The Apprentice In Concert (DVD)

John Martyn: The Apprentice in Concert Featuring Dave Gilmour.

In front of an industrial, Lowry-esque background, Martyn strolls out and hits the strings of his guitar in trademark percussive style. The notes of Easy Blues are as peripatetic as they are singularly clear, each one ringing through the theatre.
It’s a sparse setting for this deleted concert from 1990, recorded at London’s The Shaw Theatre, as part of the tour for The Apprentice album he released that year.

After a soothing May You Never, a full band gives both Never Let Me Go and Sapphire the more commercial sound that spearheaded his 90s renaissance. It may sound dated now, with its synth-pad drums and blasting sax solos, but Martyn’s performance itself is focused and absorbing. David Gilmour adds his graceful guitar skills to the final three songs of the set, with John Wayne a particular highlight. He never steals the show from Martyn, whose gravitas commands the place, especially on set closer, One World.

While The Apprentice was a turning point for Martyn’s career, it’s not exactly a landmark gig, even with the inclusion of Gilmour. With its less-than-great picture quality, it’s in no danger of overshadowing the handful of alternatives available at the moment.

Ali MacQueen
Record Collector
1 October 2006