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Lucius gig with Roger Waters, Union Chapel, London, September 6th 2018 Print E-mail
Written by Rob Whitmarsh   
Thursday, 20 September 2018
Roger Waters at Union Chapel, London, September 6th 2018

On the night of Roger Waters' birthday (September 6th), Jess and Holly were performing in London's Union Chapel with their band, Lucius, when Roger himself made a surprise appearance on a couple of the songs. BD contributor Rob Whitmarsh was there, and below is his review of what turned out a special and unexpected evening. Our grateful thanks to Rob for this, and for the pictures he took which he also shares with the BD community...

I discovered Lucius when I saw Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig singing as part of Roger Waters' touring band at a recent Us + Them concert in Birmingham, UK. They had such wonderful voices and their stage presence really added something special to the show. When I got home I checked them out and realised that their band, Lucius, was going to play for one night only at a church in London, so I booked myself a ticket out of curiosity. I didn't know any of their songs, but I knew how beautifully they sing.

I'd only been to the Union Chapel once before, about 15 years ago to see Cat Power, so I knew that it was a very special, intimate place to see music performed.

I found myself a pew in the 4th row from the stage and settled down. The venue was lit by candles everywhere. They were all around the top of the pulpit (just behind the band), they were also circling all around the room just beneath the small balcony above us, and there were also various large church candles situated on the stage. This gave a very magical vibe to the entire evening.

The support band, a three piece band called Wovoka Gentle, did their set to get us in the mood and they looked after us very well. Certainly a very suitable choice of support that night. Now I was good and ready to see what a Lucius gig was like in person.

I asked the two women I was sat next to how they discovered Lucius. One just came along with her friend, whilst the other said she saw them a couple of years ago at a folk festival in North America and has been a big fan ever since. She bought her tickets the moment they went on sale. I said I saw them with Roger Waters recently and she said that she would have gone had she known that they were involved in that tour.

Lucius took to the stage; the band first, followed by Jess and Holly. They then proceeded to demonstrate what wonderful musicians they all are. Although there were electric guitars in use some of the time, the evening certainly had an acoustic vibe to it. Jess and Holly stood centre stage, facing each other and singing into a shared double-sided microphone. Their vocal harmonies were something truly special to hear. The ladies stage presence was mesmerizing too. It's always a special concert when the band are having as much fun as the audience.

When the main set had finished I noticed that an extra mic was being set up by the stage-hands and mentioned this to the ladies next to me. I wonder what that's for?

Jess and Holly returned to the stage and chatted to us as we awaited their encore. They spoke about friends and then, right out of the blue, introduced their friend Roger Waters to us. He walked on from the right-hand side of the stage (as viewed from the audience) and gave both Jess and Holly a big hug each.

Lucius at Union Chapel, London - September 6th 2018 Lucius at Union Chapel, London - September 6th 2018
Lucius at Union Chapel, London - September 6th 2018 Lucius at Union Chapel, London - September 6th 2018
Lucius at Union Chapel, London - September 6th 2018 Lucius at Union Chapel, London - September 6th 2018

Roger was in a very happy, joking kind of mood (although I didn't realise at the time, it was also the occasion of his 75th birthday that night). He sat down and took an acoustic guitar. He was in a playful mood as he told us that he once used to live nearby and Britannia Row studios is very close to the church we were all sat in. Then he mentioned about the local school children from Islington who sang on Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2). He laughed as he mentioned that in recent years the "ambulance chasing"Ě insurance companies had contacted these now adult school children and tried to get them to sue for royalties for their contribution to that song. He said that every single one of them had told the insurance company to fuck off as they wouldn't have missed that experience for the world.

The guitarist from Lucius joined the other 3 people on stage and he picked up an acoustic guitar, which he would us as a slide guitar to back Roger who had his acoustic guitar, along with the girls providing their wonderful voices to the two songs we were about to hear.

First we had a Pink Floyd song, Mother, which was just wonderful to hear in this stripped back way in the beautiful church. The acoustics just soared. It was also a nice touch to choose this song, as it had been absent from all the gigs on his recent British shows, although it was performed elsewhere on the tour.

Next up was a song that Roger had recorded with Lucius earlier during the year, as the closing track on their most recent album. It was introduced as an old Leadbelly song and they proceeded to give us an acoustic rendition of Goodnight, Irene. Again, this song was a joy to witness in such an intimate surrounding.

Then Roger's appearance was over. Everyone was so happy, both on and off the stage. Roger hugged both of the girls again before leaving the stage, but not before I rushed down to the front and shook his hand just before he walked off.

We took our seats again and another song, Dusty, was performed.

Finally Jess and Holly performed one last song totally alone, A Dream Is A Wish, before the night was finally over.

I've seen Roger Waters many, many times before. Including massive shows like his performance of The Wall in Berlin in 1990 and his reunion with Pink Floyd at Live 8 in 2005. I had no idea he was going to perform this night to an audience of just a few hundred unsuspecting people. I wanted a memento of the night, so I was fortunate to get myself a set-list as soon as they left the stage.

I know it was held in a church, but I walked away from the show feeling like I had just witnessed an almost religious experience. Coupled with the subtle candle light, the wonderful acoustics within the building, amazing musicianship and vocal harmonies, and with the almost unbelievable surprise appearance of Roger Waters, this evening was a night that I will certainly remember forever. A little bit of magic filled the air.

 
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