PUBLISH DATE: 29th April 2002

Travelling in Style! 

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 sunshine. 

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.

It was so crowded, there was no room for us to stand in our usual position at the front of the stage so we watched from a slightly unusual vantage point (down the left hand side of the stage) which is reflected in our unusual camera angle (below is a great photo of
Dave B's Dave B's nostrils!). 

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 seen Chris 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 custom
ary, 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 *NBB
2. You Can Talk
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