Caravan at the Union Chapel in Islington
Caravan played a headline show at the Union Chapel, a beautiful chapel in Islington, North London. Despite a mid-tour spout of covid, the band managed to pull together and put on a stellar show for the patrons this evening.
This was my second time seeing Caravan, and clearly this time around they’ve gotten a better promoter as the audience and venue had more or less quadrupled since I saw them in 2017. And I wasn’t the only person under 50 there too!
And since that tour they’ve got a brand new bass player too. The prolific session musician Lee Pomeroy has joined the band as a full member, and was on the band’s latest release ‘It’s None of your Business’ (2021). Lee is well known for playing with ELO, Take That, Rick Wakeman, Steve Hackett, and many more.
As there were no support acts, the band took straight to the stage right on time starting with ‘Memory Lain, Huge/Headloss’. In fact the evening had a visceral focus on ‘For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night’, the band’s 3rd album from 1973. The band recently played two special gigs in Kawasaki, Japan playing many numbers from this album with a full string section accompaniment, so the music was under all of their fingers raring to go.
‘In The Land of Grey and Pink’ and ‘Golf Girl’ were up next – and of course ‘Golf Girl’ featured the obligatory solo on the spoons from Geoffrey – because why on eath wouldn’t it?
The band continued to noodle through all of the classics, as well as some new songs. ‘Ready or Not’ was a great track that I wasn’t familiar with from the band’s newest album ‘It’s None of Your Business’. ‘The Dog, the Dog, He’s at It Again’ and ‘Nightmare’ followed, but to close the first half before the interval was ‘A Hunting We Shall Go / Backwards’.
The whole band were on great form, full of smiles the entire night. And it’s always great to see the whole band radiating positive energy and having fun – especially when playing such whimsical repertoire.
Opening the second half was another favourite track of mine, ‘For Richard’ which has some of the most satisfying jam sections. Followed by, ‘If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You’ (who… do… you… think you are…), and the title track from their latest album ‘It’s None of Your Business’. Truly this set was built with all eras of Caravan in mind. We even got ‘Winter Wine’ which has only been played a handful of times over the years.
Before closing out with the final two tracks, Geoff told us a few stories of how the various members came to join the band. Noting Jan Schelhaas has been a part of the band for many years, and also previously played with Camel, Thin Lizzy, and more. That they met Mark Walker as a friend who played in pubs, around the time of Richard Coughlan’s passing in 2013. Equally, Lee also joined the band as a recommendation as a ‘pub musician’, that also happens to play in Take That…
‘Nine Feet Underground’ came out as an extended jam with all of the wonderful solo moments intertwining together live. Lee did a great job taking on some of the lead vocal parts too during this track, blending perfectly into the ethos of the band. You’ll struggle to find a Caravan fan that doesn’t love this song, so it’s always a treat to catch it live.
Then, my favourite track from ‘Paradise Filter’, ‘I’m on My Way’ got played, just as I thought we weren’t going to hear any tracks from that album.
The band has been around since 1968, and I feel blessed to still be able to see them in concert playing all of the classics, as well as having their newer tracks intertwined in too. Until next time!