Two years ago this week, we lost the songwriter, singer, musician and thoroughly decent bloke, Chas Hodges. In tribute to Chas, Andy Howells revisits his 2011 review of Chas & Dave’s Farewell Concert at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre.
As a reviewer, I always try to make a point in seeing musicians concerts whose music I have enjoyed over the years. I am fortunate that growing up in the 70s and 80s, I had the benefit of my mothers 1960s record collection as well as several performers from the 70s and 80s I admired.
One act I always loved was Chas & Dave, I have fond memories of enjoying their appearances on television with my Grandfather who loved their music hall style approach to pop. I never imagined I would see them live when Dave announced he was retiring from the business following the sad death of his wife. However, both Chas & Dave were to tour one more time and announced a series of farewell shows including one at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre during April, 2011.
Despite the show been announced as a farewell tour, it would be the first of three instances I would witness Chas & Dave live on stage. I would also go on to interview Chas on two separate occasions by phone.
Here is my review of Chas & Dave’s concert at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre on Saturday April 16, 2011.
Think of the word Rockney and you are instantly taken back to the pop charts of the early 1980s where Chas & Dave ruled supreme.
They became the Pub Rock phenomenon that exploded into a chart sensation, becoming family favourites and one of the few music acts that could appear on Top Of the Pops one week and be lovingly parodied by The Two Ronnies the next.
That affection has certainly remained with their Newport fanbase as they played part of their farewell tour at the Riverfront on Saturday evening.
The first half of the concert consisted of the repertoire the pair played around London clubs and pubs in the 1970s. This included a tribute to Chas’ hometown Everton Green, The Banging In Your Head and the their first chart hit, Gertcha.
By the second half, the hits came rolling back like old friends, Wallop, Margate, Snooker Loopy, Ain’t No Pleasing You and of course Rabbit.
The audience which varied in age groups were out of their seats and lapping up the atmosphere, including one old gentleman who despite his apparent infirmity was still compelled to dance in the aisle.
It is indeed sad that the pair will not be performing together again after this tour has ended. How many musical acts can generate so much happiness amongst such a cross range of age groups?
Chas & Dave are indeed national treasures, jewels in popular music’s crown that emerged from an era that did not care about coolness but rather entertained the masses – long may that type of music reign!
- Flashback Friday was compiled and written by Andy Howells