What an amazing experience. I barely have the words to describe just how good last night's show really was. The chemistry between the band members is absolutely incredible, and I think that's a big part of what makes the music so special.
I have to point out also how good Mark's voice was. I didn't hear one duff note throughout the show. The two songs from Kill to Get Crimson featured some great vocals in particular. His voice seems to improve with age somehow.
The audience was superb too. There were standing ovations after numerous songs, not least so Sultans of Swing, which, as ever, was outstanding.
I'm going to go through some of the highlights below, but the whole show was a highlight in itself, so it might be quite difficult. I'll give it a go anyway.
Cannibals - this is an excellent way to start the show. I think this may even be an improvement on the original. And I liked the original! I liked way they ended this version too. A lot of fun.
True Love Will Never Fade - this was performed so well that it damn near brought a tear to my eye. John McKusker plays some wonderful Cittern on this version.
Hill Farmer's Blues - quite simply amazing. Mark plays an unbelievable solo in the outro of this tune, and Danny Cummings really drives it along with some powerful drumming.
Marbletown - it was very interesting hearing this one with the whole band. The opening chords have been altered by means of Glenn Worf's string bass part. I liked the way the band cut out for the second phrase of Mark's twiddly solo passage at the end of the chorus. That added to the catchy edge this song has now developed. The original was great just with Mark on voice and guitar, but this version is even better, especially with the extended solo featuring some great playing from John McKusker on fiddle. Both this tune and Hill Farmer's Blues got deserved cheers.
Postcards from Paraguay - announced by Mark as a song about corporate misbehaviour, which was also appreciated by the audience, this was another fun performance, and Mark broke into his falsetto perfectly for the Paraguay-ee bit. More wonderful playing by John McKusker, this time on pipe.
Speedway at Nazareth and Telegraph Road were amazing as ever. Very, very loud - the way they should be. The lights show at this stage is nothing short of frenetic. The National resonator bell canvas is lowered during the outro of Speedway, and it looked spectacular. Whoever came up with that idea and the lighting that goes with it should be given a medal.
The encore, which consisted of Brothers in Arms, Our Shangri-La, So Far Away and Going Home, was a triumphant end to a phenomenal performance. People even went to the front of the stage at this point. I don't know why I didn't. I think I decided that I had a good enough view from where I was in the fourth row, and by the time I realised what people were doing I wouldn't have been able to get the to the edge of the stage anyway. That's where I would have wanted to be. Maybe next time. And I'm sure there will be many more times.
All in all, I can safely say that it was quite possibly one of the best nights of my life. I am not exaggerating either. It was my first MK gig, and it is a memory that will, truly, never fade.