Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tommy Vance Tribute - Royal Albert Hall - Friday 31st March

OK Let's Rock! A tribute to Tommy Vance, DJ most famed for his legendary "Friday Rock Show" on Radio 2, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Featuring the might of Judas Priest, The Scorpions, Ian Gillan & Friends and Boned, you would have thought that this would have been an instant sell-out. It wasn't! I suspect the £50+ price tag was a problem, and the advertising beforehand maybe wasn't the best, but it was nowhere near full. People in the choir seats were moved to better front-of house seats for "production reasons" (ie "we need to fill them up!") and the circle looked sparce. Anyway, this didn't bother us and we were lucky to have an excellent 5th Row view.

Decided against getting there for "Boned" (we checked out the "Gloucester" pub instead - not bad), so can't comment on them. We also went to the Queens Arms and DID see the legendary "three legged dog" (check out http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/s/65/6520/Queens_Arms/South_Kensington) to see what I'm on about!)

Mr Gillan & Friends were next and we were in plenty of time to see them. The band featured Harry James from Thunder and Dean Howard. Now I'm assuming he is the guy who used to be in T'Pau, but he looked very different, so if someone could confirm that, I'd be grateful. They played a selection of material, some of it OK, but at this sort of event you really don't want to be hearing the words "... and here's another one from my new album...". ZZzzzz. Still, "Black Night" finished things off and finally got the audience up and running.

Next up were The Scorpions, introduced by Bruce Dickinson. I saw them at Hammersmith last year and thought they were pretty good - here they were excellent! Lots to please the crowd and I managed to snaffle a drumstick (thanks Klaus!) and a plectrum (thanks Rudolph!). Richard even nabbed the setlist afterwards which showed that they played the following:-

1. COMING HOME
2. BAD BOYS RUNNING WILD
3. THE ZOO
4. LOVEDRIVE
5. WIND OF CHANGE
6. TEASE ME PLEASE ME
7. BLACKOUT
8. BIG CITY NIGHTS
9. ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE


After that excitment, Richard and I went off for a bit of "celeb" spotting around the venue (did I ever tell you about the time I met Archbishop Desmond Tutu here? No? Some other time then...), but with no joy. Dave, in the meantime, was chatting with his mate, photographer Ross Halfin (check out his excellent site and diary... http://www.rosshalfin.co.uk ). Ross is a fan of JP and the Scorpions and was working for the night - there are some comment on his diary.

Back just in time for Judas Priest. After a brief speech from promoter Harvey Goldsmith and a touching film about the work of the charity, they were introduced by Roger Daltrey "You all know what's coming next", and the band started. Rob Halford appeared 3/4 of the way through the first song and seemed on good form. "It's Friday night at the Royal Albert Hall and the the Priest is BACK!" he roared to much approval. A solid set (motorbike included!), running well over the alloted 45 mins meant the big get-together of all the bands for the final number, Take On The World, finished around 11.30. Dave scuttled off for his last train, complete with a set of back-stage passes in his pocket. Oi !!!

Our night was not quite over though. Outside the venue it was raining heavilly, so we jumped on a bus to Kensington High Street, A quick beer there and off to the tube for the 12.30 train... errr what train. OK then, the last train to Wimbledon, the 12.50... errr right! Finally turns up at 01.35! Home via nightbus about 02.45 - lovely! Texted Dave whilst we were on platform waiting for tube and he was already home (with the passes!).

Anyway, a good but expensive and tiring night out. Check out the charity website here:- https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/main/

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