David Gates Plays Manchester

31 March 2003

by Andrew Butterfield

Photo by Andrew Butterfield.
Click on image for larger view in separate window.

I just saw David Gates on the Manchester leg of his big (and I gather hugely successful) UK tour on Monday 31 March 2003. He was playing at The Bridgewater Hall, a superb modern concert hall that was well packed.

He was on stage with a ten-piece string section and two guys on bass and lead electric guitar. David introduced them as Jerry and Randy Flowers, two brothers who've now formed their own band in Nashville called Pinch.

David seemed very chipper, and told us several long jokes throughout the show despite having, he said, promised he wouldn't! One thing though: he used plenty of the same quips and intros to the songs that he used on the Bread World Tour back in the late nineties. But I guess most people wouldn't remember. On the other hand, we fans never forget!

He sounded good, better as the show went on, and gave us about ninety minutes in total, with just one encore, despite a standing ovation. You can tell, despite the fact that he never chickens-out on the high notes, that his voice is not as strong as it once was, but often he sounds EXACTLY the same as he did back in the early seventies. The Flowers brothers were really superb and the string arrangements subtle. It was interesting to hear songs like "Guitar Man" and "Sweet Surrender" without drums, and the arrangements worked extremely well.

As expected, David moved to the piano for "Goodbye Girl" and it was a real treat for me to hear him perform this song. I was also over the moon when he told us to "buckle up" for nine minutes of "Clouds Suite" which was just great.

Other songs? Well, we got all the expected Bread hits, and one or two solo songs I didn't expect, like "Heart It's All Over" and a song he did at the piano I don't believe he's recorded. The new songs, particularly "Find Me" went down very well, but not surprisingly it was the hits that drew the most rapturous applause, and rapturous it certainly was! It was a real privilege to see him.

Photography was not allowed inside the auditorium, but I thought you might like to see the poster from outside.

If only this apparent popularity would translate into official releases of the full Bread/Gates catalogue on CD...

This page put on web 4/7/03 at 6:30 PM, CDT.
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