REVIEW: The Sensational 60s Experience, Regent Theatre, February 22

Marmalade

Marmalade - Credit: Archant

The hair may be greyer and the waistbands a little wider, but the vocals were unmistakeable.

Chris Farlowe

Chris Farlowe - Credit: Archant

Headline act Marmalade, along with Chris Farlowe, Steve Ellis and Love Affair and the Swinging Blue Jeans wowed a packed crowd in the Regent with their biggest hits and numerous covers from a golden decade of music.

Compared by Alan Mosca from Freddie and the Dreamers, the evening got off to an impressive start with Ellis rolling back the years with pitch-perfect hits such as Rainbow Valley, Bringing Back the Good Times and Everlasting Love.

His welcome audience interaction set the tone and by the end of his brief set, in which the show was stolen by talented saxophonist Frogman, sections of the crowd were on their feet and remained there for most of the first half.

Ellis was followed by the Swinging Blue Jeans, filling in for Herman’s Hermits, who continued the feel good vibe, including covers of Summertime Blues by Buddy Holly and Good Golly Miss Molly by Little Richard, before finishing with their signature hit Hippy, Hippy Shake.

However, the best was yet to come and Farlowe was undoubtedly the star of the first hour, his voice as “Bluesy” as ever, despite his advancing years.

The 73-year-old warmed the crowd up with a couple of classic numbers from Otis Redding and Ben. E. King before bringing the house down with the hit that made him a household name, Out of Time, and Handbags and Glad rags, which has since been covered by Rod Stewart and Stereophonics.

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Love Affair returned in the second half, minus Ellis, before Marmalade took to the stage to finish the night off.

The lead vocals, performed by Sandy Newman, could not be faulted but Marmalade’s performance proved to be something of an anti-climax, considering Farlowe’s earlier charisma and energy and he would have been better suited to the finale slot.

However, the Glasgow band, featuring Newman’s son John-James – a contestant in the first series of The Voice – were the headline act and didn’t disappoint, with Reflections of My Life the stand-out performance, while Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da ensured their set finished with a good old sing-along with the audience.

Led by Farlowe, everyone bar Ellis returned for the encore and gained a raucous ovation, fully-deserved, considering this was the 43rd night of a mammoth 52-day tour.

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