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Audience At the Robin 2 , Bilston, 23rd September 2004

At the Robin 2 in Bilston, Wolverhampton last night, Howard Werth announced that it was 33 years since he, Trevor Williams and Keith Gemmell had performed on stage as Audience, and then together with John Fisher on drums they launched into nearly two hours of old favourites sprinkled with a few rarities and newish material.

Their rehearsal period prior to this series of gigs has certainly paid off, as their musicianship could not be faulted. Their one concession to technology was a laptop that Howard used as an Autoprompt (he still managed to fluff a line in the first song), but Hey!, after 33 years we'd all be allowed a lapse or three.

Audience's audience of nearly 100 souls - come on, folks, without your support we may not get the chance again until 2037 - were a little subdued at first, almost as though they could not believe they were hearing You're Not Smiling and I Put A Spell On You played live once again, but Howard's beaming smile said it all. It was good to be back!

They trawled through their back catalogue, the first album, Friends, Friends, Friends and House on the Hill (nothing from Lunch, but then again they were on the verge of finally splitting when it was released), and Howard Werth's voice seemed to have lost none of its power. His acoustic guitar work was superb and crystal clear, and made such a refreshing change from the usual posturing or searing note bending associated with the electric variety. Keith Gemmell played tenor and soprano sax, clarinet and flute, but not all at the same time as some would try. Instead he gave us such treats as wah-wah sax solos, which, when put together with Trevor Williams fuzz bass, gave us an evening of Prog Pleasure quite unlike any other band could provide.

If you're intending seeing them, dig out those Charisma albums or CD reissues; they were more than happy to sign memorabilia and chat after the gig, and seemed very happy with their performance and the reception it received.

If you want to avoid being disappointed at your favourite being missing from the set, look away now:

YOU'RE NOT SMILING
MAN ON BOX
I PUT A SPELL ON YOU
FRIENDS, FRIENDS, FRIENDS
LEAVE IT UNSAID
BANQUET
I WANNA BE YOUR MAN (yes, that one)
JACKDAW


(unknown)
I HAD A DREAM
RAVIOLE
CALL ME RESPONSIBLE/BELLS
NOTHING YOU DO
HOUSE ON THE HILL


Encore
MORNING DEW

Graham Hunt

Audience

 

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