It was the first time for me to see ANY music in the Neath Little Theatre. I've seen a couple of plays there but have never seen any music there. So it was a lovely surprise to realise that I have a great venue for music about 1 mile down the road. Holding a couple of hundred people, it is perfect for roots/folk based music and tonight one of the best guitar players the UK has produced has come to town, Gordon Giltrap.
Support tonight was from Porthcawl singer/songwriter Nick Ward. His short set seemed to go down well and he reminded me of the great Glen Tilbrook of Squeeze in his vocal style and storytelling song style.
With over 40 years in the music business, Gordon Giltrap has built up a serious body of work and tonight he gave the Neath audience a masterclass in guitar playing, drawing from music going right back to the 1960s.
He played many of his best known songs tonight including the lovely On Camber Sands.
Over the years, Gordon has built up a great working and personal relationship with the Wakeman family. He has toured with both Rick and his keyboard playing son Oliver. Gordon recorded an album with Oliver last year called Ravens & Lullabies and featured two tracks tonight in their instrumental form - Fiona's Smile and Anyone Can Fly
Gordon was accompanied by 5 guitars and a variety of effects pedals which he used creatively to reproduce his music on stage tonight. And the highlight of his effects repertoire was The Dodo's Dream which got a rapturous applause tonight.
Gordon talked of how 60s legend Donovan inspired musicians in the 1960s, including John Lennon and went on to play his 60s inspired track Maddie Goes West
Over the years, Gordon has met and worked with many of UK's greatest musicians and you would expect him to have some great war stories. And he did. He is quite the raconteur and his between song recollections were both interesting and entertaining.
For anyone who has followed Gordon Giltrap's career over the years, 2013 was a good year as it saw the re-release of 3 of his mid to late 70s seminal albums on newly presented CDs - Visionary, Perilous Journey & Fear Of The Dark - all with new liner notes by Oliver Wakeman. And for anyone interested in his work, these 3 albums would be a great place to start.
Gordon promised us a medley of his greatest 'hit', Heartsong and he played it to close the show. For anyone of a certain age - it cannot help but conjour up memories of exotic foreign holidays as it was the theme to the very popular BBC HOLIDAY programme back in the 1970s. But it still a timeless and majestic piece of music.
The audience gave Gordon a well deserved standing ovation and he seemed genuinely appreciative of the reaction of the Neath audience.
There was no way that Gordon was going to be allowed to leave without an encore and he came back to play a song from his 1969 album Portrait called Lucifer's Cage. And explained how it was inspired by the acoustic playing of the legendary Pete Townsend.
So, a fantastic evening of virtuoso playing by one of the finest musicians we have in the UK came to an end and hopefully the warmth of the crowd will be enough to tempt Gordon Giltrap back here to Neath.
Twitter - @GORDONGILTRAP