This was my ninth rock and blues festival at Butlins Skegness, and because my previous reviews still get so much traffic I now feel obliged to write up my experiences, so apologies for the delay and here goes:
I have this strange theory that my life has gone into reverse and that I am seeing all the rock bands I saw in my teens in almost perfect reverse order.
I first saw Hawkwind when the Space Ritual tour came down to Earth in Sunderland back in 1972 and this current lineup are living up to that fantastic back catalog. Opening with Masters of the Universe and closing with Silver Machine the theatrics, smoke, thumping rhythms and spectacle was unmissable.
My favourite album back in 1971 was ‘Love it to death by Alice Cooper which I played over and over again and loved the track ‘Black Juju’ which I now know was written by bassist Dennis Dunaway as he and the two Bouchard brothers from Blue Oyster Cult (who I last saw in 1975 on the ‘On your feet or on your knees’ tour) played this just two foot away from me on the Saturday night. Dennis is mesmerising, living up to his rock god status, they played Eighteen, Under My Wheels, Schools Out and Godzilla and Reaper (both BOC originals). I was so close to catching the Dunnaway plectrum but it went sideways and I missed out.
I first saw Dr Feelgood supporting Hawkwind at my first Reading Pop Festival in 1975 and when I moved down to Southend on Sea in 1979 I was lucky to catch them again several times but this time without Wilko Johnson. The current Feelgood line-up still features Rob Kane, our band’s original singer, and it was great to catch him again searing through all of the bands hits. They really were on fire.
I then had to hot foot it to the other arena next door to see ABCD the ACDC tribute. Now it may well have been the alcohol and the atmosphere but I thought they were amazing, running through almost every single of the Bon Scott era (who incidentally I saw at Reading in 1976)
John Coghlans Quo never fail to deliver and this time there was a lot of excitement about the up and coming reunion with the original line-up. I don’t think messrs Rossi and Parfitt would have played much better than this on the night and we sang along to so many of Rocks finest hits. As you can see, they made a lot of ageing men very happy.
I saw Stray many many times back in the early seventies at the Mecca and City Hall and having seen this Del Bromham version four times in the last two years knew what to expect. To a massive crowd they played old (Suicide, All in your mind, jericho) and newer (Harry Farr & Buying Time) songs and Del showed just how good a guitarist he is with wailing solos, tube in the mouth and guitar rammed in the lighting rig above the stage.
Mick Ralphs and his blues band were on great form, Mick very much taking a ‘just one of the band’ stance. At least they played ‘Can’t get enough’ for a big singalong. Thats Mick Ralphs and Verden Allen of Mott the Hoople I have seen in the last 8 months and have a ticket for Ian Hunter in March. Scarily Mott were the second band I ever saw back in 1972, hence my initial quip about living my childhood in reverse.
Speaking of singalongs, Colin Blunstone was amazingly on tune this time around, hitting all the high notes on Sunday Afternoon. Paul Jones and the ‘Blues Band’ were as slick and entertaining as ever (far too many great musicians for a single band).
Curved Air, Saxon and Focus were all good but didn’t really match my highlights and unfortunately I had to miss Vergil and the Accelerators, Eddie and the HotRods and the Animals with Steve Cropper such was the quality of bands playing here this year. Thanks to the wonders of mobile phones and long lasting video batteries almost all these bands plus a whole lot more can be seen on my youtube channel playlist, enjoy.