St. George’s, Bristol 4.9.19
Beforehand I wasn’t quite sure of the format of Tuesday night’s gig. At one point I had a question mark over whether this was a gig or a chat but ‘an evening with Richard Jobson’ was exactly what it was. A gig and as billed.
In the recently renovated, historic and smart surroundings of St. George’s, Bristol, this was the songs of The Skids stripped bare to expose the lyrics and put in context by Jobson. Each song individually wrapped to be savoured without the usual sea of electric guitars, drums, Jobbers’ dancing and mosh pit. It worked. A real treat for any Skids enthusiasts.
Yes Jamie and Bruce Watson were there providing acoustic guitar and vocal backing (with the classic Watson t-shirts and Bruce solo material at the merch stand) but this was very much a Jobson production.
The two part evening was opened by Bruce and Jamie Watson (both play with The Skids as well as Big Country) with a couple of numbers including ‘Fragile Thing’ which Bruce introduced as “the last song that I wrote with Stuart Adamson”.
Jobson came on and explained the reasoning for wanting to revisit the Skids material in an acoustic way and how the recently released album ‘Peaceful Times’ was born, and we were off, with ‘Hurry on Boys”.
For me what was notable from the set list for the first half was how well three songs from the 2017 album ‘Burning Cities’ stood up alongside other Skids’ classics. ‘Kings of the New World Order’, ‘World on Fire’ and ‘Desert Dust’, which I shall be revisiting and hadn’t fully appreciated – the last track on ‘Burning Cities’ about recent middle east war zones.
“The added context makes the songs more memorable and meaningful, already.”
Audience questions were invited at various points throughout and these extracted tales and detail from Jobson, a tactic which must bring individuality to each night on the tour. The added context makes the songs more memorable and meaningful, already. I will just share a couple.
Before playing ‘Charles’, one of the first Skids recordings, Jobson, prompted by a question, referred back to that grip that John Peel’s Radio 1 show had on all of us of an age: listening every night to new sounds mixed with older classics. The band had sent in a recording of ‘Charles’ and one night after presuming it had been passed over Peel played it – Jobson’s jaw dropped as he recounted that moment. Their moment….then the next night Peel played it again, and again, and more. This was it. A gig shortly after, at the Red Cow in Hammersmith, The Skids signed to Virgin Records as a result.
The Saints are Coming
‘The Saints are Coming’ was introduced with the tale of the out of the blue phone call Jobson took from The Edge of U2 to get him down to London’s Abbey Road Studios to ‘have a talk about something’. When he got there Green Day and U2 were recording ‘Saints’ as a charity single. Jobson gave them the freedom to use it, with all proceeds going to a post Storm (Katrina) flooding music project for young people in the New Orleans area. The Green Day/ U2 version was released and first heard at the New Orleans Saints’ stadium and went to number one in countries all over the world. Jobson never took a penny. “What goes around, comes around” he reflected.
YouTube link. U2/ Green Day video of The Saints are Coming: https://youtu.be/PD_0fqvT32g
During the evening Jobson also opened up on more negative experiences like the break up of The Skids, The Joy album, and the failure of The Armoury Show to gain traction, while Big Country toured the world with Bowie and the Stones.
After the second half, which included a stunning solo vocal rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and a rare outing for the Armoury Show’s ‘Castles in Spain’, this absorbing ‘evening with Richard Jobson’ and the Watsons ended with ‘Into the Valley’. Well how else could you end?
Before the show
There were some familiar faces and some new friendly ones in the hall early before the gig. Relaxed catch up and time to get some stuff signed – given the opportunity I had some CD covers signed and a couple of photos I took at a gig in Frome last year. (A meet an greet option this. An area to explore in another blog some time.)
If you are in the centre of Bristol at St George’s or O2 Academy for instance and want a prompt sit down meal then Wongs Chinese restaurant is well worth checking out in Denmark Street.
It’s a couple of hours by car for me to Bristol and hopelessly inconvenient by train but it is a great city centre at night and I always enjoy coming here, especially when staying over. This was a memorable and different mid-week gig experience, tonight with DPi and ‘Glasto Nige’, with a late drive home for all of us.