That’ll Be The Day 30th Anniversary Show, Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre: 2nd September
What a show! It’s been on the road for decades, has travelled more than a million miles and played to more than three million people. That’ll Be the Day - the evergreen nostalgia-fest that celebrates the golden era of pop - proved it still packs a mighty punch when it rolled into Bournemouththis week with it’s 30th anniversary show.
The audience lapped up at trip down memory lane that took in musical favourites from rock ’n roll to glam rock and beyond. By the end of the night they were out of their seats and grooving along. There was even a 103-year-old dancing in front of the stage.
Bournemouth centenarian Ivy Windmill told me that she’s loved the show for years - “especially Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones” - so where better for a night out on her 103rd birthday. Ivy was in her element as the show’s producer, writer and founder Trevor Payne performed his decidedly tongue-in-cheek Jagger impression and addressed her directly from the stage. Did she think things were better in the old days than now? he asked.
She didn’t miss beat. “No,” she replied. “Everything’s better now”. This might have come as a surprise to an audience hell-bent on re-living the music of the 50s, 60s and 70s but Ivy clearly loves life and by the end of the evening she was out of her front row seat and gently bopping along to Status Quo’s Rocking All Over the World.
That’ll Be the Day really is an extraordinary phenomenon. It started in 1986, born from the remnants of a club and cabaret show called The Happy Days of Rock n Roll. Combining music and comedy with the help of Payne’s long-time showbiz cohort Gary Anderson, it hit the holiday camps and gradually the present format developed - a frantic, fun, feelgood romp through an era that started with Bill Haley and the Comets, Elvis and Buddy Holly and ended with T-Rex, Dire Straits and the Quo.
In between there are visits to The Beatles, The Stones, The Searchers, The Kinks, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Whitney Houston, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and many, many more. The musicianship is solid and the vocal impressions range from impressive to just about believable. But there are also comedy routines and a back-screen running nostalgic ads and news reports from long ago. So occasional the shortcomings and, it has to be said, lack of any real superstar charisma, really doesn’t matter. That’ll Be the Day is a slice of unashamed holiday entertainment, perfect for a seaside audience who want to singalong and have a laugh.
The show also has its own developing history which has become part of the appeal for the small army of followers that have become friends of the company.
Current lead guitarist and drummer Ollie Gray for instance is the son of original That’ll Be The Day cast member Kate Gray. Born ‘on the road’, he watched the show from the wings as a toddler. In 2015 there ’s another toddler watching from the wings - Ollie’s own son Jackson. Add a 103 year old fan to that mix and you really do have a show for all ages.
*The That’ll Be the Day 30th Anniversary Show plays Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre nightly until Saturday 5th September and returns next week from Wednesday 9th September to Saturday 12th September.