Rock 'n' roll comrade-in-arms Colin Wood, guitarist with '60s Birmingham Beat Group Keith Powell and The Valets, let Cliff Richard and The Shadows take him back to his Brummie youth, three weeks ago at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. NB: That's my missus with Colin, in front of the Hammersmith Apollo, 2004.
I had to wait 50 years (!) to see Cliff Richard and The Shadows live on stage together, but it happened last night in Melbourne (at the same venue that Roger Federer recently won the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam).
I had seen Cliff three times before, all in Melbourne, and The Shadows just twice, once at the Birmingham Town Hall (yes!) and then a few years ago in London on their (other) final, farewell tour.
It was quite an emotional evening as they played stuff I heard when I was at school, but none of the numbers sounded dated. It was a great sound, and the packed arena just wanted more, more, more. The performance was so good in all respects that you wonder why they don't do a few more years. Separately they are terrific, but seeing them together was so much better.
They're at the end of the tour (just South Africa to go) but were full of energy... The acoustic session showed that Cliff is an accomplished player these days. Hank was, of course, perfect... The video screen was fed from a number of cameras and was a show in its own right, although a fraction of a second behind sync.
The rules of the Rod Laver Arena didn't allow me to take my Nikon D700 to the gig, so I had to make do with an old Nikon CoolPix digital camera that really wasn't up to the job. Anyway here are the best of the pix, including a backstage shot of Bruce Welch's guitars.