Our First Club Night - June 2006
The hair, in some cases, may be greyer - possibly even thinner - the figure may, in some cases, be fuller - and the trousers may not be quite as tight - but be in no doubt - these guys can still turn it up ............ and turn it on !.
The inaugural meeting of Vintage Sixties Live got under way on the hottest night of the year with an encouraging attendance of over twenty "turns" and even during the official welcome and introductory remarks from the two organisers, Alan Leightell and Alan Prudhoe, it was evident that the dedication and enthusiasm required those forty odd years ago to work seven nights a week, fifty two weeks of the year in the clubs of the north-east, was still there in abundance - as was the wit and humour.
After the formalities were completed and old acquaintances renewed - and some new ones made - it was time to confront the burning question of the evening.
The talk had been talked - but could the walk be walked?
Could the old "turns" still hack it after all these years?
There was tension and excitement in the air as Alan Leightell, who had obviously drawn the short straw, prepared to go on first. Pausing only briefly, for a final glance at his Bert Weedon Play-in-a-day book, he donned his trusty Fender Stratocaster to start the ball rolling. Supported only by a backing tape he launched into the Shadow's version of Riders in the Sky followed by the old favourite Atlantis. Any fears that the excesses of the last few years, during which he had fallen into bad company and become a top variety agent and producer, had ruined his talent were soon convincingly allayed. The sound and technique were absolutely spot on.
Alan was then joined on stage by Robin Parkinson (former lead singer with the Astronauts). Robin was appearing in public for the first time in over 30 years and was naturally a bit apprehensive. His heart rate must have gone through the roof when it was decided to dispense with his backing tape and go "live" with a hastily recruited backing group of Alan Leightell, Stu Stalker (formerly of the Orbits and Guys and Dolls), Geoff Phillips (ex Originelles and Jerome) and Mike Morris (ex Linksmen, Astronauts, Felix Welk) . If Robin was nervous he certainly did not show it. The old vocal chords were never better as he slipped effortlessly into his rendition of the Young Ones which soon had everyone singing along.
Next up was another live band consisting of Jim Tait and Stu Stalker(both formerly with the Orbits and the Guys and Dolls) , Colin Woodland (formerly of the Del 5) and Mike Morris on drums. Following a quick "pleased to met you" (some of the guys had never met) they proceeded with Jim providing an excellent vocal performance. A request for Albatross followed, much to the surprise and consternation of Colin, who Jim designated to play the lead. The rest of the band,he told the audience would make appropriate "sea type noises". The resulting melee, whilst hilarious, failed to put Colin off his stride and he delivered a classic performance.
The tone for the rest of the evening was set. The atmosphere had to be experienced to be believed. Further enhancement was provided by the presence of Malcolm Rocks, who had been appointed official photographer and video cameraman for the evening, and seemed to be recording everyone and everything.
Next on stage was local favourite Kenny Potts, ably assisted by the Mike and Stu. It was Kenny's first time on stage for over 12 years. He gave a storming performance of the old Chuck Berry classic Johnny B Goode and, in doing so, demonstrated clearly why folks around here used to queue for hours in the Sixties to see Kenny's old group the Downbeats .
Kenny stayed on stage with Mike and Stu, kindly providing the backing to the old Stones' rocker Route 66 sung by Alan Prudhoe who later thanked Kenny saying," I've been waiting forty years to do that"
It was time for another couple of instrumentals, this time provided by Derek Lenaghan, a member of the Tyneside Shadows Club and lifelong fan of Geordie legends Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch. As befits his heroes Derek's performance of the Savage followed by Footapper was faultless, which is quite amazing as, although he is left handed, he plays a right-handed guitar - but he plays it UPSIDE DOWN.
By this time it was imperative to have a comfort break. The fingers and vocal chords may work as efficiently as ever but, even when you are an ex-CIU Superstar, the years take their toll on the bladder.
After the break ....... click here