Graham Gouldman: Public Halls, Harpenden – live review
Public Halls, Harpenden
10th October 2017
Heart Full Of Songs is a show that has grown organically over the years. After putting a band together to perform 10CC’s fantastic back catalogue in the late nineties, Gouldman started receiving requests from his fans to perform songs he wrote for other bands in the sixties as well as material from his solo career. What originally started as a couple of songs thrown into a set of 10CC numbers became an acoustic set before each show. Taking the concept further, Gouldman has now made a full show out of it where he alternates between songs covering his whole career and stories on how they came to be.
The Harpenden Public Halls has excellent acoustics that enabled the booming voice of opening act Jack Lakeman to warm up the crowd. Jumping between covers and originals, not afraid of singing accapella or just backed by a small accordeon, the Irishman won the audience over with his charm and showmanship. He his playing at Bush Hall on January the 17th 2018.
With the stage full of acoustic guitars, Graham started the show on his own playing Pamela Pamela that was originally recorded by Wayne Fontana. The band members joined him gradually to back him on some of his most well known tracks. Iain Hornal joined to play lovely 12-string parts on “Heart Full Of Soul”, Ciaran Jeremiah made his arrival on “No Milk Today” to add an extra guitar and harmonies and percussionist (and 10CC tour manager) Dave Cotty came on for a bluesy rendition of “Good Morning Judge”. Not sticking only to the hits, Graham played some more obscure tracks including “Sunburn”, that was written for a movie starring Farah Fawcett (“Nobody’s heard of it but the song was a big hit for me… In Singapore” Graham deadpanned) and the truly excellent “Love’s Not For Me” composed for the 1980 animation film Animalympics. Quite a few tracks from his 2012 album “Love And Work” were played each prefaced with interesting stories about how they came to be and who they were written with. We were treated to two completely new songs, “Say The Word” that Graham co-wrote with Iain Hornal and which was recently released on Hornal’s debut album “The Game Begins With The Lights Out”, it is a highly melodic multi part number that manages to capture the excellence of 10CC’s mid-seventies masterpieces. “Let’s Get Lost” was composed for a BBC program called “The Lost Of Lostness” and will also feature on a brand new EP by Graham titled “Play Nicely And Share” to be released in December. Andrew Gold, Graham’s friend and partner in Wax was mentionned many times during the evening, a reworked version of “Bridge To Your Heart” and “Daylight” that was inspired by him were fitting tributes. 10CC’ “I’m Not In Love” got the biggest round of applause of the evening and Graham seemed particularly pleased with the way the band executed “Bus Stop”. More hits followed with Gouldman jumping on bass for “Things We Do For Love” and reverting back to guitar for “For Your Love”. Two tracks from “Love and Work” were also aired, both inspired by his wife Ariella ( “Ariella” and “Memory Lane”). A two song encore with the obligatory “Dreadlock Holiday” closing off the evening on an upbeat note.