60s Gold Show The Sage Gateshead 31 Oct 2012
Steve Ellis, The Animals, P J Proby, Gerry and the Pacemakers
I’m not a big fan of 60s shows. They tend to be a bit too cabaret for me, but this line up was so strong I just couldn’t miss it. This time the 60s Gold tour featured two of my favourite artists: Steve Ellis and P J Proby. I’ve blogged about P J before and have the greatest respect for the man; his voice is astounding and he is one of the best performers I have ever seen. But tonight I was particularly looking forward to seeing Steve Ellis who I haven’t see since the 70s when he fronted Widowmaker, along with Ariel Bender. To me Steve is still the cheeky young cocky cockney mod who exploded on my TV screen on Top of the Pops and blew me away with his performance of Everlasting Love in Love Affair all those years ago.
The show was introduced by compere Ally Bally (told you these shows are cabaret) and Steve Ellis was first up, backed by The Pacemakers. Steve looks great; from where I was sitting I swear he looked no different to how he did in the 60s. He still sports some pretty sharp gear, very much the mod, and his vocals were really strong. His performance was great, but I felt he could deliver so much more. He has one of the best soul voices, and commands respect for keeping the mod flag flying. I’d love to see him do a full set, as I know he performs soul classics as well as the Love Affair hits. For me, Steve Ellis is up there with Steve Marriott, and other 60s mod legends. Setlist: Day without love; Bringing on back the good times; All or nothing (dedicated to Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane); a version of The Beatles’ Please please me which was performed as a slow ballad; Rainbow valley; Everlasting love.
Ally Bally returned to tell us some facts about 1963, such as our favourite TV show at the time was Steptoe and Son. He then introduced The Animals. I’ve seen this version of the band a few times now and they do a very respectable job of playing the old hits. The band features original drummer John Steel and keyboard player Micky Gallagher who replaced Alan Price in 1965. Singer and frontman Peter Barton has a deep voice which sounds a lot like Eric Burdon and does justice to the songs. Setlist: Baby let me take you home; It’s my life; I put a spell on you; Bring it on home to me; Don’t bring me down; Don’t let me be misunderstood; We’ve gotta get out of this place; House of the rising sun. After the interval it was P J Proby’s turn to take the stage. P J always puts on a strong show, and tonight was no exception. He was backed by the Pacemakers, along with a sax player. Setlist: Price of love; My love; Hold me; Three steps to heaven; If I can dream; The night has a thousand eyes; Somewhere. Ally Pally then returned with more facts from 1963. Did you know that Dr Who first appeared on our TV screens during that year? Or that a new Ford Cortina would cost you £670? As I said earlier, I’d come along largely to see Steve and P J, but was pleasantly surprised by Gerry Marsden. I’ve seem him once before on a 60s show, around 20 years ago, and also enjoyed him on that occasion. He really is a total pro, and his old hits still sound good. Setlist: How do you do; I’m the one; The way you look tonight; It’s gonna be alright; The rose (the Bette Midler song); Midnight hour (sung by the bass player); I like it; Don’t let the sun catch you crying (just beautiful; a classic and one of my all time favourite songs); Shot of Rhythm and blues; Ferry cross the mersey; You’ll never walk alone (lots of crowd singing along, and arm swaying). All in all this was a good evening with some top class performers, who still know how to entertain. And Steve the mod is still a cool guy. On my way out I bought a great psych/mod repro poster from a 60s Love Affair gig, and signed by Steve for £7. Bargain!
Archive for the ‘P J Proby’ Category
60s Gold Show The Sage Gateshead 31 Oct 2012
One Night of Elvis with Lee Memphis King & P J Proby Sunderland Empire 3 Feb 2011
This was an Elvis tribute show starring a guy called Lee Memphis King. I wouldn’t normally choosie to go along to an Elvis show; however the added attraction of my old hero P J Proby as special guest tempted me. Marie also (somewhat suprisingly) quite fancied coming and went along to the Empire theatre and bought two tickets for the show.
Come the night we took our seats in the circle of the Empire. The theatre was by no means full, but a respectably sized crowd of Elvis (and P J Proby?) fans had turned out on a very wet and windy night to see the show. The show started with a few songs from the main attraction Lee Memphis King who does a pretty mean Elvis impersonation. He soon introduced P J Proby who came on stage to a great reception from the crowd. P J has, of course, been in the press of late because of his legal problems relating to benefit claims, which he mentioned a couple of times, laughing it off as a joke. He performed a series of Elvis songs including Are you Lonesome Tonight, How great though art and Lawdy Miss Claudy. His voice is still good, but didn’t sound as strong as last time I saw him a few years ago. To be honest I don’t think P J was on top form, forgetting his words to one song and having to start it again. Still it was good to see the great man again; you have to admire him for still going out there are treading the boards at his age (he’s 72).
Marie and I beat a retreat to a local hostelry at the interval (sorry Lee Memphis).
P J Proby
South Shields Customs House 27 March 2008
P J Proby is the man. Always has been, always will be. It may not be cool to like him these days, and it probably never was, but he has a voice like no other. Over the years I’ve been to see many great male rock singers: Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers, Joe Cocker, Stevie Marriot, Terry Reid, Arthur Brown, Frankie Miller, Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, Chris Farlowe ; but to me P J Proby stands apart from all them. This guy has no fear; go to youtube and watch some of those old videos of him in the 60s and you’ll see what I mean.
Its great to see that he’s still going strong and out there. In fact he’s playing more in the UK now than he ever did since the 60s. He out there playing at local theatres and on some 60s package tours but he’s still much more than a revival act.
Norm and I went along to the Customs House which is a smallish (4oo seat) theatre in South Shields to see P J. We arrived just as he had taken the stage; the place was packed and everyone was already up on their feet. The set was a mixture of ballads, Elvis and Johnny Cash songs; and his own hits from the 60s.
The Johnny Cash set saw P J singing Jackson and Daddy Sang Bass along with his wife. His version of Elvis’ American Trilogy has to be seen to be believed and he still manages to hit all the notes in Maria. Finished off with Hold Me which is still a great rock song, and leaves the crowd screaming for more.
You could buy a DVD of the show from the merchandise stall straight after the show. I settled for a signed magazine with a great write up about Proby’s wild life. A great night; if you get the chance to go and see this guy; do it; you won’t be disappointed.