By Dean Pedley
Roy Wood arrived at Symphony Hall with his Rock & Roll Band to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ in a fun packed festive feast of entertainment that included a number of special guest appearances. Fans sporting seasonal jumpers and flashing headgear were out in force around the streets of Birmingham as the famous Christmas chart battle of December 1973 (read more here:- http://www.themidlandsrocks.com/sleep-when-im-dead-christmas-special-slade-vs-roy-wood/ ) was recreated with Slade also performing just a short walk away at Town Hall.
First band of the night were Quill, whose various line-ups over the years are steeped in local music history and has a family tree that can be traced back to the 60’s and the Brum Beat era. Anyone who has been regularly attending gigs across the region since the 70’s will almost certainly have seen Quill at one time or another and so unsurprisingly they draw in everyone from the bar. Their Celtic flavoured folk rock is littered with uplifting melodies and also provides a poignant moment when Joy sings ‘Life is Life’ for her late husband and founding member Ben who passed away last year. Quill will play their last show of the year at The Robin 2 on December 29th.
Introducing the main attraction was Birmingham City’s most famous supporter, Jasper Carrott, who warmed up the audience with fifteen minutes of chat about growing old and why we rarely see him on TV these days (“It’s simple, I can’t cook”). Still sporting his glasses, beard and big hair like it was 1973 Roy Wood delivered a jukebox of hits culled largely from his days with The Move and Wizzard. The Rock & Roll band includes a sprightly brass section that brings the old songs to life as they kicked off with ‘California Man’ and moved through ‘Angel Fingers’ and ‘Fire Brigade’. When Woody wheeled out the bagpipes it was time for special guests The Proclaimers and their four song burst saw Symphony Hall rise to its feet for ‘I’m On My Way’, ‘Sunshine on Leith’, ‘Letter From America’ and a raucous ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’. Resuming his place centre stage Woody and his band entered the home run for ‘See My Baby Jive’, ‘Flowers in the Rain’ and (highlight of the night) ‘Blackberry Way’ complete with strings.
By the time the Stockland Green school choir filed on in an orderly manner to join the string section and returning brothers Reid the number of people on stage swelled to greater than 60 – more than enough to do justice to ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ and ensuring its 40th birthday was marked in style.
Now to start planning for 2023 and the 50th…