Everyday's a holiday in San Sebastian

Review by Iain and Bec (Switch to

The magnificent Kursaal theatre in this idyllic part of Spain (with Atlantic breakers spectacularly pounding against the sea defences) provided a fitting setting for the climax of the 'Ethel, Joe J, Todd 2005 tour'.

Having been overwhelmed by the emotion/energy and topicality of 'liars' live twice last year and stunned by the intimacy and synergy (between the performers) at the recent Leicester and London shows, the temptation to say cheerio to Todd et al in Spain was irresistible.

As such Bec and I hurriedly arranged an impromptu trip to (as it turned out to not so sunny) Spain.

We were not disappointed. Whilst the auditorium was only about half full est.500 audience, we and they, could not have asked for more!

The audience seemed balanced in terms of support between Joe and Todd. However the response to Todd's set and the finale was rapturous. A lady sat next to us had never heard of Todd, but at the end was desperately seeking our advice as which of his records were must haves - unfortunately (for her bank balance) it was impossible to keep the list to single figures!

From the onset, the atmosphere was welcoming and excited. Ethel as ever were superbly energetic, free - flowing and technically disciplined.

Joe's voice and musicianship were as strong and vibrant as ever - with each song delivered flawlessly and with bags of passion and joy. He was clearly relishing the experience and rarely seen without a big grin.

Coming on after the interval Todd apologised for a slight delay - blaming the time it took to iron out the creases from his newly purchased white linen jacket. He then declared 'EVERY DAY'S A HOLIDAY IN SAN SEBASTIAN' and from that moment on he couldn't go wrong! His set was varied, innovative fresh and dynamic - no doubt driven in the knowledge - that this was to be the last gig of a highly acclaimed, memorable tour. The combination of artists was truly innovative and inspirational - but hey .... we're talking about the Olympic champion in this department!

The highs were too many to mention and in accepting accusations of sycophancy - Beck and I identified no lows.

The demand for an encore was deafening and without a doubt the most emotional part of the night was Todd summoning Joe and Ethel for the final curtain bow - as witnessed (we hope) on the attached photos.

The sound was good, no strings broken and from where we sat the piano appeared in perfect tune (certainly no complains from Joe - who we understand is a wee bit of a perfectionist in such matters!)

Please don't criticise this review for not accurately listing the running order (indeed it's the first time we've ever done a review!), but Todd's set comprised:-

Love of the Common man
The Viking Song 
 (introduced by a preamble linking the seafaring folk of San Sebastian with Knut)
Bang on the Drum
Black and White -unbelievable version-
 ('the only rock and roll you're going to get tonight')
I saw the light
Beatles - Hey You've Got to Hide Your love away - 
 ('this will get you all signing'.....it did!
Pretending to Care??


Soul Brother

Encore - Following rapturous demand was inevitably 'that famous son of Spain George Manuel Arrison's song - My Guitar Gently Weeps - without a doubt the best rendition of the three concerts we had the privilege of attending ! I swear Todd's last chord 'in the air twill' reached an elevation, surpassing that of the first time I had the honour of seeing him in 1975 at the Apollo Glasgow.

Todd was incredibly chatty and personable throughout both to the audience and the band - his wit, irony and satire as prevalent as ever. What a voice! crystal clear, powerful and harmonious.

In every sense he remains A Wizard a True Star.

To quote Robbie Burns' ancient Scottish refrain

Will ye no' come back again?
Will ye no' come back again?
Better loved ye canna be
Will ye no' come back again?

We're all a bit shell shocked over here at the minute with London events etc. - and in moments like this it's reassuring to know we've got's Todd's optimism, clarity of vision and humanity to comfort and inspire us.


Iain and Bec

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07/05/2005 - Kursaal Theater - San Sebastian, Spain

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