4 May 2012
After a few years away from the UK, Don Williams made a triumphant return at the Hammersmith Apollo and received a welcome that seemed to surprise him as he took to the stage. He opened with the classic Good Ole Boys Like Me and from the offset had the whole audience singing along with almost every song.
Williams has never been a man of many words when he is on stage and he acknowledged that after continuing the set with Some Broken Hearts Never Mend and She’s in Love with a Rodeo Man. He said that his lack of on-stage banter would never change so he would “just get on with it”. Nobody in the audience appeared to object as he ploughed through a set of no less than 18 songs. His band were on fine form, providing perfect backing and beautiful harmonies, particularly on I’ll Be Faithful to You, which was performed around one mic with a four-part harmony.
The set centred mostly around old favourites, including Til the Rivers All Run Dry, It Must Be Love, Amanda and Lord I Hope This Day Is Good. The highlight of the night for me personally though was You’re My Best Friend, which resulted in the whole audience singing the chorus proudly back to Williams, who enjoyed it so much that he requested to do it again. I never fail to be moved by how music can unite a room full of complete strangers in that way.
He closed the main set with I Recall a Gypsy Woman, before returning for a gentle encore to send us on our way home. He assured us that he would be back in the UK as soon as his schedule allowed. Given that he announced his farewell tour six years ago, I will certainly be making the most of every opportunity to see him.