Thursday, November 8, 2018

Concert Review: Peter and Jeremy


If I may quote from Paul Revere and the Raiders for just a moment ...

Too Much Talk ... And Not Enough Action

After seeing Peter and Jeremy for the first time at The Fest For Beatles Fans this summer, I was REALLY looking forward to this show ... a greatly expanded two-set evening of music ...

But much as I explained after catching their Beatlefest performance, there's just WAY too much talk ... and nowhere near enough music.

Case in point ... during the first 55 minutes of their City Winery performance on Tuesday Night (11/6), they played exactly THREE songs ... and not a single one of those three was a hit for either of the two original duos, Peter and Gordon or Chad and Jeremy.

Instead we got story after story after story about the launch of their pop careers, (which were augmented greatly by The British Invasion), and a recap of what they've been doing ever since ... with virtually no emphasis on the era or the music most of us had come to hear.

(Don't get me wrong ... both Peter and Jeremy are VERY engaging story-tellers ... VERY entertaining, in fact ... but at some point it was really just too much ... and I found myself impatiently waiting for them to "play the damn music already!!!")

[It didn't help that the show started a bit late and was then plagued with technical difficulties, causing all kinds of feedback and popping noises before the City Winery crew finally brought them out some new microphones.)

So, for the first 55 minutes, we heard all about the British Skiffle Craze that inspired as many as 50,000 skiffle bands to spring up throughout Great Britain virtually overnight (including one featuring Peter and Gordon, one featuring Chad and Jeremy and another one featuring a couple of guys named John and Paul.)

We also heard what a great influence Buddy Holly was on them (for the first time ever, allowing a "pop star" to be seen in glasses, a MAJOR plus for guys like Peter Asher and Chad Stuart), how Elvis turned their world around ... how Jeremy went on to act in a number of prominent British television productions (including a brief role on Downton Abbey) and how Peter became a record producer of great renown, working with artists like James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and, more recently, Ed Sheeran.

As a means of illustrating these career connections, the first three songs we heard were "It Doesn't Matter Anymore," a 1959 Hit for Buddy Holly (that was actually written by Paul Anka ... I'm not quite sure why they wouldn't do "True Love Ways" instead, since this was an actual Buddy Holly tune that was a Top 20 Hit for Peter and Gordon in 1965), their take on Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" (with modified lyrics taking the perspective of somebody in their 70's looking back at love and life) and a bluesy, slowed down version of Elvis' "All Shook Up."

They capped off the first set with some of their own hits, including "Lady Godiva," "I Go To Pieces" and "I Don't Want To See You Again," three Peter and Gordon hits, as well as a personal favorite, "Willow Weep For Me," a Top 20 Hit for Chad and Jeremy that I mentioned a few months back as one that would have made for a nice "add" to their Beatlefest set.

If Me-TV-FM isn't already playing this track, it'd be a great add for you, too!]

After a brief intermission, the duo returned to the stage and showed several clips of some of their American television appearances, including Chad and Jeremy on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Batman and The Patty Duke Show ... and Peter and Gordon performing an embarrassing little ditty on The Red Skelton Hour ... all of which were presented in good fun (and served as a reminder as to how us kids of that generation would resort to ANY unorthodox means available in order to get our weekly fix of pop music out of our very limited three television network choices!)

More of each duo's hits were featured in this segment (along with a few more VERY long stories that pushed the show closer to the 2 1/2 hour mark), such as "Distant Shores" and "Nobody I Know," topped off by their biggest hits in the closing finale, "Yesterday's Gone" and "A Summer Song" by Chad and Jeremy and "A World Without Love," the #1 Peter and Gordon Hit penned by Paul McCartney, who was living at the Asher home at the time while dating Peter's sister, actress Jane Asher.

Musically, the show was top notch ... when music was being featured ... but the pacing could have been GREATLY improved (and the whole concert experience made far more enjoyable) had they just trimmed their recollections to the highlights / Cliff Notes versions rather than the long-winded monologues that were presented instead.

I will also say that Jeremy Clyde's voice is just as beautiful and pure as it was 50-some years ago ... and Peter Asher's harmonies and occasional leads paid the perfect compliment in every way.  (Asher is still quite visible in the public eye, hosting his own weekly radio program on The Beatles Channel on Sirius / XM ... and Clyde continues to write and record as part of an on-going series of new releases titled "The Bottom Drawer Sessions," as well as act in various British productions when called upon to do so.)

Peter and Jeremy hung around after the show to sign merchandise and memorabilia in the lobby ... and are in the process of doing a series of City Winery shows across the country right now.  (The minute I saw them perform at Beatlefest I commented that SOMEBODY needs to sign these guys to come back and do a show of their own ... and, thankfully, City Winery jumped at the opportunity to do so.)

An audience of our generation will love them WHATEVER they do ... and all-in-all, it was a very entertaining evening ... but I cannot help but feel that their overall performance could have improved by an additional 50% ... had they simply cut about 30% of the "fat" that makes the show run so long.  (kk)

A couple of "new" stage shots from their City Winery appearance ... (Happy now, Jack???  Oh wait ... Happy Jack was The Who!)

Upcoming appearances:  

Here's our original review of their appearance at The Fest For Beatles Fans, Chicago, 2018:
(Search the website and you'll also find our review of the Peter and Gordon concert we saw about twelve years ago at the same event)

And finally, 
The Peter and Gordon / Chad and Jeremy Hit List:
[Incredibly, Chad and Jeremy only had one hit back home in Great Britain ... but were wholly embraced as part of The British Invasion here in The States.  Peter and Gordon also enjoyed far greater success on the US Charts.]  

1964 - A World Without Love - Peter and Gordon (US #1 / UK #1)
1965 - I Go To Pieces - Peter and Gordon (US #4 / UK #xx)
1966 - Lady Godiva - Peter and Gordon (US #5 / UK #16) 
1964 - A Summer Song - Chad and Jeremy (US #6 / UK #xx)
1965 - True Love Ways - Peter and Gordon (US #12 / UK #2) 
1966 - Woman - Peter and Gordon (US #12 / UK #28)
1964 - Nobody I Know - Peter and Gordon (US #12 / UK #10)
1967 - Knight In Rusty Armour - Peter and Gordon (US #12  UK #xx) 
1964 - Willow Weep For Me - Chad and Jeremy (US #15 / UK #xx)
1965 - Before And After - Chad and Jeremy  (US #15 / UK #xx)
1964 - I Don't Want To See You Again - Peter and Gordon (US #16 / UK #xx) 
1965 - If I Loved You - Chad and Jeremy (US #17 / UK #xx)
1964 - Yesterday's Gone - Chad and Jeremy (US #21 / UK #37)
1967 - Sunday For Tea - Peter and Gordon (US #22 / UK #xx)
1965 - To Know You Is To Love You - Peter and Gordon (US #24 / UK #5) 
1966 - Distant Shores - Chad and Jeremy  (US #30 / UK #xx)
1965 - I Don't Wanna Lose You Baby - Chad and Jeremy  (US #33 / UK #xx) 
1965- Baby I'm Yours - Peter and Gordon (US #xx / UK #19)