My experience of ‘Evenings’ with’ haven’t always been positive and have often involved listening to long drawn out story-telling by artists who you’d wish would, in Father Ted’s words, ‘just play the dam song’. Clearly there’s a reason why Dave Grohl’s comment ‘Don’t bore us, get to the chorus’ has become so popular in the live music scene.
Taking a slightly different approach to his particular ‘Evening with’ the key difference, for me, between Ford’s Evening and previous experiences, is Ford’s conscientious structuring of the show. Mindful of shifting attention spans, and also the knowledge that if you substitute the song-writing approach to story-telling with straight forward story-telling, the stories better be interesting; Ford’s show is attention grabbing from the off.
Solo, acoustic highlights including ‘Song for the road’ (guitar) and ‘O’Sullivan’s Jukebox’ (piano) work well because they are surrounded with interesting stories which tend not to ruin the hidden meanings of his songs, yet provide a context to how, and where, they were written. Self-mocking tales of being sued by The Eagles, as well as a constant theme about his love for economics (in the introduction to ‘Animal Spirits’) allow Ford to present his songs in a style which is informative but not evasive; particularly useful in his more introspective work. What Ford proves tonight is that he is a master story-teller regardless of it’s form.