Clive Gregson, Steve Arlene, Grapevine at Bedfords, Bedfords Bar, Norwich, 26 November 2014. Photos by Richard Shashamane, images not to be used without permission.
This special, extra Grapevine featuring the return almost a year to the day since his last visit of Clive Gregson, and a rare, welcome opportunity to hear Steve Arlene play live was a real treat of a gig. The weather was horrible and bound to affect the attendance on a November Wednesday evening but there was still a healthy turnout and I think everyone present felt it was more than worth their while coming out on such a damp, rainy night.
Steve Arlene was here in the crowd on Monday for the Jug Jaw’s Country Club on the evening of his 50th, and I arrived just in time for a quick chat with him before Steve Howlett introduced him onto the stage. I was still taking my soaked coat off when Steve started and instantly forgot about the rain. Sadly Steve’s wife Stephanie didn’t make it to this gig, which would have been a rare treat indeed to have the Arlenes play as their songs are some of my most played when I am at home. Steve really brought them to life on his own though and played one of my favourites (Lonely Won’t Leave Me Alone) alongside some newer tracks not yet recorded and all introduced with great and very engaging stories and introductions which really bring the listener in with the backgrounds to them. Some are clear enough from the lyrics, such as Six Junkie Pounds, but I do love hearing a performer talking about the songs inbetween. Steve is a great talent and one of my favourite local singer-songwriters, it would be lovely to hear him and Stephanie playing more frequently, I cannot praise their albums highly enough, absolutely fantastic songs and songwriting. Melancholic at times but always leaving one uplifted by the performance of it. These songs have come to mean a great deal to me.
Clive Gregson too is a skilled raconteur with an engaging and easy manner. He very clearly enjoyed playing his songs to such an attentive audience just as much as the audience enjoyed hearing them and he sings in such a clear and articulate way, as is his talk between songs too. One example being the guilt he felt when Kim Carnes covered one of his songs as a follow up to the massive hit that was Bette Davis Eyes and was apparently never heard again! His catalogue has quite a number of songs covered by a wide variety of people and hearing them live it’s obvious to see why, they are very fine songs. His guitar playing at times was astonishing and he made it look so easy. I recall him introducing one that had been proposed to Status Quo as a cover, he was not at all unkind but counted the chords 1 to 6 just in the introduction. Brilliant!
Steve Howlett during his introduction did promise us a night of song and storytelling and this is precisely what we got, it was a magical evening and I feel so privileged to have been there.
Many thanks to Steve Howlett, Daniel Reynolds, Steve Pulford, Clive Gregson, Bedfords, and a Big Thank You to Jan for the lift home and sparing me another long walk in the rain!
Words and photos, richard shashamane (c) 2014 all rights reserved. Photos not to be used without permission.