Roy Harper Manchester Bridgewater Hall 25th October 2013

Roy Harper Manchester Bridgewater Hall 25th October 2013
roy2 It’s interesting seeing how time has affected some of my old heroes, as they reach their later years. In some cases their health has failed, and their performance and voice is a shadow of former glories; while for others, the years have been kinder and maturity and experience of stage and life have added to their concert outings. Roy Harper is in the latter category. He looks well; slim, fit, alert and his wit, sarcasm and performance are as engaging as they ever were. The young angry folk singer that I first saw almost 45 years ago seems a wiser, calmer soul, at peace with himself, his music and the friends who filled Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall to see him perform, chat with him. harangue him, and listen to songs old and new.
I arrived late, just before 8pm and a couple of minutes before Roy joined special guest Jonathan Wilson on stage. The roadworks have returned to the M62, and the pouring rain and spray slowed my journey across the Pennines. As Roy joined us, a lady came down to the front and handed him a couple of roses; he took hold of both her hands and thanked her before he started the first song. A fitting start to the evening. Like all Roy Harper concerts these days, there is a feeling of a coming together of friends, reinforced by the usual Harper banter between the man and his audience. “Show us your bus pas Roy” shouted one guy. “Hold on. I may just have it on me.” replied Roy. He did, and he held it up for all of us to see. Roy has been playing a short tour of three dates to promote his new album “Man & Myth” which has been receiving great reviews from critics and fans alike. roy1 The tour started at the Festival Hall a few days ago, popped into his hometown of Manchester last night, and rounds off in Bristol tomorrow. Being the only northern date, it attracted fans from all over the north of England and several Scottish hecklers were in attendance. Roy has been accompanied by Jonathan Wilson and a string and brass section for the concerts. He opened with old favourite “Highway Blues”, and his set also featured several songs from the new record: The Enemy, Time Is Temporary, Heaven Is Here, January Man, and The Stranger. This was the first time that I’d heard the new tracks, and they all sounded strong, and quite typical Roy. There was a short interval. Roy also sang old favourites “Girl from the North Country”, “Another Day” and closed with “Me and My Woman”, all of which benefited from the strings and horns. He returned to sing a beautiful version of “When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease”, and thank us all for coming “I’d like to do it again; if the scales come out right and allow me”. He admitted to being quite nervous about playing in his home town. He needn’t have been. This was classic Roy at his best.
The concert finished just after 10.30pm. I was expecting to get home by 1am, but there was an accident on the A1 near the Harrogate turn off, which caused a 10 mile tail back and a 2 hour delay. I finally reached home at 3am.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by graham on October 26, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    yep set off to manchester at 4 and just made start of concert at 7.30 nightmare trip over pennines but absolutly well worth it roy on fine form. great hearing ill see you again and the highlight for me was the last two songs me and my woman and when an old cricketer leaves the crease nearly brought a tear to my eyes, brilliant

    Reply

  2. Posted by dawn on November 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Im pleased to see roy harper is still going strong i got to know about him through his influence on led zeppelin and i saw him in tynemouth years ago i met him and got his autograph on a beer matt i found him a really down to earth person with a wide knowledge of music, my fav song is one of these days in england.

    Reply

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