Hatfield & the North, 17.06.2005, Zaandamby Wolfgang Tiemann
Hatfield & the North! One of the most prolific groups of the Canterbury scene! In comparison to their small original output during their lifetime (2 Studio LPs, 1 Sampler, 1 single from 1973 to 1975) a real influential one with follow up groups National Health, In Cahoots, Equipe Out and more. They are back! "Reunion" Tour! One concert only 300 km from my home (Odenthal near Cologne, Germany). All my plans for the holidays were forgotten, and a new holiday in Holland was conceived, centered around this event. Having seen Phil Miller, Pip Pyle and Richard Sinclair in different Line-ups already, this was a real important chance to see some of my "heroes" together.
When arriving, we (my girlfriend & me) met Jasper Smit, and by and by, the seats before "de Kade" were filled with people, many who knew each other. Positive: there are real loyal fans; negative: not as many by far, as the band deserves. After all, there were maybe 60 - 70 visitors present.
The set began at 22.00, and lasted ca. till 0.30, including a maybe half an hour intermission.
Hatfield & the North consisted of the original members Phil Miller (guitar), Richard Sinclair (bass guitar and vocals), Pip Pyle (drums) and was augmented by Alex McGuire (keyboards) and Mark Fletcher (drums). The second drummer was invited because of back problems Pip Pyle had.
If I have all pieces identified correctly the set consisted of:
(* denotes a Phil Miller/Richard Sinclair Duo)
You see, it was a well balanced picking of Hatfield tunes mixed with more recent compositions of the players and some real Canterbury classics. All musicians were in good shape, and even well known songs were treated in special ways, for instance the Miller/Sinclair duos, or a very lengthy version of "Calyx" with individual soloing of the players. Other Highlights I remember most vividly were the interesting "Yes No Interlude" with some experimentalism, the beautiful starting of "What in the World" and the energetic "Nan True's Hole" as showcase for both drummers. Alex McGuire was in my opinion a better replacement for Dave Stewart than Sophia Domancich at the 1990 TV Special, his keyboard playing captured the Hatfield sound much better.
That there were many Caravan fans (like Jasper) present got clear, when "Disassociation" started, and parts of the audience were singing along. Maybe the only thing I would criticise was, that there were maybe two pieces too many used as outlet for soloing. For me, the strength and the originality of Hatfield was always the quick sequencing of themes with short soloing in between songs and complex compositions. But tell you what, it was a great concert after all, and I hope, that they will be on the road again in the near future.