"Have keyboard will travel" - Face Value in concert at the Olde Red Lion Little Sutton on Thursday 7th July 2005 and the Duke Hotel Barow-In-Furness on Saturday 16th July 2005. Review by Alan Hewitt.
Another new venue for the guys, The Olde Red Lion is a well appointed pub with a good set up for bands. Speaking to the manageress before the gig, it seemed that the guys were in for a tough time tonight; the audience were apparently very hard to please and so it remained to be seen if they would rise to the challenge.
Once again it seems that every time I have a break from attending Face Value gigs that Tony the keyboard player adds more keyboards to his set up and this time was no exception; he had added an ARP Quadra to his arsenal and I was intrigued to hear what extra magic he could add to the sound with this new piece of kit.
Set up and sound check came and went and the band pronounced themselves happy and so the punters were allowed in to take their seats. This was another gig where the audience arrived slowly, in stages but by the time the guys took the stage to start the gig there were a healthy number of people ready to listen to them; and plenty more arrived as the show progressed. No Son Of Mine opened the show as usual, it is difficult to imagine anything else taking its place now to be honest, it has become such an excellent staple of the band's repertoire, it certainly got the supposedly reserved audience applauding.
As usual, the band mixed up a healthy serving of Phil's hits and some of the standards from the Genesis catalogue too. It is very difficult to select individual tracks because the band have honed their performance to a fine art now which is what comes of almost five years' worth of practice on the circuit, I suppose but I have to admit that Mama, Follow You Follow Me and Turn It On Again really did the business for me. Tony's investment in the Quadra was more than justified during these particular tracks and they were delivered flawlessly and sent shivers up my spine. John's dedication of another magical performance of Afterglow to the victims of the London bomb atrocity was another excellent touch. Will was no slouch in the guitar hero department either, his playing during In The Air Tonight and I Wish It Would Rain Down, to name but two was superb and the guys made it all seem so easy which is quite frightening really.
The band were obviously enjoying themselves and they managed to turn the audience's initial reserve to their advantage and there was plenty of audience participation going on from where I was standing and it was good to see the audience give the band the appreciative applause that they deserved.
A little over a week later and my travels took me to Barrow-In-Furness for my first ever gig in that neck of the woods. Arriving in plenty of time to help the band set everything up, they were in fine form here, with another receptive bunch of fans including several who, as conversations with them afterwards revealed; were just as at home with the "hits" as they were with the more classic elements of the band's repertoire.
Speaking of classics; the band threw in a few numbers which I hadn't heard
them play for quite a while; Abacab thundered along replete with audience participation
and won tremendous applause at the end. Los Endos took me completely by surprise
and if it hadn't been for my "duties" on the smoke machine I would
no doubt have joined in with the air percussion section which had formed at
the back of the room! Rounding out the show with the marvellous I Know What
I Like medley was another excellent choice before Phil's anthem… Take
Me Home closed the evening, I don’t think anyone could possibly have any
complaints about this performance and for those cynical "Prog Snobs"
who still bemoan the band's lack of a drummer I have only one thing to say…
As usual, Face Value did exactly what they said on the posters; they played an excellent set that was a worthy tribute to both Phil and Genesis and one which I enjoyed immensely and I know I was not the only one - well played, guys!