Crackerjack show from The Manfreds and Georgie Fame at Regent
PUBLISHED: 09:53 14 November 2018
Maximum R&B with The Manfreds and Georgie Fame at Ipswich Regent, Tuesday night.
Back in the 1960s a band emerged in London that fused American R&B with pure pop and produced hit after hit after hit . . . and half a century on the Manfreds are still producing the goods.
Manfred Mann himself might have gone off to do other things – but the rest of the band (with both original vocalist Paul Jones and his replacement Mike D’Abo in the line-up) are still touring and bringing their great sounds to appreciative audiences everywhere.
Regular visitors to the Regent in Ipswich, this year they brought their friend Georgie Fame to deliver some of his hits as well.
The genius of this format is of course that none of the lead singers strain their voices too much during what is a two and a half hour set – there’s no warm-up band.
Paul Jones brings a distinctive harmonica sound to almost every number they play – whether it’s one of “his” songs or one of the later tracks while Mike D’Arbo is a constant on the keyboard alongside another verteran, Mike Hugg.
Even lead guitarist Tom McGuinness is given to chance to prove he’s no slouch with the vocals with a couple of numbers from his McGuinness/Flint band.
Most of the band are now well into their 70s (although Jones appears to have found the elixir of eternal youth!) but their sound has not diminished.
Jones’ voice remains very distinctive, while D’Abo’s different sound still sounds perfect in his numbers. Fox on the Run and Mighty Quinn were real crowd-pleasers.
And it was great to see them joined by Georgie Fame who showed that his great voice and back catalogue can still sound fresh when backed by fine R&B musicians.
A solo version of Bonnie and Clyde at the start of the second half was really quite something for the crowd.
The Manfreds are real legends. I first saw the original band play on Crackerjack in the 1960s. It is wonderful to see them still take to the stage, still belting out the hits and still able to work a large audience.
For many groups, tribute acts have become the only way to hear their music live – but not in this case. The Manfreds may be their own tribute act, but they still know how to entertain their fans!