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.... Page 3 Astor Theatre Deal Kent 18th December 2004 Top of Page. The Night of the live recording for "live&kickin&screamin&shouting" cd
.... Page 3 Astor Theatre Deal Kent 25th March 2006 by Dave Dyment. Bottom of Page.
...Ticket for the event.. On a fairly mild December evening in 2004 the Audience faithful assembled at the Astor Theatre which is in Stanhope Road just of the High Street. The Foyer of the Theatre proudly boasts its association with the great comic genius of Norman Wisdom. We managed to get a seat close to the raised stage and waited for the evenings events. The support band to Audience was a young local rock group called Awkward which boasted Howard’s son Louie in its line up. Louie has a striking resemblance to his dad from a few years past see picture below. Although quite newly formed they played there instruments with ease and skill that given the right circumstances could see them go far, playing some rock classics with consummate professionalism.
....John Johanson came on stage to introduce Audience on to the stage and they duly took there place.HW had forgoten to switch his laptop on which he uses as a song prompt so as with all modern technology had to wait while it booted with cries of what are you buying of Ebay from the audience.HW took it in his stride and straight into the opener "Youre not smilin".With the evening being taped for posterity (alive&kickin cd)
....The front entrance of the Astor Theatre Deal prior to the show.
....The evening started with Howard's son louie (middle of pic with left hand guitar) group Awkward, a young upcoming local band from Deal Kent.
....Audience on stage. The gig was being recorded for the live & kickin & screamin & shoutin cd release.
...Trev Williams...Howard Werth...
....Keith Gemmell......John Fisher....
....Howard Werth and son Louie...
..Audience leave stage after a great evening
...Page 3 An excellent Revue By Dave Dyment on Audience "Home Venue" Return to the Astor Theatre Deal Kent 25th March 2006.
...Pictures and Revue supplied by Dave Dyment thanks Dave.
The set list was as follows:
YOU'RE NOT SMILING / JACKDAW / ZIG ZAG AND SWIRL / MAN ON BOX / INDIAN SUMMER / CALL ME RESPONSIBLE / THE BELLS
/I WANNA BE YOUR MAN / LEAVE IT UNSAID / THE ALEPH / IN ACCORD / NANCY / I HAD A DREAM / HOUSE ON THE HILL / Encore: /
NOTHING YOU DO
..Ticket for the evening
..On a gale-swept Kent coast, the good-ship Audience set sail once more after several months in dock. Around 150 fans braved the elements for what was to be a fine performance from the band. As can be seen from the set-list, the band covered all the bases with tracks from every album plus a few specialist covers.
As expected, the guys opened with 'You're not smiling', always an upbeat number despite the unrequited love theme. I have to say, this lifted the mood following the opening act, an angst-ridden singer-guitarist who, by comparison, made Leonard Cohen sound cheerful and upbeat. Moving on, with the crowd now suitably warmed, the band roared into a great version of Jackdaw, a track that didn't make it onto the live album recorded in Dec 2004 at the same venue.
The vaudevillean setting of the Astor Theatre mirrored the back cover of their "You can't beat 'em" (greatest hits) album. Indeed, this could easily have been photographed at that very venue. And like the characters from that album cover, the band strove to entertain the crowd.
..Audience then skipped forward three decades to play an extended version of 'Zig Zag and Swirl' from Howard's "Evolution Myth Explodes" album. Keith's extra flute and sax segments only served to enhance this great song. With a nod here and glance across the stage there, the band were in full flow and bouncing off each other's individual playing styles.
A quick trip back in time to 'Man on Box', from their debut album, reminded us that their very early material still stands up really well nearly forty years on, or as Trevor quipped 'before the King died'. Then came the surprise of the evening. Much to the dismay of an absent, ailing Peter Shortle, Audience played Indian Summer for the first time this century. According to Trevor, this was their last single (though my records dispute that) which I recall they played on Top of the Pops.
..Keith then lead us through his effect-laiden sax composition 'Call me Responsible' into what's now become a regular favourite, 'The Bells'. The band's interpretation of this old James Brown number works well and I recommend people listen to the original to hear what inspired Howard in the first place.
The concert was now in full flow and getting appreciative responses from the audience. A cover of The Beatles' "I wanna be your man' was next followed by 'Leave it Unsaid', a personal favourite with the thoughtful lyric "When words become violence, what could be better than silence", a reflection of the times in which we live, I fear.
Next came a lesser known gem from 'King Brilliant', entitled The Aleph. Accompanied on backing vocals by Trevor and John, I was enthused to re-listen to the original from the 'Moonbeam's' album. The live version is much more upbeat the album version and works well as a mid-set piece.
..Ably assisted by his faithful laptop autocue, Howard and the guys powered their way through 'In Accord' and the tongue-twisting 'Nancy'. Two more House on the Hill songs, 'I had a dream' and the title HOTH track, completed the set. A grand finale with each band member showing off their individual talents. John Fisher played a remarkable drum solo which could (and should) have lasted longer.
..Trevor's bass solo in the same number was inspiring as he somehow managed to make his guitar sound like a Peter Frampton vocal using the tube (think of the the 'Frampton Comes Alive' album). Keith managed to cajole and distort some remarkable sounds from the sax whilst inter-playing with Howard's vocal acrobatics. It was clear the guys were really buzzing and enjoying themselves
but, all too soon, the gig was over.
Well almost. We were treated to 'Nothing you do' as the encore. As the fans and families gradually made their way from the auditorium, there was a happy glow about the theatre with a smile on every face.
All I can say is , brace yourself Canada, the boys will soon be back in town.
And finally, my only regret of the evening was that the lovely receptionist lady featured on the cover of "alive & kickin' & screamin' & shoutin'" tore my entrance ticket stub (but hey, how picky can you get!).
There was an extensive range of merchandise on sale, which I missed, but the Borderline's only a couple of months away. Let's all get down there and make it a special evening.