I had a fantastic night out last night, Mrs F and I went to a packed Brook Theatre in Chatham to see Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman in concert. Right - yes Oliver, not Rick who Gordon has collaborated in the past with but Oliver is now working with Gordon on a new album "Ravens and Lullabies" due out in a couple of months.
Any regular readers of this blog will know that Mr Giltrap is one of my heroes having seen him in many concerts, bought a load of his albums, struggled over learning his pieces, bought one of his signature guitars and had the privilege of meeting him at a workshop some years back in Margate. So this review will be biased! :-)
Brilliant night - a couple of pieces off the new CD, one played in a "unique arrangement", i.e. I think Gordon went wrong somewhere but frankly I don't think anyone in the audience noticed at all - I certainly didn't. Some of Gordon's famous pieces worked with brilliant accompaniment from Oliver - Isabella's Wedding shone out in this regard for me. Oliver introduced several pieces of his from his back solo catalogue again with Gordon adding some great additional guitar parts. One thing it was interesting to watch Gordon on these pieces and the Bach one they did as well. Gordon was "out of his comfort zone" I think, these aren't pieces he had years and years to nail and as any musician will know once you are playing with someone else there is a higher degree of rigour in how and what you play, if you are solo you can be freer with your timing etc. as there is no-one else needing to be understanding of it. Also Gordon was studying his "music" carefully at many points - but I don't believe he actually can read music - I'd love to know what he uses, some form of tabulature no doubt, but with rhythmic symbols or not etc. Whatever the performance was still flawless on both sides of the stage.
Both took solo slots in the first and second halves and there were brilliant as you'd expect. Along with their great humour, obvious friendship and clear mutual respect of each other it was a pleasure to be in their company for the evening which seemed to finish all to early. The encore piece was interesting with Oliver having asked that they do a version of Wondrous Stories by Yes which he never got the chance to play live in his time with the band since post Jon Anderson it wasn't on the set list. Oliver a worthy "secondment" for his Dad as he put it - his little quip about his different approach to subject matter vs his Dad was also a humorous insight to family discussions :-)
For the gear heads Gordon was festooned with signature machinery on stage. He used his Flyde Gordon Giltrap signature in standard tuning the most of all. Two of his Vintage Gordon Giltrap signature guitars got used to, a cedar topped one which looked to me to have had a new Rare Earth pickup fitted replacing the factory standard arrangement and a mahogany fronted one again with a Rare Earth on it. For Dodo's Dream he used his new Fret King signature electric guitar which sounded fantastic - everything I see and hear of these new Black Label Fret Kings seems that they have to be on your shopping list if you are looking for something under £1,000. Lastly he used his Rob Armstrong baby guitar for Here Come's The Sun to much ribbing from Oliver about it being a "toy".
Great night out, two super musicians in complete harmony with themselves, the sound was excellent again as always at the Brook and the album is now on my wish list and I await it with great anticipation.
Found this sequence on Youtube - different gig but good sequence