Saturday 8 September 2012

The Merseybeats at the Cavern 1962-2012

c. Donna Jackson
Review by Donna Jackson

Usually, this website is restricted to content that is strictly Beatles-related.  However, on occasion, something special happens that justifies a slight bending of the rules.  And last night, thanks to the Cavern Club, one such event occurred.

In the 1960s it wasn't just the Beatles who were rocking the Cavern, and dominating the charts.  One of the other successful bands to come from Liverpool was the Merseybeats and last night, in this 50th anniversary year of the Beatles, the Cavern fittingly acknowledged the place of the Merseybeats in musical history.

Billy Kinsley and Tony Crane
founding members of The Merseybeats
c. Donna Jackson

One of the many performances given by the Merseybeats at the Cavern took place on September 7 1962.  Fifty years to the day of that gig, founder members of the band, Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley, now accompanied by Bob Packham (bass), Lou Rosenthal (drums) and Adrian Crane (keyboards), returned to the Cavern and, in the first set, recreated that show from 1962. 

c. Cavern Photos
Although the Merseybeats performed in the Cavern Live Lounge, not on the iconic front stage, it didn't take much imagination to be transported back fifty years and share in the magic that made Liverpool, as Paul McCartney still frequently refers to his birthplace, the "centre of the creative universe."  From the moment that the first notes of "Some Other Guy" rang out, it was obvious that we were all in for a very special night.

c. Cavern Photos
Billy Kinsley and Tony Crane may be older  but the passion, excitement, energy, humour and musical talent is as strong as ever.

Billy Kinsley
c. Cavern Photos

Not only are the Merseybeats great musicians, but they're amazing people too.  Tony Crane is a founding trustee of Invisible Injuries, a charity that supports, among others, soldiers suffering from PTSD.  During the interval, an auction of some one-of-a-kind memorabilia, including Tony's own guitar, raised nearly £1000 for the charity.

Tony Crane
c. Donna Jackson
Then the Merseybeats returned for the second set.  The opening announcement brought us forward fifty years to September 7, 2012, and the band performed a selection of hits from their long career, including "I Think of You", "Wishin' and Hoping'", and "Sorrow" with each song greeted by cheers and applause from a very enthusiastic and appreciative audience.

The close friendship between the Merseybeats and the Beatles was mentioned by Billy Kinsley and the band included a Beatles song in their setlist last night; well, as Billy said, "you've got to, haven't you?!"

c. Cavern Photos

The Merseybeats closed the show by paying tribute to the athletes of the Paralympics with a special and emotional performance of "You'll Never Walk Alone" earning a well-deserved standing ovation from everyone in the Cavern Live Lounge.

c. Cavern Photos

When introducing "Wishin' and Hopin'", Tony and Billy paid tribute to Hal David who recently passed away, acknowledging him as one of the world's greatest lyricists.  It was a fitting tribute but a sad reminder that the legends who made the 1960s so special and so magical are gradually being lost, and a timely reminder that such special events, as occurred in the Cavern last night, must be cherished.

The Cavern Club had promised a "very special one-off show".  Given the history of the "most famous club in the world", the show had to be truly special for that promise to be fulfilled.  And indeed it was!

To witness two of the 'originals' from the Cavern still performing with such passion, energy and joy was a real privilege and a night that those of us who were lucky enough to be there will never forget.

c. Donna Jackson

Thanks for a really great night!!  Love you too!

The British Beatles Fan Club would like to thank Cavern Photos for kindly granting permission for the use of these images.  To see more great photos from The Merseybeats in the Cavern, and from other Cavern shows, visit the Cavern Photos facebook page by clicking here

NB: Please do not reproduce any of these images without the expression permission of the copyright holder

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