|Issue 7 - July 1972|
|Richie Havens In Newcastle|
The show was in two parts and Linda Lewis appeared before the interval. This was the first time a large number of the Newcastle audience had seen Linda perform, but judging by the reception the onlookers gave her it won't, hopefully, be too long before she plays in Newcastle again.
Linda's voice possesses quite a range of notes - sometimes deep velvet, melancholy, sometimes lightly burbling and happy. The balance on her set was perfect and every word was easily audible. Linda featured such numbers as 'Gaffer', 'It's a frame that You're In', 'Red Light Lady' and 'Iris'. Emil Latimer, Richie Havens' bongo-man accompanied Linda on bongos in 'Little Indians'. Linda's last song of the set 'Feel the Feeling' received much well deserved applause and 'Funky Kitchen' followed as an encore. When Linda first came on stage she seemed a little nervous but she soon seemed to sense the warmth of the audience and, as the set continued, the more at ease she felt.
After the interval, Richie Havens with his band - Emil Latimer on bongos, congas; Paul Williams on guitar and Eric Okending on bass. As the songs started, Richie tuned as he went gradually finding the exact pitch he wanted. The whole set throbbed with rhythm, with splashes of humour and philosophies. He talked between numbers of man's destroying parts of nature which he believes are of no importance at first sight but it's only later, like now, that we are learning of the mistakes we have already made and the time to try and rectify these - now.
This is obviously a subject very important to him. As the songs were introduced he explains the principles he was singing - survival, politics, education and, inevitably, our freedom.
The more he sweated the more involved in the music the crowd seemed to become, the deeper the groove across his guitar became and the number of strings diminished. Richie Havens told us that we are not one in a million but only one in twelve (referring to the star signs) and summarised the signs' basic characteristics. The music moved through numbers like 'Here Comes the Sun', Bob Dylan's 'Just Like a Woman' and, at the words 'Sometimes I feel like a motherless child' the audience rose to acknowledge 'Freedom'. Still playing and broken strings splayed in all directions. He wove across the stage and left. But only to be called back for more with his barely strung guitar. The lights gusted on the sweat trickling down his head and running across his chest. Eric on the bass only had one string. Paul's guitar was minus some strings and Emil was exhausted. But still they played another encore during which a sea of hands waved in front of the stage waiting to be shaken by the hand that for once was not just a blur across a guitar. Summing up - glad I didn't miss it.