Kiki Dee

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Anyone who has survived in the music industry for over fifty years has proved their worth, and earned the right to be seen as a legend, and called as much. Friday the 18th of February saw one such icon, Kiki Dee, appear at Junction in Goole.

Kiki was assisted by Carmelo Luggeri: born in England of Italian parents, Luggeri is an extremely competent guitarist, composer and producer. For the past twenty years they have been touring with an acoustic live show across the UK and Europe.

The concert was presented through a mixture of stories and songs, old and new. Most of us remember Kiki Dee as an energetic performer with strong vibrant hits like I Got The Music In Me (1974), and Don't Go Breaking My Heart (1976) in which she dueted with another icon, Elton John, using his own record label, Rocket, earning them a number one chart hit in both the US and the UK. Kiki proved how versatile she could be when writing beautifully soft ballads like Loving and Free (1973), and the French classic, Amoureuse (1973), which both, strangely enough, only charted at 13 in the UK and the US. She took great delight informing the audience that the English version of Amoureuse was translated by Gary Osborne, a composer who went on to write songs like Forever Autumn for ex-Moody Blues frontman, Justin Hayward and The War of the Worlds musical.

A number of tracks from recent albums such as Where Rivers Meet, A Place Where I Can Go, and many from the latest, The Long Ride Home, showed that Kiki Dee still had what it takes to entertain an audience with powerful new tracks. Additional music came in the form of a number of unique covers by equally famous artists such as Kate Bush and Frank Sinatra. All in all, the seamless blend of old and new, music and talking, with a touch of humour, was a sheer pleasure to sit and watch, and proved why Kiki Dee has earned the right to be regarded as one of the best in the business.

Herman's Hermits

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Barry Whitwam - Drums since 1964
Geoff Foot - Guitars/vocals since 1972
Tony Hancox - Keyboards since 2004
Jamie Thurston - Guitars/vocals since 2020

Sixties package tours are very big now, almost as big as when the bands were first introduced to us. The audience feels they've had value for money because they usually see at least six different acts, but they only have a taste of what these gifted entertainers can really do in about twenty minutes. These guys however, also still perform full concerts. Sunday 20th February saw Herman's Hermits play The Pocklington Arts Centre.

Formed in 1964 in Manchester, and originally called Herman and His Hermits, the lead singer was Peter Noone. They had number one hits in the UK and in America, where they ranked as one of the most successful acts in the Beatles-led British Invasion.

Peter Noone left the band in 1971. Herman's Hermits reunited in 1973 to headline a British invasion history of the US, culminating with a performance at Madison Square Garden, and an appearance on The Midnight Special. A later lineup without Noone but featuring lead guitarist Derek Leckenby and drummer Barry Whitwam opened for the Monkees on their 1980s reunion History's of the US. The band continues to this day, with Whitwam as the only remaining member from the original line-up.

From the moment that these veterans took to the stage, the audience knew they were going to hear something special: and all the hits came out: I'm into Something Good (1964). Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter and I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am (1965); A Must to Avoid (1965/66). There's a Kind of Hush (1967) and perhaps their most acclaimed recording, No Milk Today (UK 1966/US 1967). Can't You Hear My Heartbeat (US no. 2): Listen People (US no. 3); Dandy (US no. 5), written by Ray Davies of The Kinks. Sunshine Girl (UK no. 8). Something's Happening (UK no. 6). My Sentimental Friend (UK no. 2), and Years May Come, Years May Go (UK no. 7). And they certainly appear to have, as it is now almost sixty years since that first hit.

The performance, as you would expect, was faultless: strong vocals, vibrant harmonies, funny stories, and expert musicianship all proved why they were once regarded in the class of The Beatles, and why they are still touring today. A full calendar for the remainder of the year – which includes a tour of Australia – left the people of Pocklington asking only one question: when will we see them again?

Texas

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Sharleen Spiteri - Lead vocals, guitar, keyboards since 1988
Ally McErlaine - Guitar since 1988
Johnny McElhone - Bass guitar, keyboards since 1988
Eddie Campbell - Keyboards since 1991
Tony McGovern - Guitar, backing vocals since 1999
Cat Myers - Drums since 2021

Saturday 26th February saw the Bonus Arena in Hull packed to the rafters. A sell-out crowd of three and a half thousand people were waiting in heightened anticipation, as Glasgow based rock band, Texas, led by the outspoken, lead vocalist, Sharleen Spiteri took to the stage.

Texas' first live performance was in March 1988 at the University of Dundee. Judging by their latest performance in Hull, they had come a long way. It really was a concert of two halves, with the first half appearing almost intimate, as if it was "an audience with". The performers were very tightly packed into the centre of a large stage, sitting round in a semi circle, with very low lighting, reminiscent of a studio setting, where they presented the soundtrack of their debut album, Southside, in it’s entirety, to mark the thirtieth anniversary.

The opening song was an accoustic version of what became a rock classic, I Don't Want A Lover, the first single. Whether you knew the album or not, it didn't matter, it was classic Texas anyway. Southside was released on 13 March 1989, peaking at no. 3 in the UK Albums Chart. Within three weeks of its release it was certified Gold by the BPI for sales in excess of 100,000 copies, and went on to sell two million copies Worldwide. If further releases from Southside were anything to go by, their career was over before it started: the second single, Thrill Has Gone, only reached No. 60, the third, Everyday Now, No. 44, and a fourth, Prayer for You, stalled at No. 73 in the UK. Despite that, a rapturous crowd thought otherwise, and would have had you believing they all hit No1.

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The second half of the concert utilised the full stage and was pretty much a greatest hits compliation, featuring the singles Say What You Want, Summer Son, Halo, and In Demand, mixed with all the latest hits from the new tenth, studio album, Hi: two of those being the title song, and the fabulous Mr. Haze, a Motown-inspired track that samples and draws inspiration from Donna Summer’s 1977 song Love's Unkind. With very strong, not to mention superb lead vocals, and first class harmonies, backed up by a quality sound and light show, the thirtieth anniversary concert was a complete success; a crowd pleaser from the moment they stepped on the stage, until they left, and that wasn't because the audience had not seen a live show for two years, it was because Texas were simply brilliant.



Ray Clark - March 2022