Still buzzing from a standing ovation in Liverpool the night before, Gary opened the show with a cover: I Remember.The rich sound came from his “distressed” acoustic guitar which he claimed was older than him
Gary filled in between songs with history and amazing anecdotes. He was an anglophile in New York. He studied at Yale. He loved the Move. He reminisced about John peel breaking Beefheart in U.K.
He saw Beefheart in New York. Interviewed Don Van Vliet for student radio whilst majoring in English Literature. Beefheart was bigger in Europe and Australia rather than in the US, but he knew then he wanted to perform with them.
The next song was on electric. Evening Bell was a finger-picking master class. He’s kept the explosive, disjointed quality of the song as he was instructed to play it all those years ago.
He talked about working as record company advertising executive. He come up with the straplines “Clash: The only band that matters.”, “Judas Priest British Steel. Can you take 12 inches of British Steel?” This role did not satisfy his need for creative expression so he went back to session work.
After his come-back show 1988 as a solo, he got work on a German film score. He then got a Columbia records contract. While he was working with Jeff Buckley, Rise Up To Be was renamed Grace by Buckley. This song was performed with synth and loop effects to make a very immersive sound. It was evident that Gary Lucas is more proud this he survived the University of Beefheart than having graduated from Yale.
During the break, Gary manned his own merch stand while video clips of his music with Beefheart and Buckley were projected onto the Cluny screen.
Lucas met Peter Hamill in London when he went to the Marquee Club. We were treated to the highly progressive The Kid from their album Otherworld.
Edge Of Heaven was a version of a delightful Chinese pop song and The Road, an acoustic number from a film. He finished the set with a Kirsty Grainger arrangement of the folk song Children’s March: Over The Hills And Far Away.
This was much more than just a gig, and with 30+ albums to his name, under his own name or a collaborator, Gary Lucas had so much to tell us. And he’s a truly likeable chap. But in between the stories we were stunned by his virtuosity. This show is to be recommended to Beefheart fans, guitar enthusiasts and anyone who appreciates great musicianship.