When my sister and I were small, Mum and Dad would occasionally leave us with grandparents and go to concerts. At seven, all I knew of these events was that they were a long distance away, a singer performed songs to people there, and I was never allowed to go. That last part really stung. I remember my parents returning from a Belinda Carlisle concert, effervescent with excitement, blue tacking a large poster to our bedroom wall. The poster was pretty cool, but not as good as being there.
At last, when we were around ten years old, they took us to our very first concert. Debbie Harry. I loved Blondie! It was going to be great! Sadly, it turned out to be a huge disappointment. My sister fell asleep after the first half an hour and by the interval, much of the audience had walked out. I had lost my concert virginity and in the cold light of day, it hadn’t been worth it.
I’m pleased to say my experiences after that were generally better. I’m ruling out the Blue concert my sister dragged me to. Definitely NOT my shot of tequila! Eventually, I found my ‘thing’ – singers from the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. My parents had the good sense to raise me on the best kinds of music from years gone by, everything from punk to rock ‘n roll to country to glam rock. These were the years where musicians were artists, writing the words and music, collaborating with each other, playing instruments, chasing the muse rather than the celebrity.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to see some brilliant performances, but I’m always wanting more, so when I heard the exceptional Roy Wood was coming to Bournemouth, I absolutely had to go. I was through the roof excited. This is the man behind more songs than you might know, as he was not only the lead singer of Wizzard (the band who brought you ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day) and The Move, but he was also one of the founding members of the great Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). I couldn’t wait!!
The concert itself was fantastic. Roy Wood’s on-stage presence is so relaxed and natural you almost forget about the hundreds of other people in the audience – it’s more akin to being in the company of a favourite uncle. Uncle Wood. Aww! His voice is virtually unchanged since his days of ‘Flowers in the Rain’, and is perfectly supported by his gutsy backup singer and his band – four saxophonists, one drummer and a keyboard player, all of whom are immensely talented and well chosen. On that stage together they are all either having a brilliant time or they’re very drunk. Either way it was an entertaining show and a lot of fun!
Now, all through my childhood, I endured my parents’ taunts of ‘Ooh, I’ve met him!’ whenever an actor/actress/singer appeared on the screen. Okay, it wasn’t every time but it was often enough. And they hadn’t just met them. They’d dated them, played football with them, shared a pint with them. I wished I could have similar experiences. So, when the concert ended, I marched, parents in tow, to the stage door and waited. It was very cold and as time passed, a crowd gathered, then grew. After 45 minutes I was debating leaving when one of the saxophonists approached the barrier and invited Mum and me for a drink!
THIS NEVER HAPPENS TO ME!!!!!!
Well, we sat with the band at a picnic bench outside the theatre, me getting pleasantly drunk on wine (two glasses, I’m a cheap date), provided by Boysey, the aforementioned musician. They were some of the nicest guys you could hope to meet, with the filthiest sense of humour and I loved them all immediately. We talked for quite some time and when Roy Wood himself came out, they kindly made sure we got photos and his autograph before they zoomed off in the direction of Birmingham.
It was one of the best concerts I’ve been to and it was definitely one of the most fun nights out I’ve had in a long time, so thank you so much to Roy Wood, Boysey, and the rest of the lads. You’re a lovely bunch!