by Alan Powell, Music-News.com
It's Donovan's 70th birthday party and we are all invited. Donovan arrived on the scene in late 1964 as a wannabe Dylanesqe folk troubadour combining folk, poetry and bohemian chic, but the times were indeed changing and by late 1965 Don was producing the albums Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, bona fide psych masterpieces.
Donovan bounces on stage looking well for his 70 years with a stripped down band of drums, double bass and his original arranger John Cameron on piano. Jaunty sing-a-long There is a Mountain opens proceedings followed all his classic hits such as Catch the Wind, Jennifer Jupiter, Barabajagal, Sunny Goodge Street, Young Girl Blues and Colours.
Donovan is a marvelous raconteur between songs, telling tales of hitch-hiking around Great Britain with his cohort 'Gypsy Dave', Donovan singing songs and reciting poetry, Gyp telling fortunes, both smoking copious amounts of hash! In fact Don and Gyp were hitch-hiking around the islands of Greece searching for the 'answer' when word came "Return immediately, Sunshine Superman #1 in America"!! Tales of playing package tours with The Walker Brothers, The Hollies and The Who, of screaming girls and being fired upon with water pistols by Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry in the orchestra pit whilst Donovan was singing.
With such a large back catalog there were always gonna be disappointments. Because of the stripped down nature, few of his more lavish psych classics were included. He would need full orchestras, sitars, tablas and the like for that.
Sadly, talk of special guests never materialized, no Jimmy Page to bring it home on Sunshine Superman and no Macca to share vocal duties on Atlantis. An encore of Mellow Yellow sent the crowd home singing and happy. "They call me mellow yellow, quiet rightly".
The set list:
- There Is a Mountain (single, 1967)
- Sunny Goodage Street (from Fairy Tale, 1965)
- Lalena (single, 1968)
- Young Girl Blues (from Mellow Yellow, 1967)
- Catch the Wind (from Catch the Wind, 1965)
- Universal Soldier (from Fairy Tale, 1965)
- To Try For the Sun (from Fairy Tale, 1965)
- Please Don't Bend (from Sutras,1996)
- Jennifer Juniper (from The Hurdy Gurdy Man, 1968)
- Remember the Alamo (from Catch the Wind, 1965)
- Young But Daily Growing (Traditional)
- Josie (from Catch the Wind, 1965)
- Colours (from Fairy Tale, 1965)
- Beat Cafe (from Beat Cafe, 2004)
- Where Is She (from Barabajagal, 1969)
- Barabajagal (from Barabajagal, 1969)
- Sunshine Superman (from Sunshine Superman, 1966)
- Season of the Witch (from Sunshine Superman, 1966)
- Atlantis (from Barabajagal, 1969)
- Mellow Yellow (from Mellow Yellow, 1967)