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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Appetites whet for Juliet's duet, her best yet, at the Bury Met

Photo : Andy Lock

Bury Met
Friday 24th February 2005

If music be the food of love then this was a grilled fillet steak washed down by a vintage red.
The starter wasn't all that bad either. Pierce Pettis was his name - he's from Alabama. I'd only heard of Pierce Pettis by name only before but I was impressed by this singer/songwriter's performance. 3 guitars, 2 harmonicas were used in his set. His singing was delivered in a style not too dissimilar to Bruce Springsteen and the songs were interspersed with song descriptions and witticisms akin to Woody Allen.
Towards the end of his set, JT's accompaniest and guitar player extraordinairre, Brian Grace joined Pierce for a spectacular Bob Dylan jammming session. Juliet herself crept on stage for BVs, albeit, initially, for the wrong song.
One song, Alabama 1959, really stood out. This can be found on an album called Great Big World, which I bought after the show. Closer examination of the sleeve notes revealed credits to Juliet Turner & Brian Grace along with thanks to Bob Harris from BBC Radio2. So if you want to hear more about Pierce Pettis, then take time to e-mail Bob and ask for Alabama 1959 - it's a song which does "exactly what is says on the can".

After the interval Juliet and Brian took their positions on their trademark high chairs. And as Tony and I exchanged guesses on what the opening song was going to be, she proved us both wrong with Paint a Picture. This song was dedicated to a child of a couple of friends of hers who was approaching 1 yr old at the time of this show.
Due to the darkened auditorium I couldn't jot down her setlist. So although this report only picks out the highlights, I have to say that this was probably the best Juliet concert to date. Juliet has 4 albums on release and each one was visited. Pizza and Wine was particularly outstanding. The song, the lyrics and the delivery really ping the heart strings. It originally appeared on her Let's Hear It For Pizza album but there is a terrific version on Juliet Turner Live which should be available in all good music emporia.
Peirce Pettis entered the stage to provide acoustic guitar accompaniment for a new song, Joy. For some reason I glanced at the stage lighting during this number and noticed that the stage floor was green and orange. How appropriate for an Irish performer. The next song, Beyond the Back Yard, was introduced as being written about the uncomforatble feelings which were felt at the times of height of the troubles in the North of Ireland. A quick glance back on to the stage saw red and blue.
Pierce returned to provide BVs for a traditional English folk song, Sweet Bride. What a brilliant example of the fact that the love of music knows no bounds. A English traditional folk song delivered by Juliet (N. Ireland), Brian (Dublin) and Pierce (Alabama).
Juliet has made a big effort to reduce the amount of talking between each song (I like a good talker by the way). But there was time for friendly banter between JT and the audience (mostly Tony). When she quizzed him as to who he was, he said "Graham".......if that wasn't embarrassing enough, JT replied "Oh, Graham Ashmore". I spent the rest of the evening under the seat.
Juliet's set lasted around 2 hours (seemed like 5 minutes). Her previous shows gifted us with no more than 12 songs and although I didn't keep a list there could have been around 15. The encore comprised two songs. The first of which was a solo rendition of TomWaits' I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You, then Brian joined her for Vampire.
A couple of the dear old favourites were noticable by their absence, namely Take the Money & Run and Belfast Central although Dr. Fell was preceeded by a rather tongue in cheek, "This is our favourite" introduction.
There were just two empty seats in the row behind us. The ticket holders rang in sick apparently. So by my calculation there were 223 people present - all of whom went home very happy.

Setlist - Thanks to Derek Hall (JT Followers List)

1. Pick A Story
2. Business As Usual
3. Dr. Fell
4. Sorry To Say
5. Season Of The Hurricane
6. Pizza & Wine
7. Burn The Black Suit
8. The Girl With A Smile
9. Joy
10. Beyond The Backyard
11. 1987
12. Sweet B Bride
13. Everything Beautiful Is Burning

14. I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You
15. Vampire