Remembering my friend the late Dave Dee, Dave Berry, Brian Poole, Mike Pender & Wayne Fontana
ReelinandaRockin’ – Australia 2004
What a bonzer bewdy it was to be greeted by our driver, Mr Magoo according to Dave Dee, with the beaut strine phrases gdonya mates ow yer goin. She’ll be right and fair dinkum no worries. All said with the local accent comprised of clenched teeth and nose which some ‘scholars’ claim arose from the need to keep the mouth (trap) shut against the ‘blowies’ or blowflies.
Arriving as usual at Heathrow, Tim Rose (guitar) and I waited for the rest of the ReelinandaRockin’ tour to arrive from Manchester. Gradually they arrived apparently having no problems with their etickets and bookings and, of course, all their luggage arrived including personal instruments and cases. (some people will actually believe that I’m sure!). Anyway, eventually Wayne,Mike, Dave Dee, the Glove and I were boarding our 747 ready to enjoy the pleasant (not) hospitality of BA and Qantas. I’m sure I heard some mooing and bleating after a few hours but anyway after eating a meal (I’m sure I detected some hay, but maybe not) we arrived in Bangkok and went on to Sydney.
On our arrival at Sydney we were taken to our hotel at a place called Coogee Bay, near the city where just as sure as your car radiator boils over the day after your AA membership lapses, it rained.
Because we had flown for 22 hours we were given a couple of hours rest, then on to our first gig. It was the first time that the whole show had been performed with Wayne in it. Dave Dee and Wayne Fontana, have given the show a different slant in some areas which again makes it fresh. With Eric, Tim and the new band members the show was, of course, a great success – as were all the shows on the tour.
After our second show in Sydney at Rooty Hill the whole cast were invited to the flat of the British Consul to Australia. This was situated near the Sydney Harbour bridge and had a beautiful view of the harbour which at night was even more impressive. I had to leave this party early to fulfil a previous engagement, but according to everyone a great time was had by all.
And now I will take the much prized opportunity to introduce the Big Beat Band and singers.
First and foremost, Eric Wight, our long standing MD who has the unenviable job of keeping the show on the rails (or should that be ‘out of jails’) . Our guitar player, Tim Rose, of whom Dave Berry says ‘I have a pair of socks older than him’; our drummer Phil Johnson, who used to be with the ‘Symbolics’ ) (he played the cymbals); Emilio Montouri, the Italian stallion on bass guitar (when it was not lost in transit); Anthony Dawson (Horns R Us – on sax and flute) and not forgetting the guy who had to listen to all this and put it together as the Big Beat Band sound Chris Donnington on Knobs and Switches (sound and lights but soon to be our new tour manager).
The backing vocals are beautifully executed by the Irish version of Iron Maiden – of course the lovely versatile and multi talented Anne and Maureen Nolan (I’ve just earned a tenner for that bit!).
With three great Sydney shows and two more in Melbourne and Brisbane, we were suddenly on a plane to Twin Towns on the Gold Coast where we performed two more shows before having a lovely quiet and tranquil rest at the peaceful Coolangatta steam hammer resort for four days. Whilst taking a small libation one afternoon, Dave Dee was asked by the band what they should call him being a Justice of the Peace. Your ****ship, your **** ship and from Emilio your **** ness were suggested but I think we’ll stick to DD.
With one more show in Burswood, Perth under our belts (those that would fit) we headed back to good ole England ready to rehearse the new show for our Winter tour. (dates in magazine).
When asked where I would like to sit on the aircraft and answering ‘In the Black Box please’, I was promptly given the smallest seat right on the inside row. Elbows in, eat your fodder, oh well!!
Looking back, that reminds me we all wish Eric a speedy recovery from the back pain he had in Oz, but don’t worry mate, King Solomon had a bad back, but then, he had 700 wives. Seriously though, a good time was had by all (we’ve picked the toys up!), and we can count this one as a resounding success. I was also told that it was 40 years to the month when I first appeared in the land of the giant jumping mouse (Roo) with Gerry, Dusty Springfield and Gene Pitney – they even played the interviews I did then when I sounded like a young cockney boy. The show was called the Liverpool Show by the way. Gene Pitney must have thought that was weird.
Don’t know if you know but we have another one of our mates joining the cast of ReelinandaRockin’. Tony Crane (Merseybeats) is appearing on the UK tour which starts in September. There are six of us now so with the Big Beat Band we could have a football team. Oh, we just been told tiddlywinks would be a better idea!
Anyway on a personal note F#.