Ancient rock legends make unexpected return in Surrey village hall.
After The Fire played
to a crowd of over 300 on a Saturday in October in the middle of
nowhere! Well actually Cranleigh Village Hall to be precise.
Cranleigh, a smallish village situated in the wilds of Surrey -
nearest big town: Guildford - saw the new line-up After The Fire playing
only their second gig. Yet such is their pulling power that they still
managed to attract a good sized crowd of hardcore fans and new ones
alike. Opening with "1980F", memories of those heady gigs at the
Rainbow came flooding back. Keyboard player and founder member Peter
Banks is as adept as ever and new boy Keith Smith on vocals soon had
the crowd warming to him. John Russell powered into the opening chords
of "Life In The City" and you knew it was going to be a good one.
John's son, Matt, is now on drums and although still a teenager, he
and bassist Ian Niblo create a great rhythm section who work the band
hard all through the gig. Various "greatest hits" were played
throughout the evening including "Laser Love", "Billy Billy", "One
Rule For You", "Time To Think" and that old favourite, "Starflight"
which ended the set. How it was never released as a single is anyone's
guess. But it was not all old After the Fire material though. This new
incarnation of ATF showed that the creative juices are still there
with the first time performance of a song called "Forged On Faith", a
song which John Russell later announced would be on the next After The Fire album,
just as soon as it could be recorded! Finally the band encored with a
blistering version of "Joy" followed by the haunting "Gina" to quieten
things down again. Then it was all over; but a new thirst for After The Fire was grown
from this gig and I'm sure it won't be long before ATF are once again
playing the concert halls of the UK.