Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool

It was a very full Royal Court Theatre that greeted a very large man with a very big stick onto the stage with much cheering and whistling. The large man promptly plonked himself down and started to play – I would agree with the “game of two halves” reviewers. Mr Martyn seemed distant in the first set and the sound engineer wants a serious talk with himself as the sound was muddy (although that could have been down to excess alcohol but I don’t think so)- the set list was pretty much as previous gigs and the “new song” sounds like another angst ridden love song as only JM can do! Each song was met with encore like applause and the reaction on stage was a bit taken aback at first! Following the break the appearance of the faithful Martin in the hands of Mr Martyn produced not only a lot of cheering and shouting for songs of long ago but the big man seemed to be the same man I had seen in Leeds university oh so many years ago! Was just magic! The man himself loosened up and the banter flowed including reference to the recent misfortune – “now I have no problem when I’m asked to put my best foot forward” and ” I learnt in hospital that when they say you might feel some discomfort it means its going to be really f***ing painful”. All too soon we were at “never let me go” and it was an emotional big man who took up his big stick and left the stage to a massive amount of applause – thinking that was it and it was time to head off to find a late drink but not wanting to leave until the applause had finished it was a big surprise when back he came and ripped into Johnny Too Bad!

Then all too soon that was over and with what looked like reluctance Mr Martyn left the stage! After the disappointment of two cancelled tours last year and the shock of the misfortune that befell our John at the end of last year plus all the other rumours of money problems amongst others it was not what I expected to see – as good a JM performance as I’ve seen in a long while and in light of all the problems a damned fine one! The thing with John though is even if it had been crap you would have forgiven him because the next one will be great or the last one was great and that’s the way it has always been and always will be! But one thing is for sure it feels so good just to have him back so until the next time Mr Martyn – take good care!!

Gordon Lees