Barrowland, Glasgow 24th January 2004
Nothing is quite as it seems. The pairing of Jansch (who had released six albums before his partner in this show was born) and Butler is an unexpected, cross-generational one.
Even the Barrowland takes on an unfamiliar appearance, with formica topped tables spread across the dancefloor, making it the arena version of the type of sixties' folk-club in which Jansch established his reputation.
Though the informality coupled with his vast history of performances should make this kind of occasion all part of the job for him, the opening two songs suggest that he is not immune to bouts of nerves.
The arrival of Butler offers him a protective blanket that enhances the fluidity of his playing, and allows them to pit their mastery of the guitar against each other. Jansch, drinking lager, picks at the acoustic, while Butler, on the Guinness, switches between it, electric and lap steel with ease.
If the level of technical proficiency is something of wonder among fellow musicians, then there is also a real soulfulness to the performance. With a set that spans his career from songs he first recorded in 1964 to recent, stylistically compatible offerings such as 'I Cannot Keep From Crying' and 'On The Edge of A Dream,' there are plenty highlights, but Jansch's skill as an interpreter of other writers' songs is prominent.
Jackson C. Frank's 'Blues Run The Game' and 'My Name Is Carnival' have been part of his set for nearly forty years, but the most arresting cover version is when the pair share the vocals on a radical reworking of Lucinda Williams'' 'I Just Wanna See You So Bad.'
There is even time for some unexpectedly strong solo contributions from Butler (notably 'My Domain' and 'People Move On'), and while he contributes substantially throughout, the night is about Jansch. Forty years of performing and he remains a singular, colossal talent.