It’s a shame that it’s the older bands that are still making money from touring in the UK. I would rather support newer bands but a lot of them don’t seem to venture away from the southern parts of the country. They can’t really afford take the chance and so it’s the old favourites that are getting most of my ticket money.

We have a habit of seeing our musical heroes as invincible and immortal but of course, as Keith Emerson himself noted in 1968, “Art is long, life is short.” A member of that Olympian generation of musicians blessed with prodigious amounts of ability and ambition, Emerson was a visionary and an innovator, keen to forge a sound that possessed both the grit of rock and the grandeur of the classical composers that both inspired and fuelled him.

Source: Keith Emerson – R.I.P. – Prog

Sid Smith has written a wonderful and moving tribute to Keith Emerson over at the Teamrock web site. I fear we’ll be reading more of these in the next few years.

Robert John Godfrey Announces Retirement from THE ENID and Rails against Prog Musos – RAW RAMP

‘Most of it is now meaningless, shallow nonsense… It is either a poor parody of things gone past … Or is a cynical attempt to try and feed the ‘prog community’ with the sort of stuff they are used to. So now we have: Nothing challenging, no new ideas and nothing behind it…’”

I’m looking forward to seeing The Enid tomorrow night on what will be RJG’s last Glasgow appearance with the band. It will be a bitter-sweet evening. The above quote shows that he hasn’t changed his views on the current prog scene and I have to admit there’s a lot of truth in what he says. At least The Enid are trying to move their music into different and more ambitious directions. Robert can be happy that he’s leaving the band in good shape for the future.

#NowPlaying: The High Llamas – Here Come The Rattling Trees. It’s great to have some lovely new Llamas music but at twenty seven minutes this feels more like a stopgap until the next full album. Let’s hope there is one.

Fish on stage, GlasgowOnce again I didn’t get to many shows this year but those I did see were all pretty special.

1. Big Big Train, Kings Place, London

The much anticipated live debut of the current BBT line up and they really did us proud. The setlist was perfect and David Longdon revealed himself to be a wonderful front person. Theatrical and confident. A very expensive weekend but worth every penny. Highlight: East Coast Racer.

2. King Crimson, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

I never expected to see Crimson live so was a big deal. The band were on top form, the setlist was great, and the three drummer frontline was a stroke of genius. Highlight for me was a pounding version of Red.

3. Fish, ABC, Glasgow

A fantastic and triumphant end to another troubled Fish tour. A sell out crowd, brilliant support from Lazuli, and a jubilant Fish made this a night to remember. Highlight: White Feather.

4. Steve Hackett, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

A showcase of Steve’s whole career spanning new album Wolflight and debut Voyage Of The Acolyte with a set of classic Genesis in the second half. It’s always a joy to see Steve Hackett. Prog god Roine Stolt on bass was a nice addition. Highlight: the sequence of tracks from Voyage…

5. The Enid, Websters Theatre, Glasgow

Another terrific show by The Enid. Venue was a bit cramped for the ambitious stage show but, technical problems aside, this was a funny and moving performance. I look forward to seeing them again in March. Highlight:it was great to hear In The Region Of The Summer Stars again.

6. Crosby, Stills & Nash, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Still sounding great after decades of playing together. Crosby and Nash still sing beautifully together. Stephen Stills is showing his age but can still sing and play guitar brilliantly. A great setlist again and it was nice to see the real old hippies of Glasgow turn out for the show. Highlight: Wooden Ships.

7. Music For 18 Musicians, Steve Reich, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Great performance of one of my favourite pieces of music. Steve Reich was in the audience which made the event a bit more special.

This is a list of some of the music I enjoyed most this year. The order doesn’t imply any preference because I can never make that sort of decision. It’s all good.

  1. The Tangent – A Spark In The Aether
  2. Riverside – Love, Fear and The Time Machine
  3. Comedy Of Errors – Spirit
  4. Alco Frisbass – Alco Frisbass
  5. Anekdoten – Until All The Ghosts Are Gone
  6. Advent – Silent Sentinel
  7. Yo La Tengo – Stuff Like That There
  8. Snarky Puppy and Metropole Orkest – Sylva
  9. Steven Wilson – Hand.Cannot.Erase
  10. Nad Sylvan – Courting The Widow
  11. Steve Hackett – Wolflight
  12. Theo Travis’ Double Talk – Transgression
  13. Karnataka – Secrets Of Angels
  14. Tiger Moth Tales – Storytellers Part 1
  15. Grand Tour – Heavy on the Beach