AS a lifelong fan of 1960s, I recall been thrilled back in March 2007 when I was asked to do my first review, a Gerry and The Pacemakers show at Newport Riverfront.
Gerry and The Pacemakers, fronted by Liverpool singer Gerry Marsden retain the accolade of been the first recording act to have their first three singles How Do You Do It, I Like It and You’ll Never Walk Alone go to the top of the charts back in 1963.
Part of what would become defined as The Mersey Sound, the band would proceed to go on to break America as part of what became known as The British Invasion lead by fellow Liverpudlians The Beatles.
I was therefore quite excited to see Gerry and his band would be returning to The Riverfront on Wednesday evening. The format however had changed somewhat since his last Gerry Cross The Mersey show at the venue back in 2011, where the show featured Gerry throughout.
Comedian Mike Lancaster warmed up the act in the first half connecting with the strong Newport turn out with a brand of fast and furious comedy act consisting of cheeky anecdotes about growing old, marriage and divorce and touring with Englebert Humperdinck.
Mike’s apparent knowledge of the local area and working names such as Cwmbran and Monmouth into his jokes went down a treat with the audience.
The current incarnation of The Pacemakers featuring Joe Mitchell, Steve Thompson, Tony Young and Nick Woolgar came on 15 minutes into the first half to perform a selection of hits by The Who, The Beatles, The Searchers and Chris Farlowe, before Mike returned to finish off the first act.
The second half commenced at 8.30 with Gerry Marsden appearing on stage with guitar leading the band with his 1963 debut hit How Do You Do it.
Gerry has struggled with ill health in recent years but it was apparent that he was keen along with the audience to have a great time which he did launching into renditions of Its Gonna Be Alright!, The Beatles Slow Down and Bobby Darin’s I’ll Be There, entertaining fans with many jokes and anecdotes along the way.
It was a bit of a jolt however that the concert drew to an early climax little more than an hour after Gerry took to the stage, the star appearing to lose his balance and fall as he removed his guitar following a performance of The Eagles track Peaceful Easy Feeling.
Gerry who with the help of a stage hand and fellow band members got to his feet looked in pain and apologised announcing that he was due to have a knee operation next week and had hoped to complete the show without any problems.
Fans were naturally concerned as Gerry left the stage and the band continued with two numbers Love Affair’s Everlasting Love and Gerry’s signature track You’ll Never Walk Alone, however the band did inform us that Gerry was okay as he recuperated in his dressing room.
Ever the consummate professional, Gerry clearly gave Newport all he could under the circumstances he was experiencing. Get well soon Gerry.