Over the years I have seen The Enid on many occasions, the first being on the Something Wicked This Way Comes tour in a night club in Preston supported by I.Q.
This was a memorable night for three reasons; firstly it was the first time I saw / met The Enid who all took the time prior to the show to talk to us and make us welcome.
Secondly Robert John Godfrey dedicated Wild Thing to me and a few friends and thirdly it started my love affair with both The Enid and I.Q.
It’s amazing how you fondly remember these things.
Tonight's show was billed as, “A Night To Remember with special guest appearances by Francis Lickerish and friends”, and was special for two reasons;
firstly this was the British premier of their new album, Journey’s End, and secondly the show was filmed for a future DVD release.
There was quite a buzz around the venue with people anticipating just what to expect and people fondly reminiscing about the numerous times they had seen The Enid,
which gave the whole evening quite a relaxed feel.
Interestingly enough there was quite a cross section of people, differing in age from the young to, dare I say the more mature,
which was nice to see as it proves that the music of The Enid still has its appeal.
The show started with Robert John Godfrey making a statement of, “Something different this way comes”, before briefly informing the audience about the night’s proceedings,
and as ever throughout the show Robert blessed us with his usual humorous quips.
The first half of the show was the premiering the Journey’s End album, excluding the final track The Art of Melody – Journey’s End as Robert commented that,
“this song would be nearly impossible to play live”.
So, in saying this we got approx. forty epic minutes of the forty five minute unheard album.
This was a very brave step to take and a challenge that The Enid rose, to surpassing any expectations that I or the audience seem to have.
The whole movement was built up of varying styles of music encased in the tones and melodies of Robert John Godfrey’s mind making
it all sound very unique but still retaining that essential Enid sound.
We are talking tribal drum beats, magnificent orchestral and piano passages, Celtic and choral tones, spacey soundscapes and guitar laden rock melodies,
and the inimitable Enid vocal tones.
The music presented was modern in approach but lost none of the nostalgic feel of their past epics written by Robert and previous incarnations of the band.
It was somewhat a halfway house that worked really well on all levels.
It certainly kept the audience hanging whilst the band played these songs.
The band were so immersed in what they were playing making sure that all the complexities, timbre, metre and tones were presented perfectly.
The music swirled and twisted building into epic proportioned crescendo’s and no sooner in doing that, dropping back to very relaxed tones.
This was very powerful and emotional stuff indeed and got much applause on completion.
Judgement and In the Region of the Summer Stars closed the first half of the set and were played with outstanding emotion and passion.
These are two tracks that are usually played back to back live, being two personal favourites of mine.
The approach of the both these track had a somewhat new vibrant feel to them, dynamically sounding, fresh and brighter but loosing none of their originality.
Opening of the second set Robert commented about playing and excerpt from his work in progress Invicta- Symphonic Rhapsody (excerpt),
stating, ”that this is the best piece that I has ever written”.
Robert also talked about playing most of the Aerie Faerie Nonsense album.
The introduction of Francis Lickerish went down well as Childe Roland was played with great interaction by all involved.
Ondine had been reworked for lute by Francis, and after having played it once, Francis commented that, “he had made a total hash of it, and we are going to play it again”.
This time they nailed the piece, which looked very difficult to play.
The Lovers was next up, which had been reworked as a piano solo.
The story behind this as Robert informed us was,” a gentleman from the USA called Angel had spent $4000 to come to the show.
Robert promised he would play this song if he came”.
Unfortunately he was unable to make it due to all the planes being grounded due to the eruption in Iceland.
This topic was something that he commented on several times about various issues, one being how it now meant that straight after this show the band had to drive to Portugal.
Robert also commented, “He was very nervous about playing this track”.
Fears allayed he played the track extremely well as expected.
The second piece we had all been waiting for was Fand which was introduced by Francis, giving a bit of a rundown about the track,
its origins and historical path which was really funny.
All the musicians hit the decks including the Orchestral Brass and Percussion sections of The Chandos Symphony Orchestra,
plus the great Victorian Pipe Organ being played in full flight.
Joining the band on stage were also former Enid member Grant Jamieson on acoustic and later omn also electric guitar and the second guitarplayer in Secret Green (Francis Lickerish' new band): Jon Beedle.
Altogether this was prog nirvana, especially for Enid fans, the complete ensemble of musicians playing what is a very emotional and powerful piece.
This was the way Fand was meant to be heard, full of pomp and circumstance.
No sooner had the piece ended the audience were on their feet applauding what they had witnessed.
The show closed with Dark Hydraulic a dance piece from the Tripping the Light Fantastic album with its ambient and pulsating rhythmic tones driving the song to a conclusion,
which to be honest was slightly out of place for me, after what we had just witnessed.
Everybody at the show tonight witnessed something special, whether you were in the audience or in the band.
The Enid is back and they’re as relevant today as they were in their past heyday.
In the Region of the Summer Star
Invicta- Symphonic Rhapsody (excerpt)