A snail, that's what it is
For many people of a certain age and persuasion Donovan was as much the soundtrack to University days as Pink Floyd and although his recent output has been far more low key it's still surprising that he's given such an early slot on the main stage.
Backed by a double bass player and bongo drums he starts the set with three of his most well known songs, 'Catch the Wind', 'Colours' and 'Universal Soldier'. It's clear during these numbers that something isn't quite right, the uniform rhythm of the double bass makes the whole thing sound very forced, none of the songs flow well and make him sound like a dodgy folk club singer. When he does play some songs on his own the effect is much better and sounds far closer to the original versions
Maybe it's the sweltering heat or the early hour of the day but the crowd are very lethargic and nobody seems to be singing along, which is a shame as he begins to get something of a groove going mid way through. Definite highlights come with 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' and 'Sunshine Superman' but overall it's clear that Donovan isn't firing on all cylinders today. There is little between song banter (usually something of a trademark) and for some reason he seems compelled to keep repeating "yeah mon" in true rastafarian style, perhaps forgetting that he's a middle aged white guy in a bright green shirt!
With only 45 minutes to play he does his best to cram in the hits and rounds the set off with 'Season of the Witch' and 'Mellow Yellow', where at last he gets some kind of audience reaction. For someone who was once one of the seminal lights of the flower power generation it's been rather disappointing and perhaps these days he's better suited to the smaller club circuit.