Review: Shakin’ Stevens at Ipswich Regent, Friday, February 11

HIS heyday may have been the early 1980s, but Shakin’ Stevens showed that he has not lost any of his magic as he delighted his fans at a sell-out concert at the Corn Exchange.

The look is the same. The voice is still recognisable. And the moves still instantly remind you of his regular appearances on Top of the Pops.

What was striking even before the concert started was the diversity of his fans.

Rockers in denim and with tattoos rubbed shoulders with families. There were a fair number of grandparents dancing in the aisles and there also seemed to be several hen parties dotted around the Grand Hall.

All were having a grand old time as Shaky treated us to hits and album tracks both old and new.

His 10-piece band gave excellent support – although at times it seemed as if their amps were turned so high that they drowned out the star.

The audience didn’t seem to mind, however, giving him an enthusiastic reception after every number.

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It is at this point, however, that I have to make a confession.

I remember the heyday of Shaky. I never missed Top of the Pops at the time.

But I always regarded his appearances as a distraction from the “real” music of the time – The Jam, The Police, The Specials.

For me his music was always too bland, too retro. But when I saw he was coming to the Corn Exchange – and that none of my younger colleagues were keen to see him – I volunteered to see if his performance could spark some nostalgia for a lost era.

I’m sorry. It didn’t. I could see he was a good performer. I could see the crowd loved him. But his material left me as cold as it had a quarter of a century ago.

I didn’t like “Oh, Julie” then and I don’t like it now. Sorry fans, that’s the way it is. I can’t wait to get in the car and put on The Jam’s “Town called Malice” at full volume!

PAUL GEATER

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