Fairport Convention were back at The Queen’s Hall tonight stopping off at Edinburgh as part of what looks like a gruelling tour itinerary for 2016.  Despite that though, the band were their usual good humoured and totally un-egotistical selves, and after more than 40 years of international success and huge commercial and critical success this in itself is probably one of the many reasons why Dave Pegg and company are still out there playing to full venues everywhere they go.

Tonight’s set included some of the older standards that audiences pretty much expect to hear – songs like “Matty Groves”, “Crazy Man Michael” and “Meet On The Ledge”, and we were given songs from more recent times and also from their 2015 album “Myths and Heroes” including the title track from this here.

There were a few songs tonight about soldiering of past eras, but it was one song “John Condon” from the new album about a 14 year old Irish boy who lied about his age to join the army in the 1914–1918 War that was the most powerful of them all for me this evening.  Although released during the centenary of this war this song was actually written some years before it and just highlights the futility of a life lost so young in a foreign mud field.

They played some other tracks from the new album including an instrumental track “The Gallivant”, “Man in the Water, and “Clear Water” (written by their good friend Ralph McTell). 

Other songs tonight included “The Festival Bell”, “My Love is in America” and “Walk Awhile”. 

Supporting Fairport Convention was singer/songwriter from Yorkshire, Roger Davies, who gave us songs close to him and his surroundings such as “Huddersfield Town”.   In true Fairport style though he was joined on stage by the band for his last song “James Dean” and also brought back again for their encore “Meet On The Ledge”.   Fairport Convention are always more than generous to their support guests and that warmth just shows throughout the whole evening.

For more information about the band and their annual Cropredy Festival, go to www.fairportconvention.com

Review by Tom King

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