The Union Chapel was the right place for the gig, an intimate venue, in a part converted church. The audience were all fans, and the band knew it - the banter flew backwards and forwards to friends they knew in the crowd - and members of a tribute band ended up on stage, playing alongside the musicians they emulated.
Thomas Dolby had had a "let's get the band back together" moment, and had brought together the musicians that had recorded and toured his second album, The Flat Earth, for a one off. With no rehearsal they'd reconstruct (and update) the songs, turning a reunion into a story about the album and the dynamics in the group that had built the songs. Dolby may be best known as a solo musician, but the process of recording and performing an album is much more complex...
The result was something rather wonderful, with rough edges that polished up into a gem of a gig.
Dolby at the piano
Then there were the special guests, who came from different periods in Dolby's career. Martin McAloon and Wendy Smith from the wonderful Prefab Sprout (another band I though I'd never see any of live) joined on bass and vocals for some songs, while Trevor Horn and Bruce Woolley (from the first band Dolby had been in, Woolley's early synth-pop construction The Camera Club) added vocals, bass and theremin to Dolby's song Airwaves.
Dolby with Wendy Smith and Martin McAloon
Best gig of 2010? Definitely a candidate!