Les Berger remembers a very special evening
HERE are a lot of people in this hall who've waited a long time for this moment. For some of us sitting in the village hall in Cherry Burton this introduction hardly did justice to our suppressed excitement as we sat, clutching our precious collections of Amazing Blondel vinyls in the hope of getting them autographed and waiting to hear the band in concert after so many years. It was, however, an accurate statement. The last time all three members of Amazing Blondel had played together in concert was way back in 1973. There must have been more than a few of us there who wondered whether their sound would be as good in real life as their latest album, Restoration, suggested they might. But as they launched into 'Toye' from the Fantasia Lindum album, it was evident to their long-standing admirers there that, far from being a pale imitation of their former selves, they had developed a well-rounded richness of sound which was if anything better even than in their classic recordings.
John Gladwin admitted to the audience that the band were not sure how the evening would go and felt quite nervous. They needn't have worried: as song followed song, interspersed with some of their lovely instrumental pieces, the delighted audience, some of whom had never heard of Amazing Blondel, let them know very audibly how much pleasure they were giving.
Many of the songs were from their three classic albums, Evensong, Fantasia Lindum and England, as well as dipping into their first album and Restoration. Particularly revealing was their performance of 'Seascape' from the England album which was performed with great intensity. The string orchestra which accompanied the song on the album was not missed: the instrumental blend the band produced was totally satisfying in itself.
For the best part of two hours the band held the audience completely captivated. There had to be encores, of course, and they provided a satisfying conclusion to a magical evening. Afterwards there was a queue of admirers waiting for autographs and a chance to talk to Messrs. Gladwin, Baird and Wincott, who despite their long session of strenuous music-making, duly obliged with good humour and grace.