The Acoustic Strawbs
May 29th 2003
Milestones Music Room, Rochester, NY, USA

By Chris Meeker

I had no idea, really, what to expect from The Acoustic Strawbs. Being fairly well acquainted with a few of their albums, I knew what The Strawbs have sounded like at various points in their existence. There's no mistaking Dave Cousins' voice, first of all, so that was a given. But the music has ranged in style from folk based, almost medieval sounding material to more electric 70s art rock. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the enjoyment I experienced at Milestones Music Room in Rochester on the 29th of May.

I had read before seeing the concert what one reviewer had said about being amazed by the fullness of the three sole musicians with their acoustic guitars and voices, but it needed to be experienced for me to really understand. Consider the types of harmonic tapestries woven by acoustic guitars you find in early Genesis, and you have some idea of what I'm trying to get across.

Such a lush sound with Dave Cousins and Dave Lambert's intensely emotional crooning grabbing your ears, heart, and soul: in a word, beautiful. Cousins in particular had me entranced with his incredibly gripping storyteller presence, his voice in top form. Lambert's phenomenal energy stole the show on more then one occasion. And Brian Willoughby's fantastic guitar playing was truly inspiring. Some of the highlights for the evening were Tears and Pavane, Glimpse of Heaven, Round and Round, and Flying to name but a few.
Their incredible show was topped off by an encore which, ironically, was the first song I ever heard by the band (and among my all time favorites), the wonderfully uplifting Simple Visions.

Dave Cousins emerged from backstage sans guitar allowing him to use his arms and hands to wax dramatic as he sang this powerful closing number. I knew I'd enjoy this show, but I had no idea it would have been this much.


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2003 DPRP