Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Shepherds Bush Empire the following night to The Ocean was a completely different story. A much more intimate atmosphere, helped by the traditional setting of this old theatre; a bit more beer had been spilt here!! The audience was enthusiastic and there was a buzz in the air. You could feel the sense of expectation and few could have been disappointed when John Martyn came on; the sound was wonderfully strong with John’s guitar deep in the mix. He virtually skipped onto the stage looking bright and cheerful. When he sat down and played the first few notes, you could hear the gasps of delight in the audience…he was on form tonight, a great gig was about to be played out.

A virtually identical set list, there were two additions from The Ocean the previous night, My Baby Girl and a second encore Cocaine Lil; boy it was great to here that song at the end of the show. A few idiots on the front row heckled Danny Thompson during his set and John got his penny worth in after returning to the stage, referring to the disrespectful fools eating crisps at the front: “I’ve never seen anything like it…on the front row too” !! On this tour the emphasis was clearly on rekindling and demonstrating the exceptional musical relationship between John & Danny and the classic albums they created some 30 years ago. However, the Shepherds Bush Empire gig also showed John is still working his voice into new musical directions. On Inside Out and My Creator for example he was exceptional. I am really looking forward to the final studio version of My Creator !! This great evening was made even more memorable for me, by having the chance to go backstage and meet John after the show. We had a chat about the numerous gigs he played at the Half Moon Putney and he signed my programme with the words “To Nigel….Oh Yes!!” ….which was indeed exactly how I felt !! Thanks John, hope to see you in Paris one day!!

Nigel Wilkie