Classic Legends of Rock Harrogate

Classic Legends of Rock Harrogate Royal Hall October 24 2008

This triple bill of classic rock bands (Groundhogs, Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash and Focus) has been playing halls around the country for the past few weeks. The nearest date to us was Harrogate so went along with my friends Norm and Will to see three bands who we all had fond memories of.

The drive to Harrogate was straightforward and we quickly found the Royal Hall which lies in the centre of town. We went straight into the venue as we wanted to be sure to catch the Groundhogs who were first up. The Royal Hall has been recently refurbished and is a lovely old theatre, where greats such as the Beatles have played over the years. After a drink in the (quite expensive) bar we took our seats for the show. I bought a poster (a bargain at £2) and we had a chat with Joanna, who admired my Split t-shirt.

First up was the Groundhogs. We are all long standing fans of Tony McPhee and the band and have seen them many many times over the years. The set was (from memory) : Eccentric Man, Garden, Split 1, Split 2, Split 4, Natchez Burning and Cherry Red. Tony’s guitar playing was pretty on form tonight, but his singing wasn’t so hot to be honest. The drummer looks new, and is adding some backing vocals. It was nice to see them again, and a good start to the show. We then went over the road to the local Wetherspoons for a quick drink between the sets. Norm and Will had a word with Tony; shook his hand and congratulated him on a good gig.

Next up was Martin Turner’s version of Wishbone Ash. This was the first time that we had seen this band, although Will and I had seen Andy Powell’s Wishbone Ash a couple of times lately and we all three had fond memories of seeing the original band in their 70s heyday. The band played a set of classic Ash songs; and did them spot on. Martin looked great; it made us all think how great it would be if the original band were to regroup (probably not likely). The set was : The King Will Come, Warrior, Throw Down the Sword, Phoenix, Living Proof, Blowing Free, Jailbait. Back to Wetherspoons.

Focus closed the show. We all knew less Focus tracks than the other bands, but we were looking forward to hearing Hocus Pocus, Sylvia etc. Thijs Van Leer is a great showman, and a pretty crazy guy; the young guitarist is great and played Jan Akkerman’s guitar part perfectly.
A pretty good set which sent everyone home happy.

After some chips at the local chippy we made the drive up the A1 which was pretty clear all the way. A good gig; all enjoyed it.

Groundhogs :
Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash :
Focus :

my ticket

my ticket

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