Archive for the ‘Gilbert O’Sullivan’ Category

Gilbert O’Sullivan Newcastle City Hall 16th February 1978

Gilbert O’Sullivan Newcastle City Hall 16th February 1978
gilberttixMoving on to the letter “O”; I guess this concert could be categorised as a guilty pleasure. I’ve seen Gilbert O’Sullivan only once in concert, at Newcastle City Hall in early 1978. By then he had hit the charts several times with songs such as “Nothing Rhymed”, “Alone Again (Naturally)”, (both beautiful, classic pop tunes), “Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Day” :), “Clair”, and “Get Down”. The concert featured all of those hits and more, and was an enjoyable evening seeing a true craftsman sing some fine songs. Pop/rock band Wilder were his backing band. Wilder consisted of Bill Cuthbert on guitars, Richard Houghton on bass, Neil Carter on guitar and keyboards (Carter went on to work with UFO and Gary Moore), and Stuart Heeley on drums. Before joining O’Sullivan Wilder had been touring themselves, playing clubs and universities, and supporting various major acts (I’m sure I saw them supporting someone, but can’t remember who). The tour also featured two backing singers who were sisters: Doreen and Irene Chanter 🙂 . During the tour Gilbert also recorded a BBC television special for “Sight & Sound”. I found a flyer in my programme for a band called “Ofanchi” who I suspect were the support act. The programme starts with an alarming honest note, very different from the sort of publicity material that I usually find: “Gilbert O’Sullivan knows that he has to pick himself up off the floor and come out fighting. Every record he has put out these last 18 months has flopped and suddenly the one-time hit-maker is on the defensive.” He had just released an album “Southpaw” in the hope of regaining his (previously mega) success; the programme goes on to say: “Failure could doom him to showbusiness’s vast outer space.” gilbertprogThe programme was right in terms of hits; Gilbert featured in the UK top 20 once more when “What’s In A Kiss?” reached No. 19 in 1980. However, he has continued to record and recently started to tour again, and remains popular and successful. He had a well publicised dispute with his manager and record company over royalties. Eventually, in May 1982, the court found in O’Sullivan’s favour, describing him as a “patently honest and decent man”, and awarded him £7 million in damages. The programme shows Gilbert to be a private, shy man who: “does not drink alcohol or smoke…never swears..he walks to church on a Sunday because he has never learned to drive the three cars he owns.” In recent years O’Sullivan has been enjoyed a resurgence in success, and people are starting to reevaluate his songs, and realise how great a writer he is. Morrissey has sung “Nothing Rhymed” in concert, and on a recent visit to Dublin, Gilbert played to sell out crowds for almost a week at the Olympia Theatre. Another artist for me catch again next time he visits (which he has done a couple of times recently). Oh, and tickets for that concert in 1978 cost all of £1 (!). We were sitting at the back in the cheap seats, but nonetheless I am sure prices of concert tickets have risen to silly prices these days, way out of line with inflation. I’m going to do an analysis one day.

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