Fibbers, York, UK, 07.30.2004
Concert review by Chris Todd
The venue was a small, funky club with low ceilings and a capacity of no more than about 250 - it had been booked as a substitute for the original venue, Newcastle Opera House, which went out of business earlier this summer . "The Guardian" national newspaper had featured the gig as one of their "picks of the week" in the entertainment listings which ensured a capacity crowd for the final night of what had been a very low key, smaller venue tour. The band was crammed onto a tiny stage 15 yards from the bar and the closeness made for a really great atmosphere.
They opened with "Cash On The Barrelhead" and never looked back, it was one great tune after another with Garth and Sneaky Pete taking the lion's share of the solos. I had a chance to look at Garth's keyboard set up, which was a far smaller affair than the veritable studio he used to use on stage with The Band. He had 2 keyboards, the second one a Roland D50 - true retro cool. You can probably pick one up for $150 dollars or less these days. I've actually never heard one sound better in all the years they've been around but then I haven't heard too many jazz organ solos on country rock tunes either!
The band didn't stray too far from the original theme ie Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons material but did throw in some tracks from the new "Whole Enchilada" album including John Prine's "You Got Gold" and the fantastic, "Zydeco Ball", which featured Garth on accordion. The highlight for Band fans, though, came midway through the set when Garth performed a shortened 1 or 2 minute "Genetic Method" style solo before the band came in with the intro to "The Weight". This upped the ante and the small crowd went wild. Carlton Moody, who handled the lead vocals on most numbers, invited the audience to take a verse on our own, resulting in a beer soaked rendition of "Crazy Chester followed me....etc". Tremendous. Sneaky Pete and Garth both took extended solos before the final verse.
I didn't clock the length of the set but they really put the effort in and made it a great night. The club was so hot that people were literally dripping wet by the time the Burritos went off to rapturous applause - the place was so small that there was actually nowhere for them to go but outside through the fire exit just behind the stage. The inevitable encore was a blistering, speeded up version of "Six Days On The Road".
As we walked out of the venue we noticed a bearded figure in a hat loitering by a van - there was no-one around and I just walked up to Garth, shook his hand and told him what a great show I it had been. He smiled and thanked me for coming out to see it. Following this we were approached by "Stick" Davies (I had had some banter with him during the gig). He was a friendly guy and talked to us about the touring conditions and the travel and how pleased he was to have had the chance to visit York, which he described as a "beautiful city". All in all, I couldn't have wished for a better night - meeting Garth Hudson was the icing on the cake and something I will never forget.
--Chris Todd, Derbyshire, UK