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Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell

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Fi 16 Mar 04 - 06:30 PM
Strollin' Johnny 17 Mar 04 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Graeme 17 Mar 04 - 01:53 PM
Fi 17 Mar 04 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,mADDY pRIOR 18 Mar 04 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,guest 19 Mar 04 - 10:14 PM
Little Robyn 20 Mar 04 - 03:30 PM
Hera 20 Mar 04 - 10:51 PM
GUEST,PFR 21 Mar 04 - 06:38 PM
songs2play 23 Mar 04 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,Sieffe@hotmail.com 24 Mar 04 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,idb@ihug.co.nz 24 Mar 04 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Aged Admirer 26 Mar 04 - 02:19 AM
GUEST,Ron 31 Mar 04 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,Ron 31 Mar 04 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,GarryG 01 Apr 04 - 09:36 PM
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Subject: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: Fi
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 06:30 PM

Anyone else in Australia or NZ seen Steeleye and Ralph McTell on their latest tour. What were they like at Port Fairy? They did a gig here in Auckland last night..... interested to know what others thought...... My thoughts for what they are worth:

Ralph McTell - Brilliant, a wonderful storyteller who totally engaged the audience and told and sung empathetic stories to his own wonderful tunes.... I hadn't even known that From Clare to Here was one of his. And an amazing guitarist to boot. Pure Magic.

Steeleye - Sound was dreadful, half of the people around me had their fingers in their ears for the whole concert..... voices engulfed in an electric wall of sound, couldn't hear Maggie Priors voice at all most of the time. I know they are known for their rock interpretations, but it seems like they haven't moved on from the early 70's at all. But, worst of all was that when they came on and sung the Wren a cappella, they were pitifully out of tune. I have heard it done so much better in Devonport folk club.

Was anyone else there? Am I out of line?

F


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 08:21 AM

Could you hear Maddy Prior (Maggie's big sister)? :0)


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: GUEST,Graeme
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 01:53 PM

Saw same concert, Ralph was brilliant as usual. 40 minuits of heaven.
nice to see he was appreciated for just walking on stage! Steeleye Span? sound was awful to start, we were ten rows back in center. it improved after complaints! we both could have left after Ralph but would have been too rude( Maddy can still dance)


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: Fi
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 08:11 PM

Sorry.... Maddy - slip of the thought processes...... I wished at the end that we'd left at the interval.... all I gained from the second half was a headache.


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: GUEST,mADDY pRIOR
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 06:12 AM


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 10:14 PM


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: Little Robyn
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 03:30 PM

So was the sound guy a local or did he come with the band? I believe that theatre is great for plays but not so hot for music.


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: Hera
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 10:51 PM

Can anyone tell me the name of the number just she and the violinist did? (immediately after the audience had hurled expletives/constructive criticism re sound to the band, and they had toddled off to hopefully recover).
Don't know the name of the song as - of course - I couldn't quite make out the words.
The sound was very tragic!
I was bitterly disappointed.


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: GUEST,PFR
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 06:38 PM

After looking forward to the Steeleye Span/Ralph McTell concert for more than four months with eager anticipation, I was extremely disappointed and came away from the Adelaide concert feeling that I had been let down. It could have been, and should have been, so much better. The sound mix was abysmal; you would think that after twelve gigs in Aus/NZ the sound "technician" would have got it right. In the opening set, Ralph played a couple of superb guitar numbers but the lyrics of his songs just got lost somewhere between him and the audience which is a tragedy because he is a great songwriter and his words deserve to be listened to.

Much the same goes for Steeleye, instrumentals, solos, duets and unaccompanied songs were passable, not great, but tolerable. However when they sang and played as a group the words were just an indistinguishable noise and came out as an additional sound to the instruments. One final piece of criticism is that Liam Genocky's extended drum solo, although technically very good, was totally out of place and completely unnecessary.

A potentially brilliant evening spoiled by one man. The irony is that when the "sound technician" was introduced to the audience near the end of the concert, much to my surprise, he received polite applause…………instead of the complete silence he deserved.

I realise the above is pretty negative but there was a fair bit to be negative about. If you doubt my words, check out Ralph McTell's web site for confirmation at http://www.mctell.co.uk/main_fr.htm and read between the lines in Ken Nicol's tour diary at http://www.kennicol.co.uk/Steeleye%20Diary%202004%20page%203.htm.

On the positive side, Steeleye's encores just about saved the evening and it was great to see RM & SS again and have the opportunity to chat to Ralph and Maddy, grab the Tee shirt and a couple of SS CD's. Unfortunately, Ralph's CD's sold out before Adelaide but I guess this is a case of good news for Ralph, bad news for his fans. You don't get too many of Ralph's CD's at commercial outlets in Adelaide. One final bit of info. I had a chat with the tour photographer during smoko (the interval) and he informed me that you will be able to check out the tour photos down the track on http://www.chrisbates.org/.

A memorable evening, but for all the wrong reasons.


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: songs2play
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 08:33 AM

There are reviews of the tour directly from Ralph McTell on


       The Folk Corporation Message Board


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: GUEST,Sieffe@hotmail.com
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 04:52 PM

The name of the song was "Bessie Bell and Mary Gray" . . . .should be able to find it on the net easily . . . if you want to hear it live in Auckland sometime give us a ring! 827-7199 . .Sieffe


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: GUEST,idb@ihug.co.nz
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 10:24 PM

On the negative side the sound mix was a shocker. Overloaded on the bass and drums, too little on the lead guitar and probably a tad too much on the fiddle. The instruments needed to be balanced up and the volume reduced then the vocal mics all needed to come up, especially Rick Kemps. Then and only then should the master have been brought up to the earsplitting folk rock level that we all knew and loved in the 70's.

Something that young sound techs probably don't appreciate is that as we age our ability to hear the voice frequencies 2-4kHz deteriorates so any overloading on the bassy side tends to mask the upper frequencies. At the risk of offending some of the audience the average age would have been in excess of ummmmmm - 40? so perhaps the sound mix should also have been biased towards the higher frequencies.

Positives were a good set in terms of choice of songs and tunes, Peter Knight is still a great fiddler, Thomas the Rhymer was a blast and Gaudete more than made up for The Wren which crashed and burned!

Oh and not forgetting it was a folkies party that took over the Bruce Mason center - good to see so many friends.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: GUEST,Aged Admirer
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 02:19 AM

Melbourne, Victoria.

SSand Ralph Mctell's gig in Melbourne was a sell-out with many waiting hopefulls looking for cancellations - therefore high expectations of the decidedly "mature" and knowledgable audience.

Ralph.
Excellent performance: interesting, amusing and informative; instrumental numbers were well received and crisply played - the vocals were less clear and sometimes inaudible because of poor sound ballance. For a life-long SS fan this turned out to be the best part of the evening :-( Worth the money just for him!

Steeleye Span.
As a performance I'd give it a C- for effort over clarity and accuracy. Gaudete had to be re-started after a false begining; Maddy seemed to be avoiding using her upper register; once she could sail like a bird over the loudest backing and hold her own against the men, I thought she was saving herself(?) for later in the tour - or has last some of the sparkle and vivacity she once had to hold us spellbound. Third row from the front was perfect for R MC.T but far too loud for SS. I was one of the people with fingers in their ears to avoid making my tinnitus worse.
      The mixture of old and newer material was pleasing but Liam Genocky ( the best drummer they have ever had in my opinion ) was for too loud and overbearing. Again sound ballancing is to blame. It was a good night out, but after so much anticipation I left with a low spirit and the thought that perhaps, outside of the recording studio, Steeleye Span had passed their useby date. Sack the roadies - or employ some!


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: GUEST,Ron
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 06:26 PM

Went to the Steeleye Span concert in Auckland. Last saw the band at the Pitt St (Auckland) YMCA in 1975 not knowing many of the songs except Thomas the Rhymer - great jigging then and I thought towards the end they may have been heading that way with this concert.
Thought the support acts did well - especially Ralph McTell. The kiwi guy was very bluesy which I imagined might seem a bit odd at a folkie event, but his original songs were pretty cool. McTell was wonderful and I agree with people who feel he was worth the price of the ticket alone.
Span I have to say did disappoint in some respects - principally (as has been mentioned) in respect of the sound system which from where I was sitting (downstairs row L)was very muddy and lacking finesse and precision. Very loud too. The harmonies were essentially lost. When people grumbled after one song, they did some repair work and it seemed better after that. I was also annoyed by the spot behind the drummer which came on from time to time and blazed in our faces. I looked forward to the lead guitarist moving as he occasionally blocked it out.
However, that aside I did enjoy Drink Down the Moon, Long Lankin and All Around My Hat. Missed the Black Jack Davy and a couple of others but that's personal preference for you.
Have to say Kemp the Fiddler stole the show for me. Superb stuff which really drove many of the songs. Plus of course Maddy's voice.
Bonus was seeing Billy Connolly in the audience (to whom Maddy dedicated one song - Cam ye o'er frae France)...seems there's a Billy Ralph tie-up. Wonderful also to see the strength of folkie support - heaps of people singing along to McTell's very moving tunes was a revelation to me.


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: GUEST,Ron
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 07:49 PM

Went to the Steeleye Span concert in Auckland. Last saw the band at the Pitt St (Auckland) YMCA in 1975 not knowing many of the songs except Thomas the Rhymer - great jigging then and I thought towards the end they may have been heading that way with this concert.
Thought the support acts did well - especially Ralph McTell. The kiwi guy was very bluesy which I imagined might seem a bit odd at a folkie event, but his original songs were pretty cool. McTell was wonderful and I agree with people who feel he was worth the price of the ticket alone.
Span I have to say did disappoint in some respects - principally (as has been mentioned) in respect of the sound system which from where I was sitting (downstairs row L)was very muddy and lacking finesse and precision. Very loud too. The harmonies were essentially lost. When people grumbled after one song, they did some repair work and it seemed better after that. I was also annoyed by the spot behind the drummer which came on from time to time and blazed in our faces. I looked forward to the lead guitarist moving as he occasionally blocked it out.
However, that aside I did enjoy Drink Down the Moon, Long Lankin and All Around My Hat. Missed the Black Jack Davy and a couple of others but that's personal preference for you.
Have to say Kemp the Fiddler stole the show for me. Superb stuff which really drove many of the songs. Plus of course Maddy's voice.
Bonus was seeing Billy Connolly in the audience (to whom Maddy dedicated one song - Cam ye o'er frae France)...seems there's a Billy Ralph tie-up. Wonderful also to see the strength of folkie support - heaps of people singing along to McTell's very moving tunes was a revelation to me.


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Subject: RE: Review: Steeleye Span and Ralph McTell
From: GUEST,GarryG
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 09:36 PM

I also attended the Auckland concert and wonder what all the grumbling was about. I thoroughly enjoyed Ralph - the guitar sound did overshadow the vocals a little maybe but overall pretty good.
In the beginning the Steeleye vocals were a little lost but it improved and I thought it was a great show. It certainly wasn't too loud for me but I am over 50 and my hearing isn't 100%. I attended with an experienced musician who has played in that theatre and she thought the sound was quite acceptable.


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