Following Pip Pyle’s departure not long after the band’s return visit to Japan in late 2001, his replacement Mark Fletcher made his debut with In Cahoots at the Progman Cometh festival in Seattle (the band’s first and only foray into North America), for
a career-encompassing set. By the time of the present gig nearly a year later, Phil had written an entire set of new material, recorded in January 2003 and released as All That by Cuneiform Records, and the whole album – which included a new version of the old warhorse « Your Root 2 », and pieces by Fred Baker and Pete Lemer, both of which had been in the band’s set since 1998 – was played along with selected old favourites. I can still remember the irresistible energy that filled the venue when the sextet began playing « Black Hat », the rollercoaster epic which also kick-started the album – an instant favourite.
The recording heard here is in fact a ‘matrix’, mixing a dry soundboard source and a warmer ambient recording from the audience, hopefully combining the strengths of both. The only exception is the encore, an extended « A Simple Man » (a fine version if you ignore the awkward start where not everyone seemed to agree on the tempo !), for which there was no soundboard source. In fact the audience recording is incomplete too – there is a short bit of music missing as a result of having to change Minidiscs as yours truly had not anticipated such an extended encore.