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This Flight Tonight - Nazareth

Not to say that Circus Archaos packed their show exclusively with amazing death-defying stunts. Their secret was the incredible creativity of their presentation, making it seem casual and magical at the same time.

At one point a member of the ensemble walked out and slowly unrolled a three foot wide silken red carpet across the performance space, then placed a large, raw potato in the middle of it, centrestage. Next, the strongman equally slowly walked out, while the audience watched and waited "breath held like a cap in the hand". He stopped, turned to face us, the potato at his feet, stared back at us for what seemed like a full minute, then slowly bent down and picked it up in his massive right hand, then gradually squeezed and squeezed, his face contorting with the effort, and the potato, reduced to pulp, dripped from his fingers onto the red sash below. When he finished, he opened his hand, shook it twice so that the last drops of spud fell from his wet paw, paused, stared back at us once more with a look that was both studied and meaningful, before turning and slowly but deliberately walking away. The assistant reappeared and then, equally slowly and deliberately, she rolled the red carpet back up, potato sludge within it, before ceremoniously exiting on the opposite side of the performance area.

After a moment's amazed silence, the audience leapt to their feet, erupting into spontaneous applause. I saw this night after night, all week, and each time the same thing happened, the watchers thrilled by the magic of the simple spectacle so artfully acted out.

I'm sure any strong man cold have done this, but Archaos thought of it and presented it so brilliantly that this elemental action, the crushing of a potato, wold be imprinted in all of our minds for ever. That's what I mean by creativity.

Continuing our theme of flying, as in the trapeze (have you noticed?) as well as Holly and Nelson et al, Nazareth's rendering of Joni Mitchell's "This Flight Tonight" is the best of all Mitchell covers, the driving base riff setting the tone for the whole record. Dunfermline's finest actually met Joni at a recording studio shortly before their version was released and were able to give her a copy of the single, hot off the press. Joni herself said she loved it, at her next concert introducing the number as "a Nazareth song".

Which, too, is all about creativity: the fact that a band of Scottish heavy rockers could be so in love with an album by a female California-based, Canadian singer songwriter that they covered a song from "Blue", and the generosity of Joni herself to embrace their version for the brilliant track it was.

".... star bright, star bright

you've got the loving that I like, all right...."


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