I’ve been racking my brains trying to remember the first time that I saw the mighty Robyn Hitchcock play live. I’m sure that it must have been with the Egyptians, although as former members often join him onstage, I have some doubts whether it was after their recording career.
It’s likely that it was one of his full-band gigs at the Cambridge Junction, or maybe in London at Dingwall’s or the Highbury Garage. Hell, I can’t even remember where it was the last time I saw him. Maybe his terrific solo performance at the Colchester Arts Centre? Or the Cambridge Boat Race where he played a stunning version of ‘Waterloo Sunset?’
But even though I can’t remember the order in which I’ve seen his gigs, every performance is a unique event, each distinctly etched in my mind – Hitchcock’s live show, drawing seemingly at random from an gargantuan 30-year back catalogue of self-penned material, constantly evolves; songs are given new arrangements, interspersed with surreal, improvised laugh-out-loud funny monologues.
Last night at the Junction 2 was no exception – the addition of cello to the usual triptych of guitar, bass and gave another dimension to the selection of songs chosen for the night’s performance. Robyn was on top form as always, his stories bringing laughter to even members of his own band, specifically cellist Jenny.
The addition of the ex-Soft Boys cohort Kimberly Rew for the final few numbers of the set was the energetic, fitful icing on yet another idiosyncratic, memorable cake of an evening with the amazing Mr. Hitchcock.
I discovered Hitchcock in the early ’90s through some sessions on Radio1. Liking them I copied them for a few friends. They liked them even more than I did, and quickly became obsessed with him, seeing him countless times live. I’ve only see him play live once. It was at the Colchester Arts Centre on a cold night, Terry Edwards was the support act, hardly anyone there, and at some point during his solo show he introduced a short chap with a very large guitar which seemed to have crocodile clips attached in what looked like an unsafe manner. Was this the gig you were at also? There was so few people there that we probably both saw each other and I never realized I had the opportunity to say “when the hell is the next issue of Strangehaven coming out?”
Gary Spencer Millidge
Yes, that was the one… Terry Edwards was great. And I presume the small chap you mention was Kimberly Rew ex-Soft Boys and Katrina & the Waves.
And you're right, the attendance was poor, so poor that I was worried that Robyn may not even perform. I remember Robyn blaming his expanding belly on the Guinness.
But he was marvellous as usual. I have a recording of it somewhere.
And to answer your final question; not sure, later this year, hopefully, maybe, Diamond's new minimums wiling.