Hurtwood Park Polo Club, Cranleigh Surrey.
Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Our minds are made up, we’ve somewhere to go, whether we actually get there,does anybody f**king know..!
It’s 14:30, the post code is applied, but Maggie, may you get us to our intended destination? Distance just under 20 miles, estimated journey time just over 50 minutes! It was back in 2011 we last came here, fate had dealt a cruel blow last year, we had tickets for June, but I was ill. When the September “Real Faces” appearance happened, we were in Paris. So it was the Mick Hucknell “fronted” event with 3 originals that had brought us to Hurtwood back then and memory told me we had a little difficulty with the location back then to. I’m convinced it’s the locality, being so close to Gatwick airport as you approach the air traffic controllers take over your sat nav satellite reading, make you circle around the Polo club a couple of times until it finds a slot when you can enter the field, but let’s leave a little more on that subject until later, so arrival time in the end was probably around 15:45.
Unlike Southampton just over a week ago, security was surprisingly tight,they even said we could not take a bag of sweets in! They were refresher fizzers, so you can easily understand their concern; Total girl power …they had told a couple of guys trying to park right by the entrance they had to park further into the field like everybody else had done, scary I wouldn’t argue with them. A mull around the few stalls, then a walk over to the classic cars, after we placed our chairs a little way back from the stage area for room to dance, we awaited the mu sic to begin.
Now I won’t get to provide you with every song or probably the artists in the order they appeared just highlights for you (you suffered enough with last week’s review).The day’s events were compared by Mick Brown and the music started sometime after the scheduled 4 p.m. quoted time (although on the Polo club site that was amended to an accurate 4:45 p.m.) and who better to get us started than good old Cregan & Co. They performed Baby Jane, Forever Young and Hot Legs and were quoted as part of the “house band” so we were to see plenty more of Jim Cregan, Ben Mills, Sam Tanner, Pat Davey & Geoff Dunn throughout proceedings. A guy introduced as Noah Francis Johnson, sang a collection of hits that included Superstition. A hilarious short set by Chris Difford (of Squeeze fame) gave us a classic rhyming song he had put together about going down the gym and being over-weight, followed up by Cool For Cats and Take Me I’m Yours, I’ve got a vinyl and CD version of Squeeze’s hits – so amusing, clever lyrics on their songs I do love them. Chris said the guy he had brought with him he has known for nearly 20 years, then said I meant 20 minutes so we will have to see how this goes. A set by Daphne Guinness which was not exactly my cup of tea was followed by Paul Young and let’s say “trying” (or straining) to sing Come Back and Stay and Every Time You Go Away amongst a couple of other songs – maybe I’m being harsh, but his voice just was not there and leaned heavily on the backing singers to deliver. John Lodge (of Moody Blues fame) may well have been the next performer, I can remember him singing I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock ‘n Roll Band) but the peak of his performance was to re-introduce Ben Mills to sing Night’s In White Satin,boy has Ben got talent …funnily enough somebody didn’t think so back in 2006 as he was placed third on X Factor, maybe he chose the wrong year seeing Leona Lewis won it that year and Ray Quinn came runner-up. I know who I would rather pay to see. Mick Brown said the next performer he recently bumped into in his kids school playground and up stepped Mike Rutherford of Genesis fame – classics such as I Can’t Dance and Over My Shoulder come to mind of his short stay on stage.
I guess for most of us the act we really wanted to see was Kenney Jones (who had already guested with several of the previous acts) and his gang with the brilliant Jim Stapley on vocals treated us to 8 brilliant numbers – Can’t Get Enough, Feel Like Makin’ Love (Bad Company), Stay With Me and Ooh La La (The Faces), Tin Soldier and All Or Nothing (Small Faces) plus Maggie (Rod) and Won’t Get Fooled Again (The Who). Absolutely brilliant and worth the entrance fee on it’s own.
With so many artists appearing, there was a lot of time taken up with stage alterations so the clock was ticking by, however there was a piece of déjà vu (we’re we back in Southampton and the 4 amigo’s? If so, they have been breeding in the last week because there were more of them in hats on stage this time). Paul Young re-appeared with his Los Pacaminos band, which if it was not for the headline act, I seriously think I would have suggested it was time for an early night.A guest appearance under a hat by Jim Cregan didn’t ease my pain and the supposed finishing time of 22:00 hours was passing into the dead of night …. Could I smell (or even see) a rat?
The stage rearrangement took well over half an hour, people were beginning to lose patience and some drifted away. Probably close on 23:00 hours they burst on stage, we half wondered if Sir Bob would just stand over a microphone and give us a couple of classics and be off – but with his introduction of something like “We are the F’ing brilliant Boomtown Rats” he launched into She’s So Modern. You can say what you want about Bob,perhaps a “Marmite” man, but he was here to entertain us,he covered the stage in a very energetic fashion (Jagger style), I can’t confess to be able to list all the songs he sung, but during (I think Like Clockwork) he appropriately said “thank you Hurtwood but it’s taken my Sat Nav 3 f’ing hours to find this god forsaken f’ing place”, and you know I think I believe him and was probably the reason for such a late appearance.
Classics of Mary of the 4th Form, (She’s Gonna) Do You In, Someone’s Looking At You, Rat Trap and of course I Don’t Like Monday’s boomed out through the Surrey countryside night air. Of course it would not be too unexpected that Bob would mention his “friend” Jo Cox (don’t read too much in my speech mark here, Jo Cox was a massive campaigner for Syrian refugees even before becoming an MP, I believe Bob probably did know her) he would refer to what had happened in the preceding week,he pleaded this country is not like that and this sort of thing should never have happened. I will,because this is not the time or place to personally comment, omit what else he had to say, which as you can imagine was met with a mixed response, but he invited Bill Wyman onto the stage to play a number they had only recently put together “I’m in with In crowd”. The final was a mantra of “The Boomtown Rats” (I have no idea if they released this number,so forgive me for no title). What I can say is, this was a very powerful performance well worth waiting till it’s 11:45 finish, there was case of a smelly rat performance tonight.
I guess to end I will remind one and all what Kenney Jones and his wife Jayne’s efforts are all about, the concert is designed to raise funds and awareness of Prostate Cancer, statistics quoted state over 10,000 men die every year in the UK and over 42,000 of us are diagnosed with it. I’m no campaigner but if our iconic drummer can highlight to us such a needed cause, maybe it’s worth thinking can I donate a small sum to help his campaign? Even buying a badge that you can find in your M&S store and donate can mean you have done your bit. This is the third year of Rock ‘n Horsepower, I’m unsure how well it was attended, plus as myself and Sir Bob mentioned, the venue is not the easiest place to find. But you don’t have to be entertained by excellent musicians to play a part in a cause that Kenney Jones and family feels needs a bit of everyone’s support.
P.S. As we drove home through the dark small Surrey country lanes fit enough for about a horse and cart only, all of a sudden Maggie said to me “Lost Satellite Connection”, followed by “Turn Left” and being the obedient one I am, did so to be greeted 100 yards later by “Recalculating”!
Review By Colin Baker
Photos By Yve Paige
Montage By Tommy Kevitt