Maddy's Last Nights
Steeleye Span at Croydon and Tewkesbury, 17th and 19th October 1997
too was at Croydon and Tewkesbury. I thought Croydon was a storming concert with Peter, Bob, Tim and Liam especially on great form. I'm not sure I've ever heard the final tunes played so fast. Any group which has these four as it's nucleus won't go far wrong whether they have one or two extra singers.
Tewkesbury was a different matter entirely. Whilst I enjoyed the concert very much it was all a bit sad sitting there thinking it might be the last time I hear Maddy singing some of these songs and I know some of the regulars felt the same way. There was a strange subdued feeling around after it was all over although a keen sense of anticipation about what the future may bring.
For the concert itself I was sitting on the front row of the second tier of seats from where the sound was superb which you don't always appreciate so much on the very front row (although from there people do seem to be tempted to shout out daft things to the band.).
I for one though don't mind the odd mistake from a band as long as they appear to be enjoying what they are doing. I certainly wouldn't criticise Weaver and The Factory Maid which showed real emotion and which Maddy dedicated to 'all her friends who follow her all over the country'. Another observation was that for once Gay chose to take a step back and let Maddy take centre stage for her last performance with Steeleye and she actually communicated with Maddy a couple at times ! I agree that Peter's tribute was well timed.
On balance I think Tewkesbury did itself proud despite the adverse comments I have heard.
Finally I'd like to look ahead. I'm looking forward to Maddy's tour with the Carnival Band in December. I believe they are planning to record another album of secular music at some stage. As for 1998 Maddy & Friends are planning a tour of the Southern and Western States in March, a tour of the UK in April/May and a tour of Easter USA in the summer. Maddy then hopes to do another Carnival's tour at the end of the year. I also look forward to seeing Steeleye in March next year (and hearing their new CD). It'll be interesting to see how they develop.