Cambridge Corn Exchange
Monday 23 October 2000
This was my third Capercaillie concert, to accompany their new album, Nàdurra, and I thought it the best so far.
Before that, however, we had to get through the warm-up act. This time around it was Andrew White (guitar/vocals), playing home-brewed numbers. (I'm assuming this was the same person as provided part of the warm-up for the Best Of concert.) I was fairly neutral about the act -- not my cup of tea. But while listening, I tried to work out why the songs weren't working for me. Most seemed to be based on actual incidents that had happened to the performer. I decided that songs based on real life incidents fall into two categories: those that capture some universal essence, and so speak to everyone, and those that are rather over-literal, and are the musical equivalent of seeing a stranger's holiday snaps.
But on to the main event. About half of the performance comprised the wonderful instrumental jigs and reels, with superb instrumental performances. I defy anyone to listen to these without at least tapping their feet -- some of the audience were out of their seats, dancing. The rest was a combination of the amazing Gaelic "puirt a beul", some of the more cheerful-sounding songs, and, to my delight, several of the slower songs, which they have not tended to perform as much in their concerts. Although the new album has quite a few slow songs on it, not all the ones they performed this evening were from it alone.
It was all over too soon. The traditional two encores started with the Delirium album song "Coisich, a Rùin", which I felt was much sharper a performance than the last time I heard it, and then went off into more reels and songs. Indeed, I felt the whole concert was much sharper than previously -- everyone seemed on top form.
Another excellent evening's music.
reviewed 24 October 2000