Recent Major Concerts and Events

Giltrap and Wakeman, Ravens & Lullabies Tour 2012

Giltrap and Wakeman, Ravens  Lullabies Tour 2012
Huntingdon Hall, 22nd Sept 2012,  Review by Keith Meredith

September 22nd was a good day to be riding somewhere with a purpose – that purpose being to visit the unique architectural gem that is Huntingdon Hall in Worcester. This was to be the venue for the inaugural concert of the Ravens & Lullabies tour featuring Gordon Giltrap and the tall, good-looking and very talented Mr. Oliver Wakeman. I am pleased to report that the effort was well rewarded.

Many others had also made the effort. I was greeted by agent and series promoter Sue Webster and her other half, Dean – and other VIPs and crew soon appeared: Sue and Mike Holton were to record the evening on video, Malc and Kaz were on merchandise duties: Lee attended to still photography – which left me to do the words – again!
To my shame I am not that familiar with Oliver’s work – a deficiency that I intend to remedy. It is perhaps inevitable that he be compared to his father – but this I believe does him a great disservice – he is a talented, principled and assiduous musician in his own right and deserves to be regarded as such.

I must admit that I didn’t quite know what to expect of this gig  - but in very short order I was captivated and mesmerized by the sounds presented to my grateful ears. We moved back and forth between established Giltrap tunes: new compositions: duets between keyboard and guitar followed by some of Oliver’s outstanding work. We even had the two of them playing Bach!

Familiar Giltrap pieces such as Maddie Goes West and Fiona’s Smile were given an extra dimension by the keyboard skills of Mr. Wakeman - and the reverse was also true when guitar supported keyboard. The music bounced from calm and relaxing to stimulating and exciting and then back again – this new collaborative venture richly deserves success and a much wider audience.

The rearrangement of  ‘Roots’ from the Fear of the Dark album was a particular highlight as it was prog rock that originally introduced me to Gordon’s music. It became the first half finale deposing a near perfect Dodo’s Dream to midway through part deux.

‘Wherever There was Beauty’ - a tribute to artist Peter Pritchard – was also a new composition that I especially enjoyed  - both performers combined to produce a particularly melodic and fulsome sound.

Individually, both Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman are exceptionally gifted musicians and composers – capable of producing joyous, thoughtful, emotional and exciting music. When their talents are combined in the way they are in this collaboration, then the results far outshine the sum parts. Each complements the other’s talents to produce a unique performance. There are two kinds of music – the good and the bad. Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman play the good kind. If music be your opiate do not miss this tour.

I understand that the album ‘Ravens & Lullabies' will be available – complete with a Giltrap calendar, apparently ( but don’t hold me to that one) – early in 2013.

View a gallery of photos from the night taken by Lee Millward HERE

Trowbridge Festival, 29th Sept 2012 review by Bob Wilson

On Saturday 29th September, Trowbridge Arts Festival hosted a concert with Gordon and Oliver on their ‘Ravens and Lullabies’ tour. After a sold-out guitar workshop given by Gordon in the afternoon, the evening saw all seats also filled for their concert. Not really knowing what to expect with this duo, the audience were very soon captured in the moment.

The evening started with Gordon’s ‘Maddie Goes West’ to warm the audience, before the duo played together on one of Oliver’s pieces. From then on the evening continued to astound and surprise, with a mix of old pieces from both performers’ repertoires and some lovely, new pieces that will be part of the ‘Ravens and Lullabies’ CD due out early next year. Also included were pieces from Bach and Yes which demonstrated the wide-ranging talents of the pair.  Interspersed with the usual banter, the two of them joked together and kept the audience laughing between pieces of music.

Outstanding pieces of the night for me were the melodic ‘An Unknown King’, a wonderful version of ‘Dodo’s Dream’, a beautiful piece called ‘LJW’ and the perfectly played ‘Here Comes the Sun’. This was a fantastic climax to the musical part of the Trowbridge Arts Festival and the choice for this final concert was a good decision, well received by all who got tickets to attend.

Good to see Gordon and Hilary again, meet Oliver for the first time and also, our friend Mike Stranks who kindly helped on the merch table.

Thanks Gordon and Oliver, a brilliant day and a brilliant evening.

Gordon Giltrap & Oliver Wakeman with Chris and Dan Fry, Wesley Centre, Maltby, Rotherham, 13th October 2012, review by Martin Hudson

The drum and electric guitar union were not out in force this evening as there was not a drum kit in sight - and only one electric guitar. However, there were at least four quality musicians on stage on a nicely laid back evening and performing in front of a packed all-seater CRS crowd.

Magenta were represented in the support slot by the dextrous pairing of Chris and Dan Fry with a forty-five minute set based mainly on Chris's solo album 'Composed'. Add to that a couple of covers, including an acoustic version of King Crimson's 'Red', the boys pleased proving that a whole band is not always the need. 'Parachute' had Chris admitting that there was a nod towards Giltrap's 'Heartsong' within it, but referring back to when it was written he laughed saying, "I thought what's the chances of us ever play with Gordon." I'm sure Uncle Gord didn't mind.

The Giltrap / Oliver Wakeman partnership is something I had encouraged a few years ago and so when Gordon united with the now ex-Yes keyboards man I knew it was a winner. Tonight was just one night of a tour to test the water and lay a base for the next tour and a full-band for the promotion of their 'Ravens and Lullabies' album in early 2013. It proved not only a musical but humorous success.

Gordon announced that the set would begin with a McTell song before both musicians skimmed the surface of their personal musical careers to date. I'm not a McTell follower and so I and many others accepted his word. 'Maddie Goes West' though is a Giltrap tune that can be found on his Drifter album and his collaboration with Rick Wakeman, 'From Brush and Stone'. Moral to the story, don't believe everything a musician tells you from the stage. That was the first piece of humour on an evening where highlights included Giltrap's 'Camber Sands' from the 'Troubadour' album and Oliver's 'Heaven's Isle' medley taken from his debut solo album.

The cover of George Harrison's 'Here Comes The Sun' saw Giltrap bring out his 'little' guitar to which Oliver produced a toddlers keyboard, a well-rehearsed moment much to the audience amusement. Oliver even hit a few Yes chords on it.

A rare opportunity to catch Giltrap on electric guitar on 'Dodo's Dream' was his nod to prog. rock as he played creating loops of sound before the pair concluded with Oliver's 'The Forgotten King' (even if he now knows the name of the king he wrote it about) and Giltrap's most famous piece, 'Heartsong'. With an encore of 'Wondrous Stories' that was it. Onwards to 2013 and their debut release and having had a taster of the Raven's section I think they will notch up more than 'tin' in sales; a tongue-in-cheek Giltrap prediction.  
Martin Hudson
Gordon & Oliver - Brook Theatre, Chatham, 18th October 2012, review by Brad Carter

I have thought long and hard as how best to do a review of last night's concert.

I could list the pieces played, give a number by number account of each and how they compare - both to each piece and to the original versions as previously known to me. However that could not possibly do justice to the overall performance by both artists or even begin to convey the experience.

I always enjoy Gordon's music and performances, though Oliver's music is much less familiar to me, thus giving an expectation of the familiar with the unheard and, for me, the untested. Was I disappointed? Not in the least, not only that, I found myself sitting and listening intently and even wallowing in the music.

What a wonderful evening and experience to have been entertained by such consummate musicians who know exactly how to reach their audience and, clearly, enjoy themselves as well.

Words are totally inadequate to convey my view of the concert. So, if you haven't already, try to get to one of the remaining events and you will surely understand what I haven't been able to express.

I read a couple of days ago of the imminent Rolling Stones concerts and the ridiculous prices being asked for tickets - that is from official sources. If you enjoy quality music, quality performers and, simply, a magical evening, you can do that at a tiny fraction of the cost with Gordon & Oliver's 'Ravens & Lullabies'.

Brad Carter

Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman - Brook Theatre Chatham, review by Graham Hunt

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.

Graham Hunt Read my Guitar blog HERE
The Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham, 19th Oct review by Roger Drew

The Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham is a compact 150 seat theatre that we know quite well. It has very special memories for us as we’ve seen Gordon play there twice now, the first time when we were first getting to know him and Hilary and then again towards the end of 2006. Both brilliant evenings, especially the second gig when there were a few surprises in store, such as the appearance of the John Bailey double-neck for a stunning version of "Sallie's Song", and "Dodo's Dream" performed twice (the second time for an encore!). So we turned up at the Ashcroft expecting another great evening, only marred somewhat by the fact that our friends Bob and Jane (Wilson) couldn’t be there.

As we took our seats it seemed a little strange to see some keyboards on stage next to Gordon’s array of fine guitars, including his new Fret King electric. As the lights went down you could feel the anticipation welling in the sell-out audience and then Gordon and Oliver appeared. They started with “Maddie Goes West” and immediately the standard for the evening was set, with no signs of fatigue after their protracted journey from Kent. The set seemed to go from strength to strength and everything about the concert worked extremely well, Gordon and Oliver’s playing together, the solo pieces and of course the excellent banter and interaction with the audience. Also, no egos here, just great mutual respect between two great musicians which led to many moments of unforced musical magic during the evening.

Of Gordon’s pieces: “Fiona’s Smile” and "Isabella’s Wedding” worked really well with Oliver in support, but then we know Gordon’s music well and his solo pieces “On Camber Sands” and “Dodo’s Dream” were sublime. To our shame neither of us were familiar with Oliver’s playing and his music*, so the quality of “An Unknown King”, “Lutey and the Mermaid”, "Nature's Way" and “Heaven’s Isle” came as a very pleasant surprise. (*Needless to say we’ll be doing our utmost to rectify this situation!)

Even by Gordon’s high standards and our own expectations of gigs at the Ashcroft, this was something very special indeed and the surprises kept coming, including a superb rendition of “Wonderous Stories”, which was a fitting encore (never thought we’d hear a Yes song at a Gordon Giltrap gig!).

However the icing on the cake was a WONDERFUL version of “Roots” from Gordon’s classic “Fear of the Dark” album. Oliver had made one or two playful references to Gordon’s age, but we all could have been back in 1979 as the power and intensity of the piece cut through the air. Brilliant contribution from Oliver here too.

All in all this was an outstanding evening which will live in the memory for a long time to come. We just hope that this is a the start of a long-lasting partnership!