It’s true that I always wanted love to be filled with pain

Well, to say that I’ve missed the boat on last week’s Antony & the Johnsons gig at Colston Hall, would be stretching the point a little. In reality, the ship has sailed and is currently half way across the Atlantic, the Bravo film crew having already got six days of filming drunken Brits Abroad well and truly in the can.

Bugger. Not only has my trusty iRiver refused to surrender a wonderful recording of the whole evening – it was great, believe me – it’s actually completely packed in, and no amount of hanging around techie forums for the week, has managed to sort it.

Antony and the Johnsons

A really wonderful gig, one of the best I’ve got along to for a good while. As we filed out at the end, I heard someone say to a neighbour,

“That was really quite remarkable!”

And it was. Some of the arrangements weren’t quite to my taste, but the highpoints (Her Eyes Are Beneath the Ground; Fistful of Love; Cripple and the Starfish; For Today I Am a Boy and an encore of Hope There’s Someone) were so touching, delivered with such melancholy and poise. The man is certainly possessed of an astonishingly affecting voice. We’re way past the novelty factor, here.

He had a five Johnsons with him, moving between a number of instruments – guitars, violins, saxes, flutes and various percussive thingamajigs, who backed him with well-rehearsed sympathy and intelligence. In common with a number of people I know, the new album had not grabbed me as compulsively as the Mercury winner. but seeing him perform some of the songs from it, made me think I shall need to go back and give it another listen.

As I said, I have no bootlegs to give away here, but I like to think that the persistent souls that keep returning to Partly Porpoise, do get a little extra blogging for their loyalty, so I’ve routed through YouTube for some live footage (there’s lots of good stuff there) and come up with this. It’s by no means the best filming, but it comes pretty close to the Colston Hall show in flavour and atmosphere (I too spent a fair chunk of the evening gazing up at the backdrop, feeling the songs wheel and soar around me).

(Thanks to Teresa Domingues