Gordon Giltrap, Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury

Well, two gigs in a week. How good is that? 🙂

I hadn’t heard, much less seen, Gordon Giltrap in the last twenty years or so. It was therefore with some mixed expectations that I arrived at the Roses. On stage, a chair, a mic and five or six acoustic guitars. He came on with an electric and plonked it into a spare stand. The hair was grey but just as seventies rock star as I remembered.

There’s no mistaking GG’s playing. He moves from classical-style guitar work to acoustic thrash in various rhythms and key-changes, all in the same piece. Interspaced between the tunes was a rolling monologue of name-dropping that became quite fun – who was he going to name next? Brian May, Spike Milligan, HRH Philip Duke of Edinburgh, the list went on. 😀 But he wasn’t being pretentious, every tale had relevance to the music.

He was very comfortable with looping phrases (he did the work on stage, not the soundman) and then playing over them, at one time I think he was multi-tracking, in real time (!), about ten tracks; introducing an octaver to play the bassline, an echo and pan to bounce a phrase left and right, string synth etc… You hear it on CD and think “oh, that’s taken some sound engineer an hour or so…” but tonight I realised how it could be done, and live!

An excellent evening, and confirmation that the old fella can play as well as he ever did. I may have to get my old vinyl out of the garage – although I would need to find a turntable too… Which reminds me, what do you think about this? Who wants to contribute a proportion of the price in order to share it around? No, really.

 

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