ShebbearCollege,Devon- 20th January 2006
A night with Kevin – and with an added extra!!
Deepest darkest Devon
Six days after the great night at the Polish Club in Bristol where everything sweated, even the walls (the only exception, Paul Deakin) I set out into the wilds of Devon to go to ShebbearCollegeto see Kevin and the boys again.
This time I had a novice Kevin fan, my friend Janet who had never heard him before (although she had heard plenty about him from me!) As a Devonian of five years she was used to the country lanes and with map and torch in hand she guided me as we drove under a blanket of stars deeper and deeper into the countryside.
She guided me faultlessly to Shebbear. I had been to the concert there last year but had approached the college from the other direction and had not gone into the village itself. This time we came from the south and arrived in the middle of Shebbear. It looked a pretty little place by moonlight but we had no idea which of the several roads out of it might be the one to lead us to the college.
A good idea
We decided to go into the pub to ask the way and also to use their facilities. As we parked I noticed a large camper van and wondered whether that might be Kevin’s. We went into the pub and we passed the dining room and lo and behold there were the Roadtrippers having dinner. We didn’t like to interrupt them so went through to the bar and not only asked the way to the college and the way to the ladies but had a drink while we were there – a choice of three real ales for me and a glass of wine for Janet. The pub was called the Devil’s Stone (we never did find out why) and it was most attractive, very old and with a pleasant atmosphere and a friendly and welcoming landlord. Armed with directions we left the pub and the boys, still eating, and headed for the college.
We found our way to the college and eventually to the hall where the concert was to take place. As last year there were tables and chairs set out very prettily but this time there was a large space at the front near the stage for dancing. There were a couple of seats at a table right at the front which we quickly occupied. Unfortunately, as with last year it was very cold in the hall and a girl on the table where we sat put on her ski hat as her mum sat shivering in a thick coat. We kept our coats on, but I promised Janet it would warm up once Kevin got going!
The support act
As we gave in our tickets I remarked to the lady behind the desk that the boys were still in the pub but she said the two Scottish girls would be on before them, meaning Jill Jackson and her friend who I had seen in Bristol (yes, I know it should be whom). As we sat waiting, Al came onto the stage and began his routine of tuning all his different instruments. As he went off, Mike and Robert came on and as Mike tuned his guitar, Robert took Kevin’s and put it on. At that point I wondered… I had never seen Robert tune Kevin’s guitar for him before… Robert came to the mike and introduced himself and explained that Jill could not be with us so he and Mike were going to do a few numbers! Fantastic! What a bonus! And of course they were both great. Robert sang ‘Pretty Like You’ and ‘… from his cd ‘The Wintersky Works’, and ‘Carolina’ from his first cd ‘Audrey in a Dream’. Mike sang ‘Right Before Your Eyes’, ‘One Good day’ and ‘Paper Thin’ from his ‘Million Miles’ cd. It was great hearing several songs from each of them; they may have been tired after something like 23 nights of performing, but I don’t think I have heard either of them sing better or more powerfully than they did at Shebbear. It was wonderful – they were wonderful.
Kevin came on stage looking very tired but he sang as beautifully as ever. He looks as if he has lost weight but none of his abilities or sense of fun. That mischievous twinkle was evident as usual even though he seemed weary at first.
As usual I can’t remember all the numbers or the order in which they came; the trouble is Kevin’s gigs are always so brilliant any thought except of having a great time goes flying straight out of my head. Within a few numbers about ten of us were up dancing, how other people can just sit like stuffed bears I don’t know! As usual there were a lot of jokes flying between the boys, at one point Robert and Paul cracked up, either something Kevin did or sang, whatever, a mystery to the audience but funny all the same. Kevin sang several of the new numbers that he had performed in the Polish Club and no doubt elsewhere. I hope this means there will be a new cd next year!
There was not the same amount of banter and story telling as I’ve seen before. Maybe because they were tired, maybe because they started late, maybe because they wanted to finish in good time as they had a long drive to Glasgow for Saturday night, maybe they felt distanced from the audience because they were up on stage and the audience were mostly sitting further back in the hall… They still packed in all the favourite songs and the new ones and Mike did another couple of numbers in the middle, ‘Million Miles’ and ‘You Know that I will’ (It may have been ‘You Know That I will’ or ‘Little Things’ or ‘Paper Thin’) He’s a great singer; it would be so good to see him coming back to do a tour on his own.
- Robert’s tantalising intro to ‘Walk on the Wildside’
- Robert calling the raffle, utterly baffled as to why the best prize was a huge organic veg box, and having one of his surreal rambles about a massage (what a tempting thought…!!!)
- Bopping with my chum (shows our age!) and seeing Janet enjoying herself
- Kevin’s new songs
- Mike singing
- Paul shivering (even Mr Cool does sometimes feel the cold apparently!)
- Al doing what Al does so brilliantly (no standing on the stool this time)
- Hearing ‘I don’t even know your name’ a favourite of mine which they don’t always do – last time in Shebbear the power went off half way through it
- Robert (he’s always a highlight for me)
A most unusual end to the evening, no ‘Fear Nothing’. We finished with ‘Las Vegas’ which is such a great number always done so brilliantly by the Roadtrippers.
As soon as the lights went up Paul started dismantling his drum kit and the others started putting away their things.
Just as we were leaving Kevin came into the hall and came over and gave me a hug! He is so lovely, always has time for everyone no matter how tired he is. We had a little chat and I introduced him to Janet which was a great thrill for her. We had a long drive so regretfully we left Shebbear College. Sadly I didn’t manage to speak to Robert, it would have been so nice to have had a hug from him too! We drove home talking non-stop about our fabulous evening with a great orange half moon low in the sky. A night to remember.