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The first night of The Enid’s ambitious new tour, and Damian is there

It must be about thirty five years since I last saw The Enid so I deliberately kept away from social media so as to view this event with an open mind,

I had heard that the band now comprised a vocalist but apart from that I had no other knowledge of the band.

The Enid was formed by Robert John Godfrey in 1973 after leaving Barclay James Harvest, where he was musical director.

There was a fair crowd here tonight, in some part due to the ENIDI an official support group which gives followers a unique yearly recording and discounted priority tickets. A lifeline to bands that are no longer in the media spotlight.
We were all awaiting this event which was billed as an audio-visual performance presentation of their latest studio offering “Dust” due out in April. Dust being the final part of a trilogy of albums which began with 2010`s “Journeys End” and continued with 2012`s “Invicta”
The band came on to Anthropy with singer Joe Payne slinking on stage with his jacket hood covering his face. New arrangements of old favourites were to follow in Heaven’s Gate, Dark Corner of the Sky, Who Created Me, First Light, Malacandra and Shiva.

The songs were brought to life with some interesting visuals shared on a screen at the back of the stage. They were also helped by Joe’s ability to move his body in time with the visuals and set off choreographed explosions on the backdrop. The band in no short measure brought these songs to life with the pounding drums of long time member Dave Storey, guitars and bass from Max Reid, Dominic Tofield`s percussion, drums and bass and the wonderful guitar playing of Jason Ducker. Fifty minutes had passed without realising it.
Then returned to what the night was all about. The staging of “Dust”. There was a tiny bit of trepidation as Robert has made no secret of the fact that he has stepped back from composition at this stage and is leaving the younger members of the band to make their own mark on the music. This sadly may be down to the fact that Robert has Alzheimer’s disease. But the faithful need not have worried. Dust is without doubt an Enid album as any other. It pushes the boundaries further than before, incorporating the added dimension of theatricality and an incredible vocal range with all the symphonic chords, sweeping guitar solos from Jason, choral arrangements from Max and solid drums and percussion that you would associate with The Enid. The track listing of Born in the Fire, Someone Shall Rise, Monsters, 1000 Stars, When the World is Full, Trophy and Heavy Hearts was played with aplomb. It was a really touching moment when the founders Robert and Dave stepped aside to let the youngsters take the applause from the enthusiastic audience.

A brief disappearance and then the band returned to play Witch Hunt.

Another quick exit and Robert says something about a song from another era and the guys launch into the Barclay James Harvest classic “Mockingbird”. A nod to where it all started for the Leader .Bows taken and the band exit stage left.

A mention must be made of the audio-visual production directed by TV magician, Simon Drake (SecretCabaret)
The Enid has received a succession of praise for their work in the last couple of years. Founder Robert John Godfrey was crowned Visionary at the Progressive Music Awards 2014, along with lead vocalist Joe Payne being voted Best Male Vocalist in the 2014 Prog magazine Readers’ Poll. I can certainly see why they have been lauded with praise after this performance. too complex to be appreciated at the time, maybe but on reflection it was really good show.

An album from many years ago is called “Tripping the Light Fantastic” Tonight we certainly did.

Additional reporting by Paul Devenney