IT was a special night at the Tivoli for Phil Beer and Steve Knightley, who first made musical contact with each other in the town, at the Wimborne Folk Festival back in 1986.
The rest is a long and unique history of collaboration which has resulted in the creation of a new way of working and personally promoted sell-out concerts at the Albert Hall.
Now on a tour with American singer and songwriter Richard Shindell, Phil and Steve were delighted to be revisiting their old stamping grounds again, surrounded by what must be one of the most loyal fan-bases in music.
The show in the independently owned Art Deco venue opened with a short set from Richard Shindell, a composer whose works have been covered by Show of Hands and with whom they have toured before. His engaging and graphic stories take his audiences to the freeways of America, from the grazing deer to the traffic jams and the truckers heading for the next night stop.
Steve introduced the gig by saying he had just had investigatory checks (outcome excellent) but had been told by his surgeon not to talk or sing for a couple of days. He intended to ignore the advice.
With the multi instrumentalist and singer Phil, he treated the rapt audience to some of SoH’s most popular songs, including Country Life and Cousin Jack, joined by Shindell for his songs which the west country duo has recorded.
It was a memorable concert, played as always with the easy repartee and excellent musicianship for which Show of Hands is famous, choosing from a vast back catalogue of favourites and deeply rooted in the region.
The tour continues at Exeter Corn Exchange on Wednesday 15th May, and the Royal Horticultural Garden at Rosemoor, Great Torrington on Sunday 19th May, starting at 8pm.
Phil and Steve return south for the annual Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens get together, this year on 6th July, and also visit the Beehive in Honiton on Wednesday 30th October.