erasing clouds

Live Review: Peter Green Splinter Group @ Motherwell Concert Hall, Motherwell, Scotland, 23 November 2003

by anna battista

Those early Fleetwood Mac fans who are here tonight to exclusively listen to some greatest hits played by the founder of this seminal late '60s band are going to be very disappointed. Peter Green and his backing band, The Splinter Group, are not here to nostalgically play tracks from long gone times, they're here to give us a night of pure blues.

The set is divided in two parts: during the first 40 minutes the band mainly plays blues covers or new tracks taken from the albums Blues Don't Change and Reaching The Cold 100, such as "Can You Tell Me Why". They close the set with a spellbinding ambient version of Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross" that enchants the concert hall.

The second part of the gig starts after a 20-minute break. Green and his backing band, with whom he's now been playing since 1996, are in good form: Larry Tolfree plays the drums, Pete Stroud the bass guitar and Roger Cotton the piano and they sound impeccable, while Nigel Watson, an old time friend of Green, is simply amazing when he sings and plays the guitar, giving a hand to Peter whose voice sometimes sounds like a croak. Among the other tracks, Watson sings Freddy King's "Little Red Rooster", John Mayall Bluesbreakers's "The Stumble" and The Splinter's track "Shadow At My Door", while the audience's focus is again on Peter Green for classics such as "Dangerous Man" and "Black Magic Woman".

During this second part Peter Green and friends seem to go backwards and forwards in time, mixing Fleetwood Mac's tracks, rearranged in blues versions for the occasion, to new tracks from recent blues albums.

Towards the end, Watson and Green reward the audience with long guitar solos that make the fans ecstatic. When the gig ends you realise that yes, Peter Green might have gone through some hard times in the past, but his enduring musical genius is still definitely intact.

Issue 18, December 2003

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