Friday, March 31, 2017

HRH Prog V Festival (16-19/3/2017 - North Wales). A review (Part 2)

  This is the 2nd (out of 3) post about my travel to North Wales and to HRH Prog V festival. If you are interested in reading the 1st part, take a look here:
Saturday 18/3/17:
  This was the last day of the festival and the day I was waiting with great anticipation for many reasons: First of all, many of the bands I wanted to see were playing on that day. Furthermore, I had an appointment with Dave Cousins, the leader of Strawbs, and I couldn't wait to meet him. Also, the opening act on the main stage was the Greek band Verbal Delirium, and I was very curious to see how the guys will perform in front of a foreign audience. And the headliners on the 2nd stage was Gandalf's Fist, who is not a live band, and their appearance at HRH was kind of an exception. So, for all those reasons, I was sure that Saturday was going to be the most exciting day of all three!
  But all those great things had to wait, because in the morning we had to visit one more castle; the glorious Caernarfon, one of the most well preserved and famous castles in the whole area. There, we had an appointment with one of Prog & Roll's long time listeners, who was coming from North England in order to attend the last day of the festival and meet with each other.
  Caerfarnon was a truly majestic castle, totally worth the kilometres we did and the hours we spend there. But after our visit, it was time to go back and start enjoying the last day of the festival.
  At exactly 14.00 Verbal Delirium entered the main arena's stage and played for almost an hour. I was in the very front row, and I really loved their gig!  I have seen them 4-5 times before and I believe that this time they gave one of the the best performances I have ever seen! After Verbal, it was time for a quick beer, and then I had to rush back because it was Karnataka's turn; another band I wanted to see very much. Their performance was also great, but near the end of their gig I went out in order to eat something because exactly after them it was time for The Strawbs! To be able to see The Strawbs on stage was a dream coming true for me, and I didn't want to miss not even a minute!
   Exactly on time, The Strawbs appeared on stage. I was in the second row from the stage and I couldn't believe that I was seeing them live. They played for almost 80 minutes, and they were excellent! Their setlist was based mostly on the album Hero & Heroine, plus some other great songs from the albums they released during the 70's. The highlight of their gig was without a doubt the fantastic version of Autumn, during which I couldn't stop singing.
  When Strawbs left the stage, I felt that I needed a break in order to overcome the sentiments and the excitement, but there was no time for it. Because ten minutes later, Atomic Rooster was playing at Arena 1 and at the same time The Gift was playing at Arena 2. Well, that was a pickle! I wanted to see both bands, so I couldn't decide what to do. Finally, I watched the first half of The Gift and the second half of Atomic Rooster. That proved to be not a good decision because I saw both bands, but I couldn't really enjoy any of them.
  After Atomic Rooster finished their gig, I literally run to the Media Center's pub in order to meet with Dave Cousins. I entered the pub and there he was! Sitting there alone, waiting for me. I approached him and I wasn't sure what to do. I introduced myself, and just like that, we started talking like good old friends! I couldn't believe it! Sitting with Dave Cousins in a pub in North Wales, talking about music, musicians, albums, and other fun and interesting things.
 He signed some album covers I had with me, took a few (not good) pictures together, and he was kind enough to record a short spot for Prog n Roll radio show. 
  After almost 40 minutes that I stayed with him, it was time to go back to the concert area.
Once more I had to choose between two bands. Gandalf's Fist was playing at Arena 2, but at the same time IQ was playing at Arena 1! But although IQ is a bigger name by far, I decided to see Gandalf's Fist and never regret it! Gandalf's Fist gave an unforgettable show, including many theatrical elements, special costumes, and lots of great music and fun! It was also the only band that filled Arena 2 that much! The place was almost packed, and that was a sign of how good they were.
   Two of their members are Prog & Roll's regular listeners, so after their gig, I went for beers together with the band at the pub nearby. (It wasn't exactly a pub, but I cannot describe it). I was so exhausted, I could hardly walk, and I was feeling that I do not have the strength to go on. But despite that, I found the courage to return to Arena 1 to watch Wishbone Ash, who were the headliners of the 3rd day.
Not for long though. The place was jammed once more, so I stayed for 2-3 songs and then left. (I have seen Wishbone Ash twice in the past, so I didn't care that much).
  The next day we had to pack our stuff and drive back to the South of London, where I was going to spend two more days before my departure. Although the festival was over, I had something really great and exciting waiting for me there on Monday morning.
But more on that in my next and final post...
To be continued...
Pictures: 1:Caernarfon castle's inner yard / 2:Me in the TV studio of HRH festival, together with 2 members of Verbal Delirium and two English radio producers / 3:Verbal Delirium on stage / 4:Verbal Delirium's signed setlist / 5:With Dave Cousins / 6:The cover of Hero & Heroine, signed by Dave Cousins and Dave Lambert / 7:Gandalf's Fist on stage / 8: The signed setlist of Gandalf's Fist / 9. The Gift on stage.
Videos: 1: Part of Autumn by The Strawbs / 2: Part of The Lamplighter by Gandalf's Fist.