Friday, 28 August 2009

Boogie Nights Eastbourne Alexander O'Neal Heatwave Rose Royce

Boogie Nights
Congress Theatre Eastbourne
Friday 28th August 2009

Starring (in appearance order)

Alexander O'Neal
Rose Royce

Boogie Nights is a good party atmosphere show.

The trouble is with just a little tweaking and care this could so easily have been a GREAT party atmosphere show!

It has been interesting doing a little research on Boogie Nights to see if others agree with me and the same comments seem to come up time and time again.

As it stands I'd give Boogie Nights 3 out of 5 as a rating.

So what's right and wrong with Boogie Nights?

I'll run through the artists as they appeared.

HeatwaveHeatwave, of Boogie Nights fame, took to the stage first. Heatwave it has to be said are vocally outstanding and highly entertaining. This is a group which has had so many member changes over the years it is amazing they survive. Yet survive they do and they know how to deliver a great vocal performance and how to get the audience into an "out of their seats, party atmosphere".

Comments from around the country have raved about Heatwave's lead singer's totally unaccompanied tribute to the late "King Of Pop" Michael Jackson. I have to say those remarks are spot on. I can't say I'm the biggest Michael Jackson fan ever but for me this was one of the most memorable parts of the show. An outstanding solo contribution.

HeatwaveAs for Heatwave's group numbers they were delivered with energy, enthusiasm and were received very warmly by the audience some of whom were allowed to join the party on stage.

Heatwave performed until the shows interval. I am sure the audience would have welcomed them back for the second half too!

Could they have been better? Not vocally, that was incredible, but what a difference there would have been if they had been singing to live instruments rather than a pre-recorded backing track!

To get such a favourable crowd response without live instrumentation is a credit to Heatwave but I do think you can't beat real instruments in a theatre. For me this was made all the more infuriating as Rose Royce's idle instruments sat idle behind them while they performed.

However Heatwave had impressed the audience, as they have done elsewhere on tour and with the interval out of the way part 2 of the show began.

Alexander O'NealThe "headline star" Alexander O'Neal took to the stage next.

I felt for Alexander, especially in the first couple of tracks, when the lack of a live band and the reliance on a backing track had its consequences.

Microphone and sound issues have been critisized in other reviews of this show around the country. You would have hoped that somebody would have picked up on the comments and sorted out the problems? But no, there were moments when the microphone faded out only to come back and fade out again and in one track the backing track actually acted a bit like an old stuck 45 vinyl single and jumped and spluttered leaving Alexander to fend for himself.

Alexander O'NealI do have to give full credit to Alexander O'Neal though because he did battle through these technicalities regardless and he did not try to hide a little irritation at these flaws from the audience apologizing that "these things sometimes happen". The trouble is from what I've read it's happening more often than sometimes in this show. A random glitch is one thing but when technical errors happen regularly it reflects badly on the performer - I guess at the end of this tour somebody in the sound department may be collecting a P45 form.

What Alexander had that carried him through his tracks was the experience and charisma of a talented artist that has had so many years on the stage. No a few technical problems weren't going to stop Mr O'Neal from getting up close and personal to the audience, from apparently giving his jacket away to a delighted fan and a gritted determination that the show must go on.

From a technical point of view it may not have been perfect but fans of Alexander appeared genuinely surprised that he only performs a few tracks in this second part of the show. As you can see from my clips he knows how to keep his fans interested.

Rose RoyceLast, but not least, Rose Royce took to the stage of the Congress Theatre and at last after 75% of the show is over those instruments were finally going to get some use.

With their well known hits like Car Wash and Wishing On A Star lead singer Rose Norwalt and the rest of the Rose Royce band had tracks that the audience could relate to.

But sadly all was not well with the sound here either Rose's vocals seemed to have a touch of the "Alexander Syndrome" varying in volume from time to time. In "Car Wash" there seemed to be a bit of a battle of wills between Rose and the microphone cord. The microphone cord appeared to win the battle and this affected the vocal performance.

There also seemed to be some confusion as to how long they were allowed to perform for with Rose confused by hand signals sent from off-stage.

Rose RoyceI do have to admit that Rose Royce were entertaining and well received but there was something missing.

That something was the audience interaction.

Heatwave and Alexander O'Neal had not only both come to the front of the stage but they had also really encouraged a "boogie" by getting a few audience members on stage. Now we were at the end of the show with an act that stayed at the back of the stage with nobody permitted on stage.

Strange decision!

Also lacking was an all-performing acts-encore which might have been nice at the end to bring the party to close.

So a good show but how could it have been great with the same artists?

Reversing the appearance order would have been good for a start.

If Rose Royce need or prefer to perform without the on stage dancing by a few audience members then put them on first. I guess that because they don't all perform at all venues the following may not have been practical. However Rose Royce had the fully functional band. They could have done their own act and then played the music for Alexander O'Neal who I would have put on second. they could then have continued playing for the boys from Heatwave who really got this party started!

As it stand I gave this show 3 out of 5. Just reverse the order these artists come on, ditch the backing tracks for real instruments and this could so easily be a 4/5 or 5/5 feel-good night out.3 out of 5 for Boogie Nights, Alexander O'Neal, Rose Royce, Heatwave

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1 comment:

  1. ...Hi , I found this while looking up Rose Royce after discussing them at About.Com's Oldies Music forum .
    I saw them a week-ish back , here in San Francisco , at an outdoor festival...And it appears they have a different singer by now , as they referred to the lead singer as " Yvette " , nothing else . , that's the navigation page , enter " Oldies " .
    And I'm at
    Walter L.
    Are you in the UK ?


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