ABC, Glasgow, UK
Review by Fraser Allen
The man himself was in energetic and good-natured form at his Glasgow appearance. As with his last trip to the ABC, the spacious size of venue did him no favours, making the audience look a bit sparse. But at least there were no queues at the bar.
As Tom in Wrexham pointed out, the latest Cale band is really assured. Dustin Boyer was again on guitar, with the brilliant Michael Jerome on drums and Joseph Karnes on bass (he’s so enthusiastic, it’s great to see someone enjoying themselves so much!).
The set started in a slightly subdued manner with a synth-led reworking of Reading My Mind. The next song up was intriguing. Again with keyboards to the fore, it was either new or a cover. (Actually, come to think of it, was it a radical reworking of Femme Fatale? Answers on a postcard please.) A new song did, however, definitely follow later in the set. It was introduced (as in Wrexham) as ‘this is one you haven’t heard before’. It was good too – I’d hum it if I could.
For the most part though, there was a familiar (yet simultaneously unpredictable) approach of raiding all areas of the back catalogue for material. Highlights for me were semi-acoustic readings of You Know More Than I Know, Gravel Drive, Ghost Story and the surprise choice of Big White Cloud from his solo debut.
The set also included Fear, Dirty Ass Rock’n’ Roll, Helen of Troy, Save Us, Cable Hogue, Walkin’ The Dog, Outta the Bag, Hush, Modern Beirut Recital, Turn The Lights On and Jumbo in tha Modernworld… and ended with a lengthy, spirited jam incorporating Gun, Mary Lou and Pablo Picasso.
There was no encore but, after 100 minutes of richly varied and imaginative music, no one was complaining. Even my long-suffering wife enjoyed it, although she spoilt it somewhat by constantly comparing Cale’s appearance to that of cult comedy puppet Alf.
Sadly, there will be no photographic evidence of - a hawk-eyed minder (bit of a Cliff Barnes lookalike funnily enough) monitored the audience throughout for evidence of flashlights. One unfortunate admirer ignored all the warning signs posted around the building and was swiftly pounced upon. All a bit unnecessary.
But that’s a minor issue. It was a great gig and, given the glimpse of fresh material, could there be a new album heading our way in 2008?