January 26th, 2006

Fishy Circumstances

Dar Williams and co.

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And now I'm in London and last night I went with my houseguest and C. to hear her perform at The Borderline, not so far south of Tottenham Court Road station, just around the corner from Foyle's. She wasn't the only one performing: the evening comprised four wonderful singing, song-writing, guitar-playing women. I would have bought more than one album at the end of the evening had others not already sold out.

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And then, with an hour and a quarter to go before closing time, right on time, Dar Williams came back up on stage for her gig. True to form, she's a strong entertainer, with a deep love of song, a good rapport with the audience. Strikingly, she didn't tell many anecdotes; she's an excellent story teller within and without song, but I suspect that the limited duration of the set, even more than that this was the end of a several week European tour, meant she just didn't have time. She told us about her unfortunate encounter with bed bugs, about religious horseback riding camp, the Tate Modern, but there wasn't time for much more. After her intro number about her son, "So Close to my Heart', she said she'd tell us more about him later, and then didn't really have time too. Nor, indeed, despite all the shouted requests, did she play "Iowa", the first time I've been to a concert of hers where she didn't. Not that I blame her when it's her most demanded song.

But that doesn't tell you what she did play. Off the top of my head, not in order, she played The Christians and the Pagans, Empire, Teen for God, Blue light of the Flame, Beautiful Enemy, The Babysitter, When I was a boy, and finally, as an encore, February. Midway through, she teamed up with Anna and Lynn for a delightful rendition of Fred Eaglesmith's "Wilder than her" - it's been going through my head and making me happy ever since.

By 11 pm, my feet were aching from standing in the dense-packed crowd, we'd lost our houseguest hours before to fatigue, but I was content. My head is full of good music, and I have some new albums to track down and acquire. It's been a while since I've been to a concert. This was one which made London feel that much more like home.

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