THE ENID – ROBERT JOHN GODFREY'S FINAL OFFICIAL UK PERFORMANCE Cadogan Hall, London
Saturday 2nd April 2016
Liz Medhurst: Photos by Sean Cameron
Tonight was A Moment, not just for The Enid but also for music history. This final performance of this run of The Dust Show marked Robert John Godfrey's last official UK performance with the band he founded.
It's not just a simple case of retirement, this is much more. Godfrey is handing over the reins and has separated himself from all legal and financial interests of The Enid and is going to concentrate on building up The Enidi - not just to be an efficient fanclub, it's way more ambitious than that.
He intends to bring in new ways of working, of co-creating art, working together co-operatively where the art and creativity comes first. It's innovative and pioneering, just like The Enid. There is a groundswell of artists and those of us in the industry that want to see change for the better and those like Godfrey with the courage, guts and vision to take action are to be applauded.
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Robert John Godfrey has never been one to hold back on his views – if you missed the fantastic recent interview with MetalTalk's Mark Taylor you can watch again below:
He is so right about things needing a massive shake up - conforming to the counterculture is just the same as conforming to the mainstream, and I was punching the air at several points when I first watched that video back.
Anyway tonight's exit was symbolic and emotional. At the end of the first encore Godfrey was alone at the piano, playing striking and stirring music. He then walked to centre stage and recited Nonno's poem from Tennessee Williams' 'The Night Of The Iguana'.
This poem contains the line "a second history will commence" and uses nature to inspire courage as the narrator faces the end of a major era. Spine-tingling doesn't begin to cover it. A standing ovation from the entire hall ensued, and Robert walked to edge of the stage, put on his hat and took a seat in the audience before the rest of the band came back to complete the final encore. Perfect.
The Enid will continue under the stewardship of Joe Payne with Dave Storey, Max Read, Jason Ducker, Nic Willes and Zachary Bullock – a fusion of creative virtuosos who are brilliant at what they do. I'm excited to see what they come up with next.
So what about the show itself? I was there for the premiere of The Dust Show, and wrote all about it here, so check that out for the details.
In that review I mentioned that I really needed to see it again, and now that has happened I love it just as much, and have the following points to add:
1. The production supports the art to perfection.
Director Simon Drake has pulled off the amazing feat of bringing together this huge concept and merged the music, performance, visuals and ideas into a show with structure, pace and coherence.
It is a feast for all the senses, where drama, pathos, satire, humour and hope shine brightly, with magical touches. This event has been crafted with love from all involved – and it shows.
2. The Enid are the epitome of Go Big Or Go Home.
Really they are. Prime example tonight – immediately after Robert left the stage to join the audience, newest member Zachary Bullock sat at Robert's piano for the final song 'The One And The Many'. That's massive. In the presence of some of the most ardent Enid fans and all that emotion - not to mention fussy journalists - he had to step up and deliver as there's no hiding place with the solo piano intro to this song.
God only knows what his nerves were like, but he delivered magnificently and humbly and pulled it off with aplomb, all traces of nerves disappearing really quickly. I can't imagine that he will have a harder task than that; what a successful initiation which instils confidence for the future.
Add to this the fact that the band put together these shows and performances on a shoestring, the professionalism and sheer magic is greater than a lot of events I have seen with significantly more budget - so inspiring.
3. The Enid will remain a huge positive influence on others.
Vocalist Joe Payne gets stronger and more impressive every time, and the speed of this progress is astonishing. While comparisons are to be expected, if he carries on at this rate I can guarantee that it will feel like hardly any time at all until we are reading lines such as "[name of up and coming singer] is clearly influenced by Joe Payne".
4. Everytime I see the band I understand a little bit more about The Music Of The Spheres.
I feel and hear what Pythagoras described as the cosmic order and intelligence of the Universe with so much Metal music, which is probably one of the reasons why I love it so much. However The Enid consistently open the door that little bit wider each time to a glimpse of the mechanics that bridge the inner and outer worlds.
And last but by no means least...
5. Joe Payne ejaculating LED stars is one of the most perfect gig moments I have experienced.
Seriously. That alone has got to be worth the price of the forthcoming DVD.
'Dust' is out now - the third album in the Trilogy, which started with 'Journey's End' in 2010, followed by 'Invicta' in 2012.It is available from www.theenid.co.uk.