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Sunday 2nd May 04                                                                                                                                            

Palace Theatre, Southend.  

We were expecting a busy day on the roads down to Southend, but this was not to be, we flew down faster than ever before.  No one was safe today from the cruel piss taking which goes on in this band.  This is how most bands, I believe, deal with the boredom of motorway miles.  The unkindness to fellow band-members, was not without its productivity though - we have come up with a couple of ideas for some special features on this weblog.  So,  look out for the feature will will doing on Roy's handbag!  We will be examining in detail the contents of the bag which accompanies Roy on all excursions -  a fascinating insight!  Also...Eddies Problem Page!  Eddie will be answering all your questions about life, the universe and everything.....can't wait!
It doesn't seem 12 months since we were last at The Palace, in fact it isn't, we were there last July so its only 10 months.  It was all very familiar, a raked stage, so steep that you feel you are gonna topple over on cuban heels, and a no smoking policy which infuriates 50% of the band whilst leaving a wry smile on 25% and ambivalence on the other 25%.
We had invited Jayne and Audrey to come over early for the soundcheck, so that they could witness, first hand, the intricate and methodical way in which we prepare for our performances.  They discovered the true meaning of tedium today....  a lot of waiting round and fun poking followed by "ONE - TWO - ONE - TWO" and a few songs checking out the different configurations of instruments being used in the show.  They also discovered that Eddie still doesn't know all the words to "Dig A Pony" and that a Rickenbacker bass sounds different to a Hofner.
With the exhaustive soundchecks over, Jayne and Audrey hung out with us in the Green Room till show time and were shown, first hand, that Spinal Tap is a truly accurate representation of life with a group, as they promptly got lost a few times in the maze that IS the backstage area of any theatre.

Jaynes pic taken from row Z with a telephoto lens!!!. 

Dirk and Eddie thought it would be a great larf to swap Roys '64 hairdo for Dirks "spare", which would only have any real use if one were to be going to a fancy dress party as Bully Beef or perhaps Henry V.  (this hairpiece should, like old rusty strings and guitar leads that don't work, be thrown in the bin so that no one EVER uses them again).  The mischief makers where surprised to see Roy sitting behind the drums at show time without a care in the world.  Roy thinking that he had forgotten "Isobel" ('64 wig) just plonked on his slightly longer version, "Isobella" and thought he would get away with it.  No one seemed to mind that it was Jesse Ed Davies, and not Ringo that was behind the drums.
We ran the usual show tonight, with exception of "I've Got A Feeling", which we dropped due to an after-shave incident last week....  don't ask!!..  its just not worth the trouble to explain.  We were pleased that the attendance for this show was well up on the show last we must be doing something right!!
Afterwards, we went out to the bar and chatted to some of the audience that had stayed behind. They were all really nice, complementary and....  Only kiddin.  Even met some people who had seen Haré Georgeson!!!  Gosh!

Nothing in particular and everything in general
"Tell me about it!"

     S H O W  R E V I E W     
Palace Theatre, Southend
By Jayne

Never believe anything you are told by someone in a tribute band regarding sound-checks. They are the single most interesting thing you will ever have the fortune to experience.

Well, maybe not!!!

But I had a good time; to hear bits of Beatles tunes played exactly like the originals is always welcome.

My friend and I were invited to The Cavern Beatles’ sound check before the gig, to experience the hectic life a tribute band is forced to lead. This over, we went to the green room before the show started, and thus followed Spinal Tap Moment #1, involving misunderstood directions and shoes getting caught in clothing (don’t ask).

7:45 came, and we found our seats, accompanied by the sounds of the ‘60s; Helen Shapiro, Cilla Black, and the lovely young Cliff Richard. Eventually 8:00 rolled round and the lights dimmed. Then followed a sound clip from The Beatles Anthology, with each Beatle talking about how they thought 1964 was going to be for them. Then came the sound of loud, hysterical screaming and The Cavern Beatles appeared, in Beatle-style black suits and ties, and launched into All My Loving. The Cavern’s then ran through some of the earlier tracks; “She Loves You”, “I Saw Her Standing There” (fantastic as ever!), and “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. Next up was “This Boy”, which got huge applause from the audience. All three vocal parts were spot-on, and “John’s” solo in the middle – “….Oh and this boy, would be happy……” was perfect. Eddie’s vocal similarity to John Lennon’s is faultless.

After this was a selection of songs from the “A Hard Day’s Night” LP. Hearing “If I Fell” performed live for the first time was fantastic. “And I Love Her” was beautiful, and Rick captured George’s youthful vocal style perfectly in “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You”.

It was a shame that previous 1963 songs, such as “It Won’t Be Long”, “Devil In Her Heart” and “Anna” had been dropped, but with the replacements being at the standard they were, I think the audience were prepared to overlook this!

Then followed a reading from John’s book, “In His Own Write”. This was a nice touch to the usual standard gig, and was well received.

Then, for “Ringo’s” solo spot!
“I think it’s about time Ringo had a chance to sing!” said C.B. Paul, and the audience agreed! The opening riff to “Honey Don’t” was played, and was one of the best performances of the evening. The audience loved it, which was evident from the rapturous applause received at the end.

As the first half drew to a close, “Twist and Shout” was almost inevitable. The curtain fell, and 400 people made a synchronised dash to the toilets/ice-creams/fresh air.

15 minutes passed, and the second half was upon us. “Help!” was the first track to be played, followed by “I Need You”, “You’re Going To Lost That Girl”, and a few others from 1965. A new addition to the set, “Paperback Writer”, was perhaps one of the trickiest songs the C.B.’s could’ve chosen, with its multi-tracked vocals and driving bass-line, but the song was a success, the vocals sounded fantastic, and the “Frere Jacques” harmony was perfect.

Next up, two of the best performances of the evening. Everyone but C.B. John left the stage, and he was telling the audience that while they’d been to America they’d met a musician named Bob Dylan, who’d inspired him to write the next song: “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”. With the audience joining in on the “Hey!” at the start of the chorus, the song was carried along at an unusually uplifting pace. The flute solo at the end was instead whistled, and the applause was huge, and deservedly so.

Then, C.B. George was on stage, acoustic guitar at the ready. His outfit was reminiscent of George in 1968, which gave some clues as to the next song.
The opening guitar solo to “Here Comes The Sun” was played, and there was a quiet appreciative acknowledgement from the crowd. It was so touching to hear everyone around me softly singing along, and as we applauded the song at the end, one lady behind proclaimed, “Bloody fantastic”, and she was dead right.

Then, for another new addition – “The Ballad of John & Yoko”. This was another difficult choice – John’s vocal style in the original is very unique. The Paul harmonies in the last verse were perhaps a little too understated, but apart from this, an otherwise brilliant performance.

Then, it was time for C.B. Ringo to shine again! The Sgt. Pepper reprise, just like Paul McCartney’s version in his recent Back In The World tour, followed an amazing drum solo from “The End”. The band left the stage and the audience were on their feet, cheering and clapping for what seemed like hours. Eventually, the band returned to do an encore, and what a fantastic way to end the show!  An outstanding performance from C.B. George, with “Roll Over Beethoven”, and a perfect penultimate performance of “Long Tall Sally” by C.B. Paul, whose vocal range is up there with the real Paul!

To end, “Revolution”, which is one of my favourite tracks. At the end of the song, the band played their guitars near the amps, which created a fantastic cacophony of noise. They left the stage, and we left the theatre, with smiles on our faces, and slightly less hearing than we’d come in with.

Tuesday 4th May 04                                                                                                                                            

Nothing happening on the Beatle front today...but gonna give a plug to some of our mates who also have weblogs going on.

Firstly...our pals from Liverpool, The Corrds who can easily drink us under the table (and did so in Dubai)
Their weblog...   Here

And from the Midlands, the best Blondie Tribute Band you will ever see and hear  Once More Into The Bleach

Thursday 6th May 04                                                                                                                                          

Grand Theatre, Swansea.  

This is another venue that we had visited last year, and we were looking forward to coming back.  The journey down to South Wales on the A roads was broken up by a phone interview from the car with Radio Swansea, who were broadcasting from the Grand Theatre foyer.  I think this was the first time on the tour that we had all been present for a phone interview.  It was quite good fun, as we used the speaker phone so we could all be involved, although it was the big gobs of Dirk and Rick who were most involved.
Anyone who knows Dirk, will know that one of his big passions in life is visiting cafés... So Llandidrod Wells, was the lucky town to be selected for the Egon McQuickly once over.  The verdict:  top toastie, Earl Grey tea.. v.poor. £3.05.
Arrived at the theatre to find some equipment problems, which were going to delay the soundcheck.  By the time the problems were sorted out, there wasn't enough time left to play any complete songs so half of If I Fell had to suffice.
Roy remembered the scary "chucky" type doll which lives in the theatre high above the stage.  It stares down on the performers and is quite shocking if you catch a glimpse of it. (see pic below)
The concert itself was fairly normal except Roy legging off stage before This Boy to fix his sleeves (drum sticks getting caught), and a string breaking on the Rick 12 string, (which has never happened before).
Any performer will tell you that is sometimes difficult to gauge the audience reaction to their show.  We were quite thrilled to receive a standing ovation at the end of tonight's performance.

The Anusol incident in the car park.


Friday 7th May 04                                                                                                                                                

As promised, we present a special feature on CB drummer Roy Hitchen and his bag.
Click the aluminum case to continue!

Thursday 20th May 04                                                                                                                                        

Just got back from LA today.  So here are my Beatle related photos.  I expect this place is even harder to find in the fog, as it is stuck high up in the Hollywood Hills off Doheny Ave., along with Nightingale Dr., Robin Dr. and just about every conceivable small bird-related address. I never did any of the studio tours, but I did get to see the west coast's equivalent of Penny Lane, the Hollywood Bowl and saw Troy in Graumans Chinese Theatre.

If you are interested in visiting Blue Jay Way whilst in LA, I found this site all about it... anoraks only please!!


    Looking down Blue Jay Way  The Hollywood Bowl

Friday 21st May 04                                                                                                                                              

Our gig today on the Pride of Bilbao has been changed to the Pride of Portsmouth, as the former is having a refit.

I wanted to put a picture up here of the did a bit of internet research.  Blimey!!!   I discover that the Pride of Portsmouth is none other than the very same boat we were on, the last time we played a ferry.  Back then it was called the Olau Britannia.
We performed to a few hen parties and revelers enjoying the cheap alcohol that such ferries provide.  The point of our act was missed by the odd punter who asked if we "do any Quo songs", but we got a warm response nevertheless.
The journey home on Saturday afternoon was made in the large part with the windows of the car fully open as a result of Guiness consumption.

Tuesday 25th May 04                                                                                                                                          

The BBC are running a competition to win tickets to our Redhill show on June 12th.

Click here for details.



Thursday 27th May 04                                                                                                                                        

I have a few minutes to kill this afternoon, so I thought I would respond to Steve's recent message in our guestbook.

I have to agree with you Steve, there is only 1 Beatles.  I am a major fan and won't hear a bad word about them.  I can't really understand why though, if you are so sick of "all these cheap copy bands trading of the name", you even bothered to come and see our show.  The point about our show, is that we are supplying a demand for Beatles music played live.  We do not sell recordings...they are there in the shops for everyone to buy, and I truly don't believe that they could be bettered anyway, so there were would be no purpose in recording the songs.  The live thing is a different animal, and many people just like to hear music "performed"... it is exciting and often moving if played well.  I suppose it is a matter of opinion as to whether The Cavern Beatles do perform it well, but from comments we have received over the years, I think we must be doing something right!

Why not try to be original instead of a copy band?  Well, we have all performed and recorded original music in the past in different groups, and had recording contracts and releases.  I guess we just didn't shake the world.  When musicians hit their mid-twenties, the chances of original commercial success are greatly reduced, we are still musicians and we still have to earn a living, so, we play what people want to hear and what we are best at.

Let us not forget, before the Beatles signed to Parlophone records in 1962, they were still essentially a cover band and only performed a handful of original numbers (eg. Hello Little Girl, Love of The Loved, Like Dreamers Do).  50% of their first two albums were cover versions and pretty much the same arrangements as the original recordings.  Who knows... if Paul McCartney wasn't where he is today, perhaps he would have been an Elvis tribute act, and we wouldn't be playing his songs.  Personally, I don't think I would even be playing if they hadn't made it, but how many musicians did the fabs inspire?  It's anyone's guess!  When asked what he would have done if the Beatles hadn't have made it, Ringo replied that he would probably still be drumming somewhere in a club in Liverpool, as so many of the original merseybeat groups of the 60's still are, many of them still playing covers.

If we were really crap, then OK have a go at us for that, but you know that is not true!  As for boring, well, we have a ball doing what we do and I think that comes across to the audiences, who, in the majority seem to respond very well to our enthusiasm.

<<Steps down from soap box and contemplates being original>>

Monday 31st May 04                                                                                                                                           

Chatham Historic Dockyard - Capital Gold 60's Event

We were all quite looking forward to this one!  Two days, outdoor event...should have been a breeze.  We were therefore quite dismayed to learn that the Drifters vocals had been inaudible on their stage on Sunday afternoon.. oh oh..  PA problems  we can do without that thanks very much.  We were booked to perform on Sunday evening and Monday afternoon, and after hearing the quality of the PA rig, we were a little anxious about the show to say the least.  We have never heard anyone say..."turn the volume will dislodge the water from the speakers!". Gee whiz!!!   these sound guys really knew their onions!!!!!
The show actually went ok, apart from us having an horrendous on stage sound.  The highlight for us, must have been watching Ade running back to the mixing desk after his mandatory walk round to check the sound in different parts of the arena.  Ten yards from the  desk, he went completely arse over tit and sprawled himself to the ground in the most undignified fashion imaginable....  it was hard to carry on playing...we all saw it.  Ade later explained something about doing his "Tom Cruise" run... we never quite understood what he meant..  but he will be quizzed further.
We had invited a few mates down to the gig, Jayne, Andreas and Clare.  We all felt a bit shitty that they had traveled such a long way and it was a bit of a let down really.  After the show, there was nothing to do, the site was closing and there was nowhere to go.
After the show on the way back to the travelodge, I was ridiculed mercilessly for the manner in which I asked a policeman directions to the said lodge. (I still don't fully understand why...but I think the word "simpering" may have been used)

Arriving back at the Dockyard on Monday, we were informed that the Helipad stage was being abandoned because the PA was simply not up to the job...  surprise surprise!!  So we were re-scheduled to the stage we were on last night.....Deep Joy!  Dirk did some fiddling (as he does), and got us a much better on stage sound, so our anxieties disappeared after a few numbers and we all really enjoyed the show.   Dirk suffered a bit as the sun was glaring at him for the whole set...  thus can be seen wearing Eddies glasses.  tsh!

So I guess that's all for this month...  be back in June with more ramblings.

photos © Clare Ellis

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