This Site's Webmaster Offers An Observational Account & Photos Of Hammersmith...

I must state from the outset that, unlike many of the other reports on this Shadows Website which aim to be informative, the following account of The Shadows’ concert at the Carling Apollo in Hammersmith is observational. Having shared a common interest in music with my father for many years (which has seen us attend concerts together of Roxette, Shed Seven and Busted!), I was delighted we had the opportunity to share the experience of a concert on The Shadows’ Final Tour. We’ve also attended four Shadowmanias, Tilburg’s Shadowmusic event in 2003 and the Reading concert on Hank Marvin’s Final Tour. These events were all extremely enjoyable, but this performance by The Shadows was, quite frankly, the real deal.

there are no enlargements of the concert photos but check out the impressive light show

The announcement before the show about turning off mobile phones was amusing, and set the tone for a fun-filled evening. If there were doubters in the audience about the quality of the impending performance, any fears were laid to rest with the impeccable execution of the opening track, RIDERS IN THE SKY. In contrast to my father’s shortlist, one of my very favourite tracks is LET ME BE THE ONE, which I thought made the whole performance really take off. You can’t beat a sing-a-long anthem! Immediately before that number was THE SAVAGE, which unfortunately I’m irreparably scarred by from the Tilburg event last year when it was played (with varying degrees of skill) in the sessions room to the point of my insanity, but reluctantly I shall admit that it sounded good this evening. The best sequence of tracks during the first half of the performance for me was KON-TIKI, GOING HOME, then DANCE ON!; three really top tunes, marvellous! Another standout number was GUITAR TANGO. Despite my love for the Spanish-speaking world (not least their beer, olives and sun) this song had never touched me until now, but this evening it sounded incredible. The first half ended with EQUINOXE (PART V) , which I thoroughly enjoyed. First and foremost I’m a lover of pop music, and that track neatly fitted the bill.

There were several more of my favourites in the second half. SHADOOGIE is always good live and Hank’s guitar work in DON’T MAKE MY BABY BLUE was spectacular. I had never paid much attention to the latter track before, but as so often happens during a live performance, some songs stand out, making you question whether they are in fact better than you had given them credit for. My very favourite Shads track was next, THE RISE AND FALL OF FLINGEL BUNT. This time it impressed more than ever, top marks guys! The best sequence of tracks during the second half of the performance for me was SHINDIG, MAN OF MYSTERY and FOOT TAPPER; simply fantastic! In the encore FBI was a much-anticipated, well-executed visual and audio performance, fittingly building up to the show-ender. Although APACHE is not one of my favourites (*prepares himself for poison pen letters*), I must admit that every time I hear it live I warm to it more, and it was the perfect ending to a wonderful evening. You never know, maybe when I’ve had 44 years to hear it I’ll appreciate it as much as you!

Before I sum up, on a less complimentary note I’d like to add that in my opinion it’s poor how the Eastbourne and Palladium concerts were added to the end of The Shadows’ Final Tour schedule after the tickets for the other shows had been released for general sale. Having travelled to Sweden, Germany and Belgium to attend various pop music concerts, I can sympathise with the many international Shadows fans who bought tickets and flights to attend the billed-as-last date at Hammersmith to then find that after considerable expense they were not attending the last concert after all. Given that the Hammersmith concert was a lesser event in the sense that Cliff Richard did not appear on stage, I believe that many of the fans attending Hammersmith could be justified in feeling short-changed. The final two concerts gave much pleasure to many people, but surely the matter could have been handled with more respect for The Shadows' loyal fans.

I return to the topic of the great concert we attended at Hammersmith this evening. There’s always something special about seeing a favourite band live: whether it’s witnessing in the flesh the gifted people who created and brought you that great music, feeling the drums and bass filter up through your seat to add a real punch to the music or the combination of loud live music with the accompanying light show that Hi-Fi could never recreate. It’s evident that in The Shadows’ Final Tour the guys gave many performances of pure quality, and I certainly feel very privileged to have been able to witness with my father his idols perform on stage.

RAC, 2004

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