Live: Big Big Train

Cult proggers dazzle.

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This really shouldn’t be happening. It’s the second of three shows at Kings Place, an impressive 400-seater venue, tickets for which are akin to the proverbial gold dust.

Some might consider prog rock right now as being as popular as the average Greek finance minister, but Big Big Train’s star is slowly but very surely on the rise.

Classic Rock once described Big Big Train as their genre’s “equivalent of the Olympics opening ceremony”, and with an eight-strong line-up that includes a violinist and three keyboard players, complemented by a five-piece brass section, their meticulous, colourful, cultured music merits such a comparison.

As you’d expect of a frontman shortlisted to replace Phil Collins in Genesis, the flute-toting David Longdon is an outstandingly charismatic performer. Donning a bowler hat and being handed a briefcase by his butler to act out The Underfall Yard, at times Longdon’s voice is decidedly Gabriel-esque, and upon completion of the epic Wassail, for which he wears a face-mask, an audience member references Genesis’s own Supper’s Ready with the playful heckle: “A flower?”

These being BBT’s first public gigs in 17 years – and with members drawn from across the globe – it’s uncertain when the band might realistically perform live again, so fans flew in from as far afield as Australia.

Whatever the sacrifice, it was justified for this truly special gig.

Classic Rock 215: Lives

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Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.