The Peter Green Splinter Group at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, UK 27-10-2002
I had wanted to go and see The Peter Green Splinter Group for a long time now,
and finally managed to see them on Sunday night. The Peter Green Splinter Group
(PGSG) was billed with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, so the crowd were in for a
treat with two English blues wizards playing their stuff in one performance.
PGSG kicked off the show with the a Peter Green vocal on the song 'Big Change Is
Gonna Come', the vocal mix was either quite poor or Peter's vocal were beginning
very low and uneasy to hear, next up was a Fleetwood Mac classic 'I Believe My
Time Aint Long' again with Peter on lead vocal. Next up was 'Running After You'
again with Peter on vocals, but also on a lovely sounding harmonica. Peter
repeated this on 'Real World' and then Nigel Watson performed vocal duties on
'Little Red Rooster'. The following track was a John Mayall Bluesbreakers staple
song 'The Stumble' again with Nigel Watson on vocal. Nigel continued in
the vocal dept with 'Shadow At My Door' with Peter now concentrating on his
But after thinking 'Greeny' had handed the show over to Nigel, we were
dumbfounded to hear Peter Green perform an awesome instrumental rendition of
'Man Of The World', whilst in the Fleetwood Mac groove PGSG treated the audience
to a rendition of 'Need You Love So Bad' which Nigel and Peter shared vocal
duties. Again the Fleetwood Mac legacy continued with Peter's fabulous guitar
playing on 'Black Magic Woman'. The set was wound up with 'Stop Breakin Down'
and sadly no encores as it seemed PGSG only had an hour set and had to make way
for John Mayall Bluesbreakers.
John Mayall's band played an hour and 45 minute set, which I thought, was a
little too long, the performance should have been evenly split between PGSP and
John Mayall. It was also a shame that there was no jamming between John Mayall
and Peter Green.
All in all it had been a worthwhile concert and it was great to see a healthy
Peter Green playing again. Not sure if his vocal range is still there, as I said it
may have been a poorly set up microphone, but the guitar skills are certainly still present.
The tour merchandise on sale was a Tour Program, T-Shirt and two CDs, one was
'Time Traders' and the other was the limited edition 'Blues Don't Change'.
'Man out of this World' The Peter Green Splinter Group
Derngate Theatre, Northampton
Saturday November 2nd 2002.
The Peter Green Splinter Group are currently doing a UK tour with John Mayall's
Bluesbreakers. On Saturday night we got the opportunity to see these two
great British Blues legends for ourselves. Pip and I had originally bought
tickets, but Pip's unscheduled ear operation last Monday meant that she was
sadly unable to go; however, Louise was able to get a few hours off work
to join us.
Meaning no disrespect to John Mayall, I'll concentrate my thoughts on Peter as
in all honesty it was him I primarily went to see.
The Derngate is a surprisingly large theatre and Northampton is probably quite
unusual in being able to support two such venues. When we arrived the
foyer was absolutely packed out with people; all for the most part keeping their
eyes on the quite bizarre spectacle of John Mayall, out at the front selling
merchandise, signing everything in sight and pressing large amounts of flesh.
The crowd outside translated into a virtually full venue - I could see
very few empty seats, an excellent turn out for two legends.
John Mayall came out and introduced Peter as the man he first knew as a teenager
when he came to play in his band and suddenly there he was - Peter Green
was right in front of me - this wonderful, talented man who founded Fleetwood
Mac. It was a nice touch that Mayall introduced Peter; his band has
yielded an impressive pedigree of musicians: from Peter himself, Eric Clapton,
through to two blokes named Fleetwood and McVie. Perhaps we owe John
Mayall a debt of gratitude for giving Green, Fleetwood and McVie space in his
Now I guess it's the sign of the times, and the glitz and glamour that surrounds
the present incarnation of FM, but really if you didn't know who Peter Green
was, you could have quite easily passed him on the street and never given him
another thought; an inauspicious man in cream trousers, a blue sweatshirt and a
grey beret. But most older men you pass in the street can't pick up a
classic Gibson Guitar and launch straight into the Mac track 'I Believe My Time
Aint Long.' If you needed any proof that this was Peter Green then this
was it. The voice may be soft, but it is instantly distinctive.
Peter was supported onstage by the Splinter Group: Nigel Watson (guitar), Pete
Stroud (Bass), Roger Cotton (keyboards) and Larry Tolfree (drums). All of
them contribute vocally and it is needed as Peter's voice sounds fragile, and
whereas Peter himself is content to just play, it's Nigel and Roger who interact
with the audience for the most part. As Louise said earlier, we were very
lucky to hear Peter say a few words about 'Man of the World', but what exactly
he said was largely drowned out from applause and laughter as he sorted out
which order the singles 'I Believe My Time Aint Long' and 'Man of the World'
were released. Peter may be a man of few words, but he obviously owns a
few guitars, keeping guitar tech Martin Rodwell busy as he swapped frequently
between them all to play the various songs. Peter's guitar technique isn't
like other guitarists, he looks as if he's barely playing at times, but out from
the speakers comes such a wonderful sound. I think this must be the
hallmark of a true guitar great, to make it look so effortless. They did
'Man of the World' as an instrumental as Peter sings an octave lower than he
used too, but even without lyrics that song was a definite 'hairs standing up on
the back of your neck moment.' The other Mac tracks they played were
'Need Your Love So Bad' and a version of 'Black Magic Woman' which contained
elements of the version by Carlos Santana - both were excellent.
The rest of the hour-long set were selections from past and present Splinter
Group albums including a couple of songs written by the band members plus some
covers of blues standards, ( my husband tells me, as I know diddly squat about
blues), but it was all good stuff and it's whetted our appetite sufficiently
enough to buy some of the PGSG albums and also get some early Mac stuff other
than the CBS Greatest Hits.
The quality of their musicianship was faultless, 5 people on a stage producing a
magnificent sound - no tapes, no lip-synching, no pretty boy dancers - just pure
music. And in these times when people's careers are counted in literally
minutes, it is humbling to see a man on stage who can genuinely be described as
a living legend. My advice to you is to go and see him if you can on this tour
(dates and venues elsewhere on this board), - he's well worth it. I didn't
know anything other than the well known Mac tracks and I loved it!
The set list was the same as the Croydon gig:
Big Change is Gonna Come / I Believe my Time Aint Long / Running After You /
Real World / Little Red Rooster / The Stumble / Shadow at my Door / Man of the
World / Need Your Love So Bad / Black magic Woman / Stop Breakin' Down.
Plus....we did get an encore!
During the interval Peter and the band came out to the front to sell merchandise
and sign things. Louise braved the crush of people and got a couple of
tourbooks for us, signed by Peter and the rest of the band. It's the first thing
I've ever owned with an autograph on!
This review was written by Ivorymorning who
saw Peter Green's Splinter Group a few days after my review above.
Go Your Own Way - The UK resource for Fleetwood Mac