Sunday, 26 June 2011

Tony Christie 50th Anniversary Tour Assembly Hall Theatre Tunbridge Wells

Tony Christie
50th Anniversary Tour
Assembly Hall Theatre
Tunbridge Wells

26th June 2011

For a guy who thought his UK career was over about 7 years ago Tony Christie is doing pretty well for himself these days. OK it had to have a bit of a kick start back in 2005 when Peter Kay and he collaborated to re release Is This The Way To Amarillo for Comic Relief. This is one event in his life that Christie is very grateful for and he's not ashamed to admit this one record gave him a new lease of life in show business.

I have to admit that before this gig it really had been 'one of those days' for me. I really wasn't in the mood for theatre. It was going to take a great concert to make me feel like like I was glad we'd made the journey.

So thank you Tony Christie it was a fabulous gig.  With no support act he performs the whole approximate 2 and a half hour show accompanied by his excellent band.

This production is of course celebrating Christie's 50 years of performing and I have to say at 68 years young he looks incredibly fit. He really does look and sound like your typical smart, suave, vocally excellent, gentleman crooner!

With a new album out (which he cheekily refers to many times as it's on sale at the venues) the play list is a selection from this, some of his classic hits and a few cover versions.

It's a nice balance. There were a couple of tracks that didn't appeal to me but I am sure even the most ardent fans don't like the occasional track from their idol.

Interspersed with the music Tony recounts his biography covering the good times, the bad and even how his stage name came about.

As regards to the old favourites be belts out beautifully Las Vegas, I Did What I Did For Maria, Is This The Way To Amarillo and Walk Like A Panther. Artists included in the cover versions include one of his favourite 80's groups The Human League.

There's a nice touch that this 50th Anniversary Tour is covering 50 venues of various shapes, sizes and locations. Big cities, small towns there's lots of variety and Tony admits he's visiting plenty of new and interesting places as a result.

But with a sound system that has to cater for all those venues this leads to the only fault I can find with the whole show. Myself and others thought the sound system far too powerful and loud for the Assembly Hall Theatre. This was not much of an issue during ballads but boy it was horrendously loud in the more uptempo tracks. Loud to the extent that it detracted from the lyrics on several songs.

The programme at £10 may have seemed at face value to be expensive. However many didn't realise that Tony had actually autographed all of these making the publication much better value.

A marvellous, outstanding value, concert from a great entertainer. I just hope that sound levels can be tweaked for the remaining smaller venues.

Tony Christie, Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, 50th anniversary tour
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