17 MARCH 2001

pH sG
Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London

More reviews are below, but from the first 2 E-Mails sent over here, it appears to have been quite an excellent concert at QEH on Sunday 17 March.

Including such descriptions as 'It was a stormer' from Keith and a 'blinder' from Tony [who spent some time talking to me in the msn chat room on Sunday]

From the promoter David Jones:

" It was very very sold out - we could have sold out two shows. The capacity is 800 once the PA is in"

PH and SG played for over 2 hours, and pH seemed pleased with the [almost reverential] audience- [Great to hear that!]

And gave it everything.

Here's the set List:

Steinway Grand Piano:

Easy to Slip Away
Siren Song
Nothing Comes
Tango For One

Acoustic Guitar

Shingle Song
Time For A Change


Like Veronica
Out of My Book


A Better Time
Faculty X
Still Life


Stranger Still

From Steven in Liverpool:

Saw the gig last Saturday. Been a fan since I was a kid. But as I am 28 I guess that I'm a relative latecomer having completely missed out on VdGG (well, they'd split up twice by the time I was born! and I was 5 when quiet zone came out) (although thinking about it, I was heavily into Sabbath, ACDC and Kiss at the time!) I actually got into Vdgg and PH via the canadian band Voivod when I was about 13, (I hunted their stuff out after a band member commented on VDGG.) My search was rewarded with, I suspect, a lifetime long appreciation of Peter Hammill's music.

This was the first time I'd seen Ph. I'm from Liverpool and it's only really in the last few years with an internet connection that it's been possible for me to find out tour dates and stuff. If ever there was an award for having a low profile or a publicity void around an artist then PH would walk it! As my girlfriend is working in London, the gig came at a perfect time. I had front row tickets and was so close I could hear stuart snapping the frayed horse hair from his bow in between riffs. Marvellous!

I must admit to confusion as to what the hell peter did with his pick during patient. He sang with it in his gob??? Jees! I saw him retrieve it though. Some weird sleight of hand!

The version of shingle song was truly emotive and at times I found myself just closing my eyes to hear the voice in isolation. His singing, always remarkable, was at times unbelievable. When he controls it, there is such a power and intensity that you really feel the hairs on the bakc of the neck rise! (I wish to hell some big shot would come along and fund a performance or fifty of Usher - that would be awesome!!!!) Yeah, so he tends to screech and croak a little when totally manic, but it's his flawed genius that inspires. (If he was a polished, trained commercial performer/prefabricated little s*** of a singer, then I'd like him less.)

The tenderness he can convey is so powerful that I was in awe. All that day I'd been freaking out: finally getting to see my hero like. I managed to tear my girlfriend away from her Divine Comedy CD's long enough to get her there. She seemed to enjoy it. She is quite cultured.

Unlike other correspondents I thought the venue was spot on! (well I was front row so maybe I'm biased) But I'm a veteran of grindcore, used to stage diving and moshing to Carcass, Bomb Disneyland and Napalm Death in days gone past, and used to losing 5 lbs in sweat and fury during a gig, so the elegant, cultured atmoshere was a delight. I could stretch out my legs and relax in the generous leather seats with glasses of beer under my chair, supping away as if I was in my own home. Great. Nosing about the audience, I saw that I was one of those long haired wanderers who had travelled far...

At the end of the first song, I gave a full on bellow/cheer and startled the s*** out of my girlfriend. She nudged me and I was reminded that I wasn't at Castle Donington. We were sitting in A12 and A13 respectively, right in front of Stuart Gordon's effects.

One thing rankled: although I went out with a s*** load of cash, I didn't spot any merchandise to blow it on...

Overall the gig was brilliant. I expected him to make errors. There they were. I don't care. The man is a genius and can perform like no other! Stuart was phenomenal. His violin solos were pure class. Rock n roll riffs and neo-classical arpeggiations delivered with style and an array of ear watering effects. Haunting, frenetic, blistering. What an energic little chap he is! A Feckin' star! (Thank god he wasn't playing a guitar else he'd have sounded like an interesting version of Yngwie Malmsteen!)

Highlight tracks: Vision, Tango, Shingle song, Modern, (Veronica was pretty disturbing live, the subject of the song seemingly at odds with yer typical Hammill ditty and uncomfortable I thought.) (very good though all the same) Bubble and Faculty X were cracking too.

Special mentions must go to Out of My book, ropey, but where the hell else in the world would you be able to hear that song live!!! F***ing brilliant song, almost lost and forgotten but alive again. I loved it!

Still Life, well what can I say. I filled up. Fantastic. Just fantastic. It's weird the way Hammill dissembles his riffs and replays them at you in sparse, half suggested chords. You fill in the blanks as you go, until he winds it all up in his crescendous way! I suppose with a full band backing it would be less noticeable, but again, the fractious nature is part of the allure, his constant reinventing of the material. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but always it is admirable what he does.

I still recognised every song straight off. Only the vagueness at the start of Sign had me guessing.

Frigging briliant. And soooo long too! I was gutted by the time I got back to her flat to realise that the off licenses were closed and I couldn't get pissed after the gig. I'd refrained from quaffing massive amounts beforehand in case I needed the bogs throughout the gig! But there were other ways to celebrate such a momentous evening 'after the show'....

The only thing that I could have wished for was Refugees, The Comet, the course the tail and (No more) the submariner - my all time faves. Still, I achieved a life time ambition. (actually I've achieved quite a lot of them so far, I've had exhibitions, had my books published. Maybe I better set my sites higher???)

Seriously though, my expectations were sky high. (I don't make ambitions all that lightly either) And he surpassed my hopes with just the first song! The clarity and harmony/dissonance of just voice, piano and violin was simply stunning.

Overall it was a deeply fulfilling experience. The only thoughts on my mind as I left were; when is he playing again, and; does he ever need a spare guitar player who can pull off cool riffs and neo-classical arpeggiations delivered with style, and an array of ear watering effects, (but sounding like an uninteresting version of Yngwie Malmsteen....)


Steve H

A dedicated Ph fan [steven@visualsoftware.co.uk]


From Robert B

QEH concert and the audience.

I was sitting on row C on the right hand side of the hall. I thought the violin was too strong and played too big a part in the songs. I came away from the concert feeling a little disappointed, not in the performance but in the choice of songs. The set has hardly changed over the last 10 years and the only 'new' songs were from the latest album.

I'd really appreciate some different songs for the next round of touring. I also knew what to expect from the set lists posted on pH7, maybe this took away the surprise element of wondering what song would be next.

As for the audience, I was pretty much surrounded by single middle aged blokes. This has been the norm in the past. My one attempt at getting my wife into Hammill was taking her to a concert at The Irish Centre in Leeds in '89(?). She hated every minute of it. My 9 year old son has a similar loathing already but there's still hope my my 4 year old son. I'd be surprised to hear if anyone has managed to convert a spouse. Perhaps there should be a club for all the married men who have to attend these concerts on our own.

Charlotte and Marga:

[Warning: this review contains material of a sensitive and candid nature that some readers may find offensive.]

"The light's too bright, the time's too short!"

The time certainly seemed to fly by for us, and seemed seriously curtailed by the QEH's Early Closing observation... despite the fact that it was actually the longest concert we've ever witnessed. In case you missed it, the header was a slightly exasperated exclamation from PH as he was tuning the guitar. Now Charlotte thought, in her naivety, that the guy was pitch-perfect and only bends down out of concentration or something; turns out he's cheating and is looking at some tuner-thing (hey, I'm a technophobe!). And he found it difficult to see it in yesterday's case.

Contrary to what the name might suggest, the QEH is a bit of a bunker to be honest, and having recently only witnessed PH concerts in small and friendly continental venues the place was a bit cold (literally!), posh and businesslike. Love the way they ushered us all out once it was over, bar closed and all! As we'd stayed on a bit and had to get a nice old gent to raise the portcullis in order to let us out. The last time Charlotte had seen PH in a similar surrounding was when he was being harrassed by Moustaki fans in Mannheim, so it was all a bit of a weird experience setting-wise. But PH himself seemed very proud to have finally been invited to play to the size of audience which he deserves.

And we were actually delighted to hear a lot of people clapping at the false ending of Unrehearsed (which was, still): people who are unfamiliar with the material, but who came along and appreciated it! Just what we were hoping. It was actually a bit rude - and funny - to say at one point something like "I don't have to announce the songs as you all know them!"

We really can't add anything to Joe's very sharp and dry observations on the audience. It was nice to meet David Jackson (really nice guy), who at one point was chatting away merrily with a 'huge fan' of VdGG (you know who you are!) who obviously didn't have a clue who he was talking to. Well, it wasn't the usual hat.... (No, I'm not suggesting the guy normally only talks to a hat) Good to see Ian again, who seemed to have a little difficulty with exposing his merchandise in the foyer, if you'll pardon the expression...

Also good to run into some fellow continentals, from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. What a shame there wasn't much opportunity for socialising afterwards! It was pleasing to see that there were a good few women present. In fact, at the interval while the queue for the Gents was stretching out into the foyer there was also quite a queue for the Ladies, and a Hammill concert is usually an occasion for we of the fairer sex to take advantage of the imbalance in the gender ratios!

PH played on a genuine Steinway grand piano instead of the usual keyboard and that might have been the very reason why the songs were spine-tinglingly impressive from the word go, whereas normally it takes two or three songs for the set to really come alive.

Easy to Slip Away and Siren Song were fantastic openers, as we've said. And the rather "classical" sound of the venue was used to good effect on Nothing Comes. Marga had really been hoping for PH to play Vision, having spotted it on the Japanese setlist and had even been tempted to request this song in advance, but realized that this would merely reduce the chances of him playing it to zero... which he confirmed after the show! :)

Tango for One...well, we'd heard better versions but it was still pretty good. Plenty of forgotten lyrics, as is still the case in Unrehearsed, but at least some of the audience wouldn't have noticed that this time; in fact, they might have even been under the impression that this guy does repeated choruses!

After Stuart kindly leant a hand (to shade PH's vision to enable him to read that tuner!) the guitar set got underway with a wildly uncomfortable Comfortable, followed by the gorgeous "No,no,no,no,no,no" song, which is possibly what the Time Out reviewer means by a 'foray into the melodramatic', but which PH sings with such conviction that he had the audience stunned into submission.

He can stun with quiet stuff as well as loud!

Time for a Change was a bit rough but Patient - up as far as the final section - was great. But thereafter we were a bit too focused on the fact that he almost swallowed his plectrum.

Charlotte initially thought (over-concern?!) that the poor man was so tired from all this recent touring that he actually felt sick and was having to swallow some vomit (yuk) and Marga that a tooth crown was coming loose.

Then we progressed to: "Can't he really go for one hour without a nicotine fix... where did he get that chewing gum from all of a sudden, and why is he sticking it on his guitar?"

Finally we realised that he must have tucked the plectrum into his cheek back at the point where he has to go back to using his fingers, perhaps forgetting 1.
that he's not an axe-hero about to embark on a sizzling solo
and 2.
that he actually has to _sing_ a bit more. No, Peter, you're not a real pet hamster.... Well, it must have seemed like a good idea at he time. We could just imagine the headlines in the newspapers the next day though: OBSCURE SINGER-SONGWRITER CHOKES TO DEATH ON OWN PICK. At least he would have finally got into Q, I guess!

We kind of needed an interval too after this kind of emotional draining. God, he just makes us so _scared_! In so many ways!! Too much!! And Tony Emmerson's friend Pete just had to leave at this point: far too "INTENSE!"

but then Tony admitted that Pete gets a bit scared in any situation that does not involve Yes gigs, curry houses and pubs. He did, however, express admiration for Stuart: "I've never seen _anyone_ handle a violin like that before" (presumably not just referring to violinists he's seen in Yes, curry houses or pubs). Stuart was fantastic. PH wryly announced him at one point as "some little musician; some sound on my left" and did the usual fake attempts to cut off the applause...

Amnesiac? Not really, we had all the 'I can't think of...'s in the right order but Out of My Book, warmly welcomed though it was ("Nostalgia fest" he quipped after this one without much in the way of obvious irony) was a bit Hammill-fisted too on some of the chords.

By the third verse he was so uncertain that he played those chords in a very muted style and seemed to be putting himself off vocally too; Stuart filled the gap admirably (instrumentally that is!). But PH (sighs of relief from us) could let rip on the chorus bits which left a good overall.

Modern was perfect however: ROCK 'N' ROLL!!! Aha! we thought - a song from the new album (due in June/July btw, I'm afraid!) ! Well, Sign was completely unrecognisable to start with...but we liked it! It did indeed segue into a deeply menacing Like Veronica. Charlotte spent some of the concert hearing it with two ears, figuratively speaking as well as literally...as a fan and as a newcomer (thinking, How would I react to _this_ on a first hearing?) and thought LV would have been a really impressive piece in this regard.

Such a strong sense of story, good enunciation (which unfortunately can tend to highlight the times when he is struggling for lyrics, but what the hell!) and so convincing.

It was actually the beginning of the second piano set (Bubble and A Better Time) that felt like a bit of warm-up session. Interesting new lyrics in the latter.. " something is left alone'... pardon? See what I mean....

Faculty X was totally manic though, and it was great to see Peter teasing Stuart once again with his unpredictable tempo changes on piano, and with Stuart (contorting himself to see PH past the piano) getting revenge by inventing new riffs...serious fun!

Traintime started slowly and took a while to build up speed but there were no serious derailments - a bit of a sensitive subject for Brits - and we had a really thundering express by the end. It was at _this_ point that I thought that PH might explode. A bit of a sensitive subject here too seeing as the Real IRA did a BBC performance a few weeks previously.

But then again we didn't have to worry too much...I mean, who would want to blow up a Hammill concert? Well, Charlotte's mother perhaps ("What's _that_ godawful bloody racket??").

Anyway, by the end of the song Stuart looked similarly exhausted. PH was visibly panting and looking in serious danger of falling off that piano stool. But no, we shouldn't get overly concerned! _I'm_ not fit enough to sing something like Traintime, and I'm nearly half his age!

Still Life was the best version we've ever heard, at anywhere, at anytime. Loved the spoken lyrics near the end and the quieter than expected "take away the threat" bit which obviously caught Stuart a bit off-guard at first as he was well away!

Joe: PH did not take a long time to come out for the encore, he usually at least has time for one fag. Relatively speaking they were back on stage very quickly (took us by surprise as we were in the middle of swigging our bottled water). Perhaps they had been warned about the early QEH curfew.

Stranger Still was in fact a rather edited version, but we think that this was to do with the fact that PH forgot an entire chunk of it rather than out of a desire to pander to these rather draconian rules. Anyway, yes: we were disappointed that there was only the one encore, but I guess you can have too much of a good thing (really? But we would have liked Refugees...) and at least we got to see PH transform into a decidedly otherworldly man at the end.

PH did in fact drop a strong hint that there would be another British show to come in the not-too-distant future. But then of course he never had a great sense of time (see Dagmar's book, and Charlotte's story hahaha)

One final observation. We agree: Peter's voice was superb...good to hear that he can sustain a loud note for fifteen seconds or so, as shown at the end of Out of My Book....conducting himself here with one finger in the air, which prompted Marga's surprised comment: "He can still do that!!"


Charlotte and Marga

From JOE:

Oh boy, at long, long last. This first-timers' impressions of a Hammill show follows, so the accuracy of the song order will be in question: I was engrossed in the experience and not thinking about writing a review.

As we - my wife joined me, although she was finding the handcuffs a bit uncomfortable - took our pre-show coffee and wandered into the hall, we were doing a bit of crowd analysis. You could spot those who were there against their will (or "better" judgement): they were the ones taking note of the closest exits and familiarizing themselves with the emergency procedures.

Expecting the worst, you might say. And they most definitely got it, depending on your perspective of course. As for the rest, trenchcoats and fedoras; old rockers and young Europeans; long-haired people who looked as though they had trekked across miles of wasteland for months to get there and had not cut their hair since the start of the journey; big beards; women in their fifties who looked as though they really wanted to be there (and probably did); some teenage girls. And Sean Kelly (thanks for the beer Sean) trying in vain to flog the absent Fred's ticket outside the hall. Oh, and Judge Smith was there, chatting in a group during the interval. But on to the performance.

It was everything I expected and more. Stunning, brilliant, frightening, etc etc. There were 20 songs, as far as I can remember - I know, it seems like too many considering there was just the one encore, making it 3 or 4 songs more than the usual concert. So I have gone through the list I have made, wondering whether I had included some of the tracks as a kind of wishful thinking after the event. But no, I'm pretty sure I haven't.

I must say one thing before going on: there has been some slagging off on this list of Stuart Gordon's playing, especially the live appearances. Now this is the first time that I've experienced a live PH concert, so unless he has drastically improved his playing - and it would have to be by several dozen orders of magnitude - there is no reason for anyone to complain.

The guy is professional; knows his instrument *and* his parts very well indeed; played impeccably; did not get in the way physically or musically; and PH *likes* having him up there. Enough reasons for me. So. A grand piano, a red Ovation guitar, a weathered violin, a Stuart and a Peter - not necessarily in that order. Would hardly sound like the right kind of ingredients to the uninitiated...but what they cooked up was quite extraordinary.

##Unrehearsed - I had no idea that this could be such a good song when played live. It had just the right manic atmosphere and never went ott. This...is...NOT...a rehearsal!!"

##Vision - I was hoping this would be in the set, and it was a real treat. ##Nothing Comes ##Amnesiac ##Shingle ##Patient ##Time for a Change - No version of this song will ever match up to the one on "Typical".

Tonight was no exception. ##Comfortable - I really enjoyed this one for a change. Odd that my least favourite album, should produce 3 tracks for this show. But of the three, Comfortable stood out the most tonight. ##Modern - When this got under way, the penny finally dropped as to just where I was. This was my favourite PH song from my favourite album for a very long time, and it never disappoints.

##Sign - Hardly recognizable at the beginning; a fairly sedate version of this, which is a change from all of the other versions that I've heard. Not a bad thing, since a quiet ending meant that it segued quite nicely into... ##Like Veronica - ...which I've been looking forward to hearing live since the very first time I heard it on NOTA. I expected it to be extremely powerful and I was not disappointed. Some thicko on the other side of the hall from where I was had left their mobile phone on.

The f@$%ing thing began to ring during the opening verse - very softly so that it was barely noticeable except during the quiet parts - and was ringing again (or perhaps still ringing) at the end of the song, which had to have been about 7 minutes later. Do you not know how to switch off your phone or set it to Silent mode? We know who you are. You will be sent for and there will be no mercy.

##Traintime ##Out of my Book ##Tango for One - This is going to be a standard; I got the distinct feeling while watching him play that this is one of his personal favourites. ##Faculty X - Things got a bit dangerously close to the edge of sanity here. ##Bubble ##Still Life The encore, for which he took so long to come out that he seemed unwilling: ##Stranger Still - The last parts sung while swivelling on the seat, standing and then walking over to the front of the stage.

General notes: One of the outstanding impressions was of how you really could hear a pin drop during the quiet passages. With everyone absolutely rooted to the spot, not daring to move or even to breathe either out of respect, fear, tension or expectation.

There was no question of calling for another encore, the lights immediately came up as the two of them disappeared. There were a few bum notes, but less than I would expect from the kind of experimentation that was going on. They did not detract from the occasion. PH got mixed up with his lines once or twice, (Stranger Still and ???), but nowhere that it made a real difference. SG put in some really blistering solos that surely left him (and his violin and bow) in some serious pain.

When's the next show? Count me in, right now.

Joe M

From Tess

QEH: what a great gig!

Like Joe McLean, I like to do the crowd-analysis bit as well, and I would say that any teenagers present looked like "second generation" fans to me, i.e. brought by their parents. Is this depressing or is it a good sign??

Eavesdropping is also fun. Heard someone say fondly to his (presumably first-time-listening) mate, during the interval, "...well, once you're used to the arrhythmia and the disorganisation..." That made me laugh! Whatever anyone thinks privately of Peter's guitar or piano technique, he's a musician all the way, and after a point that matters more than technique.

Live, he could stab out a tune with one finger and still make it exhilarating. Tune? what am I talking about?

I've been one of those guilty of criticising Stuart Gordon in the past. So let me put it on record that I am quite reconciled. He was fantastic last night: the two of them meshed beautifully. It was touching to see Stuart sawing away maniacally behind the waving vegetation of broken bow-strings.

Best moments of the show, for me: Amnesiac, Like Veronica, and Unrehearsed. It was lovely and unexpected to hear In the End [must have meant Easy to Slip Away ..Time For A Change?] and Out of My Book, too. "Nostalgia-fest" as Peter put it, tongue in cheek? No: best of all worlds.

The first time I saw him play live fourteen years ago, I emerged pale, shaking and white knuckled with awe. It's exactly the same today. Just hope he doesn't get any thinner.



Stuart E:

Just returned from an enjoyably gig at the QEH. Someone with better memory than me will have to give the full set list, but it began with Easy to Slip Away and Siren Song, and ended with a great Traintime and Still Life.

The encore was Stranger Still (great vocal at the end). Out of My Book was probably the only thing I hadn't heard before. I thought the piano sets were better than the guitar - the latter were rather ham- fisted (or Hammill-fisted as a guitarist friend who came to the gig said).

Time for a Change was particularly ropey. The highlight was the voice - really fantastic at times. All in all, lots of fun.

Follow up--

Yes. I'm not going to get into an argument about his merits as a guitarist. You don't know him, I do.

The point is that it's a shame that Peter writes/performs some fantastic guitar lines which at times he is simply unable to play live. I'm not asking for recreation of the album at all - one of the things i most like about Hammill is the way live performances are unpredictable, challenging, etc. But there is a line somewhere between breaking the songs' structure down, doing different arrangements and simply making mistakes.

As I said in the original mail Time For A Change was particularly ropey. Peter was playing the melody bit at the end of the lines and was simply getting it wrong. I can't see any other way to explain it. My suggestion was that with the piano tracks he was far more consistantly on the side of innovation and risk taking.

You may not like this, but I do think that we should remain able to criticise even as we praise. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, and said so in the previous mail. But I also offered a criticism. Given that Peter has described himself as 'ham-fisted' before, it was hardly a radical comment.


Just got back from the QEH. A marvellous concert, full of drama, tenderness and passion. I didn't write down the set list, I'm always too engrossed in the music to do that, but I'm sure someone else will post it. There were no major surprises in it, though.

I do sometimes wish PH would be a little more adventurous in his choice of songs.

Anyway, the highlights for me were a beautiful Vision, a perfect Still Life and a transcendent Stranger Still, which ended with PH stalking the stage in his white garb, repeating the last line off mike like a man possessed - which, of course, he was.

Of the newer songs, I loved Amnesiac and A Better Time. Bubble was a trifle workmanlike and plodding, I thought, but Veronica Lake was a revelation - effortlessly achieving the sense of menace and threat that is somewhat lacking from the studio version.

And a big thank you to the woman sitting next to me who coughed noisily throughout the entire show.


------------------ ADAM K

Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I rate that as not only the best PH gig I've been to, but probably one of the best gigs I've ever been to, full stop.

I brought my partner along, who's not a bona-fide, album-listening fan, but who's been to see him with me the last couple of times he's played London, and she agreed that it was a thoroughly intense, thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Never having been a big Stuart Gordon fan, I've totally revised my opinion based on his contribution last night. The way they played off of each other was beautiful and breathtaking, and his fluid violin lines contrasted perfectly with Hammill's broken, staggering piano playing.

I loved the set list, feeling thrilled to hear him do "Visions", "Stranger Still" and "Still Life" (all personal faves of mine) in one set, and relieved (albeit slightly puzzled) that he only did a couple of songs from the new one --- although, having said that, I thought he improved "Tango for One" vastly.

I was a bit worried about him, however -- I thought he looked much thinner, much frailer and, while still full of the old energy and intensity, and still possessing the greatest voice around, sometimes the songs seemed to drain the energy from him.

Did anyone else feel this, or am I just being overly-concerned? That ending, in particular, was one of the most frightening things I think I've ever seen in a gig --- I thought his head was going to explode.

The evening was completed, even moreso, by the presence of both Jackson and Evans (the latter sitting right next to my partner) and the poster advertising the evening, with the (slight mis)quote from the Rough Guide.

[And the Judge was in attendance as well-thanks KM]

Anyway --- it was a great evening. I felt quite black and blue inside = when it was done. Adam K.


You may not like this, but I do think that we should remain able to criticise even as we praise. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, and said so in the previous mail. But i also offered a criticism.

What irked me was (what I perceived) as the rather niggardly fashion in which the criticism was proffered. I'm not suggesting for 5 seconds people follow a "party" line of some kind, it would be a boring old world if everyone thought the same.

PH may well have described his guitar playing in the past as "ham-fisted" simply because he has to presence of mind to know that he is not Bill Frisell (or indeed Robert Fripp).[AGAIN]

However if he really thought that, would he continue to subject his audience to it at every concert he plays :) I know he has a sentimental attachment to "Time for a Change" (he's played it "live" often enough), but in a two hour plus concert it is the one song he plays that is not self-penned and I actually find it lyrically weak and more that a little cloying. I thank god as well he doesn't try and play guitar "lines" note for note and takes a few risks. Anyway you enjoyed the concert and that's the main thing !

The man is a genius (and I don't use that word lightly), last night he had the same kind of profound effect on my psyche/being as only people of the calibre of Gyorgy Ligeti, Wynton Marsalis & Mikhail Pletnev are capable of and that's as good as it gets in my book.



I'm sorry (not really), I accept that this is your opinion, but to me this is kind of analogous to someone saying "this mate of mine who enjoys a good karaoke session down the pub reckons that Cecilia Bartoli can't sing in tune".

No offence, but has this "musician" friend got through his Bert Weedon "Play in a Day" manual yet :)

I can't be objective about this concert and frankly why should I be. I have long ago lost count of the number of times I have seen PH in concert, but this was a quite exceptional performance.

The interplay between himself and Stuart Gordon was extraordinary and touched levels that few jazz or classical musicians reach - let alone so-called "rock/pop" ones.

PH's ability to sustain the levels of intensity and commitment that he showed to each and every song throughout a 2+hour performance (with one interval), I find quite staggering. His vocal performance frequently left me (quite literally) stunned.

"Comfortable", "Patient", "Shingle Song", "Modern", "Like Veronica", "Sign" (guitar); "Traintime", "Stranger Still", "Still Life" (piano) were just some of what I remember with particular affection. I also found the audience to be on the whole extremely attentive, I had been at a concert at the RFH on Thursday which was marred slighty by the incessant coughing of some audience members - however I can fully appreciate that it's a different kettle of fish, if the person is right next to you. Frankly my only gripe is that at the end more people didn't get up on their feet -

PH is quite unique, yet gets so little recognition, I would have thought he at least deserved a standing ovation, the seats at the QEH are not that comfortable (no pun intended) :)


Well it feels like home now, doesn't it? The (initially) comfy seats, the tension of what's to come, the ushers welcoming you politely, expect the unexpected - as they said... Anyway - I've just read the first notes on ph491 of the gig and sometimes wonder if I was at the same place. Hammill loves his reality checks (ie: tuning? his guitar) so allow me mine. It was, as they say, a game of two halves...first disorganised, unbalanced, and chaotic. What was going on , I was worried.

Was I actually about to see a bad PH gig. Moments in Unrehearsed and Patient calmed me but I still felt this wasn't it, quite. Second half after a breath of fresh air in the rain over the Thames I rejoined the throng and found that PH and SG had decided to play. This was more like it. All the way through including the sublime "A Better Time", and "Comfortable", "Traintime", "Still Life", and "Out of my Book" I was entranced. Yes, this was the real PH. Where had he been in the first half?

Could I possibly be alone in thinking that SG was too powerful in the first half and throughought smothered all of PH's subtleties, and in all was less of an effective accompanist than I've ever heard him be - frankly, he disappointed me. Yes, he's great but please accompany, don't dominate, especially if you only do it by being loud. Not a novice - listened to PH since 1974. Live gigs since 1978, the great Edinburgh Odeon broken piano gig.

Left and conquered the snows on the M1 to reach Middlesbrough at 3.20am.


1. SingalongaHammill Don't - I've paid good money to come here and want to hear Peter not YOU.

We all know the songs - even Peter realised that... 2. DrumalongaHammill Gonnae no dae that - If you were half as good as Manny you'd be on stage. You know who you are - Row L!!!! Leave your thighs alone!

3. HeadNodding Carry on - opportunities are few are far betweeen.

4. Clapping Leave it to the end

It's only the rarefied atmos. of the QEH that makes you react like this but sometimes it needs saying - Long may he continue. A QEH gig every year (ideally at a weekend) would keep many of us satisfied. Where does that voice come from?

Don't flame me for this!

It came as no surprise that emails singing his praises should have started within a couple of hours of the performance ending but it was depressing that Stuart had to fend off an attack for offering a critical observation - an observation based on reasonably observable fact rather than subjective impression. I thought that this was a space where all those with an interest could exchange news and views not a devotional space for the true believers. In the interests of winding up all those who find contrary views deeply unsettling...

I thought it was a wonderful evening I wouldn't have missed it for the world but it would have been nice if Peter had balanced the 'full on' delivery with some more controlled interpretations. His brutal version of Unrehearsed ( a magnificent song) failed to deliver the mix of passion and tenderness achieve in the recording.

And although Peter and Stuart clearly play together much more sympathetically now than when they first paired up I also though the Violin was allowed to dominate.

And I am the only one who finds the end of Stranger Still unmoving after the shock value has worn off.

I can't wait for the abuse to start!

john r-br>

FROM RENE BOS! [all the way from Netherlands/or Shell Texas]

maybe I *am* easily offended, who knows, but your mail didn't: I fully agree in fact!

but there's one thing that the British amongst us must explain: this was I think my third UK PH gig and always the audience stopped clapping/shouting/whatever after 1 encore...As soon as -after just one encore- the lights turn on, the crowd leaves, whereas in all the Dutch / Belgium / German gigs I've seen the 2 encores are default, often PH is shouted back for 3rd one (lights on or off) and once he even "had" to come back for a fourth time.

Why is it "unbritish" ?
Why don't you want an a-cappela "again" or "chicago" which by now almost
have become the classic 3rd encore?

Rene (ps: though not "converted", "she" was happy to hear her favourite

"Vision"... )

South Bank Centre information:

The South Bank Centre is a unique centre, presenting an extremely diverse programme covering the whole range of music and performing arts. There are three auditoria available for hire by UK promoters, presenting the highest quality music, dance and performance.

Royal Festival Hall:

Capacity: 2895. Without choir seats (behind the stage): 2639. If a PA system is used, the capacity will reduce further.

Queen Elizabeth Hall:

Capacity: 898
Purcell Room:

Capacity: 367. Reduced capacity (with extended stage): 295.

Here're 3 or 4 poor translations of the first part[hope at least 50% of the words are right] :


De los primeros 2 email enviados aquí, aparece haber sido absolutamente un concierto excelente en QEH en Sunday.

incluyendo las descripciones tales como ' era un stormer ' de Keith y de una ' anteojera ' del PH del
de Tony [ quién pasó una cierta hora que hablaba con mí en el cuarto de la charla del msn el domingo ] y de SG jugados por más de 2 horas, y el pH se parecía contento con las audiencias [ casi reverential ] [ grandes oír eso! ]
And le dio everything.


Dai primi 2 email trasmessi qui, sembra essere abbastanza un concerto eccellente a QEH su Sunday.

compreso tali descrizioni come ' era uno stormer ' da Keith e ' dai paraocchi ' dal PCH del
di Tony [ chi hanno passare un certo tempo che comunica con me nella stanza di chiacchierata del msn la domenica ] e da SG giocati per oltre 2 ore ed il pH ha sembrato pleased con i pubblici [ quasi reverential ] [ grandi sentire quello! ]
And gli ha dato everything.


Des 2 premiers email envoyés ici, il semble avoir été tout à fait un excellent concert à QEH sur Sunday.

comprenant des descriptions telles que ' c'était un stormer ' de Keith et d'une ' oeillère ' du PCH de
de Tony [ qui a passé une certaine heure me parlant dans la salle de causerie de msn dimanche ] et du SG joués pendant plus de 2 heures, et le pH a semblé heureux avec les assistances [ presque reverential ] [ grandes pour entendre cela! ]
And lui a donné everything.


Dos primeiros 2 email emitidos sobre aqui, parece ter sido completamente um concert excelente em QEH em Sunday.

Including descrições como ' era um stormer ' de Keith e ' de uns antolhos ' do PH do
de Tony [ quem gastou alguma hora que fala a mim no quarto do bate-papo do msn em domingo ] e do SG jogados por sobre 2 horas, e o pH pareceu pleased com as audiências [ quase reverential ] [ grandes ouvir isso! ]
And deu-lhe everything.


Von den ersten 2 email, die hierhin gesendet werden, scheint es, ein ausgezeichnetes Konzert an QEH auf durchaus gewesen zu sein Sunday.
einschließlich solcher Beschreibungen, wie ' es ein stormer ' von Keith und von einer ' Scheuklappe ' vom
PCH Tony [ verbrachte wer einige Zeit, die mit mir im msnschwätzchenraum am Sonntag spricht ] und von SG war, die rüber 2 Stunden lang gespielt wurden und pH mit den [ fast reverential ] Publikum erfreut schien [ groß, das zu hören! ]
And gab ihm everything.