Andy Fairweather Low and The Lowriders: The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne
For many people Andy Fairweather Low is a name from the past. A sixties pop star who enjoyed a brief moment back in the spotlight during the seventies and then ducked out of sight.
Only of course he didn’t. The one-time Amen Corner lead singer simply moved to the back of the stage while reinventing himself as guitarist of choice for the great and the good.
After decades of working with everyone from Eric Clapton and Roger Waters to Bob Dylan and BB King, Andy decided the time was right to get back to basics and take a band of his own back on the road. Half a dozen years later he’s clearly loving every minute of it. He was smiling from with ear to ear when he led his superb touring outfit The Lowriders onto the stage for this long -awaited return visit to The Tivoli. No mean feat for a man who appears to sing with his mouth shut.
But of course he knew exactly what this band - old Clapton bandmate Dave Bronze on bass, the brilliant Nick Pentelow on sax and Dorset’s own Paul Beavis on drums - could deliver. Sure enough neither audience nor band were disappointed. It was an evening of music that took in blues, country, rock, jazz, gospel and R&B played with great experience and expertise.
Andy Fairweather Low has learnt his art at the feet of the masters and at 65-years-of-age he may look like a little like a rocking bank manager but he delivers diverse and beautifully crafted numbers along with a few wonderfully self-deprecating anecdotes.
There were references to everyone from Mississippi John Hurt to Jimi Hendrix and personal musical memories of his early inspirations. It was Ottillie Patterson’s take on When Things Go Wrong that got name checked and Keith Richard’s Rolling Stones' guitar solo that was revisited on his version of Chuck Berry’s Route 66.
There was some very strong material from his new album Zone-O-Tone and, inevitably, the old Amen Corner hits too made notable by a magnificent rendering of Gin House Blues. There were various tips of the hat to the days when Duane Eddy and Hank Marvin filled a young Welsh boy’s head with wonder and the desire to go out and get a band.
That he is still going strong more than 45 years later is clearly a matter of wonder and delight for Andy. “I love what I do…” he commented at one stage during the Tivoli show before adding: “…which is just as well because I can’t do anything else.”
Happily the superstars still call and Andy is regularly signed up for concerts and recordings withn the God's rock. It pays the bills but you can just tell, watching him on stage, that while world tours and arena shows are really rather nice, five star travel and soulless hotels are no substitute for the pleasure of real life on the road and a direct connection with audiences.