Several venues - UK



I had the great good fortune to be able to go to all four gigs and, as usual, Jan made every night different.

The first night was in Frome in a lovely venue called the 'Cheese & Grain'.
It was great to hear Jan playing the Lowden again and he included both the long 'suites' from Passion as well as several other favourites. The ringing opening of 'Valdez' at the start of the 'Wildflower' suite is guaranteed to make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck! Tonight was no exception.

My home town of Cardiff was next and his set was a bit longer and perhaps even better with Jan responding to requests from the audience to play 'Le Clochard' and 'Tranquilizer' which had not featured in Frome. I also recall 'Britannia' being played.

Night three at Bridgwater was the highlight of the tour. Jan played superbly to a sold out audience in an intimate theatre and I can only liken the atmosphere and playing to that at the famous 'Priory' show in 1997. It was intense and 'on the edge' yet beautiful and emotional. I think this is possibly the best acoustic show I have seen Jan perform and it included 'Classical Gas' and some extra 'Django' treats, such as 'Djangology' and 'For Django' (by Joe Pass), a tune I cannot remember having heard Jan play before. Jan told us he was inspired to play these tunes by a quartet of incredible young guitarists he had been asked to help in the Dutch TV series 'Almost Famous'.

The final night at Stroud was also exceptional with Jan playing superbly despite issues with the sound early on. For the record, it sounded great from the audience for the whole show!

Every night there was a Focus medley and every night it was different. It started in Frome with the evocative 'Focus 5', plus the 'old war crimes' of 'Sylvia' and 'Hocus Pocus'. Then, during the week, other surprises were added including 'Le Clochard', 'Anonymous' and 'Answers Questions' to name but a few. It is difficualt to tell you exactly everything that Jan played as he uses so many pieces of songs within other songs.

As usual it was great to meet so many old friends along the way. My house guests for the week were Lloyd and Olivia Clark. Jim Higgins came down by train from Scotland for Wednesday's first gig, went back to Motherwell the next day and came back down to Stroud for the fourth gig on the Saturday, a total of over 30 hours of train travel. Amazing dedication to Jan's music! It was a pleasure also to see Paul & Jen Barrington in Stroud and Gary Brady in Cardiff.

I cannot finish telling you about the tour without mentioning Jan's support act, namely Gareth Pearson, an 18 year old Welsh guitarist who was quite superb. His finger picking 'Chet Atkins/Jerry Reed' style was a complete contrast to Jan's playing and the young man is a born entertainer. There were also some great 'dressing room' jams to enjoy. Remember his name. You will be hearing it again I have no doubt.

Review + Photos: Leigh Woolford