Monday, 5 November 2012

Happy Birthday, Peggy!

Mike Bursell writes...


A date fixed in our diary for some time was the 65th birthday of one Dave Pegg, Fairport bassist, lynchpin extraordinaire and all-round top bloke. 

Peggy: top bloke
The venue was Peggy's home ground of Birmingham Town Hall on Friday 2nd November. A capacity crowd attended, though perhaps it should more appropriately be  termed a gathering of friends, both on and off stage.

Proceedings commenced with a rendition of Happy Birthday by Peggy's grandchildren assisted by the assembled multitudes. The evening continued with the birthday boy centre stage accompanied by several musical collaborators including (obviously) current Fairports, PJ Wright, Anthony John Clarke and (less obviously perhaps) James Wood representing the European aspect of Peggy's/Fairport's activities.


The audience was issued with commemorative straws enabling mass participation in the "Strawchestra" during which the punters were taught new things to do with straws and elbows and annA rydeR (the well known typographical anarchist, Ed) led The Crowd through The Blue Danube (or an approximation thereof) to test their newly acquired skills. 


The Fairports: (l-r) Peggy, Simon, Ric, Gerry, Chris
The perennial question "How do you follow that?" was answered by the Dylan Project. PJ Wright was a key ingredient in a successful evening contributing much appreciated helpings of leccy guitar at various points. The Dylans kicked off by nailing their Colours To The Mast,  with singer Steve Gibbons going down a storm on home turf. Peggy was joined by Anthony John Clarke and the first half concluded with further input from annA rydeR including a welcome opportunity to have the author deliver lead vocals on Sailing Boat.

The second half was devoted to the current Fairport line-up plus special guests. In no particular order the set list included Mercy Bay, Around The Wild Cape Horn, Danny Jack's Chase, Celtic Moon, Rising For The Moon, Albert & Ted, Honour & Praise, I'm Already There, and Marie La Cordeliere (from Anne de Bretagne and featuring author James Wood). 

The set rounded off (with no sign of Matty Groves, who was taking the night off dead) with a blistering and crowd pleasing Like A Rolling Stone followed by an encore of Meet On The Ledge


A Dave Pegg impersonator...
Perhaps a further encore of Who Knows Where The Time Goes would have been too obvious (though still sadly missed!). Same time in 2017? 
Peggy (Left) and PJ (Wright)


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