Fairport Convention Whitley Bay Playhouse 2 March 2022

FAIRPORT TIXIt has been a few years since Fairport Convention graced our stages across the UK. As with many bands, the Covid lockdown has restricted their ability to get out on tour. So it was a joy for the band, and for fans like me, to witness their return to the north-east; this time to Whitley Bay Playhouse, which is a lovely medium sized venue. My wheelchair space was perched right at the back of the hall, looking down on the crowd and the band below; but with a great view of the stage and the concert. The format for the show remained as it always is. First the crowd is warmed up by the support act, this time Luke Jackson. We arrived during his performance, which was great by the way. He was soon joined by Fairport Convention who started their first set with the normal opening song “Walk Awhile”, which dates back to 1970 and the FAIRPORT PROGFull House album. A great opener to a great night.

After a few more songs, Fairport have a break giving time for a short interval, during which I buy a programme. The band explain that, because of Covid restrictions, they will not be meeting fans and signing programmes during the interval as normal. However, to make up for it, the programmes are all already signed by the whole band, with an honesty box in which to place my £10 for two programmes; one for me and one for my friend John in America.

FAIRPORT 1 22After a quick pint of Guinness I am off back up in the lift to my seat. The rest of the set is a mixture of old songs, and quite a few new ones from the new album. Fairport are showcasing tracks from the Full House album, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020 and which will form a  major part of their performance at their annual Copredy festival in the summer, where they will be joined by old friends and members, including the legendary Richard Thompson. I always get the feeling that being in the presence of Fairport Convention is like joining a family get together. They are obviously all good friends and always make the audience feel very much “at home”. Original member Simon Nicol and long-time member Dave Pegg lead the rest of the band, who have now all been part of the family for many years themselves, through a series of songs which are the usual blend of traditional folk and rock music. The closing song is, as usual, the lengthy traditional folk story ballad “Matty Groves”. For the encore, as always, they are joined again by the support act Luke Jackson, for a joyful singalong “Meet On the Ledge”, taking us back to  1969 and the What We Did on Our Holidays album. A great evening spent with some peaceful, joyful songs performed by a band who, as I said earlier, made everyone feel “at home” with them.

FAIRPORT 2 22Many thanks to Jackie for the photographs and for Chris for coming to put me back into bed.


Set 1: Walk Awhile; Cider Rain; Don’t Reveal My Name; Lalla Rookh; Steampunkery; Sloth.

Set 2: The Journeyman’s Grace; Honour and Praise; The Year of Fifty Nine; Bankruptured; Moses Waits; Moondust and Solitude; Doctor of Physick; The Hiring Fair; Matty Groves.

Encore: Meet on the Ledge

My next concert was to be quite a change in mood, volume and tempo; Status Quo the following evening, which I shall report on soon.

4 responses to this post.

  1. I loved Fairport Convention back in the 60’s Peter, those albums up to and including Full House are astonishing still, I saw them first in 1970 at Newcastle City Hall when I was 16, the final tour with Richard Thompson, and they were brilliant, but I more followed RT when he split, seen him loads over the years, with Linda, then with his band, solo acoustic, he’s always great value, I’d say him with his band at the London Palladium in 1994 is one of the top ten gigs I’ve ever been to, just brilliant.


    • Posted by vintagerock on March 8, 2022 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Rob I would have loved to see Fairport in 1970. I have seen Richard Thompson a few times and really enjoyed him. I must go and see him more often in the future. Happy days Peter


  2. Posted by John Moses on March 8, 2022 at 7:31 am

    Hi Peter,

    One of my favourite bands of all time.
    I first saw Fairport in 1970 at the Coatham Bowl in Redcar with the late great Dave Swarbrick who sang Matty Groves then. Richard Thompson was still with them and Full House was the Album to be seen with at school: we played it all the time! During the 70s they also played Middlesbrough town hall at least once (in 76 I think)!



    • Posted by vintagerock on March 8, 2022 at 12:26 pm

      Hi John great to hear from you as always. I would loved to have seen them in 1970. They remain a classic band. Happy days Peter


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