Isle of Wight Festival 5.06.2005

The wind may have picked up a bit, but it helps to carry Caravan’s sound over the arena. Synth, viola and guitar are joined by flute and off we set on a journey to a bygone age of music in the vein of Jethro Tull or The Grateful Dead.

They go straight into a West Coast feeling Byrds styled tune I vaguely remember off ‘Girls Who Go Plump In The Night’. Old school harmonies, clever guitar licks and breezy psychedelic rock but of such intricacy it’s slightly unnerving that these guys aren’t up there with the other legends of rock.

Most of the crowd appear unsure what to make of it, me I think it’s great, a real highlight of the weekend. They play two tracks 1973 and then a huge track called ‘Why Why Why’ from their early beginnings in 1968, it’s delicate and complex and reflecting the era with lyrics like “I wish I was stoned!” or did it merge into another song? I’m unsure.

Then they break into a track I have on vinyl ‘Golf Girl’ from the album ‘In the Land of Grey and Pink’ and it’s terrific and better still a fair wedge of the crowd know it, terrific and even includes, wait for it, a spoons solo! They also bring the sun back out. ‘Smoking Gun’ which he says is a song about World events, with a huge scaling guitar solo from Doug Boyle. Wow he sure can play and reminds me of Mark Knopfler in style when they ramble off with ‘Tell Me What The Truth Is’ and it’s clear that years of playing makes your performance very polished.

It’s great music to chill out to and read the paper, sup a beer and let the mellow, recuperative tunes sooth away the excess of the night before.

Jim Leverton the bass player last played the IOW in 1969 and must be of pension age by now, but his fingers glide over the fretboard and he’s grinning away happily. They close with the whopping twenty-two minutes of ‘Nine Feet Underground’ a mammoth song, well unless they broke into another song and I didn’t notice.

An excellent set from Pye Hastings and his assembled band of different eras of Caravan. Well worth seeing to see that you’re never too old to rock and roll and your musical skills just get more fluid with age.

review by Scott Williams

photo by Karen Williams - © 2005