Half Moon, Putney
This was my fourth gig of the last four weeks and comfortably the best. I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve never seen Albert Lee live before though I have been aware of him since I saw him on tv playing at the Everly Brothers reunion at the Albert Hall. Other readers will know far more about his illustrious career but I just went along because I thought it might be worth it – and the Half Moon is only a 10 minute bike ride for me so it didn’t seem like a big risk.
Albert, on guitar (or keyboards) and vocal, was accompanied by a drummer, electric bassist and keyboard player (all also on backing vocals). They played songs by people such as Gram Parsons, Rodney Crowell, Carl Perkins, Ray Charles and Jimmy Webb – so it was pretty Afterword-friendly material. But the thing that struck me was how ego-free the whole event was. Albert seems like a very unassuming man despite his obvious huge talent. The overal sound was excellent and his guitar had a beautiful clear ringing tone. He didn’t spend ages playing showboating solos but when he did solo it was in a style that perfectly fitted the song and arrangement. The band were as tight as can be, they swung and they all added something interesting to the mix but all in the service of the song.
Highlights for me were a great arrangement of Well Alright and Richard Thompson’s Tear Stained Letter. I’ve seen RT play it live more times than I can count and I’m a massive fan of RT but Albert Lee’s version was stunning – not a massively different arrangement but with his own stamp on it.
All in all it was a wonderful gig, great songs, brilliantly played.
I’m in my mid-50s and I felt pretty young. Everyone was very considerate of other audience-members, no chatting while he played and I didn’t see anyone videoing the peformance. They all seemed to be having a great time.
It made me think..
Live music can be so wonderfully joyful. I’ve really missed it and I’m so glad it’s back. You should be able to get it on prescription if you’re feeling a bit down.
And, my goodness, Albert Lee is a hell of a musician. My only regret is that I haven’t seen him live before.