Bradford, Pennington's Live, 4th April 2003
Long Cool Woman / I Canít Let Go / Sorry Suzanne / Yes I Will / Look Through Any Window / On A Carousel / Just One Look / Bus Stop / The Baby / Iím Alive / Listen To Me / Gasoline Alley Bred / Blowing In The Wind / Carrie Anne / Stop Stop Stop / Air That I Breathe / I Can Hear The Grass Grow / Tiger Feet / He Ainít Heavy / Itís In Every One Of Us
I had been a little doubtful about this gig, as I know many of the Fan Club were, but for me it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable of the tour to date.
Although, in one of the more troubled areas of Bradford, the gig itself turned out to be not only another musical treat but an opportunity to step back into my teens, toss off my high-heels and dance. This made a pleasant change from sitting passively in my seat, as is customary in UK theatres.
Pennington's is best described as a nightclub, very sixties in style, but up to modern standards. It was split into three levels. The stage, dance floor complete with mirror ball and some seating, and tables round the edge on the ground level. Bars and more seating on the second and third levels, as far as I could see, but I never left the dance area all night.
The stage was quite low and this gave the whole thing that very intimate sixties feel with performers and punters being in close contact. Close enough for Carl to manage to bounce the microphone stand on my head whilst trying to encourage some poor unsuspecting punter behind me to sing along with him!
It was a shorter set than usual, the band performing about an hour and fifteen minutes. But it included all the standard favourites such as Carousel, Sorry Suzanne, Carrie Anne, Air, Heavy, Blowin', The Baby, Bus Stop, Tiger Feet and I Can Hear The Grass Grow.
I think for me the highlight of the evening was Carl inviting Christine on to a side podium of the stage to dance to Stop, Stop, Stop. Being the good Aussie sport we have all come to know her to be, up she climbed. Unfortunately, her performance was cut short by an over-zealous bouncer. However, Ray stepped into the spot and finished, bass in hands, for her. In fact, our Mr Styles was not going to be kept at the back that night and made frequent visits to Alan's microphone, so as not to be left out of this very different experience. This was further complicated by Ian who kept also popping to the front or standing in Ray place, when he was missing. The whole thing was a bit of a Rock 'n Roll musical chairs.
Tiger Feet was an absolute treat tonight, Tony flatly refusing to 'headbang', although I did see his feet move just a little; nearly got him, Ray!
The chance to actually dance to the band, as in days of old, was a real treat, bringing back floods of memories of the old Mecca dance hall days. It was the closest to time travel into the past that I think this lady is likely to get in her lifetime. Forty years instantly dispelled, a teenager once again. The crowd lapped up song after song and the dance floor was full. The band seemed to have a sense of the occasion also. Maybe the closeness of the audience and the fact that the music was being transformed into dance rather than passive listening seemed to spur them on. The tambourine was being used by various members of the band as a smiley sign; they were having fun like the rest of us. We were only lacking party poppers and balloons and it would have been a real party; but then they are still going strong after forty years. That is something to party over, don't you think?
Review by Carol Borrington
Photo by Helen Macdonald
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