A problem with ticketing and determining who was and was not ‘on the list’ did not dent the smiles of the friendly staff nor the queuing throng waiting patiently to get in while subjected to the onset of rain.

London June 10th was my second of three consecutive nights seeing the Wild Swans on this tour.

I had not entered this, from the outside, seemingly nondescript venue before. Inside, though, is a very different and enchanting, world – a former dance hall bejewelled with chandeliers, embossed with classical plaster mouldings and awash in red and mauve lighting – a perfect and intimate venue for this band.

With a slight tremble in voice and opening with the rallying Falling To Bits (are you with me?), we were soon on familiar ground with the poetically beautiful Bible Dreams followed by Archangels. Then more of the new album (more than half indeed) was performed shoulder-to-shoulder with old favourites. ‘Chloroform’ causing me a spine tingling shiver like a ghost had passed through me (and does so every time I play the album version), nicely leading into ‘Underwater’ with an almost imperceptible change in riff from Mike Mooney. English Electric Lightning, however, was the most noticeable omission of the evening.

From the outset the band looked like they were going to have fun laying on this show and what manifested was arguably the mother of all Wild Swans gigs.

And finally, for an encore, just when you thought things couldn’t get any better than this, Mike Mooney stiffened up and, almost goose-stepping around the stage, launched into the most psyched-out, deranged, finger-bleeding outro to Tangerine Temple I have seen, breaking his G-string in the process.

Weep if you were not there.

Mike, Paul, Ricky, Les, Richard, Stuart – a very big and sincere thank you lads!

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John H