AUTHOR: PAM HENDERSON
PUBLISH DATE: 14th March 2004

THE HITMAKERS TOUR - 5TH MARCH 2004 - ROYAL SPA CENTRE, LEAMINGTON SPA

John & I arrived at the venue early in the hope of meeting up with Norman before the concert. We spotted Cliff Bennett and Chris Farlowe through the stage door, managed to get Chris’ attention and he came and said hello. It wasn’t long before Norman came up from the dressing room and we joined him and Dave Dee in the Newbold Bar across the road for a drink and a chat, after which we made our way back to the theatre to purchase a programme and Chris’ new CD “Rock’n’Roll Soldier – Anthology 1970-2004” before taking our seats in the front row!

The Norman Beaker Band for this tour consisted of Norman on guitar, Dave – keyboards, Paul – drums, Damian – sax, Russell Milton (who plays in Damian’s band Akasha) on bass, and Bob Lovett from the Rebel Rousers on trumpet.

Chris was the compere for the evening and first introduced Cliff Bennett. He sang ‘Knock On Wood, ‘One Way Love’ and then asked the audience if we knew what the B-side of that single was; he said the prize was dinner with Chris Farlowe but unfortunately I didn’t know – in fact, no-one did! It was ‘Slow Down’ which he sang followed by ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’. He gave a terrific performance even if he did have to take a short break between songs to get his breath back and, as he said, to wait for ‘the lights to come back on’!

Dave Dee took us upto the interval with
‘Legend Of Xanadu’, ‘Hold Tight’, ‘Zabadak’ and ‘Bend It’ and also included a medley of ‘In Dreams’, ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘Needles & Pins’.

During the break we renewed acquaintances with Bob from the Rebel Rousers and were introduced to Russell Milton, the bass player, at the bar.

Chip Hawkes opened the second half of the show with a cover of Soul Asylum’s ‘Runaway Train’ from a new album which also features the other artists in the show. This was followed by the Tremeloes hits ‘Even The Bad Times Are Good’ & ‘(Call Me) Number One’, and Dave Dee joined him for ‘Silence Is Golden’ as a tribute to the late Alan Blakely. He also sang a song from a new album which he said will be out either early summer, mid summer or even Christmas!

Chris Farlowe closed the show and was, of course, the highlight of the evening for us. He performed
‘Handbags & Gladrags’ (written for him by Mike D’Abo), the Small Faces hit ‘All Or Nothing’, ‘Ain’t No Big Deal’ (from the “Farlowe That!” album), ‘Standing On Shaky Ground’ and, naturally, ‘Out Of Time’.

This was an extremely enjoyable concert. Norman was thoroughly enjoying singing the ‘60s songs although he said he wasn’t old enough to remember them first time round, ha ha!!

We spoke to Chris, Cliff, Chip & Dave in the foyer afterwards and then joined Norman and the boys, along with tour manager Danny Townsend, for a drink in the Newbold Bar.

We are now looking forward to seeing Chris & the N.B.B. at Alexander’s, Chester on 1st April and meeting up with our good friends Pam & Adrian.