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THE SHADOWS' FINAL TOUR: REPORTS & PHOTOS

BOURNEMOUTH & HAMMERSMITH, 11 & 12 JUNE 2004 - REPORT BY GREG OGARRIO



Here Is Greg Ogarrioís Absorbing Take On Bournemouth & Hammersmith...

Ten days after seeing The Shadows give their antepenultimate show on their British "farewell tour", I'm still happy to pester the curious about hearing Hank B. Marvin tear off a scary 10 seconds of biting surf guitar in front of his famous tricky solo in THE SAVAGE.

"See? I can distill THAT American instrumental genre into my chops, when I want to."

Or so it seemed Hank spoke direct to me, a child of surf music who came late to The Shads. Knocked out by the cocky brashness, I let out a yelp.

"Yes!"

The rest? A blur of bliss spaced over two nights at Bournemouth's BIC and London's Hammersmith Apollo: Bruce Welch's clear-as-a-bell electric and acoustic rhythm guitar playing shining through the perfect PA mix, especially on WONDERFUL LAND, and his self-penned THEME FOR YOUNG LOVERS; Brian Bennett's hypnotic, 15-minute tour-de-force LITTLE ĎBí drum solo; Hank and Bruce's spine-tingling harmonizing on 1965's last-chance-at-the-Beat Hit Parade, DONíT MAKE MY BABY BLUE; the lads' jocular repartee (Bruce: "I haven't played acoustic on stage for about 42 years." Brian: "It sounds like it!"); one famous solo after another from HBM's CV (particularly memorable:Cliff Richard's GEE WHIZ ITíS YOU and PLEASE DONíT TEASE) and, most joyously, the endless meetings, drinks, handshakes, "Hullo's!" and hugs with Shadowmaniacs from the four corners of the globe.

"Fine, fine, fine," I hear you asking. "But what did Colin Pryce-Jones, life-long devotee of That Sound who vowed never to see the latter-day Shads live, think about That Show?" Doggedly, I tried four separate occasions -- Hammersmith interval, post-Hammersmith milling about, fan get-together at the Bonnington Hotel in Bloomsbury the next evening, transatlantic phone call a week later -- to find out. Here's the best I could extract, carefully measured responses all: "Outstanding musicianship across the board... They looked very comfortable together... Hank, even at his age, looks so incredibly fit and well... Brian Bennett's drum kit was a thing of beauty..."

OK, let's cut to it. "Colin, are you glad you went?"

"Yes."

And a purer purist you will never meet. Frustrating? Sure. But, again, I came late to the fold, didn't get to hear "Apache" when the world was young(er), nor have my world upended as Colin's was by the original combo.

Instead, let me fill in more gaps from a California Yank on a Shadows summer holiday:

  • Best canned pre-show advisory done as only the Brits can:"Please open your sweets now, as the 'crinkly noise' might disturb both the band and fellow patrons seated near you." (Heard at Bournemouth and Hammersmith)

  • Best stage announcement: "Welcome to an evening of pure neuralgia!" (Hank Marvin)

  • Best impatient request for a future Rapiers booking: "Tell Colin Pryce-Jones to get his ass down here to Bournemouth this year." {Barry Gillam)

  • Best chance first meeting on a train: Continental Shadows fan Rune Moe, coincidentally seated right behind me in the same coach aboard the same 9:44 a.m. train from Bournemouth to London.

  • Best classic caff to share sausage 'n' mash with a Rapier: The restored "S&M Cafe" on Essex Road in Islington, London. Inside 30 seconds of scanning the exquisite blue Formica, vintage signage advertising ices in old-style English pence and HP Sauce on every table, Colin P-J happily pronounced: "Yes, I can eat here."

  • Best serendipitous moment: Five days after a pilgrimage to the Scottish fishing village of Pennan, immortalised in director Bill Forsyth's "Local Hero", hearing Hank and Co. delicately recreate the film's wistful theme. I had tears streaming down my face two nights running. Sniff.

  • Best iconic rock 'n' roll imagery down front: A lone red Fender Stratocaster, perched on stage under spotlight before each show, giving art lovers a chance to soak in the majesty of the composition.

God Save The Shadows!

GO, 2004



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