logo the freedom man

The Forever Changes tour first show – review by Martyn Samuels

Milton Keynes 11 January 2003-01-13

We didn’t need to be told of course. We were in for a treat and we got one, in fact we got two. One with band and one with strings and horns.

Arthur and Love were in great spirits and with first time ever live performances of Robert Montgomery, Old Man, Listen To My Song, and, with trombone, Always See Your Face, well.. it was something else.

The string and horn ensemble performed the entire Forever Changes album after Arthur and the band loosened up with Your Mind and We, Orange Skies, She Comes In Colors, Little Red Book and Stephanie Knows Who. Being told that Signed DC would follow later, we knew that Forever Changes would be the meat of the sandwich with more band numbers to close off.

The eight piece ensemble were note perfect adding depth and real majesty to the songs. Rusty’s acoustic guitar playing and his direction of the ensemble were exemplary. Mike’s guitar playing (with new added effects by the sound of it) especially on Clark and Hilldale echoing the horns was magical.

There were many highlights. The sublime Old Man, Andmoreagain, You Set The Scene of course and The Daily Planet seemed stronger than ever.

The last half hour/forty minutes was band alone with stunning and rigorous versions of classic Love. 7&7 Is, Signed DC, My Flash On You, Everybody’s Gotta Live, August, played with intensity and delight. Arthur was in playful mood (he gave Mike a nice push from behind during his Instant Karma solo), and saying he would even pay to see this show. When he started to chat he remembered that he shouldn’t, but he was in good spirits throughout, answering an audience request to see what was on his t shirt, but ignoring a request to play Laughing Stock! (nice idea though!).

The chance to see Always See Your Face was good enough, but with the added trombone the song was suddenly on another level. Bjorn Samuelsson (no relation!!) from Sweden played it impeccably.

For Listen To My Song, Arthur had to stamp a bit to get the timing and rhythm right but with the ensemble back, it worked, even the Roger Whitaker whistling bit!

A horn enhanced Singing Cowboy was the final treat, stupendous playing and a realisation from Arthur that he stole the maraca intro from Jingle Bells!

The crowd loved it and was noisier than the audience at the same venue in June 2002. The band are now more confident and Arthur is singing and looking better than ever.

There were a couple of amp gremlins and a few words that got forgotten but that’s being picky. This was the first show afterall and it was astonishing. In the next few weeks, this band is going to perform the best shows anyone has ever seen in their lives and that’s a fact.

Now what about hearing Nothing, I’m With You and Dream with this band? A Four Sail tour with strings and horns for a 35th anniversary next year??

Martyn Samuels