Still deeply impressed, I am sitting here trying to write my thoughts down. "Ray Wilson - Live + Acoustic" was the headline and that is always a reason for my wife and I to take a ride to the Blues Garage in Iserhagen near Hannover.
Hardly a year has passed since Ray was here last time. Dye to a football game in the German World Cup qualifying campaign, only about a hundred people made their way to the venue that time. This time in spite of the snowy weather the venue is sold out and there are over 400 people inside. The evening starts with a thirty minute set by Martin O'Sullivan; a singer songwriter who was born in Northern Ireland and who now lives in Hamburg. He plays a very enjoyable set of Blues-Folk and rock covers and is a very good guitarist - an excellent start to the evening!
About 10pm Ray and his brother Steve and keyboard player Irvine Duguid take the stage for their set and at once grip the audience with a very convincing version of No Son Of Mine. Ray's first solo song follows in the shape of Along The Way which was written by Steve who in Ray's own words… "every now and then gets up out of bed and writes a brilliant song.." You can tell that the band are enjoying themselves and Irvine's keyboards suit the music very well. Steve, as always is a steady lead guitar player and also adds excellent vocals, but to be honest, the wonderful voice of Amanda Lyon who accompanied Ray on previous tours, is missing tonight. Ray's between-song stories are as amusing as always and they are worth the entrance fee by themselves.
Between then and midnight the band play a wonderful set comprising material by Genesis; Stiltskin; and Cut and Ray's solo stuff of course and I have to say that Ray is in my opinion still playing too much Genesis stuff, even though his performance of it is brilliant. He now has so much of his own music that he should concentrate on that and play less Genesis stuff - his own stuff is excellent and there is no need to hide behind the Genesis songs.
Ray's wonderful voice and the class of Steve and Irvine always get you in a special mood and give you shivers up and down the spine and again this time the band really get the crowd going. Even songs one would say are impossible are played "unplugged" and without drums but brilliantly arranged and working well; That's All; Land Of Confusion for example still manage to get your toes tapping!
After an encore of five songs, the band leave the stage after a two and a half hour show and no one leaves before the end, an excellent evening all round. After the show, Ray takes time to sign his new album and chat to people; that’s another excellent thing about the guy; he really loves his audience. A must-see show if you can get to one of the gigs and you should definitely buy Ray's new live CD that has just been released - it's a real treat and an enjoyable experience, even for Genesis fans!
The set: No Son Of Mine/Along The Way/Firth Of Fifth/Whiter Shade Of Pale/Change/ Carpet Crawlers/Another Day/In The Air Tonight/Adolescent Breakdown/Land Of Confusion/Roses/That's All/Inside/Magic Train/Not About Us/Alone/Another Cup Of Coffee/Ghost/Desperado/Gypsy/Biko.
Encores: Shipwrecked/Ripples/Follow You Follow Me/Sometimes/Swing Your Bag.