Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C


Review: Bay City Rollers starring Les McKeown, Ipswich Corn Exchange, Sunday, January 10

22:42 10 January 2016

Bay City Rollers' frontman Les McKeown was on top form at Ipswich Corn Exchange.

Bay City Rollers' frontman Les McKeown was on top form at Ipswich Corn Exchange.


Former teen idol McKeown rolled back the years as Rollermania returned to town tonight.

Bay City Rollers fan Heather Lindsell with her original 1975 ticket. Photo: Lucy TaylorBay City Rollers fan Heather Lindsell with her original 1975 ticket. Photo: Lucy Taylor

Expecting a gentler response to when the original line-up visited Ipswich in the mid-1970s, the tartan army was out in force and taking no prisoners. Women across the hall reverted to screaming teenagers the moment he appeared.

Holding the band’s trademark scarves above their heads, people stormed to the front of the stage before the first song had even started and didn’t budge. By the time the second half got under way fans were elbow to elbow, even spilling into the aisles.

McKeown and his excellent four-piece band had to postpone their gig last December when he lost his voice days before. He sounded croaky when I spoke to him earlier in the week and explained to the packed crowd he was still “a wee bit ill” before assuring the ever growing front row he wasn’t infectious.

Nobody cared, stretching and jostling for a touch of their childhood dreamboat. You could tell he was struggling, but his vocals were spot on and the band were tight throughout.

Bay City Rollers fans Linda Tooke and Janet Baldwin. Photo: Lucy TaylorBay City Rollers fans Linda Tooke and Janet Baldwin. Photo: Lucy Taylor

I was just two or three years old when the Rollers were at the height of their fame so a lot of tonight’s numbers were new to me. Great songs are timeless though, working their way into the subconscious of generation after generation of music lovers. Even I knew Shang A Lang.

They paid special attention to the band’s first full-length album, 1974’s Rollin’. Songs including Give It To Me now - which many fans were too young to hear live back in the day and too old to act on now, joked McKeown - and Saturday Night were among the crowdpleasers. An impromptu a capella duet with some particularly fiesty fans had everybody baying for the real thing, which came during the much demanded encore.

People were still singing and dancing as they left. Turns out you’re never too old to rock ‘n’ roll.

Read my chat with McKeown here and see this Saturday’s East Anglian Daily Times for more fan pictures and memories.

Wayne Savage


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

This year’s attention-grabbing Spill Festival of Performance will be unleashed across Ipswich next week with more than 100 events being staged across Suffolk’s county town, stretching from Christchurch Park to The Waterfront.

It’s nearly Halloween and there is a variety of events across Suffolk this half term to keep your little monsters entertained no matter what their age.

The only place for scary clowns is on stage says Circus of Horror’s evil ringmaster Dr John Haze.

Stormtroopers marched the streets of Bury St Edmunds this weekend as Moyse’s Hall unveiled its acclaimed annual science fiction exhibition.

Arthur Ransome’s tales of boats and adventure - many of which were set in Suffolk - changed the course of children’s literature.

Hundreds of youngsters braved the cold October temperatures to celebrate all things autumn at the Holywells Park Apple Day.

Although I’m a fan of the show Spamalot - I went to see the touring production at the Regent five years ago - I have to admit I only wanted to see the Company of Four’s version as my cousin Jo is in it (very good as a sweary minstrel, I have to say!)

Looking for something to do this half-term and Halloween? We have some ideas.

Ruth Madoc didn’t have to look too far for inspiration for her role as the steely matron with a heart of gold in the play Be My Baby. She talks to entertainment writer Wayne Savage about her influential mother and her early childhood in East Anglia.

This weekend sees two of the county’s leading arts organisations coming together to stage three days of music and dance. Andrew Clarke, our arts editor, talks to choreographer Richard Alston, who will be premiering a new piece inspired by his great hero: Suffolk composer Benjamin Britten

Most read

Most commented


Show Job Lists

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24