Birmingham, Town Hall, 28 Nov 1977

27 Jul 2013
Loose Handlebars blog
[Mal Wright]
Life is a lesson to learn in our time | John Martyn


It was on the One World tour that I got to see John Martyn play in concert again. Birmingham Town Hall is a striking Romanesque monument to Victorian provincial achievement, taste & rectitude.1 It is a great place to see a gig. [...] John often toured with Danny Thompson, a virtuoso of the acoustic bass who shared a fancy for the blurring of any folk-jazz boundaries and an affinity for rather excessive alcohol consumption. Rapport does not really cover what happened between the pair when they played together. There was a degree of communion going on there I think & that night, in front of the hall's magnificent pipe organ, they delivered a little piece of perfection.

Now I'm no great fan of British prog rock. The triple-albums, the space operas, the acceptance that Lord Of The Rings has some literary merit. Technical expertise at the expense of emotion & melody never appealed & I found any intellectual aspirations to be unimaginative & mediocre. [...] John Martyn's concert set took the best of his 5 great records & the quality just kept on coming. The expeditions of One World, Dealer & Big Muff swooped & soared around the hall. OK I was already flying high but this was just the method of transportation I required to keep me up & out there.

I left the gig convinced that this adventurous, emotional, beautiful music should really be on the turntables of millions. You want to hear something 'progressive'? It's right here.

Amen to that!
1 This places the concert date on Monday, 28 November 1977.
This review from memory was part of a longer piece to be found here.

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