I spent a very pleasant Sunday evening watching Camel at the Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton. For those of you not familiar with Camel, the band was formed back in 1971, and have been performing their prog rock since then. Andrew Latimer has been with Camel since the foundation of the band, and Colin Bass has been with Camel since 1979, as well as embarking on some interesting projects away from the band, including in South East Asia.
One of the exciting things about seeing Camel on this particular tour is that the tour is taking place at all. Camel announced a Farewell Tour in 2003, and Andrew Latimer was announced as suffering from myelofibrosis. Thankfully, he has made a recovery, and at the beginning of 2013, Camel announced a Retirement Sucks tour, which would include the band playing The Snow Goose, Camel’s third album from 1975, in its entirety. This is the first time the band have done that since 1975 when it was played in the Royal Albert Hall, and the gig that I went to, Wolverhampton, was second on the list after Harrogate the night before.
The gig was an all seated affair, and the audience was eclectic, from those who looked like they may have been fans from the outset, to those who were still in their teens. The one thing that most of the audience had in common was a huge excitement about the gig. The audience members took their seats, and the band received a standing ovation just by arriving on stage.
The first half of the show was an uninterrupted playing of The Snow Goose, followed by a short break. The second half was a series of Camel classics, with some interaction with the audience. Andrew Latimer tried to remember how long it was since they had played in Wolverhampton, only to be answered by one of the audience with the specific date in 1979 and the name of the tour that saw their last appearance there.
The set list for the second half was Never Let Go, Song Within A Song, Air Born, Mystic Queen, Echoes, Tell Me, The Hour Candle, Watching The Bobbins, Wait, Fox Hill, and finally For Today. The band waved goodnight to the audience and headed off stage, with the enthusiastic fans cheering their support, which increased in volume as the band came back to perform an encore firstly of Lady Fantasy, and finally Never Let Go, as a tribute to former band member Peter Bardens who passed away in 2002.
The end of the gig had that lovely feeling of a hall full of delighted fans who had enjoyed their night, which no doubt many had not thought would happen. All in all, a great night for Camel fans.