Alan Barton Memorial Concert, 19th March 2015

Alan BartonAlan Barton Memorial Concert, 19th March 2015
Alan joined Smokie in 1986 replacing Chris Norman as lead singer and rhythm guitarist. It was in 1995 that disaster struck. Smokie were returning home from Cologne Germany, when their tour bus crashed during a freak hailstorm. Sadly Alan’s injuries were too severe and he lost his battle to stay alive on 23rd March 1995. Tonight was the night for reminiscing, remembering and rejoicing the music of Smokie and their lead singer Alan Barton.
Wakefield’s very own DJ Mick McGinley bounced onto stage to compere the nights events
A full concert hall was treated at the start of the evening to a partly reformed Black Lace, including original founder Terry Dobson (1969) on drums and Ian Howarth on guitar. With a splattering of friends and former band members of Black Lace, they performed the three opening songs to the
evening including When You Walk In The Room, Black Laces’ 1979 Eurovision entry Mary Ann, and a rather meaty version of Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop, proving Dobson is still a mighty fine drummer.
Following Dobson’s collaboration came Dene Michael in his trade mark bright Hawaiian shirts.
Michael’s replaced original Black Lace member Colin Gibb in 1986 joining Alan Barton who was Black Lace’s lead singer at the time. Rousing the audience with the Black Lace hits Superman, Music Man and everyone’s favourite Agadoo, Michaels invited Alan Barton’s grandchildren onto stage who performed the dance moves to Agadoo with aplomb.
After the interval a large projection screen which had been displaying photographs of Alan’s band years throughout the evening, suddenly sprung into life with the first of 2 short video recordings. The first came from Bonnie Tyler paying her respects to Alan, and later in the evening a wonderful tribute from the first little lady of 70’s rock herself, Suzi Quatro.
On with the show and The Spirit Of Smokie fronted by Alan’s son Dean Barton rocked the room with the opening song Meet You At Midnight originally sung by his Father and Smokie. The likeness in their voices is unbelievably remarkable and Dean has clearly been gifted with his Fathers talent. During their set Barton also performed a couple of the songs using Alan’s iconic black Rickenbacker guitar which indeed seemed fitting for the occasion.
Alan had been in the process of writing material for his second solo album when he died, and a decade later Dean Barton together with Andy Whelan and Graham Kearns, created ’Room With A View’.
On the night we were treated to some of the songs from the album.
Throughout their performance many a guest musician joined Spirit of Smokie on stage. Smokies founding member and original drummer Ron Kelly, who now performs with Spirit of Smokie had flown in from Germany especially for the concert and was relieved a number of times by guesting drummers. There seemed to be quite a few guesting drummers dedicating their time to Alan’s tribute concert ,which did spur my thoughts towards a certain ‘Spinal Tap’.
Barton’s performance featured many of Smokie’s million selling hits including A Few Dollars More, Mexican Girl, Living Next Door To Alice and both Alan and Dean’s favourite Smokie song, Wild Wild Angels.
A superbly presented concert performed at St. Georges Hall through an excellent in-house sound
system made for a most thoroughly enjoyable evening, with all proceeds going to the Yorkshire
Children’s Trust.
Credits: Mick Mcginley, Terry Dobson, Ian Howarth, Robin Vickers, Chris Allen, Bernie Lowery, Johnny Beevers, Dene Michael, SOS.. Dean Barton (vocals) Andy Whelen (guitar) Graham Kearns (bass) Ron Kelly (drums) Stevie Dee (keys) Guests .. Barny Brands, Terry Sullivan, Neil Hardcastle, Mick Bedford, Dean Mconaughie. Front of house engineer..Gerard Rolfe. Simon Widdop collected £3000 raised for Yorkshire Childrens Trust
Today Dean Barton is a singer/songwriter in his own right and has just released his latest album ‘’Gravity’’ featuring some haunting well crafted recordings from Dean’s own studio and mixed by Neil Ferguson.
Gravity can be purchased from Dean’s website.
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