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23 February 2006: Levellers - The Opera House, Buxton, England, UK
Buxton strikes me as a fairly pretty place, but this is my second visit and it is snowing again. During the gig, I note that Mark agrees with my thoughts on this and asks the audience not to throw a snowball and break a window, as happened the last time that The Levellers played here.
On entering the auditorium of Buxton Opera House, I am immediately reminded of going to pantomimes as a child. I nearly expected Statler and Waldorf of the Muppets to be on the balcony above me. There is not much Rock 'n' Roll about the Opera House, and the three standard lamps on stage help to reflect the 1950s ambience.
As I settled into my seat (I have to say that sitting during a gig doesn't work for me), The Levellers appeared. Mark asked if we'd brought our cushions, and promised a marathon run of all our favourites. These started with "Robbie Jones" and included "The Lowlands Of Holland", "Is This Art?", "The Boatman", "Julie", "For Us All" and Simon solo for "When Love Runs Out Of Time", amongst others.
Interspersed with these was some audience participation concerning "the fabulous lamps" on the stage, although Mark showed his age by thinking that the comments were referring to Charlie's new pumps. Someone amusingly sang "What a Beautiful Lamp" to the tune of "What A Beautiful Day"
As the interval approached, Mark promises we can have "drinkies", his best part of the day and The Levellers then delighted us with "What A Beautiful Day". The audience had been slow getting to their feet, probably due to the atmosphere of the theatre and the hyped up security, but they did finally stand up for this one.
During the interval the majority of the audience headed for the pub across the road, but for the rest of us a trip to the bar is called for. The bar at the Opera House is actually a small room where two staff members do their best to serve the maddening crowd. Ices are also on sale. Fantastic, I feel seven again!
Great timing! I just get to sit down and The Levellers return again. Songs including "Men-An-Tol", "Far From Home", "Elation", "Confess", "Four Winds", "No Change" (Mark and Jon) "Burford Stomp", "Dirty Davey", "The Riverflow" and "Carry Me" follow. There was a different arrangement to "Chemically Free", which to me sounds too much like The Carpenters "Top Of The World". There is also a new song, if I recall, as well ("A Song For Bloke").
The Levellers leave the stage and Boaksey appears (dressed in a brown suit and minus his usual face paint), playing his Didgeridoo, which leads into my favourite, "One Way". Then "Plastic Jeezus"!
They definitely left the stage again and came back to perform "Forgotten Ground" and "Just The One".
At the end I was left feeling that it had been a great night and we had been treated to a broad spectrum of The Leveller's songs.
And as an added bonus, a foot of snow hadn't landed during the gig and all I had to do was find the A6 again.
© KLW, livemusicreview.co.uk
The views expressed in these reviews do not necessarily reflect those of the livemusicreview.co.uk team.
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