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Robin 2, Bilston, 4 April 2010

Breathing Space, photo by Andrew Lock

As with the Mostly Autumn show in Leamington the previous Friday, this show was special as it was vocalist Olivia Sparneen's last Breathing Space gig before leaving to take over lead vocal duties with Mostly Autumn, with Bryan Josh also finishing his lead guitar stint with the band.

The venue one of my favourites The Robin 2 in Bilston could have been a little busier for this historic show but those that made the effort witnessed a great send off for Olivia and Bryan and I was very happy to hear Iain Jennings say after the show that of course the band would continue.

The set was well constructed with tracks from the three Breathing Space albums and a few of Iain's Mostly Autumn compositions.

First four numbers of the evening all up-tempo rockers Forgive Or Surrender from the debut album, The Senses and Coming up for Air from the second release and right up to date with Clear from current album 'Below the Radar'. Starting with four rockers worked really well and got the show up and running.

Breathing Space, photo by Andrew Lock

Band all in great form Olivia up front held the crowds attention as always, Iain Jennings displaying his usual keyboard wizard skills with assistance from brother Ben, Bryan looking very chilled and relaxed knocking out the solos and of course the solid rhythm work of Paul Teasdale and Barry Cassells.

Breathing Space, photo by Andrew Lock

Time for a change of pace next with, in my opinion, one of the highlights of the Mostly Autumn back catalogue the exquisite Hollow from The Last Bright Light album, a medium tempo full of soul track with fantastic lyrics, subtle chilled musical backing and breathtaking lead guitar, a track I have always believed would have made a great single.

The dramatic Rain Song next with its heart breaking lyrics sang beautifully by Olivia followed by the catchy pop/rock of Run From Yourself and to close the first set another stand out vocal performance on the moving You Still Linger.

Breathing Space, photo by Andrew Lock

Costume change for Olivia for the second part of the show changing from her bright red dress into what someone in the crowd called her beautiful mermaid outfit (well named).

The second set started with Time Tells all the Unknown another up-tempo pop/rock number with a delicate keyboard intro before they dropped the pace for 2 tracks from the debut album the emotion filled ballad Belief and one of the albums strongest numbers the epic Wasted all the Time.

Another dramatic track next The Night Takes You Home a real power ballad and the next number began with one of my favourite Iain Jennings keyboard intros the simple but stunningly effective start to Searching for my Shadow which also included scorching guitar work from Mr Josh.

Breathing Space, photo by Andrew Lock

Two more slow burning crackers from 'Below the Radar' with Drowning and Dusk before a real treat this time the number that has been Olivia's showpiece when performing with Mostly Autumn when she would leave her backing singer duties and take centre stage Never the Rainbow. An absolute tour-de force this track, rocking from start to finish tonight performed without the Blackmore/Gillan style guitar/vocal duel but still a fabulous number.

The main set finished how it began fast and rocking with Below the Radar and my personal favourite Breathing Space number, the uplifting When I Hold on to You.

First encore a real gem that a lot of us must have been secretly hoping to hear tonight, Iain's Mostly Autumn masterpiece The Gap is Too Wide, the word epic hardly does this track justice and the crowd went crazy on hearing the beautiful keyboard intro and then of course quickly quietened down to take in this outstanding piece of music.

To our surprise we still had one more number and Olivia thanked everyone who had voted for the final track of the night Questioning Eyes in the Classic Rock Society awards 2009 where it was voted best track, a stunning number completely deserving of its award.

Another top show and while sorry to see Olivia and Bryan leave the band hopefully Iain is hard at work auditioning for replacements and we can look forward to more great music both recorded and live by this outstanding band.

To Olivia of course the very best of luck with Mostly Autumn, of course Heather is a very hard act to follow but Olivia is an extremely talented vocalist and excellent live performer so the future looks bright.

Review and photos by Andrew Lock

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