30th July 2000
David Gray had apparently been flown by plane and helicopter to do one song in Bolton before flying back to London at midnight the previous night, "that's what my life has been like recently" he said after he had arrived 10 minutes late to do his mid afternoon set at Guildford. This was a reference to his extraordinary recent success. The fact that he was a little down the running list here at Guildford and here at all is probably because he had been booked sometime before. So, we were lucky and the packed field in front of the main stage bears testament to his popularity following the release of his latest album White Ladder.
After a further short delay when the bass player couldn't be found, David Gray went straight into Sail Away. The four piece band, percussion, base, keyboards and Gray with acoustic guitar, reproducing the recorded sound excellently and David Gray's vocal performance evidence of his many years experience in live performance. White Ladder was next and the audience were swaying in the breaking sunshine whilst singing along to the recognisable sing-a-long tracks, perfect for a Sunday afternoon. Gray dipped into his back catalogue for a few songs before singing his latest single, Babylon, which received the loudest cheer of the set.
Gray took control of the keyboard for a great rendition of the lovely This Years Love (if you haven't seen the film yet then rent it). Excusing some messing around between songs (including not being able to work the electronic keyboard - "technology!") the last third of the set was a little livelier with an upbeat Wisdom and a "new song", which sounded familiar, maybe a cover of Led Zeppelin. Easy to say in hindsight as suddenly he launched into what was definitely a Led Zep riff that we think was Black Dog. Please excuse the uncertainty but it had been a long weekend, it was very hot and well need we say more. Whatever it was great. Gray and the band were enjoying themselves, particularly the drummer who triumphantly hurled his sticks across the stage as they finished.
Had there have been more time he would probably have played more tracks from the current album but there wasn't as the stage had to be prepared for Joolz' Big Band. David Gray was perfect for the Guildford audience. All credit to the man for persevering over the last few years. We're sure he'll be around for next year's festival season again and higher up the bill this time.
latest on this festival
festival home page
video of the day
video of the day
low ticket sales blamed on forecasters and the short time frame to organise the event