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MOSTLY AUTUMN The Assembly, Leamington Spa
2 April 2010
Photos by Andrew Lock
Such a treat to have this show in my hometown at our fabulous venue The
Assembly, a perfect place for the band with its large high stage,
impressive lighting and excellent sound system.
This was a very special gig (although for me all of their gigs are a bit
special!) as this was the last performance with Mostly Autumn for lead
vocalist Heather Findlay, without doubt one of, if not the finest,
female rock singers in the country with a voice and stage presence
Heather is starting a solo career and all Autumn fans wish her all the
very best for the future.
So the show had a touch of sadness but was an absolute triumph with the
band putting on the best performance I have seen in front of a good
sized audience of around 800.
On entering the venue there was already a bit of magic in the air, the
stage was beautifully and subtly lit, relaxing tranquil classical music
in the background while the faithful front row fans chatted away with
each other or made new friends.
Not long after 8.00pm house lights dimmed, the cheers started and one of
the best intros in rock got the first set underway - the atmospheric,
haunting lead into Fading Colours the powerful opening track from the
Heart Full of Sky album.
Last on stage dressed in a stylish red dress and black hat with a short
veil and to a great reception, the lady of the moment Heather.
From the first track you could see the band really meant business,
determined to make it a night to remember and after the always stunning
opening number the rock tempo was kept going with Caught in a Fold from
Next up 2 crackers from the last studio album Glass Shadows the foot
tapping Flowers for Guns with excellent backing harmony singing by
Olivia Sparnenn and Anne-Marie Helder and for me the album's stand out
track Unoriginal Sin with its slow burning heavy main riff and fretboard
fireworks by Bryan Josh.
A very welcome return with Liam Davison's stunning lead intro to The
Spirit of Autumn Past (part 2) was the next treat, always a fan
favourite with plenty of audience participation, before a sit by the
camp fire for Simple Ways.
The band visited all of their albums in the show apart from The Lord of
the Rings release and the last three numbers of the first set included
two from a strong contender for the bands best album, The Last Bright
Light, with the powerful opening track and one of the highlights of the
set Heather's show piece Shrinking Violet.
Always an emotional track, even more so tonight as of a lot of us
guessed this would be the last time it would be performed by Mostly
Autumn and tonight she really took it to another level. Sandwiched
in-between the Bright Light numbers they performed the quite simply
beautiful Passengers from the album of the same name.
The second set started with a bit of fun and banter from Heather
including a few Bruce Forsyth references before the mood became more
serious for Carpe Diem the moving track written about the tragic Boxing
Day tsunamis of 2004 - you could hear a pin drop during the quietest
moments (what a great crowd).
Outstanding drumming next from Gavin Griffiths for the stirring Winter
Mountain followed by 2 scorching rockers that always work so well put
together in a Mostly Autumn set and hard to see the join, The Dark
before the Dawn and Answer the Question (must admit to head banging in
the photo pit at times to these two!).
Back to where it all started with Nowhere to Hide (close my eyes) from
debut album For All We Shared followed by the gentle Half the Mountain
which ended with one of Bryan's finest solos (one of many) then to
finish two of the all time Mostly Autumn epics Mother Nature and Heroes
Never Die, the latter of course dedicated to Robert Josh.
Encore time started with just Heather accompanied by keyboards for the
delicate Above the Blue, another real show case for her wonderful voice
along with Iain and Anne-Marie's keyboard magic, I could not put it
better than the single call at the end of the track from the crowd "that
After the classics already played only one track they could finish with
and for me it's their Stairway to Heaven and also one of the best rock
songs ever recorded - Evergreen - starting gently with exquisite vocals
before the track turns into a Bryan Josh showpiece with incredible solo
work and of course the centre stage set piece of bass player Andy Smith
and Heather back to back rocking the house.
Alongside the usual end of set bows we had an emotional speech by
Heather and the band presented her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers
followed by her saying goodbye to all the band members individually,
plenty of tears (nearly started myself) but what great memories we have.
What a night - two stunning sets, all the classics, band all playing a
storm (never seen Bryan's hands move so fast), a big enthusiastic crowd
and a great venue and, to finish, Heather of course came out along with
Bryan to mingle with the fans (family really).
All the best in the future to both Mostly Autumn (I'm sure Olivia will
do a great job fronting the band) and Heather in her solo work (will be
there for both).
photos by Andrew Lock
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