Royal Concert hall, Nottingham 18 April 2019
Have we seen the end of an era… again? Fifty years on from the end of the sixties the latest Solid Silver 60s Show suggested ‘This could be The Last Time’. After 34 years on the road, truly the end of an era, this was possibly the Solid Silver 60s Show’s final visit to Nottingham. The final show of the tour would be, fittingly, at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, at the very heart of the 60s pop revolution.
The 2019 tour featured Peter Noone, Dave Berry, Brian Poole and Vanity Fair who, after their own set, provided the musical backing for the rest of the evening.
Vanity Fair opened the show with two of their best known recordings I Live For The Sun and Early In The Morning featuring the talents of their long time lead guitarist Eddie Wheeler and keyboard player Steve Oakman.
Bassist Bernie Hagley recalled what he thought should have been a hit. “Unfortunately no one bought it! Our manager said we needed a change of direction, to do a big ballad and we almost had two appearances on Top Of The Pops. It was live in those days. We turned up and knocked on the door and the concierge asked ‘What are you doing banging on the door?’ He told us all the camera men had gone on strike and they cancelled both shows!”
Better By Far was Tony Blackburn’s pick of the week but, sadly, not a commercial success. Bernie also described their manager’s other idea. “You guys need a gimmick, a cowbell and a penny whistle.” The result was their final hit Hitchin’ A Ride.
First to join Vanity Fair on stage was Brian Poole who rose to fame in 1963 with his backing group The Tremeloes. His first song was their top 10 hit Candy Man. “Roy Orbison give us that song – and it wasn’t about sweets! He asked me 20 years later ‘Did you really not know what that was about?’ When he told us it was about drugs, we were totally disgusted. So what did we do? Ask him for another!” Cue: I Want Candy.
“We were a rock and roll band and we always wanted people to dance,” he added, introducing Johnny B Goode. Brian’s set also included his solo ballad Someone Someone and the Tremeloes breakthrough hit Twist And Shout.
“I have to thank everyone for 63 years of singing these songs and for coming to see us again.” Everyone was dancing once more as Brian finished his set with their number 1 Do You Love Me?
After a short interval Vanity Fair were joined by Sheffield’s first great rock singer Dave Berry. Opening with Memphis Tennessee and Rockin’ Pneumonia, Dave continued with two of his biggest hits Little Things and Mama.
“It’s really special to be here,” Dave announced. “Peter, Brian and I have known each other for 55 years. it’s great to be on tour with them but,” ever the joker, he added “when you reach my age you don’t care who you are on tour with!” He also paid tribute to songwriter, the great, Les Reed who passed away earlier in the month.
A rock singer at heart, Dave continued with one of The Yardbirds’ early hits Heartful Of Soul, written by fellow Northerner Graham Gouldman, and his most famous song, the classic ballad The Crying Game. For this Dave and the band were joined on stage by Brian Wood whose delicate pedal steel guitar added another dimension to the performance while Dave hid behind his hands, adding the element of mystery that so characterised his performances back in the 60s. Dave left the stage to a standing ovation but returned for a well-deserved encore.
He recalled having seen Bob Dylan’s visit to Sheffield on his tour in 1965 as he introduced his version of Dylan’s wonderful Make You Feel My Love. This was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the entire evening, a breath-taking performance which brought the house to its feet.
Headlining, what may be the final Solid Silver 60s tour, was ever-bubbly Peter Noone, still looking relatively youthful under a good mop of hair. He was joined on stage by his long-time guitarist companion Vince Brescia, supplementing the great work by Vanity Fair.
As the lead singer of Manchester’s Herman’s Hermits, Peter sang some of the most memorable feel-good tunes of the 60s. With the audience having already relived some great memories Peter treated them to a selection of old favourites: I’m Into Something Good, Wonderful World, Something Is Happening and a medley of Sleepy Joe/Years May Come, Years May Go/ Sunshine Girl.
Peter reiterated how good it was to be working again with Dave Berry, Brian Poole and Vanity Fair, joking that the first time they had all been together was on Arthur Askey’s 1937 tour!
Bouncing around the stage, Peter was in great form as the hits kept coming: Oh You Pretty Things, No Milk Today (another Graham Gouldman classic), My Sentimental Friend and Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat, a huge hit in the States but only a B-side over here. There was also time for two of Herman’s Hermits more quirky numbers Mrs Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter and the music hall-style I’m Henry VIII, I Am.
No 60s evening would be complete with some reference to The Beatles and Peter produced a great version of All My Loving before closing with another Herman’s Hermits’ classic, co-written by the late Les Reed, A Kind Of Hush.
A great evening with one final twist as Dave Berry and Brian Poole returned for, what could be, The Last Time and celebrating the end of an era with a rousing version of the great Rolling Stones anthem. Will we ever see the like again?