Roy Wood and his Rock and Roll Band played their annual festive show at Symphony Hall and were once again joined by an array of special guests. Kicking off the evening and getting everyone in party mood were the pirate-themed Galleon Blast, fronted by long-time BBC broadcaster Mark Radclifffe. The drummer / vocalist and his buccaneers bear more than a passing resemblance to Captain Pugwash and crew and their good humoured, folk flavoured sea shanty’s soon had the crowd singing along – none more so than during the inspired rendition of ‘Fairytale of New York’. They were followed by Armenian comedian Kev Orkian who has been a regular on the UK comedy circuit for several years who is strong on audience interaction and was rewarded with plenty of laughs.
Earlier this year Roy Wood was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of ELO although as anyone who has followed Roy’s career will be aware this was a small part of his history. One of the finest songwriters of his generation Roy is responsible for a jukebox of 60’s and 70’s hits and was described by the Guardian on his seventieth birthday as “Britain’s great lost pop genius”. Not that Birmingham has ever forgotten one of its last remaining living legends. With ‘California Man’ opening the set it was a case of hit after hit as Roy and the band revisited both The Move (‘Flowers In The Rain’, ‘Fire Brigade’, ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’) and Wizzard (‘Angel Fingers’, ‘See My Baby Jive’).
As happens every year Roy stepped back from the mic to welcome a special guest which this time around was 80’s pop idol Paul Young who sang slightly altered arrangements of some of his biggest hits – namely ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat’, ‘Common People’ and ‘Come Back and Stay’ – and received a great reception. With the string section now in place Roy closed the show with the evergreen ‘Blackberry Way’ and of course ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ before confirming the Rockmas date was already booked for 2018 for what will be another terrific evening of entertainment.