Naughty Rhythms Tour 2001 at Hemel Hempstead
“Where is everybody?” I asked as I showed my ticket at the door.
“You’re it!” came the reply.
So, having parked about 20 feet from the entrance, and not having had to stand in any sort of queue, this is how I got in to Hemel Hempstead’s Pavilion for this leg of the Naughty Rhythms Tour.
With trepidation, I made my way up to the bar, where I was heavily outnumbered by the bar staff – a weird feeling. Taking my drink in to the auditorium I was pleased to see a few more people. Unfortunately, most of them seemed to be wearing badges – showing either ‘Dacorum Borough Council’ or ‘Access All Areas’.
Amongst the latter was Richard Holgarth, who was nursing a very croaky sore throat, and we chatted briefly about Dunkerque and the controversies surrounding Sol Campbell’s defection from Richard’s Tottenham to my Arsenal. See! We footie folk can discuss things peaceably!
Also at the bar was John Otway, who admitted that his post-Dunkerque hangover lasted until about the following Wednesday.
On stage, Otway did his MC bit to introduce the Kursaal Flyers, but not before climbing down from the stage and doing a circuit of the hall on a scooter, and inviting the audience to do likewise. So the Flyers played to an embarrassingly small cluster (crowd is definitely the wrong word) of people in the hall, although there were a hundred or so more seated in the gallery upstairs.
The Flyers’ set was, I have to confess, largely unknown to me, save their 1976 hit, Little Does She Know. The set was adequate, but, without a decent crowd to feed off, never really got going. One girl did, however, take up Otway’s offer, and scooted around the hall a few times.
As expected, Otway & Richard did a relatively short set, starting with ‘The Hit’ followed by the ‘B Side’. Next, ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ was an appropriate title for a special ‘surprise’, and I’m not now about to spoil it for those of you who have not yet seen the show by revealing what it was. Suffice it to say that it was well appreciated by the crowd, which, by then, had increased a little in size.
The Feelgoods’ Robert Kane then called ‘John and Yoko’ on for an encore, which was ‘Crazy Horses’ featuring John’s Theramin.
Dr. Feelgood’s own set started with a very solid ‘Nadine’, followed by a number I didn’t recognise. Then a barrage of the old faithfuls: She Does It Right, Milk & Alcohol, Down By The Jetty Blues (with a long Steve Walwyn solo), Back In The Night, Roxette, Down At The Doctors. For ‘One More Shot’, Robert Kane got down into the audience amongst the dancers, and by this time the crowd was almost respectable. RK did try to persuade those in the gallery seats to come on down, and many did, but most, having paid the extra quid, were determined to stay put. The encore was ‘Bad Man Blues’ (I think), featuring a blinding solo from Steve Walwyn.
I got so carried away that I even went and bought a programme during the interval. Not really worth the three quid, but one has to show willing.
Canned Heat started with some fairly laid back, and largely unfamiliar, blues numbers – so laid back, in fact, that guitarrist John Paulus didn’t even look as if he was interested. But by the time we got to ‘On The Road Again, everybody was moving sort of in time, including one bloke who, complete with beer glass in his hand, was dancing around completely oblivious to everyone else around. The set was rounded off with ‘Going Up Country’ and, of course, the classic ‘Lets Work Together’. By this time, we were truly rocking.
The Encore was ‘The Same All Over’, with Otway and Dr. Feelgood's Kevin Morris helping on vocals, whilst the ‘scooter girl’ circled the hall to make it a bizarre finale.
Next stop (for me) – Aylesbury (the old home town looks the same) on Saturday. See you there!