Gig - Bishopstock 2001: Page 3 (Sunday)
Nawfel started off the proceedings on Sunday. This guy is a talent, no question and the heavy, blues-rock workouts were nicely balanced with more low-key material that emphasised his astonishing phrasing and the more melodic side of his soulful guitar playing. Mighty Mo Rodgers was a real highlight for the crowd and the Primer. Playing material from his CD "Blues Is My Wailing Wall" his performance and between song anecdotes went down a storm. If you haven't got the album, it gets a hearty recommendation here.
The Primer found the Lynden David Hall set a little disappointing. I'd singled out the performance as a potential highlight, intrigued as to how Hall's intimate style would fit within the Bishopstock programme. For a guy who believes in 'grooves rather than beats' the groove didn't hang together particularly well and the whole set lacked a little sparkle. Hopefully, just a one-off bad day at the office and there were plenty down at the front who appeared to disagree with this view of the gig anyway. Peter Green and Splinter played a fine, late afternoon set and anyone who has seen Splinter on tour recently would know what to expect. Peter still plays the Fleetwood Mac material, but you can't help but wonder how sick he might be of reprising 'Albatross' one more time (still great though ). A little Robert Johnson, some material from the soon to be released new album, genuine rapport on stage and Peter said even less than usual - the usual solid stuff!
Van Morrison appeared to tailor his material to the setting, playing a few blues standards and focusing on the bluesier side of his own material. He also performed material that doesn't often get a hearing these days (at least not when I get to see him), including a wonderful 'When The Healing Has Begun'. Great band as usual (looked like a throwback to an Irish showband!) and Van seemed in reasonably good humour. No encore, and the compere pointed out that he saw the man disappear into a car straight from the stage and leave - so no change there then. The crowd gave Nina Simone a rapturous reception and stayed with her through what, frankly, was a disastrous and somewhat depressing set. Clearly tired and not particularly well, the voice was weak and the set had no real direction. One of those, "I Was There" events (having never seen her before) but not a particularly wonderful musical occasion.
The 20 plus strong London Community Gospel Choir brought proceedings to a close and gave the event a real lift after Nina. A great selection of gospel performances, traditional and contemporary (but more of them later....)