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Podcast with myself and my daughter!

Hi you might find the podcast below of interest

Peter Smith and Laura Smith, Authors and Teachers-Episode #244

I don’t usually self promote but could not resist this particular opportunity Peter 🙂

It’s my life… An exhibition of Mod & 60s culture Newcastle library 25 February 2023

About the Event (from their website):

exibit1“Jools and Paul Donnelly have been avid collectors of all things vintage since the late 70s with a particular focus on the 1960s mod scene.  Both Jools and Paul have a passion for mod culture and since first meeting they have combined their collection some of which will form part of this exhibition at Newcastle City Library.  The collection includes vintage ladies and men’s mod clothing, shoes and accessories, ‘mod’ magazines, records and books. Their love of the 60s era motivated them to successfully lobby Newcastle Council for a heritage plaque at the site of the legendary Club a ‘Gogo. They have also written a book on the Club a ‘Gogo and the mod scene of 1960s Newcastle, on sale now.”

ex6Jools And Paul kindly invited me to their exhibition at Newcastle Library which, I must say, is pretty impressive to say the least. The couple have amassed an excellent and extensive collection of all things mod in Newcastle in the 1960s. The exhibition brought back lots of memories of my own early teenage years in Sunderland when I would go to Sunderland Top Rank Suite (the Rink) on a Saturday morning and dance along (yes, I had the bottle to dance in those days, which I lost somewhere along the path of life) to great pop/mod classics as Small Faces “All or Nothing”, Love Affair’s “Everlasting Love” and Barry Ryan’s epic operatic “Eloise”. I thought I was a young mod in my hipsters and Paisley “Rave” shirt. I even got dressed specially for the occasion, wearing a Vivian Westwood T-shirt with lovely ballerinas all over it, my best new Beatles Chelsea winklepicker boots and a pair of tiny round John Lennon sunglasses. You can never keep an old mod down! Jools and Paul kindly stood next to me for some selfies. Many thanks.

exhibit 1exhib2The exhibition contains records, 60s magazines and classic clothing from the era. Much respect! Encouraged by their collection, I went home, straight on to eBay, and bought a couple of folders containing Record Song Books from “back in the day”. The exhibition runs until the end of the month and I recommend you go along and see it. Aye, it takes you back. Wonderful.

club bookMany thanks to Jools and Paul for signing my copy of their excellent book which tells the story of everything mod in 1960s Newcastle. Wonderful! It’s a great read and takes me right back to the 60s and many of the bands I wish I had seen back in the day! Never mind I have tried to catch up since

From their website: “Through extensive interviews with the original mods and club goers of theclub signed North East, they tell us their story, a story of what it was really like to be young in those glory years of Newcastle’s musical history. Newcastle in the 1960s was known as a ‘Mod Mecca’ the book describes the mod haunts, the clubs, the scooters, the music and of course their love of clothes. Covering also Newcastle’s Beat and jazz scene and the early days of The Animals. But above all this is the story of the thrill of being a teenager and of their sheer joy for life spent in a Newcastle that sadly no longer exists. For anyone who has an interest in the mod scene and of the social history of 1950s and 60s, Newcastle this book is a must.”

Seriously, Jools and Paul have put together a great concept and project which chronicles everything mod and 60s. Do visit their site there is lots going on there!

Thanks again Peter

Kula Shaker Newcastle Wylam Brewery 23 January 2023

kula tixI have wanted to see Kula Shaker for some time. When they emerged from the indie pop scene some 20 or 30 years ago, I was quite taken by their psychedelic/Indian/transcendental musical style. Imagine late 60s/early 70s Quintessence merged with Deep Purple and remnants of punk, pop and the Beatles, and you start to get the idea of the band. Now, the leader and front man of Kula Shaker is none other than Crispian Mills, son of child star, and a personal hero of mine, Hayley Mills. I still absolutely love the film Whistle down the Wind, where a group of school children find an escaped criminal in hiding and believe him to be Jesus. I still find the film mesmerising, and quite spooky in some ways. Now Crispian must’ve had quite a bizarre upbringing. Imagine having Richard Attenborough and Lawrence Olivia as family friends, coming around regularly for tea. Crazy!

kula1“One of his (Mills) earliest musical memories was “Puff, the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul and Mary, which he believes “summed up [his] childhood… However, it was hearing “You Really Got Me” by…The Kinks that inspired him to become a guitarist. “It was like walking into a temple, a moment when my life changed… Chung! This is your destiny! …I was a guitar worshipper.” Through the guitar, Mills also discovered Deep Purple, and has cited their lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore as a major influence on his style. Later, Mills started to delve deeper into psychedelic music, and spent most of his A-Level years taking LSD and listening to The Doors. … but he soon realised that drugs alone would not bring him the enlightenment he sought.“ (From Wikipedia)

So, the scene was set for quite an enlightening and bizarre evening. The venue itself was a revelation. We took a road past the Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary, up into Exhibition Park and around a meandering dark road past a lake complete with swans into an old pavilion, now the Wylam Brewery. My carer Elaine and I were led into the hall, at the back of the crowd, surrounded by a full hall of a younger group (at least compared to what I am used to) of say 30/40-year-olds some clearly off their heads on drink, weed or acid. The kind people let us through down to the front, towards the side of the stage (there are some advantages of being in a wheelchair!) We were just in time to catch the last song of support act.kula wrist

After a short wait, at 9 PM prompt, Kula Shaker took the stage emerging from a mist of dry ice, everyone twirling their hands and fingers to the psychedelic vibe. We were situated towards the left of the stage right behind the keyboard player who had the most wonderful long, perfectly straight, mane of blonde hair, playing (what else but) a 60s Hammond organ. Over to his right we could catch glimpses of Crispian playing a series of Fender Stratocasters, each heavily painted with multicoloured psychedelic swirls, jumping in the air, shaking his head and blonde tassels of hair and waving his hand in suitable twirls. The songs were a mix of acid-tinged music, Indian influenced psychedelia, and heavy rock. Perfect.

kula2I even recognised several songs: the John Lennon classic “Gimme Some Truth” the lyrics spat out by Mills with appropriate venom, the Kula Shaker signature tune, “Tattva” and the Deep Purple (originally Joe South) classic and closer “Hush”. Along the way we were treated to songs with references to the 60s: “Grateful When Your Dead” and “Jerry Was There” (Jerry Garcia?) A compelling and quite bizarre take on “Ginger Bread Man” (yes, the lyrics were actually “Run, Run As Fast As You Can, You Can’t Catch Me, I’m the Ginger Bread Man”: just wonderful). Add some appropriate namedropping. Crispian: “I stole the next riff from George Harrison. I rang George one evening (you would, wouldn’t you, after all your mum is Hayley Mills) “Hey George, I hope you don’t mind I borrowed that riff from you”. George: “of course that’s okay, Crispian, but actually it’s not my riff, it’s Eric’s (Clapton, of course). Surreal., Then they were gone. It was almost 10:30 PM.

kula setThey were soon back for a trio of encores concluded with the wonderful “Govinda”, very similar to a Quintessence song of the same name. I loved every minute of it. Then things started to get crazy. A friendly guy, completely off his head, got me a set list (see image) from the stage. He then went on to offer to steal a guitar pedal for me.” No!” I shouted. He persisted “hey man, it’s cool”. I replied “it’s okay, I’m cool. The set list is just fine for me”. The guy gave me a couple of peace signs and disappeared into the crowd. Elaine and I made a hasty retreat through the crazy throng and got into our taxi, which was there waiting for us. The craziness continued, we drove through a tunnel where groups of young people were congregated making fires and settling themselves down for the evening, a couple of guys entertaining them with fire sticks which they were twirling around their heads.

I got home wondering if this had all really happened or whether I had somehow had acid strategically placed into my medication. But no, it was all real. Elaine and I caught up on Coronation Street and a Vivian Westwood documentary I had recorded. I soon drifted into a psychedelic sleep. “It’s All Too Much” as the Beatles said. “The Walrus was Paul”.

Setlist: Hey Dude; Sound of Drums; I’m Against it; Infinite Sun; Gaslight; Temple of Everlasting Light; Grateful When Your Dead; Jerry Was There; Gimme Some Truth; Ginger Bread Man; Beautiful Dreamer; Into The Deep; Waves; Taxes; Narayana; 302; Tattva; Hush.

Encore: Gokula; Great Hosanna; Govinda

Rod Stewart Newcastle Arena 9 July 2019

Rod the Mod goes to Vegas and back to Newcastle.

rod 2019 tixI continue my search for the old Rod (the Mod) Stewart, as I have previously written about. Whatever twists and turns there have been in Rod’s career I know that deep inside of the guy there remains a 60s and 70s core that loves rock ‘n’ roll and soul music, and that his voice is still as gravelly, soulful and amazing as ever. And sometimes, in every concert I go to, that mod soul singer who loved Sam Cooke, the Isley Bros and football comes out, the years roll back, and all is good in the world again. I guess you realise by now that Rod is one of my heroes, and always will be. Period.

Well this time Rod has been showing off his wares in no other than Caesars Palace Las Vegas. I have spoken to two people who went to Vegas on holiday and went to see his show. One is a good friend and the other is one of my regular taxi drivers. They were both totally knocked out by the songs, his voice, the performance, the stage show, the band, the singers and the spectacle of it all.

ROD 2019 PIXAnd now Rod returns back to Newcastle, bringing some of Vegas with him. This is a big Vegas type show. The screens are massive, the videos superb, the backing band top notch and the girl singers range from rock through soul through gospel. This is a number 1 spectacle, with our number 1 hero out front. My carer Jackie loved it and we were both totally knocked out.

So Rod starts by taking us back to his roots with Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party”, followed by a few well-known hits performed in full Vegas style and then….Bam!….Its Faces time and “Stay with Me”, coming surprisingly early in the set, but very welcome nonetheless. A few more songs and another one I love “The Killing of Georgie”. A few more standards and then back to the roots we go again with Etta James, via Chicken Shack, and “I’d Rather Go Blind”. The old ones keep coming: “Reason to Believe” (bringing back memories of seeing Tim Harden so many years ago at Sunderland Empire), “Dirty Old Town” the Ewan MacColl classic. A few more songs and we are reaching the end. Rod leaves the stage while the band perform “She Works Hard for the Money”. Rod returns and sings “Baby Jane”, which I still love, “Sailing” (sorry Rod but I never did like this one), “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” (do you really still have to sing this Rod?) And finally “Maggie May” and all is good again! I go home happy.

rod 2019 progSo once again Rod delivered. This time in true Las Vegas style. Until next time.

Setlist: Having a Party (Sam Cooke); Young Turks; Some Guys Have All the Luck; Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright); Stay With Me (Faces); Forever Young; Rhythm of My Heart; The Killing of Georgie; It Takes Two; Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me); I’d Rather Go Blind (Etta James); Rollin’ and Tumblin’; Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero (band only); Grace; Reason to Believe (Tim Hardin); Dirty Old Town (Ewan MacColl); I Don’t Want to Talk About It; Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison); She Works Hard for the Money (Donna Summer; band only); Baby Jane; Sailing; Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?; Maggie May

 

Ian Hunter and the Rant Band Whitley Bay Playhouse 3 July 2017

In Seventy-one all the people come
Bust a few seats but it’s just in fun
Take the Mick out of Top of the Pops
We play better than they do…..

Do you remember the Saturday gigs
We do, we do
Do you remember the Saturday gigs
We do, we do” (Saturday Gigs, Mott the Hoople, 1974)

ian hunter‘Unter is back in town. The guy who has given me so many wonderful memories over the years. The guy who has rock and roll in his blood. Forgive me while I reminisce a little, but seeing Ian Hunter brings so many memories flooding back of so many happy, happy days and nights. I owe this guy so much.

This is the guy who had long curly ginger locks and his iron cross guitar and sang about “Walking with a Mountain” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen” and blew us away with proper rock long before “Dudes” and who I saw at Sunderland Mecca with a young up-and-coming prog band called Genesis as support. Who caused so much mayhem at Newcastle Mayfair that the bouncers brought Alsatian dogs in to control the crowd. This is the guy who brought his Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus to Newcastle City Hall with none other than Max Wall as support. This is the guy who couldn’t make his mind up whether he was Bob Dylan, Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis, when actually he was Ian Hunter and that was enough in itself. Who brought us “All the Young Dudes” and the band was reborn.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Who sang to me from the stage at the Buxton Festival about “The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” complete with grand piano and a candelabra on top at what was to be Mott’s final UK gig (I think), while I stood in the mud and the rain. Who then teamed up with his old mate Ronson for a great single “Once Bitten Twice Shy” and a great concert at the City Hall. This guy then went solo, returned to the Mayfair with a grand piano at the height of punk rock, and had the Vibrators as support. Who reformed Mott the Hoople and gave me a great night at Hammersmith Odeon sat one row behind none other than Mick Jones of the Clash, a big Mott fan. And throughout the years his passion, rock ethos, drive and love for rock remained undiminished. Sorry for my rant, but this guy is one of my heroes (as you may have gathered).

So there I was, with Alan my carer, on the end of a row near the front in my wheelchair at Whitley Bay Playhouse ready to see my hero again. The audience was a mix of ages, ranging from faces I recognise from the Mayfair in the early 70s, through punks, Mott the Hoople fans and people who just like genuine heartfelt rock. And ‘Unter delivered, again. Two hours of great rock ‘n’ roll with a band of class musicians who provide a relentless backdrop for Ian’s vocals. The hair is not quite so ginger or curly, but the voice is as strong as ever. Two songs in and we get the aforementioned “Once Bitten Twice Shy”, a string of Hunter solo songs, now becoming classics themselves, then the opening guitar of “Roll Away the Stone” blows me away as it always has done. He closes with a nudge back to the past and one of his influences Lou Reed with “Sweet Jane”. The encore includes, as it has to and should, “All the Young Dudes” and the final “Good Night Irene” which seems to have become the closer at the moment.

2017-tour-ian hunterAmazing. One of the best times I have seen him. The guy was pushing 80 at the time but still has more energy, passion and drive than many half his age. I bump into Pauline and Rob of Penetration, who are surprised to see me in my wheelchair and I explain my predicament. Another night of memories, to park in the Mott/Ian Hunter collection. Till the next time, Ian. Let’s hope it is soon.

Setlist: That’s When The Trouble Starts; Once Bitten Twice Shy; Fatally Flawed; When I’m President; Saint; The Truth, the Whole Truth, Nuthin’ but the Truth; Morpheus; Just Another Night; Fingers Crossed; All American Alien Boy; Standin’ in My Light; All the Way From Memphis; Ghosts; Roll Away the Stone; I Wish I Was Your Mother; 23A, Swan Hill; Bastard; Sweet Jane. Encore: Dandy; Long Time; Life / All the Young Dudes / Goodnight Irene

Many thanks to Jim Summaria for allowing use of his image of Ian Hunter through Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

RIP Maggie, Laura’s lovely guide dog

maggieToday is a sad day, but also one filled with happy memories. Laura’s much loved guide dog, friend and companion passed away today, at the ripe old age of 14. She was a friend of all the family and accompanied us to many events and special occasions. Like all of us, she lived a full life; one of joy and so many special moments. She is one of the few dogs who has walked through the fields of the Glastonbury Festival, and walked across the stage at a graduation ceremony. She will be within our thoughts and hearts forever.

We wrote a story about Maggie’s adventures at Glastonbury; for a local magazine. You can see it below.

Maggie The Guide Dog’s Glastonbury Diary

maggieglastoHi. I am Maggie. I am a working dog, and I help my owner Laura, to get around. In 2011 she took me along to Glastonbury. I didn’t enjoy the long journey in the camper-van, but I had a great time when we got there. I didn’t see many of the bands, but I enjoyed listening to the music from my spot in the campsite. I particularly enjoyed Paul Simon; here I am listening to him. The mud was a bit of a problem for me, so I decided I would let Laura go without me in 2013. Laura will be here again in 2014, but I’ve arranged to stay at home with a friend. I don’t have a website, but Laura’s dad Peter keeps a daily blog of the concerts he has been to. You might like to have a look at it:
https://vintagerock.wordpress.com/
Enjoy the festival
Maggie Dog

 

Ian Anderson / Jethro Tull Newcastle City Hall 5 April 2018

“The train it won’t stop going
No way to slow down” (Locomotive Breath, Jethro Tull, 1971)

tull 50th tixThe sixth formers would carry LPs under their arms to school. They played them in a little room upstairs in the dining hall at lunchtime. Sometimes, if I was lucky, they allowed me upstairs to their elite “Record Club” to listen to their new, magical, psychedelic sounds. The records they carried were badges of honour and included Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown album, Cream’s Wheels of Fire, Tyrannosaurus Rex’s My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair, But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows, and Jethro Tull’s This Was. This Was included a mix of blues, rock and strange flute playing. A year or two later, I am sitting in my mate’s house and we are playing Jethro Tull’s second album Stand Up, with it’s great sleeve which opened out to a set of pop-ups of the band. How cool we felt. Then, in 1971, we all went to see Jethro Tull at Sunderland Empire. Happy days and magical memories. The die was cast. We were all Jethro Tull fans for life.

Roll-on 50 years. Only Ian Anderson remains from that original band and he is touring as Ian Anderson plays Jethro Tull, The 50th Anniversary Tour. Wonderful. What’s not to like. Why not go along and reminisce with old friends, listen to some old sounds, because let’s face it, we all like “Living in the Past”.

The current lineup of “Jethro Tull” is Ian Anderson – vocals, flute, acoustic guitar; David Goodier – bass; John O’Hara – keyboards, accordion, vocals; Scott Hammond – drums; and Florian Opahle – electric and acoustic guitars.

tull 50th progSure, Ian’s voice is not what it was and the old coat is gone, but the flute playing seems great and the songs remain as soulful, passionate, poignant and intriguing as ever. So we start at the very beginning (a very good place to start) with “My Sunday Feeling”; Track 1 Side 1 of This Was. This is followed by their first minor chart hit “Love Story”, followed by “A Song for Jeffrey” which is well known to all of us from the cheap compilation album You Can All Join In. Pure magic. The years disappear and the old songs flow over us all. These are followed by other classics from the first couple of albums. My favourites are the aforementioned “Living in the Past”, the magical flute solo which is “Bouree” and the spooky, almost scary “Witches Promise” bringing back memories of Ian’s wide-eyed madness on Top of the Pops (and didn’t our parents disapprove of him!). Set 1 closes with “Cross Eyed Mary”.

After a short interval Ian and the band return to treat us to excerpts from Thick As a Brick and A Passion Play. Then we have a run through the 70s albums moving into more more folk rock territory including “Songs from the Wood” and the Christmas song “Ring out, Solstice Bells”. Set 2 closes with a tale of that seedy tramp “Aqualung”. The encore is, as usual these days, “Locomotive Breath”. And then it is over. We quickly chat with old friends again and then go our separate ways. Until next time. Of course it will never be the same, but Ian Anderson did the Tull legacy proud, and gave us all a night to remember. Happy days.

Setlist. Set 1: My Sunday Feeling; Love Story; A Song for Jeffrey; Some Day the Sun Won’t Shine for You; Dharma for One; Living in the Past; A New Day Yesterday; Bourrée in E minor (Johann Sebastian Bach); With You There to Help Me / The Witch’s Promise; My God; Cross-Eyed Mary. Set 2: Thick as a Brick (excerpt); A Passion Play (excerpt); Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young to Die; Songs From the Wood; Ring Out, Solstice Bells; Heavy Horses; Farm on the Freeway; Aqualung. Encore: Locomotive Breath

The Pretenders Newcastle City Hall 30 September 2017

“I’m special, so special,” (Brass in Pocket, The Pretenders, 1979)

pretenders tixChrissie Hynde is as sassy, soulful, passionate and uncompromising as ever. No longer a young rocker who grew out of punk, new wave, working in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop in the Kings Road, who almost married Sid Vicious, and did marry her hero Ray Davies, Hynde still strikes a commanding pose and comes armed with a set of rocky, jangling songs which are as relevant and as much fun as they ever were.

Laura, Jackie my carer and I went along to the City Hall looking forward to hearing a string of hits, some great rock ‘n’ roll, and seeing the living icon that is Chrissie Hynde. The girls sitting beside us were a little worse for wear, singing along with every song and every now and then threatening to fall on top of, and flatten, Laura. All the ingredients for a fun night out, on the town (or should I say “the toon”).

And a fun night it was. The Pretenders treated us to a set of new songs, old hits, Chrissie Hynde solo tunes and more. After a couple of songs I didn’t recognise the old classics started to emerge: “Message of Love”, the exquisite “Talk of the Town” and then we were back to the start and “Kid” with images of the young Chrissie being soaked in beer thrown over her by members of the crowd at the Mayfair in the late 70s flashing through my mind.

The band may be different with only Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers remaining from the original Pretenders but the sound and the songs remain the same. The new members bring new life and continue the soulful, edgy, rock ‘n’ roll that is The Pretenders.

pretenders prog“Don’t Get Me Wrong” was followed by “I’ll Stand by You” and then after a few more songs my mind was flashing back again to the first time I saw the band in the Mayfair with the Kinks classic “Stop Your Sobbing”. “Back on the Chain Gang” took us towards the end.

But we knew it wasn’t really going to be the end. The encore included the classic ballad “I Go to Sleep” and finished with (of course, what else but) “Brass in Pocket” taking me back to a Friday night in Newcastle Polytechnic Students Union, the week the song was number one in the charts, standing on the tables with Marie, while the place erupted around us. It was so many years ago and yet in many ways it seems only like yesterday.

The girls next to us finally fell on the floor. We went out into the cold night and got in to our respective taxis, Laura back to her house in Newcastle and Jackie and I back to Sunderland. Happy days.

Setlist: Alone; Gotta Wait; Message of Love; Talk of the Town; Down the Wrong Way; Let’s Get Lost;   Kid; Private Life; Don’t Get Me Wrong; I’ll Stand by You; Night in My Veins; Don’t Cut Your Hair;  Boots of Chinese Plastic; Hymn to Her; Break Up the Concrete; Stop Your Sobbing; Adding the Blue;  Back on the Chain Gang; Mystery Achievement. Encore: I Go to Sleep; Middle of the Road; Thumbelina; Brass in Pocket

 

 

Roy Harper Sage Gateshead 20 March 2019

roy 1969And O how the sea she roars with laughter
And howls with the dancing wind
To see my stupid poetry burbling” (McGoohan’s Blues, Roy Harper, 1969)

The first time I saw Roy Harper in concert was in 1969. I was 12 years old and Roy was 27. Roy was just about to release Folkjokeopus his third album. The album is notable for the lengthy track “McGoohan’s Blues”, which Harper states was “inspired by actor Patrick McGoohan’s depiction of the establishment rebel in his TV series, The Prisoner“.

Here I am 50 years later seeing Roy once more. Roy is a sprightly 77-year-old and I am 62 years old.

The advertisement for the Sage concert stated: “Renowned folk singer-songwriter Roy Harper is celebrating 50 years of classic tracks including the famed epic ‘McGoohan’s Blues’. In 2013 his album Man & Myth was lauded by press across the UK. Uncut said “Harper’s first album in 13 years is a magnificent, ambitious rejuvenation.” Harper will joined by Bill Shanley and an ensemble of musicians.

HARPER TIXOn why he has decided to tour again, Harper said: “Partly because many of the things I wrote about in McGoohan’s Blues in 1968 are still very relevant 50 years later, and partly because my third record was a watershed moment in my recording life, it’s been long in my mind that I should dust it off and bring it on tour again.”

The concert was in two sets and drew from throughout Roy’s extensive back catalogue. Roy was on good form, chatting with the audience as usual; although he didn’t get quite as much banter (or heckling) in response as he usually does. His voice remains strong and soulful and his passion and commitment is as undiminished as ever. Roy was accompanied by a small string section which gave an added texture to the songs.

So we were treated to some of my favourite Harper songs such as “Don’t You Grieve”, the classic “Another Day” and “Highway Blues”. Roy closed the set with “When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease”. The encore was a more recent song “I Loved My Life”. It was great to see Roy again, still touring and still a delight. I would love to have heard him Roy-Harpersing “I Hate the White Man” but, hey, you can’t always get what you want. Jackie my carer is now a Roy Harper convert, which is great. Me, I had a lovely evening, spent with an old friend.

Setlist. Set 1: Hors d’oeuvres; Time Is Temporary; Don’t You Grieve; Man In the Glass Cage; McGoohan’s Blues. Set 2: Another Day; Drawn to the Flames; The Wolf at the Door; Highway Blues; Hallucinating Light; When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease. Encore: I Loved My Life

John Mayall Sage Gateshead 14 November 2017

mayall tix

The Sage advertised the concert: “Pioneer of blues music John Mayall played at the Sage Gateshead in Sage Hall One (the large hall) with special guest The Buddy Whittington Band on the 14th November 2017. Considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time this was not a show to miss.”

And you can’t get much more of a pioneer than the father of British blues himself, Mr John Mayall. Mayall is a living legend and deserves much respect; particularly for those classic 60s albums by the Blues Breakers featuring Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor and many other legendary guitarists, bass players and drummers. Respect. Respect that the guy is still out there, continuing to play his craft at the age of 84 at the time of this concert, just as his influences, the old blues men continued to play until a ripe old age.

This time round, John Mayall is supported by none other than Buddy Whittington, one of his previous bandmates, and an excellent guitarist in the style of Eric Clapton and Peter Green. The John Mayall band is a stripped down version; a three-piece with Mayall on vocals, harmonica, keyboards and guitar, along with Jay Davenport on drums and Greg Rzab on bass.

mayall progThe set comprises several blues standards, and songs from Mayall’s extensive back catalogue. The sound is somewhat laid-back, in the style of a Chicago blues combo with each excellent instrumentalist being given the chance to highlight their skill in an extended solo; including electric piano and harmonica solos by Mayall himself. That is the strength of Mayall. The man comes over as modest, happy and content to allow his band members to flourish, shine and excel and then move on to further their own successful careers; from Clapton onwards and Buddy Whittington himself being a recent example. There are quite a few songs I recognise and several I don’t; nonetheless I enjoyed the set, as did my carer Jackie, and continue to marvel at the legend that is John Mayall. His tiny guitar, which I have seen many times over the years, never ceases to fascinate me. Mayall finished the set with, what else but, his own standard “Room to Move” with much harmonica excellence on display. Long may he continue. Respect. Until the next time.

Setlist (something like): I’m a Sucker for Love; Talk About That; Checkin’ Up on My Baby; Not at Home; Help Me Baby; Do I Please You; Mother-In-Law Blues; That’s All Right; Movin’ Groovin’ Blues;     Driftin’ Blues; California. Encore: Room to Move