Monday 10 March 2014 – The Stables, Milton Keynes

What a pleasure to see Caravan again, and with new material from their new CD as a bonus!

Review by: John Hutton.

The band played a mixture of old and new material:

All This Could Be Yours – from PARADISE FILTER

The band start with track one off the new CD. A very accessible up-tempo track with some substantial chords from Pye, and Geoffrey’s viola coming into play as the number progresses. The sound mix for viola, bass and drums is spot on to me, just some inevitable adjustment needed, in particular to take out some ‘bottom-end’ from Pye’s vocals to give them greater clarity, and keyboards a bit low. Then a slick segue straight into …

Headloss – from FOR GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP IN THE NIGHT

This number often featured in previous concerts as a segue from “Memory Lain”, but sounding just as good here with its new opening partner from Paradise Filter. Mark’s drums are so punchy and crisp, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Really rocking along now, and the audience get their first chance to show their very evident joy at hearing the band again after this number.

In The Land of Grey and Pink/ Golf Girl

Next up is “In the Land of Grey and Pink” with a segue into “Golf Girl”. Geoffrey explains the customary audience participation needed, and I could see a goodly number joining in with the spirit of things (perhaps the band could organise a video of this activity from their view on stage!). We’re in familiar territory now and the sound mix is spot on. Geoffrey features on spoons and was that Mark playing a mini washboard for few moments or did my eyes deceive me?

Paradise Filter – from PARADISE FILTER

Title track off the new CD – Geoffrey introduces the song and explains the meaning of ‘Paradise Filter’. On hearing this on the CD before the concert, I mistakenly thought that it featured Jim on lead vocals – but it’s that multi-talented man Geoffrey Richardson again. Tasteful laid-back start to this number, with Jans’ keyboards kicking in halfway through. Jim’s bass playing now more evident and adding pleasing depth to this quieter number. A slightly longer song that somehow has a ‘paradise/tropical’ feel about it.

Trust Me I’m A Doctor – from PARADISE FILTER

Another new number and a lighter song, and Pye explains that it is about a local doctor back home in Scotland. Geoffrey displays his versatility, joining in on background vocals while retaining a plectrum in his mouth! Tasty guitar solo from Geoffrey playing the song out.

Nightmare- from Better By Far

This number builds superbly and used to finish with Doug Boyle and Geoffrey facing each other playing viola and guitar note for note, now its viola and keyboards providing the climax before the band take a break.

Farewell My Old friend – from PARADISE FILTER

The 2nd session opens on a poignant note as Geoffrey dedicates this (and the following number) to the late Richard Coughlan. A gentle song with crystal clear vocals from Pye.

For Richard – from IF I COULD DO IT …

Close your eyes and soak up the atmosphere of Pye’s opening vocals and you’re transported back to 1970. Then later comes the classic guitar riff preceding the keyboard solo, (although the organ is a bit down in the mix, reducing the usual effect a little).

This Is What We Are – from PARADISE FILTER

My favourite track from the Paradise Filter CD, Pye’s meaty rock guitar chords, and a memorable chorus that stays in your head for days. Finishes with a fine, expansive lead guitar solo from Geoffrey.

Dead Man Walking – from PARADISE FILTER

One of the longer numbers and the band gets into a cool jazzy instrumental groove that builds with Mark’s drums driving it all along.

Time for a change of pace, and a lighter song adding a bit of contrast, with Geoffrey on mandolin adding some toe-tapping texture.

Nine Feet Underground – from IN THE LAND OF GREY AND PINK

What can you say? Absolute tour de force – never tire of hearing this or seeing it played live. Unsurprisingly, the audience produce a crescendo of noise demanding an encore.

I’m On My Way – from PARADISE FILTER

Opens with a satisfying rock guitar riff, played loud and sounding more upfront than on the CD version. Motors along brilliantly, featuring a guitar break again from Geoffrey.

Memory Lain – from FOR GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP IN THE NIGHT

Often a live gig opener, but employed here as the encore and set closer. Ideal upbeat number to finish on and works well with “I’m On My Way”.
The crowd seem happy for the band to play all night, but the house lights come on to signify that all good things have to come to an end.
Looking forward to next time …

SET LIST

(1st Session:)

  • All This Could Be Yours
  • Headloss
  • In The Land of Grey and Pink/ Golf Girl
  • Paradise Filter
  • Trust Me I’m A Doctor
  • Nightmare

(2nd Session:)

  • Farewell My Old friend
  • For Richard
  • This Is What We Are
  • Dead Man Walking
  • I’ll Be There For You
  • Nine Feet Underground

(ENCORE X 2:)

  • I’m On My Way
  • Memory Lain

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