Crowds enjoy Ipswich spectacular

PUBLISHED: 13:04 28 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

IT was the perfect evening for an outdoor concert and the hundreds of people who flocked to Christchurch Park for the first night of the Ipswich Spectacular enjoyed every moment.

IT was the perfect evening for an outdoor concert and the hundreds of people who flocked to Christchurch Park for the first night of the Ipswich Spectacular enjoyed every moment.

The line-up was perfect for a hot summer night – Abba tribute band Bjorn Again headlined the show, but legendary acts The Blues Band and The Manfreds helped to build the superb atmosphere.

Organisers estimated the crowd last night at about 2,000, and they ranged from babes in buggies to senior citizens all determined to enjoy the event.

The age span of the concert-goers helped to create a real family atmosphere – during the evening the ice cream van seemed to do as much business as the bar.

The sun was still warm and bright as Paul Jones and The Blues Band took to the stage promptly at 7pm.

The Blues Band – which grew out of the original Manfred Mann band – has been on the road now since the 1970s.

But the enthusiasm and talent is undiminished even if it had the tough job of opening a big show while people were still finding prime seats.

Although Paul Jones and Tom McGuinness also appear in The Manfreds, it's impossible to escape the feeling that it is The Blues Band that remains their first love.

When they performed their quick change and re-emerged as part of The Manfreds alongside Mike D'Abo and Mike Hugg the crowd really got going.

Old favourites like The Mighty Quinn, Pretty Flamingo, and Semi Detached Suburban Mr James really got us bopping.

And Mike D'Abo treated us to his best-known composition – The Foundations' song Build Me Up Buttercup.

But it was Bjorn Again that really got the crowd going and almost everyone leapt to their feet as soon as the first few bars of Waterloo rang round the park.

Their show is familiar to the Abba fans of Ipswich by now but it's still great entertainment and the kind of thing you want to see again and again.

Most of the Abba standards were there, from the early hits like Ring Ring and Honey Honey to later smashes like Super Trouper and Does Your Mother Know?

The band features the legendary Benny Anderwear, Frida Longstokin, Agnetha Falstart, and Bjorn Volvo-us.

They might all be Australian, but they've perfected the Swedish act and have just enough humour to entertain without reducing the original band to a laughing stock.

On a warm summer night with everyone in good spirits, this was the perfect event to hold in the park.

But with only an hour allocated to them before the curfew fell, it wasn't possible to go through the entire hit catalogue.

Tonight the second night of the Ipswich Spectacular sees the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra present its Hooked on Classics show in the park.

With the weather set fair, it seems that the Ipswich Spectacular 2001 will be remembered as one of Suffolk's holiday highlights.

An ambulance crew was called to take a woman to hospital from the park after she suffered fits at around 8.30pm.

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