Joe Brown in Concert at Theatre Severn Shrewsbury, Monday 29th October 2012.
I hadn't seen Joe live for a number of years and was looking forward to tonight's concert.
As the lights went down, with his trademark haircut and chirpy cockney manner, Joe walked out onto the stage to great applause, and welcomed everyone to what was going to be his "Living Room" set for the first half of the show. Normally the band would take to the stage first and the star of the show would be introduced, not in this case. Joe proceeded to introduce each member onto the stage individually.
The first song - "Ballad of John Hurt" was a tribute to the great 1930s guitarist, before Joe's son Peter took the lead on the mandolin with "Cloverleaf Rag". Next up was a Roger Cook (remember Cook & Greenaway the songwriting partnership?) composition composed for the ukele entitled "Tickle My Heart". This was followed by the band's version of the ELO classic "Mr Blue Sky".
A selection of Hawaiain styled pieces followed, then Eric Clapton's "Lay Down Sally" with drummer Phil Capaldi taken lead vocal on "Return To Sender" which had him in fine banter with Joe on borrowing his teeth and hair!
10CC's "I'm Not In Love" was followed by the Travelling Willbury's "Where Were You?". This featured some excellent lead guitar work by Peter. Returning to another Roger Cook number which Joe reminded everyone was the first hit that Roger had written - The Fortunes "You've Got Your Troubles", the first half was brought to a close by one of Joe's early hits "That's What Love Will Do" which received great applause.
If the first half was the living room set which was very laid back then the second half was to be much more up tempo. Opening with another Joe Brown hit "Darktown Strutters Ball" and the another "Picture Of You". With Joe playing fiddle the next offering was a U2 number. "Whilst I've got my ukele in my hand I thought we would do some heavy metal" chirped Joe as the band went into Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" closely followed by The Who's "Pinball Wizzard".
Remembering his close friend - George Harrison, Joe sang George's composition "That's The Way It Goes" which he performed at George's memorial concert in 2002. This again featured some excellent lead guitar playing. After "Killing The Blues" guitarist Ben Lee took to do lead vocals on "I've Got A Woman".
Soon it was time for drummer, Phil to make his way to the front of the stage, being replaced on drums by Peter, whilst Phil sang "Stood Up", an appropriate song for someone who spends the majority of the time sat behind a drum kit and only seen from the waist up. Finishing the song to great applause, Phil milked the warmth shown by the audience to the full showing his boss that he too can get the crowds going.
The next batch of musical offerings included "Sea Of Heartbreak" and the Italian waltz "Suni Devito" then Joe's instrumental hit "Hava Nagila".
Announcing the last two songs were now upon us Joe announced that Peter would sing the first which was to be "Lover's Jamboree" and that he would do the next , "Henry 8th" which had the audience in fine voice on the parts "I am" and "No Sam".
The final song was "I Will See You In My Dreams"
The lighting for the show was simplictic, creating the right mood needed for each song without being too dramatic. The audience looked to be at 90% of the venue's capacity, made up of older and younger fans that were treated to an evening of some excellent musicianship, 5 part vocal singing, multi instruments played, plus some of that chirpy cockney banter that Joe has become renowned for, which included him talking about his "dad" - Marty Wilde.
The Band: Pete Brown, Phil Capaldi, Ben Lee, Mike Nicholls.