Jadis and John Mitchell,
Friday 12th July 2002
The Mean Fiddler, London, UK

By Charlie Farrell


Brit neo-proggers emerge briefly from hibernation

Gary Chandler in action at the Mean Fidddler, July 12th 2002 Well its summer-time, so we have grown to expect a Jadis gig or two around this time. Unfortunately, there was no 'Garden-Party' this year, but in place of that a short string of dates in Southampton, London and Rotherham. Support at the London gig was provided by John Mitchell, the excellent guitarist of Arena who along with a friend, also on acoustic guitar, kept the small crowd entertained until the main act appeared. Playing a mixture of his own tunes and an eclectic choice of covers, including tunes by Peter Gabriel and Cindy Lauper, his half-hour set passed very pleasantly indeed.

Around 8:20PM, the main act arrived. Singer/guitarist Gary Chandler in his usual sleveless T-shirt, Widge hidden under a baseball cap behind the keyboards, John Jowitt in remarkably sombre attire and Steve Christey in shorts behind the drums. They opened with Yourself Alone a new but yet familiar sounding tune before going way back in time to 1992's More Than Meets The Eye for G13. "Did you remember it?" asked Gary as he began to engage the audience in a bit of banter, making fun of himself for having sent out an email to the fanbase duplicating a message by the Jadis webmaster a few days earlier.

John Jowitt in action at the Mean Fidddler, July 12th 2002

Despite the band's efforts to publicize the gigs, the crowd was quite modestly sized and seemed to take some time to warm up. Alive Inside and then Sleepwalk seemed to do the trick and finally brought the crowd to life, even though there appeared to be a slight change to the guitar solo, particularly at the end of Sleepwalk.

The title track of 2000's Understand sounded a little subdued and it was not until the following number, Wonderful World that the band appeared to begin to fire on all cylinders. Gary executed his wonderful guitar solo with his usual dexterity and Martin Orford's accompaniment on keys was perfect. Lovely backing vocals from Orford and from John Jowitt were the icing on the cake.

Martin Orford in action at the Mean Fidddler, July 12th 2002

It was time for another new tune Take These Words which Gary introduced as "This is really two songs in one!". It sounded like quintessential Jadis and several passages sounded very familiar indeed, as if it wasn't really a new song at all. "Did you spot the join?" he joked as the number finished.

Gary Chandler in action at the Mean Fidddler, July 12th 2002

With the band now warmed up, the final section of the set saw them really cooking. A string of classic tunes beginning with Counting All The Seconds and ending with Where In The World saw them finally reaching the heights I know that they are capable of. Gary's soaring guitar and emotion-filled vocals were stunning and on form like this I'd take this band over almost any other, from any genre, fantastic!

An encore was inevitable and though most of the cries were for Isolation, the band began with the stunning instrumental Holding Your Breath with Steve Christey finaly getting the opportunity to exercise some of the electronic additions to his set. Then, although the printed setlist included Old and Wise they skipped over it and concluded with In Isolation, thanked the audience and left the stage.

I'm a big fan of this band's live shows, but despite several moments of brilliance and sheer bliss, there were times when a certain spark seemed to be missing, perhaps due in part to their absence from the stage for some time. The players however are all such excellent musicians and so clearly enjoy playing together that I have to look forward to a new album (due February 2003) and hopefully some further gigs.

Setlist:

Yourself Alone (new tune)
G13
Alive Inside
Sleepwalk
Understand
Daylight Fades
Wonderful World
Take These Words (new tune)
Couting All The Seconds
Beginning And The End
No Sacrifice
Where In The World

Holding Your Breath

In Isolation

All photos © Charlie Farrell

 

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