Pictures below supplied by Pat Young
I THINK HAL AND BILLY WERE WITH US
Writes Vince Eager
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.
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.
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
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
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, "Hang
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
i think Hal and Billy were with us that night!