It was another excellent night of music in the Pontardawe Arts Centre when Fairport Convention made what seemed like their annual pilgrimage to Wales. They more often than not come to Pontadawe. It was packed to the rafters again last night when Fairport 2014 rolled into town.
The first question was, Where's Peggy? And who was the young buck playing the bass?
It turned out that bass icon Dave Pegg had damaged his hand in a domestic accident three weeks before the tour started which ruled him out of the squad. But, as Simon Nicoll explained, Peggy had a contingency plan for an event such as this. And 42 years ago he had produced his son Matthew to take over. So it came to pass that Matthew, who proved to be an accomplished bass player himself, (and why not, as he was taught by one of the best), took over bass duties for this tour. But you can't keep a National Treasure down and Peggy was on hand(?), with hand in sling, to provide vocals for much of the second half of the set.
The show kicked off with support from the rather good Edwina Haynes who played a good set of her own songs and ended with the band coming on stage to join her for her final number, a version of John Prine's Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness.
The show was a set two gig and it kicked off with the title track from 1995's Jewel In The Crown.
The band chose songs from right throughout their extensive career. A personal favourite for me was their reinterpretation of Richard Thompson's Farewell, Farewell from the 1969 classic Leige & Leif
The boys have been playing together for a while now and with such a vast amount of material to choose from the show was always going to be a crowd pleaser.
The first half closed with a superb Mercy Bay
Part Two opened up with a rousing Festival Bell with Peggy on vocals
The band even managed to slip in a few new songs that are in the process of being recorded for a new album later in the year, Myths & Heroes. And multi-instrumentalist Chris Leslie also played one of the songs from his latest solo album Origins called Theodore's Song. And it was very good too.
Edwina Hayne's joined the band again for a lovely version of the Sandy Denny/Fairport classic, Who Knows Where The Time Goes
They closed the show with the classic Matty Groves
But as every Fairport Convention fan knows - the show is ALWAYS closed with the now legendary Richard Thompson song Meet On The Ledge
Thanks to all the youtube heroes who have managed to get video of this years tour. My thanks to you all.