GIG: Showaddywaddy – The Sun Album Tour
DATE: April 9th 2009
VENUE: The Stables, Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, Milton Keynes MK17 8LU
RATING: Betcha Gonna Like It
The first single Minty ever bought was “A Little Bit Of Soap”, a 1978 hit for Showaddywaddy and now, almost 31 years later she was going to see, for the very first time, the band she had idolised during her teenage years, the band whose posters had adorned her bedroom wall. The tickets had been purchased almost as soon as they went on sale so seats, front row, centre had been secured. Last year, the band had travelled to the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis and recorded an album of covers of, well, Sun music and this was a gig to promote that album……
The Stables is one of our favourite venues – it’s a small theatre, owned by Dame Cleo Laine and Sir Johnny Dankworth, seating only about 400 but attracts big names. Previous gigs we have been to at this venue are Midge Ure, Ray Davis, The Zombies, Jimmy Webb, Ian McNabb, Hugh Cornwell, Mari Wilson, Glenn Tilbrook, Joe Brown to name just a few! There are no bad seats in the house, no restricted views, and you can also bring your drinks in with you. The staff are mainly volunteers, locals who support this theatre and they are very courteous and friendly. Sometimes the queues for the bar can be long, but the laid back atmosphere of the place means that you don’t get annoyed with waiting a few minutes…
The original 8 piece band that Minty had idolised way back when, had split a number of years ago, and up until the end of 2008 Showaddywaddy had continued with 5 of the original members, Dave Bartram, Al James, Rod Deas, Romeo Challenger and Trevor Oakes and a 6th member, Danny Willson who has been with the band since 2000. Late last year though Al decided to retire and a matter of weeks before the tour kicked off, Trevor had to leave due to ill health and a new member Paul Dixon had come in to replace him. What would the band sound like now, as a 5-piece and with just 3 original members left?
So, as 8 o’clock approached, we took our seats, Minty a complete bag of excited anticipation. The show kicked off with Misserlou, a Dick Dale surf instrumental which resurfaced in the film Pulp Fiction. After a couple of songs, Dave explained the format of the show, The Sun Album in the first half, the hits in the second and punctuated throughout by some interactive Q&A’s from the audience. And that’s how the show played out.
It was the first time we had heard any of the Sun Album songs, and ones that stood out were “Drinkin’ Scotch”, “Claudette”, “Flyin’ Saucer Rock & Roll” and a wonderfully soulful version of Charlie Rich’s “Who Will The Next Fool Be”.
The hits were the old favourites from 1974’s “Hey Rock & Roll” through to the 1979 hit “Remember Then” with the likes of “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”, “Under The Moon Of Love”, “Dancin’ Party”, “When”, “You’ve Got What it Takes”, “Heartbeat” and “I Wonder Why” and “A Little Bit Of Soap” in between.
The Q&A’s were good – the band has a great sense of humour, especially when one lady yelled out to Dave “I used to love you when I was 13”, to which Dave quick wittedly replied “What’s wrong with me now?”. I asked the band what the first single they bought had been, and the answers ranged from The Jam’s “Goin’ Underground” from Paul, to Rod saying a Cliff Richard record, Romeo claimed to have forgotten, Danny’s was a record by The Move and Dave revealed his first record was by Billy Fury.
Dave Bartrams’ voice seemed quite fragile throughout the show, and he seemed to struggle to get the sound out sometimes. I suppose the fact these guys have been on the road for quite a while promoting the Sun Album would take its toll on your voice.
It was a shame that the band didn’t come into the foyer afterwards, as so many of the other artists we have seen at the Stables have done, and mingle with the fans and sign CDs and have photos taken etc, But that did not spoil the night for us. Minty went home happy, with a copy of the Sun Album and a mini poster signed by the 3 original members given with the CD.
And to the customary last words… on the loos….. always seem to be in demand which means that not only is there the usual queue for the Ladies, but an orderly queue tends to form outside the Gents as well! The flushing can be a problem at peak times (as one person exits and the next one in the queue goes in, there is an apologetic smile and an “I’m sorry, it won’t flush” quietly exchanged). BUT, they are very clean and well stocked.