This is my birthright (I was named after one of The Shadows), and it was sold for a mess of wattage: a couple of musos in the house band are less dedicated to classic rock'n'roll than Southern boogie. It's hard, too, to discount the high-school reunion feel of the press night, as Cliff Richard watched "himself" onstage (funniest moment: actor enters as svengali Larry Parnes, to be booed loudly by ex-client Joe Brown in Row J).
It's Jack Good's party – a final cavort down the memory lane of 6-5 Special and Oh Boy! before he becomes a silent monk – and as such it probably doesn't matter that I've seen deeper acting from Zippy and Bungle. But the show is more a nostalgia trip for those who were there than a re-creation of the vibrancy for those who missed it first time; the dancing in the aisles was an enforced ritual, not a spontaneous outburst – and it may be coincidence, but all the biggest applause was for singers now dead. Its plasticity is a weak tribute to someone whose conversion to R'n'R was a sincere revelation.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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