Maestoso — Fiddling Meanly
(Eclectic Discs ECLCD 1019, 2005, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01
Woolly Wolstenholme’s phase two of his master plan to return to active duty culminated in this live document from the 2004 UK “tour.” Material ranged from old Barclay James Harvest tracks to his first solo endeavors (Black Box Recovered) and the recent recording One Drop in a Dry World. The same band carried over from 80s incarnation is also back on board with guitarist Steve Broomhead and Kim Turner on drums, while bassist Craig Fletcher fills the slot after working with John Lees. The set list also holds many BJH surprises including a version of “The Iron Maiden” which comes off powerfully, with the mighty Mellotron assault is back in full force. The live version of “The Poet/After the Day” also carries all the charm of its original studio performance. Woolly is at home on the live stage despite the layoff and his lead vocal and stage presence the make the gig an enjoyable evening. The band really comes together playing the newest songs especially on the “The Bells, The Bells.” Easily the best performances are those where the composer’s songcraft comes to life on “In Search of England” and “Habour” both from XII. Two ancient surprise tracks “Poor Wages” and “Early Morning” are presented by a creditable performance for the hard-core fan too. Overall it’s a gig that signals a competent return for the band implying the new BJH line-up with Lees is imminent.
Related artist(s): Maestoso
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