From page 108 of Classic Rock Magazine August 2003
The Borderline, London
Throughout his 30-odd year career, Kevin Ayers has maintained a profile in keeping with someone who has always shunned the limelight – quitting Soft Machine after their first big hit, offering the world Mike Oldfield, and then retreating to rural France with bottles of wine, instead of concentrating on his own career. So this London show of Ayers’s was greeted by the faithful packing London’s Borderline.
Always a pleasure and rarely a chore, Ayers comes on like a cross between Noel Coward and Syd Barrett –
quintessential English gentleman-cum- eccentric hippie. And with more live dates, a reissues series from his old label Harvest (see last issue) and talk of a new album – his first for 11 years –
his stock could not be much higher.
Not that Ayers gives any indication that he cares for suchlike. He winsomely leads his Belgian backing band through a set that draws from all areas of his 34- year solo career. The set leaned somewhat on 1992’s acclaimed ‘Still Life With Guitar’, but those hankering for the days when Ayers gave the 70s and 80s a definite taste of the hippie 60s delighted in the likes of ‘Lady Rachel’, ‘Shouting In A Bucket Blues’, ‘Whatever- shebringswesing’ and his stoner anthem ‘Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes’.
Tonight’s show is a pleasure, but not the nostalgia trip that some people might have expected. Ayers’s sound, eccentric as it may sometimes be, remains as wonderfully fresh and relevant as it did back when he charmed the ladies with ease.