PETER HAMMILL/STUART GORDON
3 APRIL 2001
Easy To Slip Away
Just Good Friends
Tango For One
From Adrian [Thanks!]
Peter Hammill & Stuart Gordon, Torino, Zoobar, 3 April 2001
Seven hours by train, and I arrived in Torino in the late afternoon. A walk along the riverbank of the Po lead me to east of the town and to the Zoobar. There I was told that the concert begins not before 11 o’clock, so I had enough time to stroll through the town.
I intended to go back to the Zoobar at 10 o’clock, which was still was closed, but this time there were about 50 people waiting on the street.
It opened half an hour later and everybody went upstairs in a small room which was the Zoobar. It’s form was a rectangle, and crazy enough, the little stage, which was on the same level as the rest of the room, was on one of the larger sides. Opposite the stage was the bar. Far right and far left of the room were some sofas (Sofa Sound?) and tables, but from these places it was nearly impossible to see to the stage. In between the bar and the stage were three tables with some chairs. The rest and larger part of the audience had to stand before the bar or around these tables. The stage was split in two parts by an upright post in the middle. The mixing desk was installed behind the bar.
Exactly at 11 o’clock parts of the lights went off (of course not that from the bar, which was on for the whole evening) and Peter and Stuart came from a backdoor through the audience on the so-called stage: Peter on the left, Stuart on the right side and post in the middle……
They started with Easy to Slip Away which was followed by Just Good Friends. “Two old ones to begin, and now some more modern ones”, said Peter in Italian and went on with Nothing Comes and Tango For One. Tango is one of the songs, which I didn’t liked that much on the CD, but it grows and grows and I think it gets better every time I hear it live. The first piano set was closed with Unrehearsed, one of the newer songs which has found its fixed place in the set. Change from electric piano to guitar and Stuart waving to Peter, as it seems he couldn’t see him during the piano set.
The guitar part started with Comfortable? And it was great to see how Peter cried out the words “She likes to keep God out of Church” passionately out of his soul.
And then Shingle Song.
The acapella opening nearly was drowned out by talking people, clinking glasses and ringing handys from the bar behind! Next were Nightman which lead over a short instrumental passage, for which Peter leant against this post in the middle, into Like Veronica.
This was surely the first highlight of the evening, as – similarly to Tango For One – Like Veronica grows more and more to an important song in the set and is played and sung very, very dedicated and soulful. Ophelia and Patient ended the guitar set. The beginning of Patient was once more disturbed by the same circumstances as Shingle Song before. So Peter stopped for a while, looked at the ceiling and then to Stuart, who played some accords, went back on his side of the post and Peter came in front to play some accords, turned around and looked back towards Stuart, and Patient went on.
Changed back to piano for the third set, which began with Bubble, continued with Autumn, and highlighted with Faculty X, with great intro and ended with an old one, as usual on this year’s tour: Still Life. Of course this was most appreciated by the audience at a concert in Italy, where Van Der Graaf Generator once topped the charts….
They came back for an encore. Peter said, that this will be the only encore, as they are tired at 1 o’clock in the morning and want to go to sleep. So Traintime ended the evening.
Sadly enough for those Italian fans, who had some old albums there to be signed, Peter didn’t came to the bar afterwards. Paul Ridout quickly packed the instruments, and within 10 minutes the stage was empty. As I had to stand the whole evening I was lucky to sit down in a silent corner to drink a beer. My Traintime back to Basel was on 4 o’clock in the morning.
Adrian Haegele, 5 April 2001 / between 00:00 and 01:23