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Assembly, Leamington Spa
22nd February 2011
this to be a good gig but not to be the complete feast of musical talent
and musicianship that was delivered on this, the opening date of 10cc's
UK tour, this show was a seated event but due to high demand standing
was available at the rear of the hall and on the balcony.
stage was covered with instruments and gear with 4 stools to the front
of the stage, the lights dimmed and the announcer introduced Graham
Gouldman who walked on to stage alone to great applause and after a
short friendly chat with the crowd proceeded to perform what can only be
described as a trip through British 60's music with acoustic
performances of just a few of the many fantastic songs he has composed for
First up a
solo rendition of a track released by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders
Pamela Pamela, and during the rest of this opening set, in a clever
touch one by one and track by track several other members of 10cc walked
on to join in the performance until all four stools were occupied, and
as with the headline set to follow the vocal harmonies were a joy to
numbers showcasing Graham's song writing prowess in this opening segment
included a rocking pair he penned for The Yardbirds Heart Full of Soul
and For your love, the classic Bus Stop made famous by The Hollies and
complete with the story behind the title a cracking No Milk Today, a
huge hit for Herman's Hermits.
the quality of the material in the first set, for some bands it would be
difficult to top, but luckily tonight it was 10cc performing, a band
with a huge array of classics in their arsenal and they treated us to
all of the big hits and threw in a couple of surprises.
and rotating stage lights heralded the arrival of 10cc on stage and they
wasted no time at all in starting the hits rolling, with the first six
numbers all being UK top 10 singles, starting with a foot tapping The
Wall Street Shuffle, followed by the perfect pop of The Things We Do For
Love, then rocking the joint with Good Morning Judge. Completing this
opening salvo of hits the multi-layered I'm Mandy Fly Me, back to rock
and roll with an excellent version of the lyrically clever Life Is A
Minestrone and then a delightful Art For Art's Sake.
quality of performance and talent on display on the Assembly stage was a
joy to the ears and the professionalism throughout the band shone
through on every single number, as I mentioned before the vocal melodies
really stood out, and while most of the band add vocals to the sound the
two main singers founder member Graham Gouldman (bass) and Mick Wilson
(percussionist/guitarist) both have particularly outstanding voices and
The rest of
the band consisted of Paul Burgess on drums and Rick Fenn on lead guitar
and vocals, both members of the band (off and on) since the 1970's, and
on keyboards, backing vocals and on one occasion sax Mike Stevens, and
so many of this talented band also double up on other instruments and
add backing vocals.
mention also for one of the best stage lighting displays yet at the
Assembly and as usual for this venue the sound was top quality.
Back to the
set and the next track was the fast paced Silly Love a top 30 UK single
from 1974, followed by the first surprise of the night the album track
Feel the Benefit from the Deceptive Bends release, a real highlight next
with the bands first hit single Donna full of retro 50's style and
complete with telephone rings.
One of my
favourite 10cc numbers next which I first heard as a live cover by
Marillion's Steve Hogarth with his h band project, the simply exquisite
Old Wild Men, next up the bouncy pop of The Dean and I and then from the
huge selling 1978 Bloody Tourists album the full on humour of From
Rochdale to Ocho Rios.
Time for the
shiver down the spine moment of the evening next as the gentle dreamy
keyboard intro to one of the most beautiful pop songs and pieces of
music ever recorded floated around the venue, the track of course the
bands huge UK No.1 and US No.2 single I'm Not In Love performed
perfectly, and worth the ticket price alone.
A change of
mood for the closing number of the main set bowing out with another UK
No.1 this time the reggae influenced Dreadlock Holiday, a great way to
end a fantastic set of music, with the crowd singing along to the
started with the bands touching tribute to John Lennon, an excellent
version of the Beatles classic Across the Universe and after pleas from
Mr Gouldman to get up and dance (which everyone did) the evening ended
with a pumped up Rubber Bullets including sensational sax work by Mike
left me on a real high, I love my music and have seen many gigs but
never one more professionally performed and with such an array of
classic tunes as this one and so pleased my hometown venue hosted
the opening show on what will surely be a triumphant tour of the UK and