Archa Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic
Review by Chris Knight
Flew into Prague BA, didn't get to sleep last night....we arrived in snowy Prague on JC's birthday, which soon became rainy and slushy Prague...by pure chance the hotel we had booked turned out to be about 100 yards away from the gig venue!
Prague sure looks beautiful, but about the show....there were quite a few differences from the UK & European shows I caught earlier on the tour, the band continues to gell and improve and get even tighter, Michael Jerome was fantastic as ever behind the kit...some notable new bits to the show: a new arrangement of Hanky Panky Nohow with JC on gently strummed electric guitar, lovely (no drums...)
Gun just gets weirder - there was just one full band chorus like the earlier versions on the tour but it was just as epic and lengthy though it seems to have acquired a kind of subtle eastern drone vibe, kind of like a version of Caravan....during Dirty Ass Rock 'n' Roll Cale, unable to hear his keyboards, slammed his hands down HARD on the keys and gave the soundman THAT glare (you know the one) and an array of gestures...this track has also acquired a new long instrumental middle section...
Femme Fatale/Rosegarden had a slightly different arrangement to London (JC - "we put 2 songs together to make a third song, it's a bit schizophrenic but that's the way of the world these days")...the band absolutely TORE into Jumbo which now sounds terrific (JC - "this is a new song that's probably coming out in the summer, the chorus goes 'blame it on the monkey' - that's us!") and as for the version of Leaving It Up To You, it built into a frenzy with the band clustered close around the drum kit, Cale playing blindingly fast rhythm strokes and Jerome just attacking the kit...
Set me free was the ONLY track to feature JC on acoustic guitar...we got one oncore, then they turned the lights up but the crowd refused to leave so JC came back clutching the birthday flowers he had been given by someone down the front, and announced "birthdays are alright, but as long as I can keep making music like this...(mumble, gestures towards stage and departed band)...so here's a love song for you" and he played Close Watch - beautifully, great gig overall, took some time for JC to be possessed and fully demonic but he sure was come the end!