Fantastic Report & Some Superb Shots Taken At Ipswich, Norwich & Brentwood...

With it being exactly 14 years ago since I attended my first Cliff Richard concert (20 May 1990 in Rotterdam, when I was only 12 ha ha) I can only say... I never dared to dream of ever being able to attend a Shadows concert!

I attended my first 2 Hank shows in 95 (thank goodness that B'ham show has been re-released on DVD, cause my video copy had already been replaced for a new copy and this 2nd copy is starting to get 'worn out' signs also.

The first time I saw Bruce on stage (playing) must have been at the 40th International Cliff & Shadows Convention in Holland, shortly followed by Shadowmania in 2001.

Well... today I can say I have been given the chance to see The Shadows on stage. I've only just come home from a 5 day trip to the UK, where I was lucky enough to attend 4 shows in a row...

This report doesn't mention any technical stuff, just my view on things as I experienced it, cause I haven't got a clue of technical stuff LOL.

My trip started in Rotterdam from where got on the plane to Stansted.
We went to Ipswich by train and I tell you...I was getting 'nervous' and couldn't wait anymore.
We (Rob Aartsen and myself) arrived in Ipswich at 12, and arrived at the theatre about half an hour later... it sure was a long wait till 7.30!! Around 5ish Hank and Bruce arrived, shorty followed by Brian Bennett.
They all looked well and were willing to have a chat, sign and pose for pictures, I can't think of a better way to start my 'Shads Tour'.
We were invited by friends to join them for tea...we had a nice time at the Pizza Express
and when you're amongst friends, time tends to fly... so eventually it did get 7.30 after all!!!!

We had front row seats, right in the centre of the stage.
When Hank and Bruce entered the stage playing that first bit of Apache, which leads into Riders In The Sky... I was goose flesh all over!!!
There I was sitting in the audience of a group I never expected to see/hear playing together... it was so special I just couldn't believe my luck.
The show went very well and the audience sure was enthusiastic!
The thing that amazed me is the fact that Bruce's voice is still as strong as ever!
With me being a Cliff fan I must admit that I was curious about their Cliff medley... I liked it, but in my opinion it is a bit too long.
When Hank started singing The Day I met Marie, I just couldn't stop thinking about that comic version The Shads did years ago... my neigbour seemed to remember that also so we both found ourselves doing those sketches thoughout the song... I just couldn't stop laughing, great fun it was!

The tunes that really made a big impression on me were Mountains Of The Moon (probably my all time favourite, The Savage (Well done Bruce), Guitar Tango, My Home Town, Gonzales, Little B (WOW!!! very GOOD!) Wonderful Land (as beautiful as ever) and FBI (great to see them to their steps and kicks!).

Norwich the next day... well what can I say.
We met up with Bill (member of this site) and his wife Lucy, who picked us up us at our hotel. We spend the day with them: thanks for your hospitality, we had a great day!
Later in the afternoon we were lucky enough to meet Hank, Bruce and Brian again at the Stagedoor who very kindly signed our newly bought copies of Life Story.
At the stagedoor we met some more great friends from previous Hank tours.
Another tea at the Pizza Express and... it was showtime again!

The 2nd day In Norwich made more of an impression... thanks to Brian Bennett who 'got lost'during Little B.
He was drumming when all of a sudden (almost half way I guess) he looked puzzled and said... "I am Lost"... he continued his drumming and tried to remember what he was supposed to be doing. All of a sudden he shouted "Yooooo"and continued his 'new version of Little B'... another Yooooooo sounded and the audience were cheering and shouting...after a couple or more Yoooooo's Brian remembered and continued his version of Little B, a version that will stay in my memory forever!
The way he coped with this and managed to get his way through was amazing and... well of course we don't want Brian to make mistakes, but this sure added something special to this evenings show! He received a standing ovation...even longer and louder then the previous nights.
All I can say is WELL DONE Brian!

Brentwood was our Final show (well till now as we will be back in June).
We had front row seats again, but... this wasn't very good I have to say.
The seats were very close to the stage and the view was blocked through the monitors... so the Shads were legless;-)
The hall was very hot... too hot, but the show was good!
I am so grateful that I have been able to attend this Tour, would not have wanted to miss this for the world I just wish every fan could have the opportunity to attend at least one of these shows.

All there's left for me to say is that I am really looking forward to Bournemouth, Hammersmith and Palladium.
And would like to say THANK YOU to Hank, Bruce and Brian for making this Tour happen!!!

Another important thing that makes these trips the more special is meeting up with fellow Shads friends;
Roy, Barbara, Kay, Tony, John, Bill, Lucy, Mick, Hazel, Martin, Knobby, Richard, and of course some Dutchies who crossed over as well (hope I didn't forget anyone... it was a pleasure meeting up with you all again!

See you all in June... I am already counting the days...

All Photographs © Angélique von Söhsten, East England 14-17 May 2004

AvS, 2004

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