Why was it one of the best gigs I’ve been to? Well, it was at the Royal Albert Hall, truly a magnificent venue for music. But also the quality of the delivery of all the songs played, the new album in it’s entirety plus more and a near two hour set.
The songs from the new album evoke war and the experience of war told through the eyes of combatants and civilians. Also it poignantly digs into the spirit of a pastoral England, an urban England. The beauty and hardships, the wonder and sadness. Warts and all. It’s achingly beautiful, uplifting and melancholic. Lyrically it’s just breathtaking.
The Last Living Rose
Take me back to beautiful England
And the grey damp filthiness of ages
And battered books
And fog rolling down behind the mountains
On the graveyards and dead sea-captains.
Let me walk through the stinking alleys
To the music of drunken beatings
Past the Thames river glistening
Like gold, hastily sold
Let me watch night fall on the river
The moon rise up and turn to silver
The sky move
The ocean shimmer
The hedge shake
The last living rose, quiver.
And this song, the suffering and loneliness of the dying soldier
Hanging in the Wire.
Walker sees the mist rise
Over no man's land
He sees in front of him
A smashed up waste ground
There are no fields or trees
No blades of grass
Just unhurried ghosts are there
Hanging in the wire
Walker's in the wire
Limbs point upwards
There are no birds singing
The white cliffs of Dover
There are no trees to sing from
Walker cannot hear the wind
Far off symphony
To hear the guns beginning
Walker's in the mist
Rising over no man's land
In the battered waste ground
Hear the guns firing
Incredibly, there is a video for every single song on the album. Each one is compelling. All made by a filmmaker called Seamus Murphy. Here is the vid for Hanging in the Wire.
As for the gig, Polly Harvey was dressed in a black long dress, adorned with a crow feather headdress.
Here she is pictured with Mick Harvey (no relation) strumming away at her auto-harp.
It was interesting that the three lads in the band and her played some distance apart.
Ghostly Polly plays Autoharp
Managed to get all band members in one shot! (Harvey, Harvey, Parrish, Butty,
Even the massive Royal Albert Hall organ got tooted.
Thankyou and goodnight!
And the night was topped off by John from work giving me a lift to Turnpike Lane, so I didn’t have to queue up with all the (other) morlocks at South Kensington station. Although he does need to sort his satnav, kept trying to direct him to the nearest chiropracter / police station for some reason!