Ray Jackson’s Lindisfarne Christmas Show Newcastle City Hall 22nd December 2013

Ray Jackson’s Lindisfarne Christmas Show Newcastle City Hall 22nd December 2013
lindisfarneprog When this show was announced, it sounded pretty improbable to me, and I just wasn’t sure that it would work. We’d been too long without a version of Lindisfarne gracing our stages, and the legendary Christmas concerts were now distant memories. But a version of Lindisfarne featuring only one original member? What would that be like?
A few events led to this year’s concert. Along the way we’ve had: the Alan Hull memorial concert; the unveiling of a plaque in Alan’s memory outside the City Hall, (with Ray Jackson playing at both events); the threatened closure of the City Hall, which was seen as a call to arms by many local musicians; and Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell performing The Lindisfarne Story (a show which I missed and really must try to see when it tours again next year). And then in May this year it all came together. The press release at the time read: “A new Lindisfarne debuts this Christmas. Ray Jackson, whose unique mandolin, harmonica and vocal styles helped create the original sound of Lindisfarne in the 1970s, is back, and will be performing live in concert with his new band for the first time this Christmas. Earlier this year a date for Ray Jackson’s Legendary Lindisfarne Christmas Show was announced……Jacka’s first Lindisfarne show for 23 years! After originally only intending to perform a single show at Newcastle City Hall on December 23rd 2013, (which sold out within hours of being announced), a 2nd show was added for December 22nd, also long since sold out. A 3rd and final Newcastle show has been added for December 20th, along with three others in Harrogate, Hull and Middlesbrough”. So the Jacka Man had taken up the challenge; supported, and no doubt encouraged, by Barry McKay, Lindisfarne manager from the 70s, and promoter of the original Christmas Concerts. Ray Jackson’s Lindisfarne are: Ray Jackson (founder member, on mandolin/harmonica/lead vocals), Dave Hull-Denholm (from the 1990’s Lindisfarne line-up, on guitars/lead vocals), Paul Thompson (from Roxy Music, on drums), Ian Thomson from the 1990’s Lindisfarne line-up, on bass guitar/double bass/vocals), Charlie Harcourt from Lindisfarne Mk 2, on guitars/vocals) and Steve Daggett (who toured and recorded with the reformed 1978 original line-up, on guitars/keyboards/vocals). For the concerts they were also joined by Tom Leary on fiddle.
As we entered the City Hall we were all given a party hat (David and I passed, both being Scrooges 🙂 ) and a free programme (donations were taken for charity). The packed out hall was greeted by Denny Ferguson as Santa (he warmed the crowd up well, but I was hoping for Mike the Mouth Elliott) and the atmosphere was friendly and high in anticipation. People were sitting up at the back of the stage behind the band, just like we did in the old days, and a huge Christmas tree stood in the corner. As soon as the new line-up started playing it was obvious that it was going to be a good night. The band recreated the Lindisfarne wall of sound and were true to their legacy and the band’s spirit, with Jacka, of course, being the star of the night. The show was in two parts, with most of the well known songs held for the last lap. lindisfarnetixThe first set was something like this (from memory, and I will no doubt have missed some): Road to Kingdom Come, All Fall Down, Wake Up Little Sister, Scarecrow Song, City Song, Together Forever, Marshall Riley’s Army, Lady Eleanor (as haunting as ever), Court in the Act. The second set had everyone singing along to: Turn a Deaf Ear, Kings Cross Blues, Train in G Major, Uncle Sam, January Song, a beautiful Winter Song with Dave Hull-Denholm sounding uncannily like his father-in-law, Fog On The Tyne, We Can Swing Together (complete with a lengthy harmonica solo from Jacka including The Blaydon Races and the Theme from Z Cars (boo..) and just as I remember it from the 70s, and….an appearance by the High Spen Blue Diamonds Sword Dancers), Run For Home and closing with Meet Me On The Corner. The encore was: Roxy’s (or actually Canned Heat’s) Lets Work Together (a surprise and well played with lots of great harmonica from Jacka) and (of course, to send us home on our way) a great singalong to Clear White Light. Barry McKay said something about next year’s present being even better; could that hint at a Lindisfarne reunion? Rod Clements was in the audience last night, so who knows. A great night which reclaimed Newcastle’s Christmas for a legendary band, without tarnishing any memories, and gave a few thousands Geordies an early present. Well done and many thanks to Jacka.
Official Lindisfarne site: http://lindisfarne.co.uk/
Ray Jackson’s Lindisfarne: http://rayjacksonslindisfarne.com/
The Lindisfarne Story: http://www.lindisfarnestory.co.uk/

2 responses to this post.

  1. Read this last year and felt quite jealous! Little did I know at the time that things were about to change and we’ve just moved back to the North East and one of the first things I did was buy a ticket for one of this years shows – it’ll be my first gig at the City Hall in almost 30 years – really looking forward to it!


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