| That Saturday night in London saw the largest group of Level 42 Digesters ever assembled! From all over the world fans congregated outside of the Shepherd's Bush Empire waiting to see Mark King play there. After numerous emails I got to meet the Dutch Contingent, Andre, Henri, Erik and surprise, surprise, Peter van Gemonden, who I had met outside the Vredenburg '85 show.
BELOW: This group shot includes Mikey, Chris, Andre, Bill, Tony, Rob, Dan, Bob, Erik, Greg, Bilal, Adz, Debbie, Simon, Winston, Danny, Laurel, Jenn, Winston, Morgan, Christien, Don, Lolita, Shannon, Morgan & Glynn. Who did I miss?
(Picture courtesy of Glynn Willett)
|The place was absolutely packed and we got a chance to meet a lot of Digesters we hadn't met before. Ian Buck was there, as were Paul Crockford, Gary Husband and Boon Gould (!). Check out some pics of the shows by Nigel Bird. Note that Mark is holding Raymond's plastic bag (and that Mark is in his favorite brown leather pants!).|
|After the show, when Laurel & I were in the middle of a conversation with Jakko, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, this tall fellow with long reddish hair in a trenchcoat... Boon Gould!!! I think Boon was a bit surprised at all the attention he ended up getting :-)|
|After that, we continued our conversation with Jakko, and I bought Gary Husband's CD "Diary Of A Plastic Box" from Gary personally.|
Going it alone pays off - Mark King at Shepherds Bush Empire, London W12
The Times February 1 1999
When Mark King stepped back into a studio last year for the album One Man, the venture was more toe-dip than exultant return. Inserting "Level 42's" on the billing only underlined that, four years after the completion of their slow demise and following a period of effective retirement, King was not at all sure who might still be listening. And since sales of the set did not exactly start forest fires, he might have approached this solo tour with trepidation.
But behind the critical tendency to dismiss Level 42 as furry-dice 1980s soulsters lay an accomplished body of achievement, and Saturday's London show was a banner event for the power of collective memory. The Empire crowd was jumping with an animation to match that of the group's glory days.
King now makes an amiable, unostentatious frontman, and the first half of the show suggested that the comeback has been crafted on his terms. Opening with one of Level 42's less-remembered hits, the cauldron-bubbling Hot Water, his celebrated "thunderthumbs" bass led a lean quartet with Lynden Connah in the crucial keyboard/vocal role filled in the old days by Mike Lindup. King then delivered his current business card with two pieces from One Man, the noveltyish Pamela and a moody Love Wars.
Any doubt that he was among old, close friends dissolved in the energetic reaction to two of his old band's dusty album tracks, World Machine and Kansas City Milkman, which were separated by Bitter Moon, a compact love-gone-wrong song from the new record. After a career lived within pop parameters, King's soul and jazz chops might have taken him into more rarefied territory by now; it is no criticism that instead he continues a more mainstream quest, and the follow-up to One Man should show him emboldened by the vote of remembrance.
As if to say that the fans' loyalty deserved it, he spent the last half-hour dispensing unashamed nostalgia, and a breathless run of hits such as Running In The Family, Lessons In Love and Something About You showed not even a hint of middle-aged spread. King and company take the last steps of this lap of honour in Wolverhampton tonight.
Copyright 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd.
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