Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The British Invasion Show

Last Saturday Night, March 7th, The 2015 British Invasion Tour made its way to Chicago, stopping at The City Winery, a beautiful venue just outside the city limits.   

Unfortunately, we were unable to connect with the venue in time to attend and, as such, ended up missing one of the shows I most wanted to see this year.  (Talks for a second Chicago stop never materialized ... so they won't be coming back through town for a second leg ... and, in that Chicago wasn't a tour stop on last year's itinerary, I was quite disappointed, thinking that this very well may have been my one and only chance to see them.)

Thankfully, however, we heard from TWO Forgotten Hits Readers who WERE able to catch the show last week ... one in Wisconsin and the other in Ohio ... so we are now able to live vicariously through their reviews.  (No, it's not the same as being there ... but it looks like this is about as close as we're going to get this time around!)

First up, Ken Freck, sharing HIS perspective of the show he saw play in Milwaukee last week.  And then, a report from Tom Apathy, who not only caught The British Invasion Show last week in Ohio and sent us a review of the concert, but ALSO sent along some GREAT photos of the headliners.  

Extra, extra ... read all about it ... right here, EXCLUSIVELY in Forgotten Hits.  (Take it away, Fellas!)

Hi Kent:  
I want to highly recommend the British Invasion Tour that is going around. If you get a chance to see it, do so! It was outstanding. 

Denny Laine, Chad & Jeremy, Mike Pender of Searchers, Terry Sylvester of Hollies, Billy J. Kramer & Peter Asher. If you love the songs by these guys, check it out. Who knows how many chances are left to see a quality cast like this.   

I can give you a somewhat short synopsis of the event. My friend looked up the previous couple of shows and I guess Milwaukee got lucky on Friday Night. Apparently we got several more songs than those shows ... I guess because we were there to have fun, and the groups could sense it. 

It was a three hour show. The night started with Terry Sylvester, who had a solid set of Hollies and Swinging Blue Jeans hits, his two high profile groups. When you start the night with “I Can’t Let Go”, you are living large. “Bus Stop” and “Hippy Hippy Shake were highlights as well.   

Next up was Mike Pender of The Searchers, who was outstanding! His 12 String Rickenbacker never sounded better. He played the great Searchers hits plus a welcome surprise of P.F. Sloan’s “Take Me For What I’m Worth”, which is a killer underrated 45. The only problem with this set is that it was about 30 songs too short. 

Thirdly was Chad & Jeremy, who I haven’t heard for a long while but was stunned at how great they still sound together. Hearing them do “Summer Song” just gives you chills. They looked older but the sound was pure 1964. 

After a short break, Denny Laine took the stage, playing a few early Moody Blues faves. He was in excellent form and “Lose Your Money” and “I’ll Go Crazy” were both great. Hearing him sing “Go Now” was special as well. 

Next up was Billy J. Kramer. He had the longest set of all, including a couple of newer tracks. He started out a little rusty and stiff, but after a few songs he was in full stride. He did his Lennon-McCartney catalog highlighted by an outstanding version of “Bad To Me”. A solid “Little Children” and emotional “Trains, Boats and Planes” were highlights as well. He was cookin’ by the time of his last song, a shockingly excellent rendition of “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”. 

The final act was Peter Asher who also played emcee for the show. He was spot on with great versions of Peter & Gordon’s first four hits including “I Go To Pieces” and “A World Without Love”. After a whimsical version of “Lady Godiva”, he went to a very warm tribute to Gordon, which peaked with Peter singing a duet with Gordon’s video a few years back doing “True Love Ways”, which was incredible and came off extremely well and left some eyes watering. 

The crowd wanted more, so after thunderous applause, out popped Denny Laine who said he was going to take us to the 70’s for one last song. He and the band got going with “Band On The Run” which I wasn’t really looking forward to, but was pleasantly surprised at how well they did it ... and they also had all the singers come out and join in the song. It was a fantastic sight to see all those great artists joining in a rousing version. The night was also filled with many great and humorous stories from the old days.  A memorable night indeed! 

Ken Freck 

It was a great show, focused on the 60's songs they were part of.  Peter Asher was the emcee as well as a performer, telling stories about each performer before they came on stage. 

Terry Sylvester started the evening performing Hollies classics like Just One Look, Bus Stop, as well as his Swinging Blue Jeans hits Hippy Hippy Shake and You're No Good, of which he claimed Peter Asher "stole" their version when he produced Linda Ronstadt. 

Next up was Mike Pender, who at 74 years old, looked, sang and played guitar like it was 1964.  He did all the hits ... Love Potion #9, Every Time You Walk Into the Room, Needles and Pins ... he did not disappoint.

Denny Laine was a bit of the odd man out ... doing mainly blues standards, like he did with the Moody Blues, and of course, Go Now.  Since it was a 60's show, he did not do any Wings until the encore, when all of the artists came on stage for Band On The Run.

Chad and Jeremy were funny and sounded great ... Distant Shores, Yesterday's Gone, Willow Weep For Me, and other hits sounded great.  The running joke was that prim and proper Jeremy Clyde still lives in London, while the shabby denim clad Chad Stuart lives in Idaho.

Billy J Kramer's voice sounded great ... doing all the hits ... Little Children, Trains, Boats and Planes, I'll Keep You Satisfied, as well as a song he wrote to get Brian Epstein into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.   

Peter Asher was funny and charming all night ... and was introduced by a video from Eric Idle of Monty Python, talking about how great Peter was and how he shagged Marainne Faithful ... ha ...  

The highlight was a video of the late Gordon Waller on the screen, with Peter singing a duet of True Loves Ways ... very touching.  

A very well performed show with a kick ass backing band ... a must see if they come to your town.   

All of these photos are from the March 4th Show at the Kent Stage ... 

(All photos courtesy Tom Apathy for use in Forgotten Hits ... thanks Tom!!!)

Sounds like we missed one heck of a show ... here's hoping they do this one more time next year so we get a second chance to see them.

Meanwhile, here's a live track by Chad and Jeremy from an earlier show ... still sounding pretty darn amazing some 50 years later ...