Pictures below supplied by Pat Young


Writes Vince Eager

It was a very enjoyable, yet long, day which started with myself and the band leaving Nottingham at 10.00am to make a 2.00pm sound check. The beautiful day appeared to put a spring in everybody's step as well as a smile on their faces. The backstage camaraderie was wonderful with artistes in and out of each other's dressing rooms and friendly banter and memories in abundance.

From a performers point of view the organization was excellent. The sound check overran, with a certain artiste, no names, but what a smile and sense of humour, deciding to run his act in its entirety instead of just checking the sound. There was lots of fun and sarcastic comments from a few who followed and who then proceeded to do their entire acts. It was all done in great spirit, although Mal Cook was pulling his hair out we eventually pulled the time back.

Abbi very kindly placed an emergency food & drink supply in the dressing rooms which was greatly appreciated and help keep us going tied until we could make O'Neill's Bar opposite the stage door.

I only saw part of the Tremeloes and DD, D, B, M and T and Jess, who were all outstanding.

My main concern was Sarah Knight who had celebrated her 15th birthday two days earlier. I saw first saw Sarah when she was twelve and I couldn't believe her voice and her vocal confidence. I didn't say anything to her at that time other than that I thought she had a wonderful voice. I didn't want to make any rash promises, as I know only to well what a fickle business showbiz is.

Earlier this year I produced and directed a show for the BBC at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham
to celebrate what would have been Elvis's 70th Birthday. I had a cast of 170 including an 80 piece male voice choir and a 30 piece ladies choir, the remainder were individuals and groups. All the music for the show was that of Elvis. I invited Sarah

 to join the show and asked her to choose two Elvis songs for her performance. She chose, Don't Cry Daddy and This Time You Gave Me A Mountain. The show was a 2,500 sell out and she stole the show. It was then that I decided to use her at the Palladium. BBC TV are also doing a documentary on her and it fitted in well with that.

As we were all on limited time for Hal's Tribute I dropped a song to enable Sarah to sing Don't Cry Daddy. I was very proud of her. I thought she turned in a brilliant performance and most of all she was the ultimate professional. Marty, Jess and
the sound engineer all went out of their way to praise her performance. Her attitude and ability is well beyond her years and I hope we can give her more experiences like these to help her to develop.

Jack Good was due to attend and give a personal tribute to Hal but due to the problems London has experienced he preferred not to and he gave me a tribute to read on his behalf. He was a very big admirer of Hal's and I thought the tribute was very moving.

All the O.A.P's excelled with Jess turning in one of the funniest performances I have seen in years. We know most of his records are tongue in cheek but this was outstanding. Very funny!

He wasn't due on until 9.45pm but was made up and in his J.C. initialed bathrobe at 7.15pm. What a pro!

John Leyton, Eden, Vernon's etc. all raised their games with Marty bringing the show to a memorable finale. Unfortunately we were gagging for a drink and nipped to O'Neill's for last orders. Well you do when it's 80F don't you? Consequently we missed the walk down of which we were totally unaware of as we hadn't been told it was happening!

I did some dressing room interviews for a radio show I have starting soon called "DO YOU REMEMBER". I interviewed Marty, John Leyton, Dave Dee, Jess, Pete Oakman and Sheila of the Vernon's. I haven't

 edited it yet but what I have played back is great, Should make good listening.

It is always great to see the old school and Marty summed it up when we hugged goodbye and said, "H
ang in their Vince, not many of us left mate"

On our return to Robin Hood territory Sarah was understandably on a high and she and my son Simon spent the entire journey singing and exchanging iPod tracks. Oh to be 15, or 40, again! Following the obligatory "kebab & coke" stop we arrived home at 4.00am.

I had been given the Monday off from rehearsing "Canterbury Tales", which I am appearing in this week with Robin Askwith at Nottingham Castle, on condition that I was there for Tuesday's 9.00am start. It came waaaaaay too soon. But it had been worth it!

Hal would have been proud of the professionalism, love and enthusiasm during the show. It was just like the "good old days" when he was in charge. “Be professional! Have fun
! And remember it's the audience who pay you!”

Other than not jumping off stages, no clubbing after the show, and "Ovaltine" instead of "Old Jamaican", not much has changed!

i think Hal and Billy were with us that night!