Don't dismiss the Manfreds as old fogeys from 60s
THE Sixties were brought back to life in all their glory when The Manfreds brought their 50th anniversary concert to the town.
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With front men Paul Jones and Mike D'Abo sharing the hosting, and other original band members Tom McGuinness and Mike Hugg supported by drummer Rob Townsend (formerly with Family, Medicine Head and regular with the Blues Band), Simon Curry on saxophone and flute and Marcus Cliffe on bass, the musicianship was as highly professional as expected but also rocking.
The fifty/sixty somethings making up the audience were immediately put in the right mood when the band launched straight into their oh so many greatest hits such as 54321, Just Like a Woman and Bob Dylan's If You Gotta Go, Go Now.
Paul Jones and Mike D'Abo shared the singing duties and, of course, Paul proving why he is recognised as Britain's number one harmonica player.
His playing was a revelation, bringing a completely new dimension to the instrument which is not the most fashionable just at the moment.
As the evening progressed, it developed into a rather strange experience, one minute we were happily singing along to songs you could only sing in the sixties (and would not disgrace the Eurovision contest), like Ha Ha Said the Clown, singing Sha La La, Sha La la and Do Wah Diddy Diddy, Do Wah Diddy Diddy (I kid you not young music lovers) the next they made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck with the most electrifying version of Howlin Wolf's classic blues song Smokestack Lightning.
Paul Jones proved again why he is also rated as among the countrys' top vocalists. It had to be among the best performances ever at the Princess Theatre.
If you dismissed the Manfreds as old fogey 60s history you would have missed Mike D'Abo singing his own song Handbags and Gladrags, made famous by Rod Stewart and more recently Stereophonics, and which most will know as the theme tune to The Office.
Then Tom McGuinness singing Malt and Barley Blues from his days with McGuinness Flint and a version of When I'm Dead and Gone which was way rockier than the original single. Brilliant.
The second half kicked off with an acoustic set before getting the audience signing again particularly to Mighty Quinn and that Do Wah Diddy Diddy song.
With two standing ovations the band finished as they started with 54321.
There were queues around the block for signed copies of their CD – just as there would have been had they been a band celebrating only their tenth anniversary tour.