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BUDGIE - Live in Letchworth 28th May 1999

Friday 28th May 1999 Plinston Hall, Letchworth - the world's first Garden City

Today is a very special day. The fact of the matter is - it's true! Welsh 
rock power trio Budgie will make their first live UK appearance for some 11 
years here tonight! Can you really believe it?

Its mid-afternoon and I'm standing in the centre of Plinston Hall amid scenes 
of frenetic activity! The stage, resplendent with its backline of Marshall 
amplifiers, is being prepared for this special event. Towards the back of the 
hall, an impromptu sound desk has been created. We're talking serious push 
button controls, rapid-fire light displays and excessively complicated 
looking gadgets. There are cables everywhere.   

Ray Cordell, lead singer of local rock band Pulse, is orchestrating 
preparations. Believe me, he is the Budge incarnate! Without doubt, their 
biggest fan not only in the Garden City but the entire county of 
Hertfordshire. He is also the reason we are all here now, standing in a 
circle discussing the latest antics of Mark and Lard on BBC Radio One's Mark 
Radcliffe Show. (Production staff on the show, led by the incomparable Mr Rob 
Fawcett, have led a relentless crusade to promote tonight's gig over the air 
waves in the weeks leading up to the gig).

Carole from the Box Office dashes into the Dressing Room where we are putting 
the final touches to our VIP visitor space - the Budge dressing room. 
'They're here!' she announces. We walk into the main hall and its John 
Thomas! 'We've come here from Birmingham' reports JT 'I spoke to Paul (Cox) 
about 11.30am. They were just leaving Cardiff'. 

John is clearly fired up for tonight's show. In last few weeks, travelling 
back and forward to rehearsals in Cardiff hasn't exactly been easy. However, 
the return of Steve Williams has been an incredibly uplifting thing as far as 
JT is concerned. 'It's like he never left!'

One of the guy's who has arrived with John doesn't share his broad Brummie 
tones. Indeed, the accent is decidedly non-European. Can this be Simon from 
Oz? We have only communicated via email but I feel I have known this chap for 
years. It is him!


Tonight's gig isn't just about the reunion of three great musicians! It is a 
'just too good to be true' opportunity for friends and acquaintances to 
combine renewed face-to-face contact and revisit and reaffirm the importance 
of the sound of the Budge! Members of Sabre Dance, the band's official 
supporters club, have travelled the length and breadth of the country to be 
here tonight. There are people from Holland and Belgium. Local fans are here 
too, not least my own party of eight classmates from '75 (Willian School's 
own merry band of bandoliers!)

Local support bands Jenius and Cooper are on good form and receive geniune 
applause from the assembled Budge reception committee. The latter, with their 
mix of Welleresque compositions, take the opportunity to shine.

People are arriving all the time. Here's another man with whom only digital 
communication has been made, a man from my own neck of the woods! UK Budge 
websupremo Axel Thomas is here from the posh end of Manchester. Looking cool 
in his 'collectors item' white Budge T-shirt, he is busy collecting team 
photos, pressing the shutter for another suite of digital delights.


Its after 9pm and time for Burke, Steve and JT to take the stage! They 
walk-on and go straight into the first grinding power chord. Yes, folks 
they're here! Live and unleashed at last. Loud and direct in Letchworth! 

JT's Les Paul guitar exudes the most mellifluous feedback before he breaks 
into the opening riff of 'Crime Against The World'. Oh my god! Clearly, we 
are in for it! Steve Williams breaks across the kit to take up the attack. 
Cue Burke as he, himself, and his bass step up into verse one. Its singalong 
night as the crowd joins him right from the first chorus!

The crowd is estatic! They can't believe it. 'Don't Cry', 'She Used Me Up' 
and 'Truth Drug' follow in quick succession. For us older fans, there's 'In 
For The Kill' which incorporates a cunning medley of early classics. Plinston 
rocks! It's all estatically riff-based rock but it still cuts it and sounds 
like it was written hours not decades ago.

The penultimate cut is 'Napoleon Bonapart' played with expert precision and 
pace followed by 'Wildfire'. There is absolutely no way these boys are going 
to get away without coming back for at least one number. Which number? We 
can't guess! We can't let you go without hearing 'Breadfan'. The Budge duly 

It is the climax of the most fantastic gig we have seen in the Garden City 
for years (oh yeah and by the way we've seen more than our fair share of big 
names over the years - Stones, Zep, Hawkwind ...). How on earth can we 
possibly top the Budge?


Paul Cox and the Budge have asked to stay on to relax and meet some of their 
die hard fans before retiring for the night. We're on our way up to 
Plinston's Garden Gallery on the first floor. The bar is open and the place 
is buzzing. Everyone is delighted with the gig and the fact that it actually 
happened. All of us on the organisation / reception committee are  over the 
moon! We simply can't believe it! This is truly a night to remember! One we 
shall never forget!

Alan Howard, Plinston Hall PR & Marketing Manager  21st July 1999


KERRANG REVIEW OF LETCHWORTH BUDGIE Plinston Hall, Letchworth Friday, May 28 RADIO 1 listeners will have heard Mark and Lard hyping this gig. They were taking the piss, of course, but Budgie were not complaining. It's been a long time since anyone talked about the eccentric Welsh power trio in the UK, despite the fact that Metallica and Soundgarden - two of the most important rock bands of the '90's - have both recorded Budgie songs. Budgie are billed as ''70's RockLegends' tonight - and it's true. Budgie might look a right state these days, but anyone who's heard Metallica cranking out 'Breadfan' will know just how good Budgie songs can be. Tonight's set-list is drawn mostly from the early '80's, when this very incarnation of the band headlined the Reading Festival. 'Crime Against The World' and 'Forearm Smash' are classic examples of the trio's nononsense riff-power, while 'I Turned To Stone' is rather more cultured and melodic. However, it's the super-heavy '70's stuff, topped off by Burke's squeaky vocals, that made Budgie's reputation, and tonight they obligingly play 'Breadfan' and other old faves like 'In For The Kill' and 'Napoleon Bona Parts 1 & 2'. At the end, the die-hards seem pleased with it all, but the young lad in the Machine Head shirt just seems bemused. Hardly surprising. 4/5 PAUL ELLIOTT, KERRANG 26th June 1999 Many Thanks to Paul Strange for supplying this article!


Many thanks to Alan Howard, Ray Cordell, Nic Cooper & Axel Thomas for pictures, scans etc.