With a few of the geezers I’ve talked to over the past few days banging on about some Big Weekend, I thought, do you know what, why not share my big weekend with all you good folk of mine!
So around this time of year the Misses goes off on her annual pilgrimage to visit her Auntie’s in Oxford and then onto Coventry, so from the middle of last week I’m left all on my lonesome, but I’m a big boy, I can handle it, just about.
And for this year I had a big distraction for Friday night to ease the pain, a meeting down the “chippy” along Lower Richmond Road with a few Smiler’s and as it turned out, widening the music friendship a bit further still as we spent the night in that great venue – Half Moon in Putney to witness yet another storming performance from the Small Fakers / Faces Experience.
With my lift home arranged through “my old mucker” and his motley crew, I guess the proper weekend had got off to the perfect start. That of course was always going to be enhanced by the return of the wife and a very special evening in store – even though we both felt a little tired, there was no way we wouldn’t be travelling into deepest Costa Del Surrey to the Hurtwood Park Polo Club to see The Jones Gang’s in a special gig arranged after a bit of pestering at the legendary Kenney Jones book signing at the start of June.
Whilst we were aware of a specially arranged interview being held with Kenney (Due for a later Smiler issue publication) and a picnic back at the Polo club after, because of my wife Alison’s travelling and my own eagerness to stay tuned to a certain golf tournament. We left for Hurtwood just before six with the planned door opening of seven.
I don’t know what it is, probably me rather than the satnav, but we always seem to take a few wrong turnings, that said we got there safe and sound, as we walked in, Alison and my sister in law Jacquie said “Just popping to the loo” – So with Jayne Jones (Kenney’s wife) collecting the tickets as you entered – she quizzed me “Why have you given me 3 tickets?” – after explaining the temptation was there to say “Gald blimey Mrs. Jones, I know your hairdresser” (which we do!), but thought better of it!!!
A relaxed drink with “the congregation” chatting about all things from music, where have you travelled from, to the small world of yet again someone being born in Carshalton and that very (once Surrey / now London Borough) class topic, so did you live in a council house?
The bonus for the night was we were to be treated with a short support stint from the music cast of the musical All Or Nothing, which I briefly discussed with Pat Davey beforehand, thanking him and said I was looking forward to it. They didn’t disappoint us either – They even coaxed Kenney to perform for one number.
It felt special being inside the clubhouse of the Polo club, you felt like a select audience, more so than the previous bigger events held on the fields. Mind you it was another very warm night and you found some preferred to simply stay outside and listen or peer through the windows of the clubhouse.
In between the two bands, Kenney mixed with the people who had come to see him perform and if you were prepared (That means you have your own pen!!) he would sign an autograph for you (but personally I didn’t need one).
The main event of the Jones Gang, which if you have never seen them before I think your missing out – The group comprises of:- Robert Hart (vocals / guitar), Pat Davey (bass), Johnson-Jay Medwik-Daley (guitar), Mark Read (keyboards) and of course the one and only Kenney Jones on drums gave us an amazing set list for approximately an hour and a half.
What I love is the range of songs through mainly Kenney’s career they play, I won’t remember them all, but we were treated to Tin Soldier, All Or Nothing, Lazy Sunday and Itchycoo Park from the Small Faces era, Rod’s Maggie May and The Faces Stay With Me, Substitute and Won’t Get Fooled Again from his 10 years in The Who, add in Robert Hart’s Bad Company stint and Can’t Get Enough – then I think it was 3 (of the better songs) from The Jones Gang’s album (Any Day Now – if you have not heard it – my rating would be a 7.5 out of 10, you have to listen to it often, given all the songs are their own) – The Time Of Your Life, Mr. Brown and a record that made no.1 in America Angel (No nothing to do with Jimi Hendrix / Rod cover song).
With a “little” prompting of an encore they returned to do All Right Now (magnificent record by Free) and Sweet Little Rock ‘n Roller to cap off a fantastic night.
I will add, I find Robert Hart amusing as a front man – he openly admits he doesn’t remember all the words and has an artist sized sketch pad set out in front of him with the words written in very large letters as well … I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but he was very good on a night where he perspired somewhat in the heat.
In fact all the band were excellent – especially that guy behind the drum set!!!
Now I think we rushed around quickly enough to say goodbye to everyone – if I didn’t I apologise – you see Sunday mornings are early starts as that other passion of mine needs participating in – yep a 7:27 tee off time – didn’t play great (33 points) but we won our league game – then home to craftily put my feet up because of a little event in Scotland was a distraction (brilliantly won by another humble guy out of the Kenney Jones mould) – As I said to Alison “You’ve had a busy time of it all visiting the relatives, why not put your head down for a while, you deserve a Lazy Sunday Afternoon” …… which was a perfect “big weekend” in my calendar, although I think I’ve got another one coming up in September!!! – Have you???
Review by Colin Baker
Photos Yve Paige