Tom Robinson
Portland Arms
19th May, 2000

I took my trusty Fuji MX-700 digital camera to Tom's gig at the Portland Arms. It's not an ideal camera for this sort of thing as it doesn't like the dark much, but I sat on the floor at the front and took some pictures a selection of which I've put on this page. Some are cropped, most are reduced in size and all are compressed, so if anyone wants any of the original images (typically 150-600Kb then mail me and I'll upload them somewhere for you to collect.

At the keyboard

One thing that's always amazed me is how reports of Tom's gigs on the list always seem to have the playlist. I'm crap at that, I just listen to the music. Suffice it to say that Tom played new stuff and old stuff, including the oddest version of 2-4-6-8 I've ever heard him do, but then it's not the ideal song to do solo and acoustic!

Glad to be Gay continues to metamorphose to bring in new lines and new subjects. The first time I saw Tom do it live (at the Bracknell Festival) he was doing a verse for Operation Spanner, this time it was the LA police who were the best in the world. The current last verse is still the one that brings a frog to my throat though.

Other songs I can remember him doing were War Baby, Les Bourgeois (a favourite of mine), Rigging it up Duncannon, and Rum Thunderbird. He also played a particularly appropriate song about being 50 (which he is next month - we did sing Happy Birthday at the end of the second set.

[Mail on the list has since added: Dylan's Tangled Up in Blue Too Good To Be True, Martin, Atmospherics, Cold Cold Ground, and Living in a Boom Time.]

Guitar, first set

Half time chatting and selling
Half time gave us a chance to grab a beer but Tom was still working, selling CDs and chatting to everyone.
Signing Cindy's shirt (again)
Cindy first had this T shirt signed at Bracknell, she got it done again at the Corn Exchange gig last year, so this was too good a chance to miss!

With Jennifer and friend

Jennifer and a friend grabbed me and Tom so they could get this picture taken.

And so on to the second set, with some new material including an excellent new love song (no I've no idea what it was called, I told you I'm crap at this).
Tom rapping!

Tom does a rap! Amazing stuff, complete with all the arm movements

Guitar, second set

Tom also did a very sad ballad as one of his encores, called something like Don't Jump about a young man whose life has gone bad. Obviously very personal to Tom. Very fine.

Tom with backing vocals by a volunteer During one of the encores Tom was taking requests and we asked for Power in the Darkness. He said he'd need to use his backing vocals mic (clever bit of stuff that) but in the end this chap from the audience volunteered to do it (he had a fine voice which had stood out from the more toneless singing from the rest of us (OK, me anyway) during earlier songs). I've no idea what his background is* but he was a natural with Tom.

That's the lot. Sorry for the lack of song titles. Perhaps someone can fill in the gaps. Thanks to Tom for a great gig and for putting up with me snapping away at him through the evening. Looking forward to the next time!

* I've since discovered (cos he mailed me) that it was James Eisner who's a local guitar and voice teacher and also active in classical guitar and early music circles. He wrote in his mail to me "Thrilled to have the chance to sing with Tom - one of the greatest live performers I know of. For those into early/light classical/folk music, my album "SONGS THROUGH THE CENTURIES" is available from Heffers Sound or from The Music Gallery (King's Hedges Rd) tel. 424999; or from me". Good plug James ;-)