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(TV) Camber Sands - you had to be there.
it's 3.30am and we just arrived home from Camber Sands. Still on a high
from it all so not much chance of sleep for a while. For those who
didn't get the webcast, the setlist was:
Swells (a.k.a tuning up and looking slightly uncomfortable)
1880 or So
Little Johnny Jewel
See No Evil
No Glamour for Willi
Call Mr Lee
(Don't Need Your Lovin' Anymore was supposed to be next but it never
OK, time to come clean (and show off) and say that Tania, Ray and I
actually got to see the set from the stage; on the right-hand side just
alongside the drum kit. And, OK, we also met the band (hear the sound of
names dropping); Tom V. just seemed very shy and tall (well, actually he
seemed very shy but he _is_ tall), Richard was... Richard (and very
short) and Mr Smith and Mr Ficca just seemed as if nothing much was
going to bother them. Billy Ficca just doesn't seem big enough to make
the marvellous noise he produces on what is really just a fairly
standard kit. Richard played the usual Strat and Tom V. played the same
cool black Strat for the whole set. Small amount of gear, not that many
pedals that I could see. A lot of fiddling around on the floor between
songs especially from Tom. Terrific sound, considering the hall was a
kind of wide barn with the danger of sound booming from side to side.
The other three were obviously raring to go from the off but Tom seemed
to take a while to start to feel comfortable. No communication with the
audience at all for the first four or five songs.
Fascinating to watch the signals and communication between Tom and
Billy. The dynamics of the set were really governed by the signals Tom
gave behind him. He seemed content for the most part to let Richard
handle most of the guitar leads and I was reminded of the interview when
Richard said that Tom would just be happy to play rhythm guitar for an
hour at a time. I have to say that Richard was just wonderful
throughout; on the evidence of this, if Television was still a working
band then the emphasis on guitar roles would seem to have shifted. The
interplay between the two of them on 'Rocket' was incendiary and
Richard's playing on 'Mr Lee' and '1880' were fabulous. And Billy Ficca
is just such a great drummer - clean and sharp.
There was a wonderful version of 'Rhyme' and a welcome, hard 'Little
Johnny Jewel'. Once Tom began to relax into it he started to stretch out
on the guitar; whenever he seemed to not want to do much Richard was
always there to take hold of things. Partly that familiar telepathy and
party close observation and communication across the stage. (Although
when Tom did his introducing-the-band bit I almost expected him to say
"Richard Lloyd on the _lead_ guitar" because that's the way it felt much
of the time.)
What else can I say? I could keep telling you how wonderful this band is
but you all know that. I will say that if you have a ticket for
Shepherds Bush then make damn sure you don't lose it. If you're across
The Pond, then I'd get to Chicago however far you need to travel.
Someone, somewhere, will have taped this and I'd sure like a copy.
No-one shouted for 'Freebird' and no-one shouted "Rockanroooolll!",
which was just as well. Next stop Shepherds Bush: be there or (as they
used to say when I was a lad) be square.
It was, oh, easily the third best night of my life.
"The Wonder - Tom Verlaine, Television & Stuff"
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