Another packed house at the Woodman, for the second week of the 40th anniversary celebrations. But no ‘stars’ tonight after the splendid Chris While and Julie Matthews, just another ‘Singers’ Night’, though as is often the case, a great night nevertheless. The customary array of Woodman support acts (sorry, too many to mention) before the Puritans for their first set. Most of the audience knew Mick and Pete but probably few present remember John Wadham erstwhile lead singer in the 1971 line up. Sadly, no appearance from multi-instrumentalist Andy Reed, working in Hanover, though Mick quipped that Andy was taking advantage of a cheap holiday in Egypt!
The set was dominated by strong vocals with no sets of tunes – Puritans’ dynamics changed by John’s presence and Andy being absent. What a lovely set, highlights being Mick’s ‘Mrs McGrath’, the unaccompanied ‘Dudley Boys’ and ‘Up to the Rigs’ with much maligned banjo and accordion providing a lively accompaniment for the strong vocals.. Mainly old favourites but still sounding great after all these years.
The second half, approaching midnight when they finally got on, was all-too-short but worth the wait. More old favourites with ‘Black Velvet Band’ and ‘Bonny Ship the Diamond’. The finale was simply brilliant with Derry (bass man) Jones plus Anne and Corinne (renamed the ‘D cups’ for the occasion) joining the Puritans for a Hank Williams special – ‘Walking and a-talking with the Lord’. How much truth there was in Mick’s tale about Hank Williams was highly debatable, but very amusing anyway. Sadly no time for encores but Ian promised a return. Let’s hope so, but not too long to wait I hope.
If you didn’t make it, watch the videos on the website for a flavour of a great evening of nostalgia.