Showaddywaddy at The Tivoli Theatre Wimborne 21.1.23

OK OK, I know this might sound like a bit of an odd one but who can resist a chance to catch up with a bunch of friends for an afternoon and evening out and hear some live music in the company of the 70s hit machine Showaddywaddy? Go on, if you’re born in the 60s you know you would love it.

Ten top ten singles to their name and one number one: Under the Moon of Love. Many of their hits are cover versions of 50s and 60s songs which they gave their visual upgrade to with all that colourful teddy boy gear and lots of ‘do-wopping’ and coordinated dances. Top of the Pops, Seaside Special and appearances on kids tv shows were their bread and butter and I remember them especially as Look-In Magazine regulars. A classic publication of the day.

Thursday treat for us kids in the 70s

They formed in Leicester in 1973 and hit the big time after appearing in the New Faces tv talent show final, as runners-up.

While the Showaddywaddy beat goes on, there is only one original member left of that band of eight. Mostly alive but not playing with the band. Drummer Romeo Challenger is all that remains in the current line up of six. Still attracting the audiences with a busy touring schedule mind – tonight’s show is a sellout.

The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne

The East Dorset town of Wimborne rarely troubles the gig tour planners, aside from this lovely old theatre which specialises in mature tastes, well vintage. Many great tribute acts of classic rock artists appear. I used to live in Wimborne and so I’ve kept my eye on it. I suspect that give it another ten years and I’ll be here once a fortnight writing a ‘no haired gig going blog’ as opposed to grey haired experience.

I’ve seen Hugh Cornwell here a few times, Glenn Tilbrook and in more recent years From the Jam and Bootleg Blondie (with Clem Burke from Blondie proper). Then there was the evening with John Lydon experience – Johnny Rotten in Wimborne, wonders never cease.

After this afternoon’s trail through several lovely town centre pubs – Oddfellows, Kings Head, Olive Branch – and the excellent Nusara Thai restaurant, it’s something of a relief to get to the front door of the Tivoli on time. Half the gang are in already – the Plymouth green army are Wimborne visitors today – while I have been led astray by ‘The Dove’ and Jeanette so we are the stragglers. (The Dove says he doesn’t get enough mentions in my blog.)

The Grey-Haired Gig Goer, The Dove, Sally & Jeanette rocking on a Saturday night – outside the venue

Wimborne is a top place for a pub tour with plenty to wander to in the compact town centre. The Taphouse (one for after) with its ale choices is my pick, just 50 yards along from the Tivoli, opposite The Man in the Wall (one of the best Wetherspoons). Wimborne’s downside, or maybe saviour, is transport links – no train station and buses a bit limited, although it can work from Poole on the local buses (3 or 4 More Bus from Poole Bus Station, my choice tonight).

Showaddywaddy merch stand at The Tivoli

This all-seater art deco style theatre has 483 seats and serves as a cinema and venue. It opened in 1934 and has benefited from a new frontage and canopy in recent years. You can get a decent view from anywhere, even the back row of the balcony where we are tonight.

The Tivoli bar at the interval. It was rammed prior to the gig

The bar is small, like a village cricket club. I think just have a drink before you get here if you want one. Pop over the road. It must be quicker. You can order half-time drinks. Who does that though? Go when the doors open if you want to use the bar or try the café as you go in on the left. It’s all part of the same thing.

Tonight’s Performance

Showaddywaddy are on promptly. I sort of imagined a Jimmy Savile voice intro like on Top of the Pops… noooo.. but they are on.

Showaddywaddy live in Wimborne

When they play Heartbeat (Buddy Holly cover) it is greeted with warm applause. So familiar to several generations. Maybe A Little Bit of Soap is more the light-hearted pop record territory they are known better for. These are the early set tunes.

Showaddywaddy at the Tivoli

The band dance in harmony to order, swinging guitars in time from occasionally. Professionals. Immaculate suits.

There are four guitars and a bass together with Romeo on drums. That makes a solid noise. For some songs Romeo comes out front while another takes to the drum kit. Also one turns saxophonist at will.

The four guitar set up

First big Top of the Pops classic for me is Pretty Little Angel Eyes. Come on! Singalong but you can remember them all. I guess When and Three Steps to Heaven are the other top hits from the set. Romeo is respectfully introduced, due to his original hallmark and plays up front for a bit on alternative percussion.. conga drums maybe.

By this time the rear balcony patrons are out of their seats jigging about. In the row in front of us a man and his wife are up dancing. Enquiries reveal the chap is 81. I’m thinking in two decades time if I am dancing here to anyone I will take that as a gig-going victory. Rock on sir, and madam.

Last song. Everyone knows this one: Under the Moon of Love. Then back for an uncomplicated, prompt single encore, one they wrote themselves: Hey Rock and Roll, which reached no.2 in the UK Charts in April 1974. Arms are waving.

A lovely evening. Enjoyable, almost predictably so. That’s how professional these guys are. So that it gig 1 for me in 2023 done. We are off, slowly, and running.

The audience spills on the street outside – even Wimborne can look chaotic and busy sometimes it seems. I grab a pic without getting run over. Then it’s in for a few pints in The Taphouse, then it’s off for the bus back to Poole, leaving our Plymouth friends to last orders.

Chucking out time at The Tivoli

Published by ivaninblack

Still wild about live music - bands - gigs - festivals - after 42 years at it. All photos have been snapped by me or I will point out otherwise - I'll even own up to any blurry mobile phone ones. If gigaholic is a phrase then in recent years I think I've become one.

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