Back in March I was privileged to witness Anathema playing a rather special acoustic set in Winchester Cathedral, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of A Sort of Homecoming which captures the band on the final date of that tour of the UK in the Anglican cathedral of their native city Liverpool.
Due for release on October 30th, I’ll be straight out to get my copy and I urge you to do so too – and if you failed to see them on that March tour, and are based anywhere near to Manchester then you’ve got another chance to check them out as they will be playing another gig in Manchester Cathedral on November 4th. Part of me is really hoping I get handed another week on a work project up in that area just so I can go.
Heck, while I’m at it….if you’re in New Zealand or Australia then you’ve got a chance to see them over the course of 7 dates in 10 days but as it began yesterday then make that 6 in 9 days. Then after Manchester, they move on to Paris then Bochum/Leipzig/Mannheim in Germany with Utrecht in the Netherlands in amongst that, before finishing up in Sofia (Bulgaria) prior to flying off over to the US to participate in the 5-day ‘Cruise to the edge’ voyage from Miami. While it’s not billed as Anathema Acoustic, I wouldn’t be surprised if they do play at least one acoustic set.
So yeah….that advertisement of the upcoming tour dates is brought to you by a man who, if he had the money and time, would quite honestly go to each and every single date of this upcoming tour. Now, back to the music….and hopefully bit more of a close up of what Danny Cavanagh was up to when he kept ducking down and hitting his guitar!!
Before I pressed play I found myself becoming concerned that it might not live up to my memories of that March gig – the review copy received isn’t the full set, but it’s much more than enough to get over that concern in seconds. “Untouchable Part 1” is first, and instantly I’m pulled back to that night I saw them – this song is amazing, and I defy you not to have a lump in your throat as this one builds to its end – the atmosphere is captured perfectly here.
Most of the performance has just 3 members of the band out front & centre – Vincent and Danny Cavanagh, and Lee Douglas. But when they are joined by fellow band mates John Douglas (drums), Jamie Cavanagh (bass) and David Wesling on cello, we are treated to “Anathema” and the bonus of the addition of violin to the song with Anna Pheobe adding so much to the song. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that it needs it, as it is a beautiful song. But the addition of violin has me getting all jealous that I didn’t witness it in the flesh. Stunning, truly stunning.
It’s quite eye-opening watching Danny Cavanagh on this. As I mentioned earlier he did do quite a bit of percussion on his guitar, and he quite often ducked down to his pedals and to the keyboards, and you see just how much he was actually doing on the night. His use of looping really does make you think that there is a band backstage playing all the rest of the music that can be heard – as a non-musician, it was quite fun to see this all going on.
Now, if you did read my review from March then you may recall that I have a very personal connection with “A Natural Disaster”, being the song playing as my first daughter was born, so I’m chuffed to see this included in the review copy, even though it was hardly ever in doubt that it would be. This song was a visual as well as aural experience at Winchester Cathedral and that portrayed here – lights shining on 2 disco balls really fill up the cathedral. The music, however, is the star here – Lee Douglas even more so. I’m looking forward to sitting down with my eldest daughter and seeing what she thinks of this.
The final song of the night is “Fragile Dreams”, which is the oldest song from Anathema’s repertoire to be played and it starts off with a bit of fun as the audience clap along and cause Danny to ‘complain’ that they’ve put him off and they need to wait…but can start a moshpit once he’s got it all sorted out. A great example of Danny’s self-deprecating wit, and the fun that he clearly had with getting these performances out there.
I’ve watched a number of live videos (remember those?) and DVDs over the years and usually find it’s a case of watch once, never bother with again. In a rare case you find something that you could put on at any time, and this release has the potential to be one of those….I’ve now watched/listened to these songs about 5 times over the course of the last 4 days. Is it next weekend yet?
This release comes in several forms. Firstly a 4-disc box set consisting of 2 audio CDs, a DVD plus a Blu-ray of the concert, and a 36-page booklet to accompany all that. (Yeah, that’s the one I’m getting)
The 2CD/DVD set will also be available, as well as the separate Blu-ray. Plus there is a triple black vinyl LP version too, as well as a digital form.
The full set on the night is as follows:
The Lost Song Part 2
Untouchable Part 1
Untouchable Part 2
The Beginning And The End
A Natural Disaster
Now go….go out and see them on the tour (dates below) or buy A Sort of Homecoming on October 30th.
23/10 – NZ, Christchurch – Dux Live
24/10 – NZ, Auckland – Kings Arms
27/10 – AUS, Adelaide – The Gov
29/10 – AUS, Brisbane – Triffid
30/10 – AUS, Sydney – Metro Theatre
31/10 – AUS, Melbourne – Corner Hotel
01/11 – AUS, Perth – Rosemount Hotel
04/11 – UK, Manchester- Manchester Cathedral
05/11 – France, Paris – Église Saint-Eustache (acoustic)
06/11 – Germany – Bochum (acoustic)
07/11 – Germany, Leipzig- Täubchenthal(acoustic)
09/11 – Netherlands, Utrecht – TivoliVredenburg
10/11 – Germany – Mannheim , Capitol (acoustic)
11/11 – Bulgaria, Sofia – Royal Bulgaria Hall (ACOUSTIC)
15-19/11 – USA, Miami -Bahamas – Cruise To The Edge