The Bottom Line Club
New York City
4th November 1999
We were lucky in that Nick's wife Jackie has a cousin who lives in West Village, New York, and even luckier that he agreed to put us up.
We took the train from Boston to New York Penn station and then it was a short cab ride to West Village. Steven was coming too but he hadn't heard of Peter Hammill and we spent some time trying to explain the kind of music that he played, with zero success. I thought; this could be interesting!
We walked the short (ish) distance from West Village to The Bottom Line in Greenwich Village, via the river, deciding to take in some sights on the way.
The Bottom Line is a good venue, like a cabaret set-up, with chairs and tables and people eating. The accoustics were good, as was the atmosphere. Surprisingly the place was full. We hadn't realised that there were going to be two shows, which was rather unfortunate because we were going on to a restaurant afterwards and couldn't change our plans.
We were a little surprised at the seating arrangements. There were two types of table; round ones for 4 and long rectangular ones for any number other than 4. We were 3 but really wanted to sit at one of the round tables which commanded a better view. They said that if anyone comes in alone then they would ask if that person would join us, which we took with a pinch of salt. Surprisingly, this is what happened so we were in a good spot. The chap who joined us was from New Jersey and a keen Hammill fan so we got along well. He was staying for the second show which made us rather jealous.
They started the first set, PH on piano as usual, with 'Easy to slip away', 'Too many of my Yesterdays', 'Shell', and 'Nothing Comes'. These were followed by what can only be described as an amazing rendition of 'Comfortable?' with PH on guitar. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me. They had played it before but not like this. They were flying. It would have gone down well as the encore and I hope that someone managed to record it.
They then moved on to 'I will find you', 'Shingle', 'Time for a Change', and then 'Modern'. I have to say that when it became apparent from the first few bars what this was I had to smile, because this really was the first song that they had played from my All Time Top Ten.
'A Better Time', 'Unrehearsed', 'A Way Out', 'Stranger Still' followed, with 'Patient' as an encore. A good show with, again, an appreciative audience. PH said that there would be a new studio album at the beginning of next year and details could be found by entering " or into a search engine" to get the details, which could have been the announcement that his web-site had been launched or some obscure comment about the internet.
Was Steven converted? I'm not sure but he did say that 'Comfortable?' was brilliant so just maybe...
PH commented that he would not be repeating any songs that evening and later I got the second set-list from the pH7 list; 'Siren Song', 'Just Good Friends', 'Curtains', 'Tenderness', 'Vision', 'Amnesiac', 'Out of my Book', 'Sign', 'Been Alone so Long', 'Primo on the Parapet', 'Autumn', 'Bubble', 'Faculty X', 'Still Life' and (Oh no!) 'Refugees'.

(Many thanks to Chloe for the pictures)