Concert review: Solid Silver 60s (High Wycombe)

Now in its 27th year, the Solid Silver 60s nostalgia tour sticks firmly to its formula of presenting four or five acts who were million sellers back in the days of Biba, Mary Quant, and Carnaby Street. It tends to appeal to a range of ages and this was reflected in the Wycombe audience last night.

Opening the show (and backing all the special guests throughout) were Vanity Fare,’, ‘Ere best known for the hits ‘Hitchin’ a Ride’, ‘Early in the Morning’ and ‘I Live for the Sun’. They are extremely hard workers, especially singer/guitarist Eddie Wheeler who impressed with his solos, and they warmed the crowd up with a well-judged selection of numbers.

Then it was on to the first special guest of the night, Brian Poole from East London, who, with the Tremeloes, is best remembered now for ‘Do You Love Me?’. He entertained the crowd with the ballad ‘Someone, Someone’ (‘a song given to us by Buddy Holly and the Crickets’) and rocked the place with a selection of Chuck Berry numbers and ‘Twist and Shout’. The Candyman himself still has what it takes to do a good set, and at 70+ was clearly enjoying his resurgence of popularity on the nostalgia circuit.

Next up was California’s Chris Montez, who shared his hits ‘The More I See You’, ‘Let’s Dance’, and ‘Call Me’, as well as a couple of number nodding back to his childhood influence and fellow Latino, Ritchie Valens (‘La Bamba’ and ‘Donna’). He also plays guitar very well and effortlessly charmed the crowd with tales of his life growing up as one of eighteen children in a Spanish speaking home before finding fame in his mid-teens with a record contract.

After the interval Vanity Fare returned, with an a capella version of ‘For the Longest Time’, before leading into a rock and roll filled set from Brian Hyland, another Californian best remembered for his early 60s hits ‘Sealed with a Kiss’ and ‘An Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’. We heard those, but also great versions of ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ and ‘All Along the Watchtower’. He’s accompanied by his partner Rosemari on vocals and percussion and son Boti on the drums.

Top of this tour’s bill is former Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, originally from Manchester, who found fame as the band’s frontman aged fifteen with hits such as ‘Hush’, ‘Sleepy Joe’, ‘Silhouettes’, ‘Sentimental Friend’ and ‘Mrs Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter’. Good singalong fare to close this enjoyable show which nudged just over three hours.

I should mention as well that this was a present for my mum on Mother’s Day, who was delighted to meet both Poole and Montez and get their autographs. A happy night for all, and this tour remains highly recommended for those who love the songs and artists of the era.