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Norman Conquest

The Baths Hall in Scunthorpe has become something of a prestigious musical event in the musicians calendar. Legendary ex-Smokie lead singer, Chris Norman rocked up in town with his own band, and a classic night of good old rock 'n' roll on Sat 1st June.

Chris Norman acquired his first guitar aged seven, and lists his early musical influences as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Lonnie Donegan. He was twelve when he met his future band-members, Alan Silson and Terry Uttley, but had to wait a little longer before the final piece in the puzzle appeared, drummer Ron Kelly. The formed band chose the name, The Elizabethans. With little or limited success, Kelly left them in 1973, and Pete Spencer took over on drums: with another name change, Smokie were finally born.

Chart success and constant touring for the next six years took its toll on Norman, who decided to leave to pursue a solo career. Around late 78, he had a huge hit with Suzi Quatro, Stumblin' In, which sold over one million copies and topped the U.S. Charts.

Chris Norman's first big solo success came in 1986 with the song, Midnight Lady, which rocked Europe and held the number one spot in Germany for six weeks. The Baths Hall concert was a mix of solo hits, including the aforementioned Midnight Lady, Gypsy Queen, Sweet Virginia and Rising Sun, with no shortage of old Smokie favourites: Something’s Been Making Me Blue, Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone, It's Your Life, I'll Meet You At Midnight, and the 1976 number one classic, Living Next Door To Alice to name but a few.

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Chris Norman's Band features Geoff Carline on guitars and vocals, Martina Walbeck, a classical concert pianist from Monchengladback on keyboard, piano and vocals. On bass, Axel Kowollik from Munich: also from Munich, on drums, Gorino Goldbrunner, and Yorkshire born and bred, Michelle Plum on gutar and vocals.

With stunning playing abilities and world-class harmonies, they were a sheer pleasure to watch from start to finish. The band was as tight as any I have ever seen on any stage anywhere in the world. As it may well be another twenty years before they rock up in the UK again, I would suggest anyone considering attending a concert to buy any tickets still left and have yourself a night to remember.

Ray Clark - June 2019