Back on track

It’s time for a few notes about the patch of touring on which I’m currently engaged – rapidly approaching a third of the way through it.

My passage through the Lowlands in March was not uneventful. By the time I reached Amsterdam a bout of Flu had already begun to take a grip on me. The show there was tough but the (well accustomed) medicine of Onstage pulled me through.

Alphen, the next day, was another matter entirely. I was by then really quite ill but…the show’s the show, the reason for my being in any given place on any given day. I have to say this was one of the hardest shows I’ve ever done. From the very first note I thought to myself “I’m not going to be able to get through this….”

Still, note by note, verse by verse, song by song I managed to pull my way through the set. I have absolutely no idea as to the quality – or lack thereof – of the performance.

I held myself together long enough to get home at least. Once here I went into full-on bedridden, delirium-raddled mode for a full twelve days. A salutary lesson: the spirit may be willing but the flesh is…not quite as youthful and resilient as of yore.

I was just about back to normal by the start of the week in which I was due to go to Sweden. And indeed – with judicious conservation of energy – I was completely up for the travel (always and now more than ever a wearing factor) and the concerts. The show, in other words, is now back on the road.

In less than a week I’ll be at the Queen Elizabeth Hall once more; I’m lucky enough to be one of the first artists to play there since its recent refurbishment. Of all the venues in the world QEH is the one at which I’ve presented shows in the most wide variety of line-ups. Obviously I’ve been there solo and in duos but there have also been full band shows (from chamber versions to full-on blasts, even including didgeridoo) and wild events such as my duo improv with Guy at the time of “Spur of the Moment”. I even made one of my rare forays as guitarist for hire there in one of David Thomas’s shows.

For this concert I’ve got the intention – for now at least – of playing a fully retrospective selection of songs. That’s to say, in my 50th year of being a performer, one song from every three years (or so, it’s an inexact science) of recordings. I *won’t* be doing them chronologically and perhaps it won’t even be that obvious that this is such a specific set compared with “normal” ones. But this makes a certain sense to me at least. Now I just have to come up with a coherent selection and running order!

One important point about the QEH: it’s a very early show – doors open at 19.00 and I’m meant to be on stage at 19.35. So get there in good time!

For the following shows it’ll be back to the normal, somewhat random, set selection. Usually the choices are made in the afternoon before soundcheck – to give me time to go over any particularly challenging pieces. I’m currently working from a list of over a hundred songs so inevitably there’s an element of unpredictability in what will be played on any given night. Usually, though, there’ll be a balanced mix of the ruminative and the aggressive, the ancient and the modern, the familiar and the challenging. Naturally, if I’m in the same place for two nights (Brighton, Nuremberg, Dortmund, Berlin) there’ll be no repeated pieces over the stay.

Here we are, then. I’m graced that I’m still able to present these songs. I’m in pretty good form, though I say so myself. If you’re at all interested in seeing how this aged trouper is doing on stage these days, get on down to one of the shows. Who knows when the next ones will be?

Of course, a list of upcoming dates is at

21 Comments on “Back on track”

  1. Graham Dupree says:

    My wife and I were at the Cambridge gig yesterday-just marvellous. Thank you Peter.

  2. Douglas Fergus says:

    Was lucky enough to attend the Glasgow concert on Tuesday.
    What a performance!
    The emotional delivery was almost tangible.
    The new songs sat very well among the old favourites and the setlist was superb.
    I was eagerly anticipating the inclusion of Vision – and it turned up as the encore.
    Thank you Peter for an outstanding evening of passion-filled music.


  3. thomas says:

    just got back from Stoller hall – probably the best PH concert i’ve ever been to – a few suprises and a song i didnt recognise – was this a new one?

  4. Country Ham says:

    So, at the Exeter PH/VdGG Society back in 2009 (when I graduated) we had a poll which blow our socks off. We played around with language trying to emulate the Master. And we choose the word “poignant.” Obviously “ebullient” wouldn’t have worked. So what did we vote the top three most poignant songs?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great show last night at QEH. As intense and something-to-say as ever, and a couple of wonderful surprises in the set list (won’t spoil it for anyone), looking forward to next gig already.

  6. Pato Giavedoni says:

    A’dam, Bristol, Glasgow… sadly very far from our home! Are you thinking on go to the far south again, dear Peter? We miss you in Argentina!!!

  7. Keith Knight says:

    I was at the Amsterdam gig and have to say I don’t notice any falling off in the performance. Glad you’ve recovered now. Looking forward to five of the upcoming UK gigs. I’d certainly agree you’re in pretty good form!

  8. Jan Visser says:

    I was at the parkvilla and although PH was ill, he had a great set. No encore, but the fact that he did the concert was mostly appriciatet by everyone inthe audience. Thanx PH

  9. That is good news…seriously looking forward to London and Bristol (especially with the news of the ‘retrospective selection’ which somehow adds to the anticipation!

  10. Jim Rezek says:

    I would love to make a show in the UK but alas, it’s not to be. Thanks for the updates. Cheers!

  11. The Sweden gig was superb – no doubt at all that you are in good form! Looking forward to Berlin too, in a very different sort of venue!

  12. Jean-Pierre Charbonnot says:

    Hi Peter,
    Is it reasonable to hope to see & hear you in France in 2018 ? Britanny & Germany are too far for my old ears!
    I would appreciate your presence close to me…

  13. Hello, Peter, glad to know you’ re alright after that health problem (I sent you my congratulations last nov, but that was when you were having troubles with the site..). Any chances of playing a gig in Lisbon in the near (??) future? What chances are of a new VDGG album after “do not disturb”? All the best 4 u!! Sérgio Madeira

  14. Frank says:

    It’s always great to read your voice, hear your noise and know that you’re still alive and kicking.

  15. Amnon says:

    Dear Peter,

    On December 2018 we will mark 10 years on your last visit to Israel.
    Isn’t it about time you visit us again?
    We are eager seeing you again live in Tel Aviv.

    Best wishes


  16. anjispangle says:

    Heart-glad to hear that you’re feeling better
    (phew! steady-as-you-go)

    and very much looking forward to seeing you in Glasgow.

    Warmest wishes,


  17. Anonymous says:

    …”not uneventful”?? Funny, I thought the double negation being a habit of us germans.) Flu gigs are always a slightly surreal torture, but the audience probably didn’t notice. I hope to getting to Nuremberg and thx für besuchen uns.
    Best, David

  18. Herman says:

    Dear Peter, I was in Amsterdam as well as Alphen and I can assure you that both shows were fine. Amsterdam was clearly more energetic and Alphen a bit of struggle, but you gave good performance. My wife and daugther enjoyed it. I especially liked “Out” in Amsterdam (a song that can sink in deep at the right moment) and “Yoga” in Alphen. Good to read you’re better again.

  19. Douglas Fergus says:

    Hi Peter,

    Glad you have recovered from your bout of ill health.
    Looking forward tremendously to your gig in Glasgow on 24th.
    Hope you enjoy performing for us!


  20. Daniel says:

    Very much looking forward to seeing you in Bristol Mr Hammill.

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