Gene Pitney, Amen Corner, Status Quo: Lewisham Odeon/Kinks, Tremeloes, Herd: Walthamstow Granada


IT WAS boredom, high jinks, chaos and disease when the great pop tours went on the road last week-end.

DISEASE: When drummer and vocalist Dave Munden, of the Tremeloes, went down with chicken pox just before their show at Walthamstow Granada on Sunday.

CHAOS: When the curtain was hauled down on the Herd in the middle of their act due to “technical trouble.”

HIGH JINKS: When Pete Quaife of the Kinks ate the Herd’s famous bananas and left the skin for Peter Frampton to slip on.

BOREDOM: At the Gene Pitney Lewisham Odeon concert on Friday, when nothing happened.

It was an orderly, routine programme that kept hard-core screamers happy, but failed to produce any surprises. Gene went through his usual medley ‘Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa’, ‘Princess In Rags’ and ‘I’m Gonna Be Strong’ backed by the Mike Cotton Sound.

Being cynical and embittered, I don’t feel adequate to comment on the rest of the bill, so over to promising young assistant 11-year-old Wendy Potts: “Gosh, what a fab show, fans. That cad Welch was seen yawning during Simon Dupree’s act as they grooved on ‘Kites’, ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ and similar soul-packed numbers.

“Equally knock-outs were Status Quo, using that funny guitar sound on ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’ and ‘Spicks and Specks’. When Andy Fairweather-Low came on with Amen Corner, I practically chewed a hole through my pinnie. ‘Gin House’ was simply super, and gosh — those dancing saxophonists! They reminded me of a ballet choreographed by Massine for Diaghilev, with sets by the young Picasso and music by the ageing Debussy.”

Thank you, Wendy, but you forgot to mention Don Partridge banging his bass drum and drawing laughter for his comic songs.

Meanwhile, it was all happening at swinging Walthamstow, when the Kinks, Tremeloes and Herd came to town. Despite disappointing attendance, girls screamed themselves hoarse, mainly at the Herd.

Backstage, the Tremeloes were feverishly rehearsing ‘Silence Is Golden’ with Brian Hudson of the Castaways depping for chicken pox-stricken Munden. His absence hit the group hard, but they received a great ovation for ‘Here Comes My Baby’, ‘Suddenly You Love Me’, etc.

Gary Leeds and Rain were a minor sensation. Smartly dressed in black suits, they used interesting material — ‘If I Were A Carpenter’, ‘Price Of Love’, and ‘Morning Dew’.

Screaming madness greeted the Herd, but Peter Frampton nearly went screaming mad when all their microphones cut out, and Andy Bown’s organ fused. Angry words were exchanged among the technical staff, while fans chanted for the Herd. The curtain came down and the interval was held. They came back to vindicate all hang-ups with a riotous set, Peter wriggling as if he had an electric eel about his person.

The Kinks entertained with a medley of hits including their new record, ‘Wonder Boy’.

And now over to Wendy for the last word: “Yah Boo, boss. The Kinks deserved more of a write-up. From the way you carry on anybody would think the Herd stole the show. Get with it Welch — and Gene Pitney was dreamy.”

© Chris WelchMelody Maker, 13 April 1968

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