kick off the restrictions of a standard electric gig and do things they don't normally do. Perhaps congas or tambourine from Mark for a few things, or pseudo acapella at times. The nearest they got to that sort of thing was "Come Back To Me", which I really loved (and I don't think I'd heard them do before).

It should be noted that they played WTRIS followed by CBTM in the same continuous fashion as on Steeltown. (with drumming in-between).

Still, well worth the effort - I'll be interested to hear what goes down at the London shows.

And here's some of Carol's additions:

The lighting a set was very simple, the only obvious props were a black and red suspender belt (Bruce) and a plastic chicken.

I thought the lighting was OK they used what they had to good effect. They managed to produce the mystery sign from The Teacher (nearly) and the "Swirly" effect on Stuart's face during WNIK was pretty good. Both 'props' were used during mucking about.

Steve Bullman & Carol Humphreys

Stuart broke a string during one of the songs (towards the end of the main set, I think) and had to use a 'reserve' guitar for the next couple of songs while it was repaired. I also got the plectrum that he through into the crowd at the end - it is strummed to bits!

I asked Stuart if the gig had been recorded - "No" unfortunately (although I don't think they could have used much of it anyway..)

All in all an excellent night out!! (which I shall repeat again on Thursday....)

Dingwalls, Camden Lock, London, 21st March 1996

Mike Lynd writes:
(Mike provides a set list which I have amalgamated into mine below).

Three fixed video cameras and a further three mobiles. Whole thing recorded on multi channel digital.

As you will see it was a very different song set from the 'usual'.

I was very happy to meet up with Oliver Hunter and with Jan Bremner - nice to know what some of you lot look like!

And now Opinion/comment:

Great evening, band in good humour, very hot, band and audience both sweating profusely. No swearing from Stuart and only one f%*&!*@ from Bruce. Relatively small intimate venue, bar at the back, then chairs and tables, then standing area and finally small stage elevated by only about 2 feet. Result = band only about ten feet away.

Kim Mizzell is a buxom (Sorry, Margaret) Tina Turner-like figure. IMHO she did not add very much to the proceedings and I thought that Summertime was the weakest song of the set. On the other hand the electric violin was wonderful and injected an influence that at times was positively cajun-sounding, particularly in I'M ON FIRE. (NOTE FOR CD COMPILER - MUST INCLUDE THIS TRACK!). The tabla (if that's what they were) players certainly contributed to the volume and I think were a plus, though not as obviously as the violinist, ditto the keyboard player.


The Goodbye Ruby Tuesday sounded very Stones like.

Stuart attempted to do his Just a Shadow joke again but this time clearly expecting to have the punchline stolen from him - he was not disappointed!

I think that one of the things that impressed me most was the sheer knowledgeability of the audience. I thought I was a keen BC fan but, unlike that lot, I don't know all the words to every song! Jan told me that there are some people who go to every concert on a tour - now THAT is obsessive!

Can't think of anything else at the moment, no doubt Oliver will give you a fuller report and correct any errors or omissions that I've made.

best wishes,
Mike Lynd

Oliver Hunter writes:
Well, what can I say? Last night was a spectacular extravaganza of performances. It was practically nothing like the Roadmender gig (and I daresay the Cambridge & the first night at Dingwalls). Jan and her husband were there (as guest-listees) and she said that they didn't know until 'it' happened either. She had rung Ian Grant & he wouldn't tell her anything. I vaguely remember something about special guests a while back now, but I had forgotten about this until last night. I also met Mike Lynd last night - hi Mike!

The first thing to mention that not only was the show recorded (for a live CD) but it was filmed (for a live video? (please, please, please) and mixed in-situ. There was a 'editing studio truck' outside that most of the cameras fed into & this was mixed live. There were also several other cameras not connected into this setup - a guy with a cine camera, several camcorders and a few press photographers. All this combined with the smallest stage I have seen BC perform on....

BC played a 'similar' set to the other gigs with several additions changes (see below) and had several 'special guests' join them for various songs.

Margaret said "Great to have that report on the BC concert. Was the opening act perhaps Carol Laula? I hope so, she is a great songwriter." I am happy to say Margaret, Yes it was! I enjoyed her songs and playing - she has a very powerful and versatile voice.

The first guest was a violinist called Bobby Valentino (or 'Bob' for short) who had an 'electric' violin. He played on several songs starting with The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. Kyn Mazelle sang on three songs. Steve Harley from the Cockney Rebels played guitar and sang on two songs as well. Carol Laula also joined in on some tracks. There was also Aaron Emerson on keyboards and two egyptian gentlemen (Hossam Ramzy and Mohammed Toufiq) playing 'bongo' type drums (don't know the correct term for them but you can only play them on one end). The band also played Buffalo Skinners!!!!

Set listing (with help from Mike Lynd):

 1) All Go Together
 2) You Dreamer
 3) Look Away
 4) Just A Shadow
 5) The Storm
 6) The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down  + Bob, AE and Kym Mazelle
 7) King of Emotion                      + Bob, AE and Kym Mazelle
 8) Summertime                           + Bob, AE and sung by Kym Mazelle
 9) Winter Sky                           + Bob and AE
10) Buffalo Skinners                     + Bob, AE
11) Big Yellow Taxi                      + Carol Laula, HR & MT
12) Sling It                             + HR & MT and sung by Steve Harley
13) Chance                               + and sung by Steve Harley
14) River Of Hope                        + Bob, HR & MT
15) Eleanor Rigby                        + Bob, HR & MT
16) I'm On Fire                          + Bob
17) Where The Rose Is Sown               + Bob, HR & MT
18) Come Back To Me                      + Bob, AE, HR & MT
19) The Seer                             + Bob

20) Ships                                + Carol Laula
21) Goodbye Ruby Tuesday                 + Bob and AE
22) In A Big Country                     + Bob
There was a fair amount of banter - Stuart had had his hair cut and I shouted "nice haircut", he replied "What's it got to do with you?" and Bruce said "I think he's a poof" (me). I assume this will be cut... During a re-tuning I shouted "Dennis Rodman!", (Stuart mentioned at the last gig that Tony was aspiring to look like him with his haircut). Stuart (eventually) realised and said "Aha! and who does he play for?" (me- "Chicago Bulls"), "And what position?" (me - "Don't know...."). Stuart then made some witty comment but this eludes me now (Mike?). I asume as it was during a retuning that this will also be cut. Bruce made a hilarious comment about 'Bob' which I will let Mike tell..... Generally though, there was less swearing and more sweating.

Oliver, the rat, has suggested that *I* relay the Bob banter to you.

We're all going to regret this but here goes anyway:

Stuart mentions the electric violinist - Bob. (Inaudible shout from audience). Stuart says "Was that 'fat Bob' or 'Black Bob;? Two very different Scottish cultural references. Black Bob is a sheepdog, a sort of homegrown Lassie, fat Bob is a character from a Scottish comic called 'Oor Wullie'. [translator's note: "Our Willie" - the eponymous hero of the comic.]

Bruce says "Fat Bob has got a dog called Porky. He's called Porky 'cos he f***s pigs!!!"

This is in fact a variant of a very old joke involving an elderly maiden aunt interrogating a small child about his/her dog......... lots of questions about the dog - lots of childlike innocent answers in high squeaky voice, leading ultimately to:

Q. "And what is your doggie's name?"
A. (hsv) "Porky"
Q. That's a nice name - why do you call him Porky?"
A. "'Cos...... etc. etc.

You see, Oliver, I knew it was a mistake!!

best wishes,

The audience were very appreciative and several people were doing the traditional jumping-up-and-down-at-the-front routine. Lots of audience participation, lots of sweating, lots of special guests, lots of songs, lots of everything really! (sorry for those who missed it but hopefully you can experience it for yourself on CD/video soon...)

I thought the sound quality was better at the Roadmender, but the overall experience of last night was better then any concert I have been to before. I assume the sound quality will be better on the CD/Video as it was being properly recorded/mixed.

I only got to see Mark after the gig so I didn't get a chance to ask Stuart any questions, however I think we could probably get any 'group' messages or urgent requests etc to the band via Tony - see reply from Jan:

  >Hi Oliver,
  >>(Jan - perhaps Tony could give you his address and then if anything
  >>urgent/relevant could be filtered and sent via you...?)
  >Yeah, I know Tony visited the Web page 'cos I gave him the
  >address. I have sent/received a couple of E-mails from Tony so this
  >is in hand. No prob.
  >See ya
Well that had probably better do for now. Until next time!

Martin Powell writes:
I was thankfully graced with the presence of BC at Dingwalls, when Stu announced that they were gonna play 'Buffalo Skinners' I almost dropped my pint! I cannot wait for the recorded album/video to be released as the song sounded superb, there was BC plus the guy with the violin who added to the chorus.

The band managed to 'rock' the song up a bit at the end (similar to ships) and then repeated the second verse to a close. Most people at the concert didn't recognise the song but all seemed to enjoy it, even the 'moshers' starting jumping up'n' down at one point !!

Peter Hornberg (via Art Love)writes:
I recently heard from a friend in the Netherlands, Peter Hornberg, who saw 2 BC acoustic sets at Dingwall's in London on the 20th & 21st of March. He had the following comments, which he suggested I could post for him: (please excuse any grammatical errors from Dutch to English ;-)

"What a thrill!! Absolutely amazing!! On the first night, Stuart was ill and had to go to the toilet twice during the concert, there was no encore due to his illness. During most of both concerts, BC existed of more people than as usual for here. There was a violin player, two guys on congas, a black woman who sang together with Stuart "King Of Emotion," a Scottish girl who sang "Big Yellow Taxi," (Joni Mitchell) - this, in fact, was the best song of the evening. The way they played this song was incredible!

"Steve Harley (from a 70's band called Cockney Rebel) sang "Chance" in a great way. You can imagine what a great party it was!! Sometimes you saw about 7-8 persons on stage _really_ singing! The following songs were played:

The Storm
Winter Sky
Come Back To Me
The Seer
Look Away
River Of Hope
Buffalo Skinners (a surprise, B-side to "Ships," a great song)
You Dreamer
Eleanor Rigby (!)
Ruby Tuesday (!) (w/ massive crowd sing-a-long)
Summertime (w/ the violinist on lead vocals as Stuart had to rush to the toilet!)
I'm On Fire
Big Yellow Taxi
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
The concerts were recorded for a CD to come out in May as well as a video! I just hope this will not be spoiled by a lousy mix or whatever, because it should be A REAL KILLER!!"

(American Editor's note: "Sigh............")

The Northampton Town Show, 13th July 1996

Oliver Hunter writes:
So here I am back to the reality of work on a Monday morning...Yet only 36 hours ago I was in a far-away world, jumping and singing with lots of other happy excited people at the front of a stage with the Gods of rock music strutting their stuff, namely:


Stuart - Red Tartan trousers & black silk shirt
Tony   - Black leather trousers & Black sleevless T-shirt
Bruce  - Black trousers & black T-shirt with a picture of a wolf
Mark   - Orange T-shirt & black shorts
They played the following set:
1) God's Great Mistake          8) Alone
2) King Of Emotion              9) Peace In Our Time
3) You Dreamer                 10) Chance
4) Look Away                   11) In A Big Country
5) Ships                           ---------------------
6) Wonderland                  12) Fields Of Fire (Scratch)
7) Sail Into Nothing           13) Rockin' In The Free World
The venue was Northampton Town show. This was a huge affair running over 3 days (Fri-Sun). There were -lots- of stalls displaying various bits and pieces mainly housed in large marquees. There were craft stalls, a fun-fair, a birds of prey display, food stalls, an auction, charities and my favourite - a local farm display who had brought some animals with them. They had a cow & calf, chicken & chicks, duck & ducklings, sheep & lambs and a -huge- pig with 10 piglets - really cute! All of these were available for stroking/cuddling etc. Anyway enough of the show and on with the main event!

The gig was open-air and a fair-sized outdoor stage was set up with about half to two-thirds the normal lighting set. There was a crash barrier about 5 ft from the stage which was about 6ft high. I guess there must've been about 8-10 thousand there, I expect the papers will have articles in this week (especially the Chronicle & Echo which sponsered the event). This must've looked pretty good from on the stage as they would've been looking slightly up-hill and been able to see everyone well.

Most of the people there were local families or groups of friends, although there was the usual hardcore of about 50 or so people. I think it would be fair to say that -everyone- enjoyed themselves though, whether or not they'd heard of or seen BC before. They have that knack of getting a crowd going and creating a magical atmosphere.

The support band were the Buzztonics (from Brighton apparently) who weren't bad. They were all quite young (early-mid 20's) and the lead singer played the bass guitar. The rest of the band are a drummer, lead guitarist and a keyboard player. The keyboard player was the guy who played keyboards at Dingwalls in London for the recording of the live album. They came on just before 8pm and finished their set at 8.35pm.

There was a (crap) local DJ 'comparing' - he got the support's name wrong and called them the 'Buzzcocks' which he realised to his embarrasment immediately. He said BC would be on in about 15-20 mins. He did give the new album a plug (but didn't mention the name). After about 5 mins he came back and said BC would be about 15 mins (again) and got us to cheer for BC. I saw the band comming over to the stage (through a gap in the fencing) and thought - they're early! The DJ and gone off & I saw him chatting to Ian Grant at the back of the stage. The DJ then came back on and said would we like BC to come on 15 mins early! (Guess the response...) So, to my surprise, BC came on EARLY!!!

After GGM Stuart said that he wouldn't be saying a lot this evening due to there not being much time and that they'd rather play more songs. Tony started off wearing shades but removed them after a couple of songs when he got a bit sweaty. Also girls - his -loose- sleevless T-shirt kept slipping and revealing his right nipple!! (not that -I- looked of course!).

King Of Emotion seemed to wake up a few people and stir them into shouting out "1..,2..,1,2,3,4". It seems to have become a standard routine now that Stuart encourages the crowd to shout it and then doesn't start the song so they have to shout again. This time he even gave a little 'apologising look' when they didn't start the song...

You Dreamer was excellent with Mark and Tony joining in on backing vocals (once the roadie had sorted out Mark's mike - he kept swivelling it away for songs he didn't need it in and then couldn't get it back without help). This should have been -such- a big hit......

Look Away really got the crowd going, they obviously thought "Hey, I remember this one".... and this was our cue to jump up and down madly.

Ships provided a brief moment of not-bouncing-too-much during which Stuart got the crowd to sing the "Where were you" bits which worked quite well. During the song a couple of girls behind me and Jackie got onto their boyfriend's shoulders and waved their arms in time to the music. Stuart acknowledged this with a grin and pointed at them. Following this came:

Wonderland - another bounce-madly-around track while trying to sing "Oh woho woho woho woho" and "Ah yeha yehaha" while Stuart did his best to cue 8,000 people.

Sail Into Nothing was really -cool-. They did it a bit differently with a really mellow middle section which was like the band were just chillin' and jamming. During the song I caught Tony's eye while he was singing the high harmonies. I joined in and raised my eyebrows on the high "Aaaahh", at which he grinned and nodded as if to say "Yes, it is a bit bloody high!!" The sound was amazing though.

Peace In Our Time was PDG (Pretty Damn Good). I prefer this live and they really did it justice and the crowd joined in on the chorus big time.

Chance provoked the biggest response so far and the crowed cheered when the song started. As usual Stuart came down off the stage and shook hands with about 300 people. He has also started taking people's cameras off them (when they offer them) and then taking pictures of them and the crowd. Most other people were taking pictures of Stuart... ...while the crowd sung "Oh, Lord where did the feeling go? -2-,-3-,-4-" etc.. When he got back up onto the stage Stuart conducted everyone singing the chorus which he clearly enjoyed.

In A Big Country was obviously a stonker, after which they went off before coming back on for an 'encore' which was -really- shouted for.

They did Fields Of Fire (Scratch) (AGAIN). They also got girls to come up on stage again. This was actually quite funny. They got 3 up and decided this was enough. They were all three young (13-15?) and didn't really know the song or what to do and didn't dance. After a few bars Stuart turned to them and stopped playing. We all shouted "get them off" and "booo" and Stuart asked them if they'd like to go back into the crowd (how embarrasing...). Some more likely-looking girls then came forward including one of the ones behind me & Jackie and they started the song again. The girl from behind me said to Stuart she wanted her friend up as well so he told one of security to get her. When she was up on stage some serious dancing took place!

When the girls had returned to the crowd, Stuart shouted "we've time for one more, do you want another one?" (crowd goes absolutely mental). So they did RITFW. Tony did a -mega- thumping bass and head-banging bit towards the end and Bruce did his putting-his-guitar-next-to-the-speaker-and-getting-lots-of-feedback routine as well.

After they'd left the stage I got a bouncer to get me Stuart's set list off the stage and saw that they'd planned to do Kansas instead of RITFW... On the other side was a photocopy of a CD entitled "Long Way Home" that had been signed by the band. What is this? Is it a US release? It has a picture of a castle and a loch on the front and some rocks on the back. the track list is: AGT, LWH, Where The Rose is Thorn(????), WL, Alone, ST, Ships, LA, WNIK, IABC, FOF, Hey Hey My My (into the black) and LWH (acoustic). What the hell is this? Have I been on another planet or something?

Next came the -biggest- fireworks display set to classical music I have ever seen, it must of cost thousands of pounds... This topped the night off really well. All the roadies clearing the stage kept stopping to watch. At the end -everyone- clapped and cheered.

The best thing about the whole thing is that it was FREE - unbelievable!! Hurrah for Northampton Town Council! (I'm going to write and thank them and suggest that they re-book them for next year)....

Thanks to: Michael (hope you enjoyed Tori Amos) and Tom Kercheval for their good wishes, I wish you could -all- have been there. I can say that I really did enjoy myself - probably one of the top three BC experiences despite the short set! Jackie also had a great time, jumping with me and everyone else. She is quite a new 'recruit' to BC and I think that if you'd told her a couple of years ago that one day she'd be at the front of a BC concert singing and jumping up and down she wouldn't have believed you. In fact she'd probably said "Big Country? Didn't they have that one big hit.......", now she tells everyone else how good they are...

Unfortunately I couldn't get backstage so I didn't get the opportunity to meet the band (I think they were probably seeing the competition winner, which I didn't win BTW) or ask them any questions :-(

Hope this gave you a taste of what it was like,


Woolaton Park, 9th August 1996

Steve Bullman writes:
Hi folks,

Big Country were the leading act for on the Friday night slot of the Nottingham Music Festival at Wollaton Hall, kindly provided free by Nottingham City Council (Ta!)

They followed the Tom Robinson Band, who turned in a fine show and seemed to be enjoying himself. He modified the chorus of his last number, "Back in the Old Country", first to "Back in the North Country" (he's a Londoner, bless his socks, and doesn't realise Nottingham is in the MIDLANDS, not the North), then to "Over To Big Country".

BC followed after an interval and did the following set:

GGM, KOE, Look Away, You Dreamer, Ships, INA, PIOT, Chance, WNIK, IABC, FOF
In GGM Tony was singing the bit about "put the cat out & take off the phone" & some of the falsettos in some other numbers. Stuart (who had rather shorter hair than of late) said Tony had shorn his locks off so as not to be mistaken for Jason Lee (see footnote).

Joke of the night:
Mark was once caught masturbating in the toilets... and the person masturbating him was Bruce!!

Carol's clothes spot:

Bruce: White satin embroidered waistcoat - everything else black.
  Stu: White trousers, white & black design shirt.
 Tony: "Target" singlet shirt & shiny braces - otherwise as normal.
 Mark: growing a beard! Orange T-shirt with green star, black shorts.
They seemed to enjoy themselves. Considering this was a free concert, it wasn't the same die-hard fan mix - but there were still a lot of the pogo-dancers in the middle, the audience in general boogied to numbers they plainly weren't familiar with and there was a VERY big singing of Chance, so the band are still fondly remembered by folk outside the normal concert audience, which must be gratifying. Now, if they got some decent promotion...

Steve Bullman

Footnote (the following is for information only and was provided to me by a colleague at work - I make no guarantees for it's accuracy and bear no responsibility for any offence it may cause...)

Jason Lee is a soccer player for Nottingham Forest, most noted for two characteristics - the first is having dreadlocks tied up in a bunch above his head, said to resemble a pineapple. The second is for being a "donkey", ie a player who is likely to miss an open goal by falling over or putting the ball wide of the goal..

The Guildford Folk & Blues Festival, 17th August 1996

Mike Lynd writes:
BC played this outdoor venue at 3.30pm on 17th August 1996.

Carol Laula, Bob Valentino and the two egyptian percussionists were also present and the band's performance was "acoustic".

The play list was:

BIG YELLOW TAXI (with Carol Laula)
ODE TO BILLIE JO (with Carol Laula) *n.b.*
The band was introduced by veteran disc jockey, "whispering" Bob Harris, who said that he hoped to have them on his radio programme on GLR (a local London radio station) during September.

The mixing tent had a great many boxes scattered around it with BBC on them. Since no cameras were in evidence it seems possible that BBC radio may have recorded the performance (probably for the programme Folk on Two).

Mike Lynd.

The 1996 Edingburgh Festival

Mike Luu writes:
After reading the messages on the list for a while, I got the impression that I would probably never get to see BC perform in the US. But I was fortunate enough to catch them at the Fringe festival in Edinburgh. I had given up hope of seeing them, but the gods were in good moods so they had it so BC were performing on the days that I planned to be in Edinburgh. It was sheer dumb luck for I had no idea they were playing and I had planned to stay in Edinburgh for only four days.

The tickets for the concert cost the same as the other acts at the festival and I was thrilled to find that I got two tix for only $20. And they were the first come, first serve seating tix and we got there early enough (about 45 minutes ahead) to get seats in the second row. It was a small hall, about a hundred seats total and we had a great view of the stage (well, practically everyone had similar views). made a comment that seemed very true, that BC wanted to make records the way the want to make them. I got the impression that BC are performing now because they simply enjoy making music; my friend thought that Stuart really enjoyed himself during the concert, making jokes and generally having a good time for the other band members. They joked around a lot amongst themselves in between songs and the crowd clearly enjoyed it. It was an intimate crowd and Stuart would stop on some of the older songs to let the crowd sing (The Storm and Chance). They played practically the same songs as those at the Guilford Folk & Blues Festival.

Although I wished they had played more of the older material it was a great experience. Needless to say it was the best thing we saw in the festival ... if only they would come to the states.


The Mean Fiddler, London, 31st August 1996

Julian Carter writes:
Saturday night at the Mean Fiddler for The Big Country Acoustic Evening...........

Carol Laula supported, only 4-5 songs though...(my wife who came thought she had a great voice but crap songs!), then the arrival of 'The Sheep Shaggers" - does anyone know why Stu insists on introducing the band as this?

They opened with "All Go Together" followed by "You Dreamer" (SUPERB), the tracks played were roughly the same (from memory) as the Dingwalls gigs. Bobby V appeared on the fiddle straight after The Storm (the highlight of the evening), along with Hussan & Mohammed on percussion. Carol Laula played 70% of the songs as well providing some great backing vocals. Even Bobbby V. helped on the backing as well.

"Eleanor Rigby" and "Rockin' In The Free World" were the best of the covers, with everyone singing and dancing to RITFW. There was a funny moment as Stu started to play the opening chords for "Tracks of my Tears" then said "bugger the slow song" and crashed into RITFW.

There was loads of banter between songs, with "13 Valleys" taking an eternity to start 'coz Stu insisted in everyone being quiet before starting the verse much to everyone's amusement!

Mark and the percussionists payed some 'eastern rhythmns' before the rest of the band returned for the encore. There is one thing you can guarantee with BC - a band that look like they're having fun. Bruce and Carol were laughing all night long.

Well a VERY enjoyable evening in a great venue for the accoustic show (Dingwalls is better though!).

On a different note, I recorded a show off Virgin radio about 6 months ago which had BC doing an accoustic version of INA. Did anyone else hear this and after listening to it again at the weekend why don't they do it in the show?


Back to the concert reviews page
Back to the "I hope you like it!" main page.