Live Event: Alcatrazz, The Tivoli, September 21st, 2019
I was 14 years old when I first discovered the wonderful voice of Graham Bonnet in 1979. I was at an all boys grammar school that had wooden desks in each classroom with inkwells in them and a lid that lifted up to store your books.
I walked into a classroom for a lesson one day, and as always the first thing anyone did was lift the lid to see what was in there. On this particular day, sat atop some books and a school jumper, was the 7” single of ‘Since You Been Gone’.
“I’m having that” I thought to myself, as I quickly put it into my school bag.*
That evening I placed the vinyl onto my record player, cranked up the volume, and then proceeded to play it repeatedly. Much to the annoyance of my parents no doubt, and very much to the annoyance of whoevers desk it was that returned to their classroom to see that some thieving twat had taken their single.
Jump forward 40 years and I’m once again I’m in our beloved Tivoli, this time waiting for Graham Bonnet to take the stage with Alcatrazz…a band that has been going for over 35 years now.
A chair was put on stage as everyone awaited the gig to begin…not something you ever see with Graham Bonnet as he is always moving around the stage.
However, Graham was suffering with a particularly bad back injury (he is going into hospital to have surgery in December and we all wish him a full and speedy recovery) that was exacerbated the previous evening when he fell at a gig, crashing into the drums and knocking his head and badly bruising his arms.
That gig had to unfortunately be cut short.
Graham, being the rock ‘n’ roll trooper that he is though, bravely decided not to cancel the gig at the Tivoli, and despite being in a lot of pain, gave a 90 minute set of classic songs from throughout his fantastic career so far.
Sitting down and telling everyone he felt like Frank Sinatra while he was perched centre stage, Graham overcame the difficulties of constricting his diaphragm in a sitting position, and belted out song after song that belied his age (72 in December) and had everyone singing along.
Classic tracks from throughout Graham’s illustrious career kept the place rockin’, and even the snare drum breaking partway through the 1st song didn’t stop the momentum…a testament to the professionalism and musicianship of the whole band.
The aforementioned ‘Since You Been Gone ‘got everyone singing at the top of their voices (and me wishing I’d brought my swiped single for him to sign), while every other song elicited a similar response from a crowd that were especially grateful for Graham performing through the pain.
Listening to Graham singing ‘Night Games’ gave me flashbacks to watching him on Top of the Pops back in 1981…and his voice is just as powerful now as it was back then. High notes, low notes, long notes…he hit them all with the precision of someone who embraces his passion and has been a master of his craft for many years now.
With more new music from him incoming soon, I hope that Graham continues rocking the world, and that we see him back at the Tivoli once again…and hopefully not feeling like Frank Sinatra.
As a quick side note, I spent 30 minutes chatting with Graham backstage after the gig, and he was one of the most friendly, funny and interesting people it has been my pleasure to spend some time with. Always an absolute delight when you meet people whose work you have loved for so many years, and they also turn out to be a warm and welcoming person when you meet them.
*I do not condone any form of stealing…but I’m bloody glad it gave me an inroad into Graham Bonnet and his music.
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Review by Dave with thanks as always to Roki and Kirsty.