Ward Thomas, Sarah Darling Guildford.
But for a show the next day at the Sage in Gateshead, this would have ended the touring year for Ward Thomas just as it started with a hometown show at Guildford. It was here that the second leg of the Cartwheels tour started and the venue once again chosen for one of two Christmas shows.
Support came in the shape of Sarah Darling backed by Dean and Ashley on guitars and keys though you'd have hardly known it as they were so quiet in the mix as to be barely audible which must have been incredibly frustrating, so at times this seemed like it was amost an a capella show. For Sarah this was a warm up for her London headline show two days later so among the usual faves such as "Halley's Comet" now at over 1 million streams, and "Where Cowboys Ride" came a selection of songs from her Christmas album, "Santa Baby" and "White Christmas", the former coming with lines acted out.
For long term fans it was the glimpse into tomorrow that was to be most intriguing as we got versions of the new songs that we'll certainly never here like this again. "Shimmer Like Gold" uptempo and immediately catchy, while "Diamonds" in this format was very atmospheric. There was also a chance to hear "Wasted", a tune that will surely be pert of next years project. It was just seven songs long but received huge applause and the queue to meet her after the show was enormous so the set obviously made a big impact on the people of Guildford.
A Ward Thomas Christmas show is always worth attending, there tends to be songs that you'll not hear any other time of year and normally a little tease of things to come the following year, we've even had cakes and a Christmas card you just never know what to expect! Tonight starts with their only official Christmas tune, "In The Bleak Midwinter" just the two voices reaching out into the dark, a reminder of just how good their vocals can sound. The first glimpse into tomorrow came with "Same Love" which gave Linus on bass the chance to add some funky basslines. A song they premiered last year at the Roundhouse was their cover of Joni Mitchell's "River", tonight it was just the two sisters and Giles on keyboards for a quite spectacular version, especially as they let the word "Fly" on the chorus fill the whole hall, a truly special moment.
Another new song in a very impressive batch of premieres was "It's Not Just Me" which came with a delightfully punchy piano hook that was instantly likeable. The final completely new song of the main set was "Give Me One More Goodbye", initially started as a quite soulful ballad before speeding up. One of the new songs from the recent tour, the hoedown of "I Believe In You" was again brought out if only to give the audience a chance to sing along!. The final song of the night in the encores saw something truly unique as we not only got a brand new song in "Our Own Song" co written with Sarah Darling but a chance to see all three of them perform it - something to treasure,
If history has taught us anything some of these songs may well be on the next Ward Thomas album, they may get completely reworked or even replaced by others yet to be written, you just never know!