Meltdown: Ready Steady Go! Royal Festival Hall, London
Wednesday 15 June 2011
Ready Steady Go! may be the most fondly remembered 1960s pop TV show. It lasted barely three years, fading out, at the end of 1966, before it could outstay its welcome – like the sharp singles it helped to promote. Ray Davies and the producer Vicki Wickham's one-night-only revival for Meltdown can't resurrect the social club the studio became for the Beatles, Stones and Kinks, or the young dancing Mods who were almost trampled by careening cameras. The minimal set – a couple of period photo-decorated signs – is a letdown. But somehow, the spirit of pop at its most warmly creative catches light again.
Much of the audience remember the show's heyday. They are delighted by the nostalgic nonsense of Manfred Mann's "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy". Dave Berry slinks across the stage on his heels for "The Crying Game", insisting on a mystique that is punctured, winningly, when he chats like a Northern nightclub comic. Sandie Shaw beats that by flashing her still enviable legs while wearing pink Union Jack mini-shorts. Her famously bare feet are stockinged as she sings "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me". Shaw bounces with such infectious excitement that I'm surprised she doesn't somersault off the stage.
The canny bill is interspersed with newer acts. The bracingly loud, Jam-style rock of the ex-Libertine Carl Barat, in tight black, Gene Vincent rocker gear, and Paloma Faith, beehived and winningly scatty, fit right in. Loick Essien is the only musician with a chart-bound single, "How We Roll", to promote. His honeyed, agile British R&B voice slips between Ronnie Spector's blast through Ronettes classics such as "Be My Baby" and the showstopping Nona Hendryx. Her No 1 hit with Labelle, "Lady Marmalade", is bettered by "I Sweat (Goin' Through the Motions)", in which she schools half a dozen crowd members in the art of ass-shaking. You'd never know she's 66. David McAlmont is then given a deserved standing ovation for a passionately soaring vocal on Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me".
When the whole bill join Davies for "Lola", what would usually be a tacky showbiz moment becomes profoundly moving, as musicians who knew each other as teenagers mingle as pensioners among their star-struck descendents. It's a triumph, for the unsung Wickham especially.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
- 2 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge?'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser