Fragile, At The Wheatsheaf, Leighton Buzzard, June 16th 2000
By Paul Chandler
In the last of
their four Summer shows Fragile headed into uncharted
territory to play the Wheatsheaf in Leighton Buzzard. Among
the crowd was Paul Chandler, Yes fan and promoter. His
recent promotions include Rick Wakeman's live
DVD recording and of course the one-off
by Rick and his new band, again in Marlborough this
In the last of their four Summer shows Fragile headed into uncharted territory to play the Wheatsheaf in Leighton Buzzard. Among the crowd was Paul Chandler, Yes fan and promoter. His recent promotions include Rick Wakeman's live DVD recording and of course the one-off show by Rick and his new band, again in Marlborough this August.
I travelled from Marlborough in Wiltshire and was accompanied by a friend who like all of us, is a strong Yes fan. I attended the CD recording at the Half Moon the week before and was so impressed that I treated myself to a second helping. Having parked the car, we crossed the road and entered the Wheatsheaf which we thought may be too small for such a gig. The back bar was half full and the drinkers consisted of Yes fans wearing appropriate tee shirts, and locals who were not sure what they were going to hear.
As The Firebird Suite started, those of us who are familiar with Yes shows prepared ourselves for the start, but the guys had not mounted the stage. They very discretely and casually filtered through the audience and positioned themselves in time to give us a superb 'Roundabout'. Without time for us to show our appreciation, Steve launched the band into 'I've Seen All Good People', complete with the tiny solo spots at the end. At this point, one lifelong Yes fan looked at me and shook his head in disbelief. His reaction pleased me as it was similar to mine at the Half Moon. The back room was now starting to fill up, most of us were tapping feet and a few girls had started dancing in front of the stage. 'Siberian Khatru' and 'Time and a Word' followed. Two contrasting pieces but both performed with precision and true Yes emotion.
I watched the reaction of the locals who are treated to a band on a weekly basis. They were genuineley impressed and although some may not have been familiar with Yes music, they were enjoying the performance by the six very talented guys. Fragile's slower version of 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' worked well and allowed us to cool off for a while. We listened carefully to a delightful 'Mood for a Day'.
I don't normally enjoy medleys but the band's mixture of 'Long Distance Runaround', 'The Fish', 'Gates of Delirium', 'Soon', 'The Wakeman solo', and 'Ritual', left us stunned. The band bravely work their way through pieces which we thought only messrs. Anderson, Squire, Howe, White and Wakeman would attempt.
The bar was now packed to capacity and to finish the full 2 hour set, what else but 'Starship Trooper' c/w band member introductions. The dancing girls had by now been joined by their, or somone elses partners, and we were all swept along with the party atmosphere. We tried very hard to get an encore but time was up. All present thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I have to say that I felt the band played better at the Wheatsheaf than at the Half Moon. This is by no means a criticism of the earlier gig, both were amazing.
The audience at Leighton Buzzard certainly enjoyed the evening. Attempts by me and one other at the gig, to book Fragile for future events, failed due to the band's full itinerary. Don't miss Fragile on their Autumn tour. I will certainly catch a couple of the shows.
I had acquired a 'Fragile' tee shirt prior to the recent shows and during both gigs, I was mistaken for band management. If you see me at any of the next concerts, please don't ask me technical questions about the equipment or the set list, I am only a new fan.
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