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The Dean Friedman UK Tour

I've always enjoyed the songs which were well-known by singer-songwriter Dean Friedman. Many of us know of the 1978 top 10 hit "Lucky Stars", and his song "Lydia" has always been a particular favourite of mine. So when L discovered through his website and Twitter feed that Dean was going to be doing a UK tour this year, and that one of the venues would be in Cardiff, we were both very keen to go to see him. L was more familiar with his music than I, but that did not stop me wanting to go. So, quite a few months ago, we booked the tickets.

The concert took place this last Sunday 28 October and our trip did not get off to the most promising of starts.

The venue was in an arts centre called "The Gate" in an area of Cardiff we had not been to before. However, we did all the ground work, got the address and post code, the phone number, gave the taxi company plenty of notice of the location together with the time we wanted to go.

The driver arrived with no idea of where we were headed or how to get there. He did not have SatNav in his car either. However, after some talking with the taxi company who helped out, we were on our way.

A few minutes before arriving, we got caught in a traffic jam. The driver described it and then asked, "well, what would you do in this situation? Shall we wait or try and find an alternative route? Do you know of one?" Yeh right, of course we do. As I pointed out to him, he is the expert, this is what we were paying him for!

Enough of the journey.

All the concert venues I have visited before have been large stadiums accommodating thousands of people. This was completely different, but suited the occasion very well. It was a room in a small arts centre which made the gathering a little more intimate. We were fortunate enough to sit right in the front row and so we knew he was only a few feet in front of us.

The people in the arts centre were very helpful and not only showed us to our seats but also assisted us in the interval to get drinks. But again, the ground work had already been laid by us in advance.

Dean came on stage just after 7.30. He is 57 years old and you would have thought that maybe his age could be detected in his voice. Far from it. From the very first number, it was obvious that his voice was extremely strong and he was going to have no difficulty at all in singing what he had to offer with tremendous enthusiasm.

What was also brought home to me immediately was that Dean is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist. He was the only one on stage: no backing, noone to assist with the instrumentation. He played piano, guitar and mandolin, with each instrument taking its own turn during the concert. I understand that he also plays harmonica as well. I felt he was a very talented musician. I could tell from the way he was playing piano particularly, (especially in songs such as "Lydia"), the passion and love he has for his music. That really did come across to me very intensely.

What made the evening even more enjoyable for me was the fact that I was quite unfamiliar with some of his album tracks. So I was able to hear some of these for the first time. All the lyrics are well-written and usually have a very clear message. But some are also very funny, such as "Death to the Neighbours". In between the songs, Dean was talking to us and he is a bit of a comedian on the quiet. For example, after the first song, he said that he wanted us to be silent for a while to pay tribute to the BBC service Cefax which had recently stopped transmitting.

We thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Dean was on stage for just short of two hours. We were lucky afterwards to meet him. He is an extremely nice guy. I remember when we were setting up our internet radio station Team-FM, he was gracious enough to record some ID's for us we could use between songs.

To celebrate Dean and his music, we stopped at McDonald's to get some food as it was quite late. (One of Dean's singles was called "McDonald's Girl" and he told us a little about that during the concert).

I hope people have enjoyed reading this. I would definitely pay to see Dean Friedman in concert again. If you want to keep updated with his music and pictures, you can go here:
http://www.deanfriedman.com/

But there is one note I would like to end on.

There is one song he sang fairly early on into the concert I had not heard before and it really struck a chord with me. I am sure many of us have been in this situation before in our lives, whether we would like to admit it or not. I certainly have. Here are some of the lyrics to one of Dean's songs, reproduced here with his permission.

"I see your favourite picture’s no longer on the wall,
I couldn’t help but notice all your luggage in the hall.
Before you head off on your way
There’s one thing I’d like to say:

I’m not sorry to see you go,
Don’t bother to stay in touch.
There’s one thing you ought to know, sweet darlin’,
I never really liked you all that much!

Now don’t think this failed relationship’s a reflection of your worth,
It’s just you come from where you do and I come from earth!
Maybe the only reason for this little glitch
Is the fact that you’re a stupid bitch.

Please don’t be insulted if I never wanna See ya,
It’s got nothing whatever to do with the time you gave me gonorrhoea.
I just need to make a brand new start
With a woman who actually has a heart."

(Edited lyrics from "I never really liked you all that much". You can listen to the full song by purchasing Dean's album, "Squirrels in the attic".

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