“Around the world, different places have specific climates; in England, we have weather!” I can’t remember who said this, but it has always rung wryly true with me. And it brings a level of jeopardy to planning outdoor events. Accordingly, in May, when we first settled on the date for the VicarGig – 15th September – we were a little bit concerned … would it rain? Would it be too cold? We need not have worried. The evening was glorious! The fire pits were lit to add warmth, but it was not a cold night, and those who chose to dance were kept warm by their own exertions.
Jake Saunders opened proceedings in exquisitely understated fashion, perched atop a stool with just a microphone and acoustic guitar. From the first note, his dulcet tones cut through the night air and straight to the heart strings of the audience. He sang a mix of lesser known covers and original compositions which left many wondering which were his songs and which were the published ones – a sure sign of the quality of his writing and performance.
Next up were Kerr and Jinkerson, with a collection of songs which ranged from Rat Pack classics through musical theatre and Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song” to the operatic “Nessum Dorma” (albeit sung in English). In between tunes, the audience was treated to a little light-hearted banter from a performer quite used to the stage, and occasional notes of unwarranted self-deprecatory comment – not least in the introduction to the complex medley of songs which evidently had the potential to go disastrously wrong, but was delivered without hitch. Of course!
Following this were several short performances: the Vicar, accompanied by David Goodman on the piano, sang Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”; our host, Nicholas Buxton, joined Paul Goodman and others for a rousing rendition of the sea shanty, “The Wellerman”; and then the “Three Gees” (Goodman, Goodman and Gerrish) took to the stage for a short set including the jazz classic, “Summertime.”
After this, with the sunlight gone, and the barn beautifully lit by coloured stage lights, the Vicar joined them on stage with guitar virtuoso Mario Abrami and the atmospheric keyboard introduction to Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” began. The band were augmented temporarily by Symone Venables, who brought her vocal talent to popular numbers by Amy Winehouse, Tina Turner and Bob Marley. Then, after a few songs with a country and western feel, the band turned to rock, engaging the crowd in clapping and singing Queen’s classic, “We will rock you,” the Rolling Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash” and Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69” before launching headlong into the high-energy 12-bar blues of “Johnny B Goode” and “Wipeout” which showcased the capabilities of Paul Goodman on drums.
Amongst other famous artistes whose songs featured in the band’s set were the Beatles, REM and Van Morrison before the Dire Straits’ epic “Sultans of Swing” closed the show. In response to a request for an encore, the dancing crowd was treated to the rock ‘n’ roll classic, “Route 66,” and finally, in tribute to former band-member Keith Newell, Mario and Mark performed Gary Moore’s beautiful and evocative, “Parisienne Walkways.”
“That was **** brilliant,” said one punter. Another said, “You really should charge more…” Others were asking, “When’s the next one?”
Watch this space…
Photo by M Saunders