The Badfinger Convention 2006
Day Two - Part Two
by Keith James
|Bob Jackson agreed to do his one-man performance sometime in September, 2005. I knew he was always on tour with The Fortunes, so I contacted him early to peg the date of the convention evening and get him to cement it into his diary. I was delighted to discover that Bob has that evening free. I book him for his first ever solo concert and he wouldn't even take a fee. All he asks is for complete artistic control over his performance, which I'd have given him anyway…|
|It sounds ridiculous now - it seemed ridiculous then - but we actually took nearly a month of exchanging emails and telephone calls before we decided on what title we would actually give to his evening. My suggestion of "One Hour and Seventeen Minutes of Bob Jackson" is visibly vetoed by Bob and eventually we settle on the comparatively tame "An Evening with Bob Jackson".|
|Over the months leading up to conny day, Bob has been working hard to hone his performance. From day one, I make a point of not asking Bob what songs he's going to perform, which is just as well, because he won't tell me!|
|However, I get a sneak preview of one of the songs he'll be performing, "Name of the Game" - and how did I do that? Well, one weekend afternoon, I make a telephone call to the former Badfinger keyboard man. His lovely wife, Chris, duly answers and then tells me she'll go and fetch him as he's in his home studio…|
|In the background, as Chris shouts for her husband, I can hear him singing Pete's song with great gusto, ensconced in his studio. When Bob finally gets to the telephone, I ask him why he's singing "Name of the Game" and will it be in his convention repertoire? A decidedly cagey Jackson stutters, "I'm sorry, mate. I don't know what you're talking about!" The little tease…|
|I had also tried to recruit Come and Get It: The Badfinger Experience, an American band, who in the past have performed as a Badfinger look-alike and sound-alike band. Over the months of November and December, I exchange emails with the band's leader, Howard Pattow, and for awhile it seems more than possible they'll be performing at the convention along with Bob. However, it all fell through, but full credit to Howard - he knew we didn't have the money to pay for the guys to play, but would have accepted our offer of free weekend convention tickets as payment.|
|It takes a little while for us to set up for the Bob Jackson concert. Thanks again to Paul, Jake and the lads listed in the last article for helping us dismantle everything and prepare the seating. Quite a few convention attendees had told me they were probably not going to be able to attend Bob's evening performance because of time constraints. Because of this, I tell the lads that they've put way too many seats out. As it happened, by the time the concert came about, we didn't have enough seats! We were filled to capacity…|
|Earlier in the day, Badfinger biographer and all-around-good-egg, Dan Matovina, had asked me if he could say a few words to the audience before Bob's gig. I know how much this gathering - indeed, everything appertaining to Badfinger - means to Dan and I know him as a sensitive and diligent bloke, so I give him the green light. Dan duly takes up the microphone and gives a brief biography with words of praise concerning each of the members of Badfinger. It's heartfelt and very touching with a round of applause for everyone.|
|Anyway, on to the concert itself…|
|Bob has never given a solo performance and maybe I'd never given this as serious a consideration as I should have. In post-convention days, those close to Bob would tell me how serious Bob had taken his performance and how he'd been rehearsing months and months in advance of the night. It was clear that the Badfinger keyboard man was nervous during his performance, but it was good nerves, not bad nerves!|
|Any performer will tell you that it's harder playing in front of a handful of family and friends than it is to perform before a thousand strangers.|
|Bob had clearly given great thought to his repertoire: it was a good selection of Badfinger favourites and a few of his own compositions:|
Bob Jackson's solo set
No Matter What - Bob played this on electric guitar and sounded fantastic. I glanced over to Mike Gibbins' mum who like many others, sang along to the song - and was word perfect!
Day After Day - Bob played this on piano.
If You Were Here - a lovely tribute to Tommy played on acoustic guitar.
Moonshine - played on piano.
Name Of The Game - This was the song I had heard Bob rehearsing when I rang his house some months back. Bob played this on piano and said he thought Pete's words were really good.
Dennis - Bob stayed on piano for this and said he thought the song something of a mini-opera. I know this is one of Bob's favourite Pete songs.
Carry On Till Tomorrow - played on acoustic guitar.
Shine On - played with great aplomb by Bob on acoustic guitar and it was great to see his daughter Emily dancing along to it.
Positive Thinking - an excellent self-composition which Bob said he would feature on a future solo album. Played on piano - a lot of people liked this.
Baby Blue - played by Bob on electric guitar.
The Boys Down In New Orleans - another solo composition which was written about Hurricane Katrina and played on piano.
|I was not able to sit down and enjoy every song during Bob's performance, as much as I would have liked to. I was scurrying around trying to sort out various convention-related things. It was a shame, as I'd hoped the performance itself would be a little 'Keithy-Time,' but it wasn't meant to be! I'm not complaining - things needed sorting out and I was the only one who knew how to sort them! I was also aware that we were running late and I didn't want to impinge on the Dragon's generosity by going over the time they'd allotted us in the Pembrey Suite. They'd already generously given us an extension of time to accommodate Bob's performance and the last thing I wanted to do was to further take advantage of that kindness.|
|It has been well documented by now that there were a couple of trouble-makers in the crowd at Bob's concert. This drunken duo sat at the back of the Pembrey Suite and chatted loudly throughout Bob's set. At one stage, Dave Duffield leapt to his field and scolded the pair, asking them to respect Bob and the people assembled, but it didn't do any good. I too went over and gently asked them to stop talking, or at least leave the vicinity if they wanted to carry on their conversation. All I got were threatening stares and continued disrespect for the performer, his audience and the occasion.|
|I can really only apologize for these men to anyone who's appreciation of Bob's performance was tainted by their lack of respect. I hope everyone realizes that had I and the convention team tried to physically eject them (a notion which crossed my mind) it would have ended the convention day on a nasty note. Something I was reticent to do.|
|I'm glad to report that Bob, being the consummate professional he is, was not fazed by the drunkards, and his performance, though obviously tainted by nerves, was superb. An excellent coda for a brilliant day.|
|Bob had one more ace up his sleeve: he called Ron Griffiths up on his stage and together they sang 'Come and Get It'. This was, for me, the highlight of the convention and a fantastic note to finish off a fantastic day.|
|I believe Bob had a few more songs to play, but I was aware of time constraints and I also knew that no matter what Bob had performed, it couldn't have topped his duo with Ron on one of the most famous Badfinger songs.|
Maxine Cunnet, Terry Cunnet, Kaz Nicholls, Tom Brennan
Steve Sage, Peggy Hyde, Ron Griffiths
|What a night and what a day. I desperately want to stay around and chat, but truthfully, I'm exhausted and need to go to bed. The final day of the convention weekend starts tomorrow… it's the coach trip around Swansea.|
|Here is a list of the people who came to the Pembrey Suite on the second convention day:|
|Joyce Ace, Bob Allen, Pat Allen, Paul Almond, Jake Almond, Roy Anderson, Georgie Bell, Nicky Bell, Frankie Bloomfield, Lin Bloomfield, Christine Boyle, Tim Boyle, Tom Brennan, Brian Breeze, Maybellene Breeze, Helen Butler, Marlies Baars, Herman Baars, Peggy Burneka, Mark Budgen, Dave Burn, Lee Burn, Allyson Byrne, Sheila Crawley, Sandie Carter, Pat Casey, Kelley Casey, Maxine Cunnet, Terry Cunnet, Julie Davies, Phil Deere, Paul Dennis, David Duffield, David Duffields's guest, Raymond Eddie, David Evans, Jan Evans, Marianne Evans, Cilla Floyd, Layla Floyd, Rhian Floyd, Sonny Floyd, Elizabeth Gibbins, Gaynor Gibbins, Ellie Gibbins, Adam Gibbins, David Gibbins, Maggie Glib, Ron Griffiths, David 'Tag' Hall, Petera Ham, Laurence Haynes, Shirley Halstead, Cynthia Harding Alan Harding, Lisa Harrison-Evans, Allen Hewgley, Betty Hicks, Michael Hicks, Michael Hicks Jr., Terry Hicks, Barbara Hill, Terry Hill, Paula Hinson, Gary Hopkins, John Horrel, Enid Horrel, Claire Horrel, Hilary Hudson, Peggy Hyde, Bob Jackson, Chris Jackson, Emily Jackson, Lyle Jackson, Jordan Jackson, Keith James, Ruth James, Denice Jarvis, George Jarvis, Peter Jarvis, Steve Jewell, David Jones, Gareth Jones, Linda Jones, Marilyn Jones, Neil ap Jones, Paul Lochhead, Joan Macro, Dan Matovina, Caroline Mason, Matthew McLaughlan, Debbie Miles, Phil Miles, Thomas Miles, Sarah Morris, Richard Morgan, David Munday, Vanessa Munday, Andrea Nancarrow, Kaz Nicholls, Lee Nicholls, Fumiko Okumara, Masahiro Okumura, Cassandra Pearce, Martine Perkins, Len Perkins, Tyler Perkins, Mark Perkins, Sean Perkins, Rachael Philips, Christine Pickard, Gary Pickford-Hopkins, Gillian Reed, Chris Richmond, Pat Richmond, Irene Roberts, Steve Sage, Jane Sage, Jan Sears, Bev Scorberg, Adam Standring, Dominic Steeples, Sam Stephens, Simon Stephens, Chris Stoner, Mike Sweeney, Simon Thomas, Claire Tranter, Bev Tucker, Leanne Tucker, Diane Vaughan, Jeff Vaughan, Jo Vaughan, Peter Vaughan, Samantha Vaughan, Trudy Walker, Gary Walker, Alan Wallis, Anne Wallis, Mal Washington, Louis Williams, George Wood, Tony Wyn-Jones.|
|And there were about fifteen other people whose names I don't know.|
|(By the way, I just want to say a personal Thank You to Laurence's friend, Paul Dennis, who was kind enough to loan us his PA equipment and help set it up.)|
photos contributed by Peggy Burneka, Paul Almond, Terry Cunnet, Mark Perkins, Janet Sears, Steve Sage and Anne Wallis