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September 16, 2010

St. Ives, England

St. Ives September Festival

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Set list:


01. The Enchanted Gypsy

02. Colours

03. To Try For The Sun

04. The Little Tin Soldier

05. Remember The Alamo

06. Donna Donna

07. Universal Soldier

08. Sunny Goodge Street

09. Epistle To Derroll

10. The Intergalactic Laxative

11. Josie

12. Catch The Wind


With Band:

13. Jennifer Juniper

14. Wear Your Love Like Heaven

15. Lalena

16. There Is A Mountain

17. Sunshine Superman

18. Season Of The Witch

19. Hurdy Gurdy Man

20. Barabajagal

21. Mellow Yellow



22. Atlantis

Watch part of this concert here

See pictures of this concert here

Thanks to Ross Mayhew for the info, review, photos & videos!

Donovan's return To St. Ives, September 16th 2010, by Ross Mayhew:

Guess Who's Back?
Ever since it was announced Donovan would play a gig in St. Ives, where he spent an important part of his life before becoming famous, living on the beaches, it seems the gig has been sold out - such was his lure and link with town. Tickets were snapped up within just over a week if memory serves me correctly.

A Quick Meeting
Before I get on to review Donovan's return to this magic place on the North coast of Cornwall, I have a little story about what happened before the concert.

St. Ives

After arriving around 3:30pm in St. Ives, me and my brother (who I had introduced to Donovan music) begin the day like any other visit to St. Ives: a quick pop into a shop for snacks after the 3 hour train journey and then continuing a stroll in and around the lovely landscape around us. Obviously the concert being some 5/6 hours away from our arrival we thought we would head to the island were the chapel stands in St. Ives.

St. Ives' beaches

We began joking while on our way to the chapel how Donovan would simply be strolling around the streets, and no sooner had we started this little joke did we see coming down the hill from the direction of the lookout post but Donovan, in conversation with two people. Well, we were startled - here was a man we both admire greatly just strolling about what was, and is, at least my favourite town on earth.

Donovan strolling past us on "the island" near the chapel in conversation with two friends

We let him pass without realising almost due the slightly surreal nature of what we witnessed, but after a quick double take we ran up to the chapel and back around to catch Donovan as he cut across a car park. We managed a quick hello as he was simply moving a cone to let a driver out of the car park after packing his guitar away into his lifts boot. As mentioned is was a quick conversation but Donovan seemed fine to spare a moment with us and promised us a photo after the gig - well, it was all over in a flash but we went on our merry not believe what had just happened.

Donovan walking through the car park before we went to meet him

The Gig
After walking around St. Ives for a few hours pinching ourselves to the prior events, we decided to begin the ever fun process of queuing up outside the guildhall. Naturally we were some of the first people there and could actually hear Donovan running through the tracks Season Of The Witch and Hurdy Gurdy Man, which was lovely to hear because he was in great form.

The doors opened just before 8pm and being early arrivers we got good seats, sat on the far left at the front of the centre row and then began the wait for the man himself.
The support of Kirsty McGee was ok, although they were clearly aware that we just wanted to see Donovan's return to St. Ives and joked with the crowed that they would be quick as possible. Their songs were ok but none really wowed me - that said, one song which name escapes me was very good lyrically and in its music.

Like us fans last night you probably want to hear about the great man himself: well, just after 9:30pm he came onto the stage in what is perhaps his trademark gig-wear - a purple shirt with a waistcoat over the top.

The gig itself started with Donovan alone with his famous green guitar Kelly and greeting fans with a very deep 'heeeeello'. During the night he mentioned little stories about St. Ives prior to songs. He started the night with The Enchanted Gipsy, which is a track I wasn't expecting him to play but lovely to hear and to get us under way for what was to be just under 2 hours of Donovan magic and his vocals top notch as ever.

Donovan had just started singing The Enchanted Gypsy

He then burst straight into playing Colours, which was great to hear as he encouraged people to sing "that's the time" as he often does along, with clapping along to. After Colours came a shout from audience in jest, asking if Don had any more songs. It's obvious he did, and next up was To Try For The Sun, which is a favourite of mine. It was introduced by Donovan telling the tale of his venture to St. Ives and how Gypsy Dave said 'why don't we just fuck off' and going to St. Ives to meet art school girls, and then Donovan started To Try For The Sun as I was cast under the spell of the song.

Donovan then explained how he fell in love with dreams and myths and a song called The Little Tin Soldier, and after a heckler in good spirits shout out 'bloody rubbish!', to which Don quipped 'thank you' in his trademark hushed voice, the next few songs were Remember The Alamo and Donna Donna, and in the latter Donovan let us fans sing the chorus together as separated by gender, before calling us to sing together again, because that's how it should be, as he said.

Next up the Universal Soldier which an obvious great and it actually begin with a drunk chap (of no real threat) staggering to try thank Donovan for his music before being taken away by the security team. I'm not even sure if Donovan saw or heard the man but it was a very minor incident and the song was delivered perfectly as you'd expect.

He then told us a little story about how every friday he and Gypsy Dave would head up to London to buy some hasheesh and take it back to St. Albans. One day he saw a chap trying to get some chocolate out of a machine at a tube station due to the "munches" and that began the song Sunny Goodge Street and how it would shape the way of more bohemian ideas flooding popular culture - the song itself was played slightly different (at least to my ears) to the album version but not majority, so just a bit more "lively" on the verses, if that is the word I'm looking for.

Donovan then claimed he knew about the coming changes in the world and pop scene because he had been to St. Ives, which got a chuckle. Then he said what was probably a very true thing: that the crowd were probably one way or another bohemian due to their being in St. Ives, and he expressed he joy at the Tate Gallery being in the town now.

Don then went on to talk revisiting old haunts around the town and visiting the beach with really posh toilets that he didn't remember those from the 60's - he then went into playing Epistle To Derroll, a song for his hero Derroll Adams which is another favourite of mine. I was getting all I wanted and more from this gig it seemed.

Then came a brief website plug and a story about how one day after a party he woke up to already on TV he saw a children's show about space travel and then picked up his guitar and the wrote the classic hit song The Intergalactic Laxative - now, hearing that was a surprise!

Then came Josie, although to Donovan's disappointment nobody was called Josephine in the audience, but he asked us to pretend there was. More singing along with this classic, too.

Then came the moment I was waiting for - Catch The Wind. Ok, it's an obvious song to drool over but its melody and lyric are something else and timeless. Donovan told the story about how he went up near the chapel on the island in his gypsy youth and let the wind play his guitar and as he pulled into town for the gig it was then he was catching the wind - in leading up to this song he tricked the audience a little by telling the story about being given saffron cakes from the bakery, obviously aware Mellow Yellow is something people expect to hear.

Catch The Wind was the first song with some band memebers. Keyboard and bass was used but now the whole band had arrived and they kicked off with Jennifer Juniper.

Wear Your Love Like Heaven was next and for this song Donovan let the band do the work and he just sang with his guitar resting on his back. Afterwards came Lalena, then There Is A Mountain, which was a great little groove and I recall Donovan moving to the beat in fine form as the crowd all joined in.

He then quickly burst into Sunshine Superman, which really got the room going as Donovan started playing his rockier stuff. Then he dedicated the next song to all the witches out there and obviously it was Season Of The Witch. Naturally, this song went on for longer than the recording as Donovan loves to play that riff.

Then without the story about the Beatles and India or even the extra verse, Donovan started off Hurdy Gurdy Man, hearing that guitar solo live was a great experience - I wonder how many people were stood outside listening to Donovan with his band because they were pretty loud and in an old market town sound must travel through the old buildings fairly easily.

Then came a bit goo-goo-ing with Barabajagal, which has a captivating/spell binding rhythm to me - after that, Donovan approached the microphone and seemed like he was going to say something to build up the next song but instead looked at his drummer and said 'do it' and so began Mellow Yellow, with hand-clapping and singing along, a true party song and nobody can't resist its charm.

After Mellow Yellow, Donovan went off stage, but after 5 minutes of applause he came back for what was obviously an arranged encore to play Atlantis, which was a great way to end his return to St. Ives and close a gig which will live in the hearts of everyone who visited for this wonderful event.

Saying goodbye (not sure if this is before the encore, which was Atlantis, or afterwards)

After The Gig
The gig had now truly finished but a book singing was promised and I was up for getting what would of been my third copy of his autobiography signed, but copies ran out and I was at the back of the queue, but finally got to meet the great man again and got his autograph for my mother, why would I need his name written down after I had shaken his hand and been privileged enough to be at his return to the cornish coast.

Donovan meeting fans after the concert, was ever so friendly and polite to all

The lovely thing was he remembered me and my brother from earlier and asked us to stay to the end for our photo, which we did and while waiting I had a nice chat with the festival organizer (I assume) about Donovan, who seemed surprised that my favourite album was Sutras (I mean surprised in a good way) and we chatted a little more but I was feeling a little star struck and as Donovan left we followed him, got out photo he promised us and had a very brief chat, I think he was pleased to see two young people who really dig his music, we wished him well as he and Linda went to their car and a brilliant day was over.

With Donovan just before he left for his car. We were the last fans there, a great honor

Having fun with Don

St. Ives at night, after the gig


ยท Band members: Trevor Knight (keyboards), Noel Bridgman (drums, percussion), Paul Moore (bass) and Ed Dean (guitar).

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