Webb Wilder. Seven Arts. Leeds. 23.04 2016

More than 25 years ago, Her Ladyship went with a friend to see the Georgia Satellites at the Leeds Irish Centre. She didn’t know much about them, but came home raving about the support act. They were so good she thought they must have been the headliners. Said support act returned a couple of years later to headline and , yes, they were absolutely great. It was, of course, Webb Wilder ‘The man’, Webb Wilder ‘The band’.

And he has finally found Leeds again, albeit as a one-man acoustic show. Got there nice and early for a front row seat in an extremely ‘intimate’ setting (capacity of about 100?).   Maria (promoter and Webb-fan) treated us to a few songs with her fiddling friend Seonaid (have I spelt it right ?) , including ditties from Steve Earle and James Taylor, before His Webbness ambled  on.

Starting out with ‘No Great Shakes’ ( the first of many R.S. Field songs), from ‘Acres of Suede’, he showed he was quite comfortable in a solo setting. He followed up with ‘If it ain’t broke’ from the recent ‘Mississippi Moderne, one of many from that record. Coincidentally, the only one he had on sale! But he was essentially very much ‘travelling light’.   Their first LP ‘It came from Nashville’ provided a few numbers, as did the follow-up ‘Hybrid Vigor’.  In fact, we got a good range from the last quarter of a century plus.

As well as Bobby Field songs, Webb covered the likes of Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty and Steve Earle, with a tease of ‘You’re still on my Mind’ thrown in.  We got references to John Merrick and Elvis too.

He needed to ask for his capo (or ‘caypo’ as Americans pronounce it). We were treated to the obligatory dickhead shouting out ‘It’s Cappo’ every time Webb mentioned the device .(I wonder if Webb was thinking “Twayt” like the rest of us were). He tried to meet any requests, but, as Maria suggested, ” Let him get on with it!”.  All those people shouting out ‘Human Cannonball’. It is like shouting out ‘Freebird’ at a bloody Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, do they really think they haven’t played it at every single gig since it was written!?

A great gig, split into 2 sets. Webb happily chatted and signed stuff at half-time too.  We would love to see the return of the ‘electrifying artist’ in a full group setting, but it was still worth the wait.



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