We got to the venue around 8pm so we had already missed a bit of the opener, but his music as it turned out, was not our cup of tea anyway so after listening to 2 songs we stepped outside for a well-deserved drink and smoke. We did not bother to head back in until Sophia took the stage.
The concert was in a nice room, with wooden floors and wall panels, all contributing to a warm sound. The Concert was billed as day 1 of their Singer/Songwriter festival, and was set up with a 7 or 8 rows of seats and some open space around and behind them. This set up worked really well for the opener as it was very, very, quiet music. I think the organizers were expecting something similar from Sophia, which in the last few years was mainly Robin Proper-Sheppard and his guitar. I saw one of those shows a few years ago, and it was great, but not as great or maybe simply not comparable to a full band show, which this turned out to be. Early on in the show Robin mentioned that this one of maybe handful of band shows they had done in the past few years, and as such it was really a treat to be there!
They started of relatively quiet with The Sea, So Slow, Are you Happy Now, If only, and Ship in the Sand, so far it was a nice and easy going Sophia show, each song heavily applauded, by the sitting crowd. Robin seemed to be in quite a good mood, talking a bit and sharing a few jokes with the small but interested crowd. Not sure how many got the God Machine reference he made when moving on to Razor Blades, and how people sometimes misunderstand the lyrics. For me Razor Blades was also the song that really kicked the show up a notch, with an almost brutal ending. With the Desert Song No. 2 the show had turned into a complete rock show, and this just got us grooving really hard to the music, despite the fact that most of the people were sitting we had a blast dancing around on the right side of the room. Darkness was almost eerie and hauntingly beautiful.
Now came the premier of the evening, Sophia cutting a track short. The song started with a bit of a glitch, and it was clear right away that something was of with Robin’s guitar, and about halfway into the track he just stopped it altogether, as the battery had died in his guitar. Apparently something that rarely if ever happens, stopping a track in the middle, and it was a bit of a shame actually as they were just about to jam really hard when Robin ended it. But every negative thing is usually balanced by something positive, which turned out to be Death of a Salesman, in a completely unplugged version, Robin standing on the edge of the stage, missing the melody 4 or 5 times before busting the track out to a completely quiet venue, where no one wanted to miss a single sound.
With a fresh battery in the guitar they picked up the pace again with the track Pace, and finished the set with very powerful and grooving renditions of If a change is gonna Come, and the River Song, both an absolute kick in the nuts for the crowd that probably got everything they did not expect this evening! Me on the other hand I was happy as a kid on Christmas morning, I went in with no expectations, but with the hope of a band show, and Sophia delivered just that! As powerful, and as intense as they were in the 90’s.
A massive round of applause brought them back out for a 2 song encore, 2 new tracks, the Drifter, which Robin introduced with a friends’ reference that he was surprised that it took him 20 years to write a track called the drifter. A powerful song that you can look forward to on the upcoming album, just as It’s Easy to be Lonely with which they finished the evening!
Great show! I got everything I hope for and maybe even a little more! Billed as Singer/Songerwriter Festival, Sophia shows up as full band, kicking some serious ass! Love it that Robin and company are still good for a surprise! And as hard as they rocked last night I think was as hard as back in the God Machine Days, so I am really looking forward to the next tour, and to more Sophia kick ass rock!
Below is picture of the set list (not mentioned: Death of Salesman, unplugged between Oh My love and Pace)