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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Ian cookieless Davey Graham: what a waste (310* d) Davey Graham: what a waste 25 Oct 07

Tonight two friends and I saw Davey Graham in Worcester. I don't want to name the venue because what I want to say has nothing to do with the excellent venue, but entirely the responsibility of the performer.

Now I know there are other threads at the moment about paying singers and musicians their due respect and appreciating the effort they put in, even if they aren't, in the opinion of the listener, very good. I wholeheartedly agree with all of that. It's a different matter, I think, when the artist shows a complete lack of respect for themself or their audience, as is the case here.

Davey Graham arrived on stage at about 9.30pm after two support acts. As he stood by his case to get his guitar out, I thought I saw him totter. At first I dismissed this, as he's hardly a youth any more and one can get less steady on one's legs in 'senior' years. Then he sat down to play and he was slurring his words. The first piece was awful: lots of fluffed notes and his timing was all over the place. By the end of the first piece he was dribbling, and this continued. In the next few pieces his timing got progressively worse, and increasingly notes were not just fluffed but plain wrong. I was sat in the front row, only about 15 feet from DG, and by the third piece I could smell the alcohol. More and more I noticed how leaden his eyes looked, his eyelids opening and closing in slow motion. His speech became not just slurred, but incomprehensible. I found myself looking into my lap and shaking my head in disbelief. Nothing I can write here can convey just how bad it was.

After about 20 minutes the three of us walked out and went upstairs to the bar, unable to take any more. We were not the only ones to leave early. It was embarrassing and maddening to think we had paid 17.50 for this. I can go onto the streets of any major city any night of the week and see people drunk and incapable. And I wouldn't even have to pay for the privilege. But I don't count that as entertainment.

But it got worse. 10 minutes later, after only half an hour of Davey Graham dribbling, talking incomprehensively and playing appallingly, a steady flow of people came into the bar. We thought they had all walked out en mass, but no: Davey Graham had finished his performance and left the stage. We were soon in conversation with a steadily growing crowd of angry and bewildered people who could not believe they had witnessed a drunk and incapable man on stage, performing for little more than *half* the time of the main supporting artist (John Smith, who was great, by the way). A crowd of us went to the MC to complain, knowing it would make no difference, but also knowing we would feel better if we said our piece. So we did.

I will still play and enjoy Davey Graham's old albums. I still appreciate all he has done for guitar playing. But I am afraid I have now lost all respect for the man as he is now. It is obvious he has no respect for himself or his audience. What a waste.

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