PHOTOS: PAM & ADRIAN
PUBLISH DATE: 29th April 2002
Travelling in Style!
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Chris Farlowe & The Norman Beaker Band
In Hamburg, The Downtown Blues Club / April 3rd, 2002
|We set sail for Germany from the UK on the 1st April and had the pleasure of
travelling with some members of the Norman
Beaker Band. We had a good laugh on
the boat that evening, consuming a few beers and witnessing some unusual entertainment
from Boris (the Magician) and his
cucumber! Then it was time to retire
to our cabins for our beauty sleep!
A bite to eat & drink in Hamburg
|We thought at this point it would be
a good idea to check out the luxury accommodation the band were sharing! (see photo
above) John P on top bunk, below him was Paul B and in the opposite bunk was Mr
Beaker crashed out or maybe just overcome by the excitement of Boris' act.
We felt a bit cruel laughing like we did, but they took it very well and we tried not to laugh too loud as we made our way up from the bowels of the ship to our cabin on the top deck with it's sea view and en-suite bathroom etc (sorry guys).
|Early the next morning, we docked at Cuxhaven and set off in the direction of Hamburg, following
the band who were in the van (thanks Paul for not leaving us behind once, even in the
traffic chaos of Hamburg)! Thanks also to the German 'white
van man' with a heart who went out of his way to show us the way to the hotel.
So the scene is set for the first gig of a sixteen date tour and everyone is champing at the bit to get started.
The Downtown Blues
Club is tucked away in a woodland
clearing on the edge of a large park. From the outside, the building looked a bit
like the witch's cottage out of Hansel and Gretel; with a steep, gabled roof and latticed
windows. It didn't resemble at all how you would expect a blues club in a big
cosmopolitan city to look! It certainly took top prize for the pleasantest journey from
the hotel to the gig as we were able to stroll there through the park in the evening
Ahh that's better
Hi Chris, We're Over Here!
|Inside the club, Chris and the Band enjoyed an excellent meal (complete with customised 'Chris Farlowe' menus) and Pam had a huge ice cream.
The hall was quite airy and large, which is
just as well, as by the time the Norman Beaker Band started the ball rolling with a rocking' version
of, 'Option on You Baby' (from their latest CD 'Who's He Calling Me Him?'), the room was bursting at the seams. This
number features excellent keyboards from Dave Baldwin -
he is such an animated performer, it is a real pleasure to watch him play on this one.
The Beaker Band continued with the plaintive 'You Can Talk' which is also on the new CD and which surely will become a classic in the same vein as 'Break it Down' (from the CD 'Into'The Blues'). As always the Beaker Band were first-class, and got the audience in the mood for Chris' entry on stage where he started with the silky smooth, 'Blue as Blues Can Get'; a great number this one for Dave Lewis to showcase his expressive sax playing style in the introduction.
|Dave Baldwin & John Price||Paul Burgess||Dave Lewis|
|The good folk of Hamburg were an appreciative and noisy bunch, most of whom had obviously
perform here the previous year. Everyone was here to enjoy themselves and
the Band responded with an energetic performance with plenty of on-stage banter and
exchanges with the audience.
Chris reminisced about his trips to Hamburg in the sixties where they looked in vain for the City called 'Ausfart' that they saw repeatedly signposted on the autobahn!! He also explained that the Beaker Band were mainly from Manchester, which he said was "like Berlin that is, Berlin in 1945!"
Highlights of the set were a really 'funky' version of Delbert McClinton's 'Shaky Ground' (the false ending always fools everyone and Chris' vocal style suits this song to perfection), 'All or Nothing' where the audience participation carried on after the song had finished, and 'Stormy Monday Blues' where the 'Adler flies on Fridays'!
Have you seen my beer?
"I'm from Manchester"
(Norman grining in background)
|'Out of Time' (well
what else) finished the set and a really deafening request from the audience for 'more'
brought them back on stage for an encore of 'Miss You Fever' and
the evening came to a 'smoochy' end with 'Loving Arms'.
As is customary, Chris and the Band came out afterwards and signed autographs and chatted to the fans that lingered.
We met quite a few people who we knew only through the website and it was really nice to put faces to emails!
In short, a great gig and an excellent start to the tour.
|Set 1||Set 1 cont||Encore|
|1. Option On You Baby
2. You Can Talk *NBB
3. Blue As Blues Can Get
4. I Don't Wanna Sing The Blues No More
5. Tough On Me, Tough On You
6. Shaky Ground
|7. The Guitar Don't Lie
8. All Or Nothing
9. Stormy Monday Blues
10. Lonesome Road
11. Handbags & Gladrags
12. Out Of Time
|13. Miss You Fever
14. In Your Loving Arms