SCOTT'S SOLO TOUR 1968, GAUMONT, MANCHESTER
Very significant to me because I'd never previously seen the Walkers live ehilst they were together, but nothing was going to stop me on this occasion. I feigned illness from work for the day, hired a car for my long trip across the Pennines from Grimsby.
Being pre-M62 days, it took me about three and a half hours. Naturally, the excitement was building during the drive, and the queue waiting for us outside the Cinema / Theatre only served to add to the buzz we felt.
It may seem odd now, but it was the norm in those days for cinemas to be requisitioned for pop tours - despite the inadequate size of the stages! Other acts on the show were The Gunn, Terry Reid, Casuals, Love Affair, Paper Dolls (in gold capes, which were later whipped off - to loud applause!) and Scott being backed by the Ronnie Scott Orchestra. All popular outstanding acts of the day. Personally, I found The Gunn very exciting. Their popular single "race With The Devil" was revived by the all girl group 'Girlschool'
It was a great atmosphere, but the excitement grew to such an extent that by the time Scott was due to appear, the compare Mike Quinn had to ask for hush, saying that people had come to hear THAT VOICE. Predictably, even that was greeted by surroundsound screams!
The curtains opened to reveal Ronnie Scott's Orchestra, minus violins, although still looking slightly cramped on the small stage.
Scott clomped onstage, wearing shoes that appeared too heavy for his slight frame, and casually dressed in black trousers and brown jacket and tie - to the strains of 'Jackie'.
Amazingly, the crowd calmed down completely with only the occasional scream - which was hastily hushed. The memory gets vague here, but I do remember 'Main Street Mission' which was great because I'd never heard him sing that song before.
'Make It Easy On Yourself', 'If You Go away' and a new song to me 'We're Alone', - not to be confused with 'We're All Alone'. Marvellous, but all too short. The final number was ''Amsterdam'', which perked up the crowd somewhat. Bearing in mind that Scott was wearing very tight trousers, it got to the part where he sings about the sailor whose 'teeth had rotted too soon''so he gets up and laughs and zips up his fly' - which Scott mimed, driving the ladies amongst the crowd wild!
By David Boon.(Thanks Dad).
FAGINS' MANCHESTER 1974
Unaware that Scott was making the odd elusive appearance at this venue, it was quite by chance that I happened to find out about it. Why Manchester I mused? Who cares, came the quick reply, as long as he's appearing somewhere!
On this occasion, I didn't need to skive off work, and I let the train take the strain, enabling me to enjoy the refreshments the club offered!
To me, there couldn't have been a greater contrast to the 1968 tour. An altogether different atmosphere, a small club, an older audience - and no screaming girls!
Scott arrived onstage to great applause - again in seemingly too-big shoes, and casually dressed. Backed this time by a small combo, he was on stage for over an hour singing a very wide ranging set. Beginning with a few Walker favourites, he sang a riveting version of MAKE IT EASY, backed only by acoustic guitar - sounding even more dramatic than the 100 violin version. These were followed by a few ald standards interspersed with the now ever popular Brel numbers, including IF YOU GO AWAY - again on acoustic guitar. A beautiful song, well sung, but interrupted by a fool in the club, who seemed to resent the number of verses it contained. Scott must have heared him, but obviously chose to ignore the quite stupid remark.
The show couldn't have gone better, and I felt sure that 95% of the audience were there to see Scott, not just visiting the nightclub. Scott has a masterful and evocative voice, and I feel he's at his best in this type of venue. Although it has to be said that, in comparison to the previous show, he seemed to have lost a little confidence and appeared faily nervous.
BUNNY'S CLUB, CLEETHORPES, ENGLAND, 1978
By this time, the Walkers had made their surprising reformation, and were to appear only a stones throw away from then home. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that they were turning up in Cleethorpes, because the newly opened Bunny's Club was pulling in huge crowds by booking big names of the day. Being quite a large club, it had a massive raised stage, perfect for big events.
The group, on this occasion anyway, didn't tour with a band. Instead they hired locally in whatever town ot city they happened to be. These particular musicians were rehearsed almost t perfection, and later on earned praise from Scott, noting that they had little time in which to rehearse. (Scott seems to have a great deal of respect for good musicians - not surprising when you listen to the band on LIVE IN JAPAN!)
The atmosphere was tense and electric, as in the old days, but it was back to the screaming girls again!! After a fantastic welcome, they launched into all the old favourites - with Gary actually playing drums! Scott was looking in great shape, dreeesed casually, and by now sporting his permed hair. They sang only Walker songs - none of Scott's solo material - including quite a lot from the new albums.
Halfway through the set, Scott disappeared backstage, leaving John, ever the showman, and Gary to whip the crowd into a frenzy. After a few solo numbers, John finished up with HAVE YOU SEEN MY BABY, a gutsy upbeat number, whilst walking among the crowd of teenagers present, and no doubt causing a few sore throats in the process!
Seeming like they'd never been away, they gave a really good show, naturally. I wonder if it will ever happen again?
The only minus to the proceedings was the attitude of the club's owner, Bunny Newton. A big hulk of a man, an ex-trawler skipper with a temper as big as his frame, it seems he was incensed because the Walkers didn't want a huge crowd forming backstage while they singed autographs. Frankly, I didn't blame them - they would have been mobbed.
After he'd ranted and raved for ten minutes, he vowed never to book them again. He didn't!!
Six months later, the club burned down in suspicious circumstances, and within two years, Bunny Newton was shot dead by his son.