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Eddi Reader - Pavilion, Matlock, 24/10/2014

  by Billy Seagrave

published: 13 / 11 / 2014

Eddi Reader - Pavilion, Matlock, 24/10/2014


Bill Seagrave watches Scottish folk pop artist Eddi Reader play an incredible set in the remarkable venue of the Pavilion in Matlock

Matlock Pavilion is an Edwardian building, which has been rescued by the local community and is operated by their own charitable company whom raise money to repair, maintain, preserve and restore this amazing structure. As the banner at the back of its hall proudly states, "We are open, ambitious and a little bit scruffy." The hall was cold; I don’t think anyone took their coats off. There was timber propping up parts of the walls, with paint peeling, and sheets stopping debris from falling from the ceiling. Yet there was a friendliness and warmth emanating throughout the room. "This is a work in progress, it’s our room and we are proud to be here," was the feedback at the bar, which was at the back of the hall and sold real ale. A real buzz was building for tonight’s sell-out gig. I took a quick wander outside the main hall to the makeshift shop, which sold CDs of not only Eddi Reader's latest album 'Vagabond' and the newly released EP 'Back the Dogs', but the back catalogue of all her finest work. After a quick chat, I realised that the person selling the albums was tonight’s support act, Finlay Napier. I asked Finlay, “Any chance of a set list from Eddi's set tonight." With a wry smile, he pointed to the array of albums on show and said, ”Take your pick! There never is a set list. She goes where the road takes her.” Finlay more than deserves a mention. He was promoting his latest LP 'VIP', and his vocals and delivery were outstanding in his own set, with 'The Man who Sold New York' being the stand-out song. The stage was set. There was no back drop, just black drapes, two white stage lights on stage, along with a couple of makeshift lights either side of the stage. “What an interesting building! It’s amazing. It has a proper bar with proper beer,” said Eddi as her opening line. 'I’ll Never Be the Same' and 'Married to the Sea' were the opening songs and taken from Eddi's latest album, before she went into the familiar 'Hummingbird'. “Do you like my coat?" she said, starting the first of many anecdotes that evening. "It belonged to my Auntie Betty, who sadly passed away in January this year. I got the claims on her stuff.” As she proudly swishing it around for the audience to admire, she dedicated the next song 'Dragonflies' to her. 'Midnight in Paris 1979' was preceded by Eddi telling us a story of how she left Glasgow at the age of 19 and set off to go busking in Paris, and how after getting lost somewhere on the dusty roads of France out of nowhere a bright red, old London bus, full of interesting characters appeared, which just so happened to be on its way to Paris. It was clear we were on a special journey. There were no borders, no time lines, no destination, yet that didn’t matter. It was a journey we all wanted to make. Over the years the Pavilion has undoubtedly seen better days, but none of its frailties mattered in the presence of Eddi, The audience were fixated on every move and every lyric. We were all on this journey this could easily have been to the Royal Albert Hall, or a little snug in some back street bar in Glasgow. Eddi has the kind of voice that carries you away with her. There was a distinctive Parisian feel to the evening, with an accordion melodically backing the wonderful tone of Eddi's voice. 'Ye Jacobites', from the pen of Robbie Burns, was an anti-war poem. On 'Moon on the Rain' and 'The Moon is Mine' she had the audience in the palm of her hand. 'Back the Dogs' was an infectious song about her beloved Grandmother, Madge, who backed the dogs and the horses, betting on all the ones with holy names such as St Peter and St Paul 'Ay-Fond Kiss' was delivered as warmly as it was received, having been dedicated to the late Alvin Stardust. 'Bauin Na Rainich (Fairy Love Song)' gave Eddi the opportunity to try out the ancient Scottish Gaelic language “We don’t do the going on and off thing. We have twenty minutes left. Let's see what we can fit in,” she said, taking the opportunity to drop in 'Vagabond', the title track from 'Vagabond'. The journey was coming to an end, but it had taken me far beyond my expectations. 'Patience of Angels' had a change of role. The wonderful songwriter and performer Boo Hewerdine took lead vocals on this track, with Eddi supplying backing vocals. This was a great surprise, but one that complimented an all round fabulous performance. 'Baby’s Boat' was a song about how her children are turning into adults, teaching her how to let go. The final story of the night was about her family's parties and get togethers. Aunties, uncles, friends would cram into the house, and the noise could be heard blocks away as everyone vied to get up and do their bit, have a song, play the bagpipes, what ever was their bag really. Her dad would be doing Elvis, and it was her mother, who was the shy one, The audience were asked to participate and to ask her mother to sing “Give us a song”, as Eddi mimicked her mother's reaction and coyness -“Ah, well, I don’t. I cant. I will try”. The final song, 'Moon River', from its opening verse, then brought the evening to a close on a note of fulfillment. Eddi Reader is undoubtedly a treasure to behold with a voice that is wonderfully powerful. There are few with which to compare her. Finally I had a 45-mile journey home; I would quite easily have made the return journey for one more encore.

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Eddi Reader - Pavilion, Matlock, 24/10/2014

Eddi Reader - Pavilion, Matlock, 24/10/2014

Eddi Reader - Pavilion, Matlock, 24/10/2014

Eddi Reader - Pavilion, Matlock, 24/10/2014

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The Best of Eddi Reader (2016)
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