Tuesday, October 24

Down and out in Paris and London

As one would deduce from the name of the venue “Union Chapel” this was Jonathan playing his second church in 4 days (maybe more – I didn’t make it to the Cambridge show.) Is this a trend I wonder? Has Jonathan found God or did he simply fancy a change? His last few shows in London have all been in North London so maybe the local promoter simply offers him a number of available venues in the area for the night and Jonathan picks one.

As has been said this was a full on church, the only non church thing about it was the bar (but it’s many years since I was in a church so maybe they all have bars these days.) Anyway, Red Stripe was £2.50 a can which I thought was pretty good, I have paid almost double that at some places and been happy enough.

The strange thing was that the whole of the audience was seated in the pews – no standing (until the end anyway) and no dancing or drinking. Personally, this wasn’t my favorite venue, after all, what is a Jonathan show without a little bit of dancing and cheering. As it turned out things weren’t so strange because the state of Jonathan’s throat was so bad that he sang very quietly anyway with his amp turned right down and Tommy playing very gently.

Throughout the show Jonathan was sipping on some kind of medicine to ease his throat but he really didn’t look too well at all. I think the sound man may have been sneaking the volume up once or twice but when it was at the level Jonathan wanted this was, by a long way, the quietest show I have ever been to. I was sat next to a guy who was telling me that his 15 year old son had found his old Jonathan records and had been playing them a lot and it was impressive to see these two generations sat silence watching him.

The show lasted the usual 75ish minutes; I really wish he would play longer but at least the ticket prices are still sensible and won’t ever reach the madness of the Madonna prices. OK, please don’t shoot me for saying this but am I alone in thinking that it’s maybe time for a bit of a change in his show? Over the last 13 years I have seen him solo, with a band and obviously with Tommy. I think the first show I saw with Jonathan and Tommy was at The Jazz Café in Camden in 1999 and it was superb. It remained superb for the next few years but this time I got the feeling that I would have liked a change. Maybe it was the venue or maybe it was the fact that Jonathan was feeling under the weather or maybe it’s just me but something different would have been good.

Anyway, because of the early start of the show I think I was on the tube by 10pm and already wondering about the next night’s show in Paris.

I arrived at the Parc De La Villette, a beautiful green area about a fifteen minute metro ride from the Gare De Nord. We found the venue easily enough but there seemed to be several venues in the park along with (what I think was called) “Village of Music.” I imagine the whole area is superb in summer, even on a cold Tuesday night the pathways were full.

Jacques has given a wonderful review so I won’t repeat too much here. The difference between the London show was huge. Although, Jonathan was still pretty ill he looked a lot better and sang with a lot more volume and energy than we had see the night before. We were lucky enough to get an encore. I think, along with Jonathan feeling slightly better, Le Trabendo was a lot better venue than the Union Chapel but maybe that is my personal choice. For the record a can of Kronnenbourg 1664 was 4 euro.

Jonathan had on a buttoned up green shirt, I’m not sure if it was the same green shirt worn in London the previous night (which was open with a white t-shirt) and black jeans. If I saw his shoes then I have forgotten.

So, that’s two more Jonathan shows, not the best ever but I will happily put that down to his health. There is something so good about seeing him play that I am amazed that nobody has heard of him. To most people he will only ever be the bloke from There’s something about Mary but we know better. I still dream about seeing him play for two and a half hours with a full band but until then I will make do with him, a guitar and Tommy.

1 comment: