A Graphic And Comprehensive Report By Dave Herbert On Northampton's Concert...
As soon as the Shadows stepped out onto the stage at the Derngate Theatre the enthusiastic Northampton audience spontaneously rose to their feet to give the boys a rousing applause. A few minutes later the Shadows launched straight into the first few notes of APACHE and then with a very slick change into RIDERS IN THE SKY; this they played with plenty of drive and attack. Within seconds of finishing this they were playing THE FRIGHTENED CITY, somehow their all time favourites were given a newness of life and vitality fitting for the 21st Century. From the film 'Wonderful Life' comes the lovely THEME FOR YOUNG LOVERS, then Hank comes forward to welcome the audience and introduce the band and then it's back to the music with two more hits from the movies, namely PEACE PIPE and THE SAVAGE. The latter given some forceful drive and much modern variation and embellishment. Bruce, for his part, was not going to be left out and turned in a rhythmic display of master class proportions.
Time now to relax his wrist a bit as Bruce welcomes us to "Hanks 2nd Final Tour"! (just as Hank is taking a drink and chokes with laughter), and chats about Eurovision. Bruce now sings LET ME BE THE ONE with great vocal accompaniment from Hank and Mark. A return now to their early repertoire with the slick double A-side - THE STRANGER and a brilliant KON-TIKI; these two numbers fit well together. A swift leap forward 20 odd years and a brief recollection from Hank as an introduction to GOING HOME - an alternative "off key" intro and then into the real one! DANCE ON! took us back to the 60's where we stayed for an outstanding version of NIVRAM, which opened up with beautiful harmonising guitar work from Hank and Bruce and showcased Mark Griffiths who treated us to a display of his jazzy bass skills, all this supported by some great piano arrangements from Cliff Hall.
A vocal treat now and two songs from the M.W.F. days - I for one love the music of that much put down trio (I think many people of the early 70s just didn't know class when they heard it!) Anyway, LADY OF THE MORNING has lost nothing and has ridden out the sea of time well. Next up MY HOME TOWN, pure poetry set to music and performed with the utmost skill it deserves. Hank's explorations into other forms of guitar styles gave us the benefits by way of an intro to GUITAR TANGO which explodes into a powerfully paced acoustic arrangement that looked as though it took Bruce by surprise (I'm sure it didn't!), and he gave a performance to match that of Hank's driving lead. Brian's stick work was uppermost and gave additional colour to this already bright number.
Almost in medley form we were treated to more favourites from the 60s. GERONIMO, followed by the haunting SLEEPWALK and then this tour sees the first live performances of 36-24-36 (one of my all time faves) and, like its following number, SHAZAM! , gives each member of the band a solo showcase that then blends and builds into an ensemble of united talents. Time once more to slow things down and witness in awe Hanks brilliance as he plays DON'T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA with again superb support from Cliff on keyboards plus Bruce, Mark and Brian. To close the first half with an unfamiliar spot for EQUINOXE (which sits usually towards the end of the 2nd half) is a fine choice to go into the interval with. Once again Bruce shows why he's dubbed "Mr Rhythm." An outstanding first set and the guys exit the stage to a standing ovation.
As the lights dim the band return to their places and no time is lost as Brian leads into MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON. This is followed by a swift performance of SHADOOGIE, both numbers giving plenty of scope for Brian to display his skills from the drum stall. Hot on the heels comes a raunchy GONZALES and, like the aforementioned 36-24-36, this tour sees The Shadows playing it live for the first time, although it did get some outings as part of the Hank Marvin stage sets. They then donned their Burns Marvin guitars which gave an earthier feel to both the vocal DON'T MAKE MY BABY BLUE and THE RISE AND FALL OF FLINGEL BUNT. I must admit I did miss young Ben Marvin's heavy input here (I guess I'm not so much a purist as an old rocker!) The line up with the Burns does look great but slightly odd in the absence of the tall figure of the late John Rostill as the white Burns line-up had been unique to the Marvin Welch and Rostill days. A change back now to the Strats for a beautiful ATLANTIS, the toe-tapping SHINDIG, the mystique magic of MAN OF MYSTERY and FOOT TAPPER - played at a fair old lick with another chance for an excellent drumming display from Brian.
Some more chat from Bruce followed as he spoke in a humorous way of their work with Sir Cliff and the fact that they had composed many of his hits during the 60s. He invited the audience to join in with them as they sang a medley of some of those hits. First out was PLEASE DON'T TEASE with Bruce taking a very creditable lead vocal and a guitar solo from Hank. Then a great IN THE COUNTRY with just about everyone in the audience doing the "Ba Baba Ba Ba's." Hot on the heels of this one came I COULD EASILY FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU and then Hank taking the lead vocal on THE DAY I MET MARIE. Another rocking hit from 1960 - GEE WHIZ ITS YOU, and concluding this vocal set two songs from the movies, SUMMER HOLIDAY and BACHELOR BOY.
With the briefest of breaks Brian then took off on a blistering attack on his most recognisable drum number LITTLE 'B'. This opened with a roll of cymbals followed by the familiar guitar parts and as Brian settled into the solo part the rest of the band left the stage. There was now a display of percussion and drum mastery to rival that of any all-time great drum heroes, such as Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa to name but two. This performance in its entirety clocked an amazing 11 mins 50 secs. After a long and well deserved applause the mood was changed again for the very beautiful THEME FROM THE DEER HUNTER, again we were treated to displays of pure guitar magic by Hank's artistic lead. The wonderful WONDERFUL LAND closed this half of the show and the group left the stage to a sustained applause, and shouts of "more, more" echoed around the Derngates auditorium.
The Shads, true to form, returned on stage to a great cheer. Hank thanked us for being a great audience and asked us if we wanted more. So to the shouts of "yeah" obliged with FBI. The encore continued into the sounds of APACHE intro only to be brought to an abrupt halt by Hank who said "hold on, the end of my pick just snapped off" prompting some obvious remarks from Bruce. A quick change of pick and a renewed start of the night's finale, APACHE. The audience rose to their feet and gave a well deserved standing ovation.
To reflect on the show, the whole performance is highly polished and tight, with a predictable choice of material for a farewell tour. Each member seeming to inspire the others. Bruce's face has a permanent grin as he wallows in the delights of playing in his all time favourite band -The Shadows, and working alongside the world's greatest lead guitarist Hank Marvin. Hank is relaxed and in great humorous spirit and obviously enjoying himself as can be seen in his playing. Brian's drumming is awesome; Mark and Cliff give faultless performances of skilled support, justifying their inclusion in this farewell tour line-up. During his brief spells of not playing Cliff Hall stands in the wings, out of sight by all but a few members of the audience. The wonder on his face showing sheer admiration for a band he's so proud to be a part of and a respect for his friend and drummer, Brian Bennett, says it all.
Having waited for what seemed to be an agonising 14 the years the wait was well worth it.
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