An 80th Birthday Concert for Bert Jansch review – moving homage to 60s folk guitar hero

Royal Festival Hall, London
Pentangle’s Jacqui McShee as well as Robert Plant, Bernard Butler and Sam Lee were among stellar acts celebrating the late musician in impressive style

The lineup was remarkable, with rock and folk musicians including Robert Plant, Bernard Butler, Sam Lee, James Yorkston and Martin Simpson joining in on Strolling Down the Highway, from Bert Jansch’s 1965 debut album. It was the climax to a celebration of what would have been Bert’s 80th birthday (he died in 2011), and the cast included those who admired or worked with him in the 60s, as well as younger musicians who helped to revive his career after he had fallen out of fashion.

Jansch became a guitar hero thanks to his unique finger-picking style and fusion of folk, blues and jazz. He was also a thoughtful, emotional songwriter and both sides of his work were reflected in a surprisingly slick show in which the constantly-changing cast were introduced by the very funny and impressively knowledgeable Stewart Lee.

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