Oh Boy! It's The Non-Stop 60s (Review by Peter Checksfield)



Oh Boy! It's The Non-Stop 60s (Review by Peter Checksfield)

Postby peterchecksfield » Mon May 12, 2008 10:31 am

stephsbear wrote:
peterchecksfield wrote:I was chatting to this bloke half hour ago... 8)

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Really ?!? Did he play at where you work? Chris Farlowe made some great records, great blues singer. Tell me tell me more....


Yes, he played in Margate last night, along with a few others:

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I was "working" on a door near the back of the theatre, but I managed to peek inside & watch most of the show...

As I was getting things ready (unlocking doors etc), P.J. Proby was doing a soundcheck & I literally almost bumped into Brian Poole, very surreal!

The backing band throughout were Vanity Fair (+ a female saxophonist / flutist / backing vocalist), & they did an excellent job, as well as performing a few of their own hits (which I'm not over-keen on).

The first headline act of the evening was Chris Farlowe. As with all but one act tonight, he'd piled on quite a bit of weight since his 60s heyday, though his voice is as strong as ever & he seemed reasonably fit & healthy. He only did about 4 or 5 songs (including 'Handbags & Gladrags', 'Stormy Monday Blues' & 'Out Of Time'), but I was impressed. I'd seen him once before (about 15 years ago) when he did a local concert with Maggie Bell, though if anything I thought he was even better this time.

Next was P.J. Proby, someone I've wanted to see in concert for decades! I met him a couple of times (& even went to his home) when he lived in London, back in 1984-1985. At the time he was virtually an alcoholic & he was "on the dole" (getting welfare payments), very sad to see, then I met him again backstage at a Jerry Lee Lewis concert in 1993...between these meetings he "died" of a heart attack (in 1992) & finally (permantly) stopped drinking (this hasn't changed his "awkward" reputation though; after being on tour for just over a week he's already on his 2nd tour manager, & during a tour last year he got through five managers!!!)...anyway, I was impressed with his voice during the soundcheck, but during his (short) show he was clearly struggling at times. He gave it everything he had, even (with some difficulty) dropping to his knees, & his singing voice was mostly powerful & he still hit the high notes, quite impressive for a man who's nearly 70! But between songs he was very out of breath & hoarse, & kept gargling with water (& quipped "It was much more fun when I used to duet with Jack Daniels!"). Songs included 'Together', 'Maria', Somewhere', 'Hold Me', '(I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over' (my fave, love the falsetto verse near the end!), 'Lonely Weekends' & 'American Trilogy' (a song I usually despise, but I found his version strangely moving).

Then it was time for the interval, followed by Mike Pender, ex-lead singer & guitarist for The Searchers (he left the group in 1984). He looked almost as thin & agile as Mick Jagger (though more youthful), & did the expected Searchers greatest hits (of which 'Goodbye My Love' was the most impressive in my opinion). He sounded very good, but the harmony vocalists were mixed a bit too quite, so the vocal sound was a bit thin & weedy.

Closing act was Brian Poole. I can understand why the audience enjoyed him (he probably went down better than anyone) as he knows how to get an audience to dance & sing-a-long, but to me he just proved what I always knew, that he's someone of only mediocre talent.

As a finale all of them sang Joe South's 'The Games People Play' (a slightly unexpected choice), with them all trading verses, & P.J. Proby looking knackered.

Afterwards both Brian Poole & Chris Farlowe (as well as Vanity Fare) came out & chatted, posed for pics & signed autographs with everyone who wanted them. I didn't see P.J. or Mike leave the building (they probably used a different entrance to the one where I was working) but I chatted to Chris Farlowe for a few minutes while he waited for a taxi, & found him very down-to-earth & unpretentious P.J. Proby's current manager told me he wished he was working for Chris instead!).

So, that was my evening's work... :)


Peter C.

PS. I never bought a copy of the programme, but browsing through it I noticed a photo of Mike Pender with Jerry Lee Lewis! I'm guessing it was taken backstage at a show during the 80s (Jerry was wearing his white frilly shirt that he wore in Wembley '85 etc), does anyone know more?
Last edited by peterchecksfield on Mon May 12, 2008 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Oh Boy! It's The Non-Stop 60s (Review by Peter Checksfie

Postby martin bates » Mon May 12, 2008 7:30 pm

peterchecksfield wrote:
PS. I never bought a copy of the programme, but browsing through it I noticed a photo of Mike Pender with Jerry Lee Lewis! I'm guessing it was taken backstage at a show during the 80s (Jerry was wearing his white frilly shirt that he wore in Wembley '85 etc), does anyone know more?


can't help Peter, but thanks for the write-up.

Martin.
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Re: Oh Boy! It's The Non-Stop 60s (Review by Peter Checksfie

Postby peterchecksfield » Mon May 12, 2008 8:22 pm

martin bates wrote:
peterchecksfield wrote:
PS. I never bought a copy of the programme, but browsing through it I noticed a photo of Mike Pender with Jerry Lee Lewis! I'm guessing it was taken backstage at a show during the 80s (Jerry was wearing his white frilly shirt that he wore in Wembley '85 etc), does anyone know more?


can't help Peter, but thanks for the write-up.

Martin.


I seem to vaguely recall this being mentioned in either Fire-Ball Mail or Lewis Scene, but I can't recall the year (looking very quickly at the photo yesterday I'd say it's no earlier than 1982 & no later than 1990).
peterchecksfield

 

Re: Oh Boy! It's The Non-Stop 60s (Review by Peter Checksfie

Postby martin bates » Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:52 pm

peterchecksfield wrote:PS. I never bought a copy of the programme, but browsing through it I noticed a photo of Mike Pender with Jerry Lee Lewis! I'm guessing it was taken backstage at a show during the 80s (Jerry was wearing his white frilly shirt that he wore in Wembley '85 etc), does anyone know more?


I've just been browsing an old Lewis Scene ...ref the wembley 87 comments...... & Colin Philips reports that Mike Pender met Jerry backstage at Southport. He wore his white suit & frilly shirt -so that could be it.

Martin.
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Postby peterchecksfield » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:38 pm

Thanks Martin! :D
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Re: Oh Boy! It's The Non-Stop 60s (Review by Peter Checksfie

Postby PeterC » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:10 pm

“SIXTIES GOLD”, Margate Winter Gardens, 6th October 2017

A few years back, I saw a similar show at the same venue that featured Mike Pender (ex The Searchers), Brian Poole, PJ Proby and Chris Farlowe, with backing by Vanity Fare, so I was keen to see how this compared to that memorable night...

After a quick warm-up by Vanity Fare (who played excellently throughout the evening), Brian Poole and The Tremeloes were introduced on stage. The first surprise was that the three members (Brian Poole, Chip Hawks and Dave Munden) all stood at the front of the stage without instruments, with backing by Vanity Fare. Second surprise was the shock of seeing how frail and thin Chip Hawkes looked, wearing a hat and a baggy suit that looked 2 sizes too big for him: he revealed later in the show (with as much humour as he could) that he’d recently undergone chemotherapy for cancer for the 2nd time in a few years, and consequently had lost his hair. He then said that he hated wearing hats, so through it aside! After getting over the initial shocks, I must say that they were excellent. Dave Munden looked a little lost being out front instead of beihind his drum kit (and I did notice that he was walking rather stiffly), but vocally they were all excellent, and they clearly are all great mates with a real rapport between them. They performed a selection of hits from both the Brian Poole and The Tremeloes eras, with Brian harmonising admirably on the latter. Songs included: Here Comes My Baby, My Little Lady, Suddenly You Love Me, Twist and Shout, Call Me Number One, Do You Love Me and Silence Is Golden.

Next on stage was Gerry and The Pacemakers. I saw them earlier in the year at Margate’s smaller Theatre Royal, and I thought then he was excellent despite his obvious age. This time he seemed noticeably less energetic and, despite attempts to hide it with humour, a little grumpy (he’d also dyed what hair he has left brown, rather than the more flattering white hair of earlier in the year). All the big hits were present and correct though, and were generally well played and sung. There were a couple of exceptions: when he started I’ll Be There, he had a “frog in the throat” and started coughing, so he stopped the song, had a drink of water, then started again, this time without mishap. The same cannot be said for I’m The One, where he and the band seemed to play different things about halfway though, with the song grinding to a messy halt. He tried not too successfully to make light of it, but clearly both he and the keyboard player were annoyed with each other. There then followed confusion as he said he’d play it again, but then proceeded to play a different song instead. This tour is announced as Gerry’s last (despite some dates already being booked for 2018), and when I saw him earlier in the year I thought any (semi-)retirement was a little premature. However I now sadly think it’s the best thing to do before things become too embarrassing.

There then followed a 20 minute interval, so I took the opportunity to go to The Tremeloes’ merchandise stand to buy a CD, and get it signed by both Brian and Dave (Chips was nowhere to be seen, not surprising as the performance earlier couldn’t have been easy for him). I’d met Brian before and found him a lovely guy, but this time shook both his and Dave’s hands, thanking them for the music (Dave was lovely too!).

To start the 2nd half, Vanity Fare played 3 of their hits, and then they introduced Steve Ellis (ex-Love Affair). He performed 4 Love Affair hits + an enthusiastic cover of The Small Faces’ All Or Nothing, and remains in good voice, but I have to say he also came across as a bit of a t*sser, with few of the on stage graces needed for such a package show. Perhaps he’d come across better in a smaller venue on his own…

Last of all were The Searchers. It was the first time I’d seen them in concert, and having heard good reports I was looking forward to them. Sadly, I found them a slight anti-climax. First of all, guitarist John McNally was sick so he was replaced by the guitarist from The Pacemakers. He played and sang all the right notes, but as he kept to a 6-string throughout, The Searchers trademark jangly 12-string sound for hits like Needles And Pins and Don’t Throw Your Love Away was missing. Secondly, the sound left a little to be desired, with Spencer James’ lead vocals often drowned out by the harmonies from the others. Add to that Frank Allen’s disconcerting blinking and screwing of the eyes (was he suffering an adverse reaction to contact lenses or does he always do that?), the overall result wasn’t what I expected. Most the hits were there, as well as fine covers of Del Shannon’s Runaway and Roy Orbison’s Running Scared, and to be fair they were competently performed, but I did find the band compared unfavourably to Mike Pender (with Vanity fare) a few years earlier.

Unlike on the Mike Pender / Brian Poole / PJ Proby /Chris Farlowe tour, there was no big grand finale featuring all the performers together, I’m guessing at least partly due to Chip Hawkes and Gerry Marsden’s frailty.

To summarise, an entertaining and memorable evening! If it was up to me though, I’d have Steve Ellis followed by the Searchers to play the first half, and then Gerry and The Pacemakers starting the 2nd with Brian Poole and The Tremeloes topping the bill.

Peter C.
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Re: Oh Boy! It's The Non-Stop 60s (Review by Peter Checksfie

Postby Henry » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:12 am

PeterC wrote:“SIXTIES GOLD”, Margate Winter Gardens, 6th October 2017

To start the 2nd half, Vanity Fare played 3 of their hits, and then they introduced Steve Ellis (ex-Love Affair).

Peter C.

I wonder if "Hitching a Ride" was one of them?
Great song i think.
The one and only song i,ve know they have done.
There is also a cover in Sweden by The Streaplers
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