Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

  • Mood:

I Tell You, His Name Is Love, Love, Love

They kept things simple at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. No SFX, no big video screen, no band; just coloured spotlights, a guitar named Kelly and this hunched, rather clownish figure in the middle.

Like Art Garfunkel, Donovan retains a startling amount of hair but has lost a couple of his top notes. His accent has also migrated a little way towards the middle of the Atlantic.

And what a sweetheart he seems to be. I wanted to put him in my pocket and take him home.

He spoke a gently humorous intro over the opening bars of each song: "Ah yes, back in '64, in the beatnik cafés...well, we didn't have cafés in England then, we had pubs..." and encouraged audience participation: "Yeah! Be the drums!"

We were told beforehand that he would be performing both his greatest hits and some rare, previously unreleased material found gathering dust in his basement and now available to buy in the foyer on his new CD, sixty-four.

Usually I hate hearing songs I don't know at gigs, as I can never pick up the tune or make out the lyrics. But Donovan's voice is so clear and his melodies so catchy that I enjoyed the new stuff just as much as the familiar numbers.

Before the show, I offered to wager addedentry an unspecified large amount of money that we would get a short speech about the war in Iraq and how protest songs are still relevant today!, man, followed by 'Universal Soldier'. Owen didn't take me up on it, luckily for him, as that's exactly what happened.

It's one of my favourites, though, so I forgive the old luvvie. Other good'uns in the line-up included 'Wear Your Love Like Heaven' and 'Try For The Sun', which my folky former housemate Jude used to play a lot.

After the intermission, Donovan returned in a kaftan to wild applause. After the first song, he said "I've just noticed I've left my dressing-gown on!"

More songs, more anecdotes from the '60s - who'dathought he only visited the 'Isle of Islay', and composed that beautiful song, because he was on the run following a drugs bust at his London pad? - a finale of 'Mellow Yellow' (which I've never liked very much, to be honest) and a riotous encore which ended only because the management enforced a 10:30 closedown.

What became of the mysterious Astrella I don't know. Towards the end, a small person in pyjamas appeared stage left and was introduced as the latest grandson.

And Kelly the guitar? Named after the Book of Kells, in whose shades of green, red and lapis lazuli the instrument is painted.


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