YOU can’t beat a bit of Elton John, topped with a layer of music from The Police, to beat the winter blues. Quite a musical cake, even if the performers are not quite the real thing. Sing along fun.
It is what was available on Saturday night (November 19) at the Carnival Hub in Wokingham, a new venue in town that normally offers sports fiends the opportunity to flex their muscles and don their Speedos or swimsuits for a swift bit of crawling before commuting to work.
The double offering was all in a good cause, raising much needed funds for local charity Wade Day Centre which provides vital support (and respite) for the elderly and their carers. Its focus on those dealing with Alzheimer’s means its services are increasingly in demand.
With sponsorship from TradeMark Windows, homeless charity Need in Wokingham and local estate agent Prospect – and fizz kindly donated by Laithwaite to sell to those requiring bubbles – the night was an overwhelming success.
With the music organised by Wokingham Music Club, the two sets were immaculate on the eye with super lighting. As for the performers, you couldn’t fault them.
Ultimate Elton John (Paul Bacon), tottering on his platforms like a ship in stormy waters whenever he got up from his piano, must be commended for performing despite a sore throat that meant high notes were a no go area.
Superbly assisted by the Rocket Band comprising two damn good guitarists, a drummer and a percussionist, Ultimate Elton gave the audience exactly what they wanted: a trip back to the 1970s and 1980s when Elton’s music was much to the fore.
So they were treated to a string of treats: Rocket Man, Daniel, I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues, Candle In The Wind, an upbeat Are You Ready For Love, I’m Still Standing, Crocodile Rock (provoking a few bold women to get off their comfy seats and start dancing) and a fitting finale: Your Song.
I’m sure Ultimate Elton (a pretty good visual dead ringer for the real Elton) could have pulled more hits out of his locker, but a mix of running out of time – and a need to rest his throat – meant there was no encore. A shame.
It was time for more fizz before The Police Academy delivered the second set: and rather good they were.
Ably supported by a drummer (Adam Aggiss) and guitarist (Tim Haycocks) that did their best to look like Stewart Copeland and Andy Summer, Sting (Peter Wright) gave the audience exactly what they wanted: an excuse to dance.
By the time he delivered a delicious encore of Every Breath You Take, some had stormed (tiptoed) down to the front to show off their deft moves. It was as if the audience had been transported back to an early 1980s nightclub. Only the handbags were missing.
The Police Academy were not far short of superb: performing with aplomb a string of Police hits – Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Message In A Bottle, Walking On The Moon, So Lonely (‘I feel so lonely in Wokingham’), De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, a delicious Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, and a rousing Roxanne. A beautiful Englishman In New York – Sting, not th Police- was squeezed in and boy was it good.
All rather entertaining. All rather fun even though I sometimes feared for Sting as he launched himself off the raised stage where the drummer (dressed in shorts) and landed on he main stage below.
Wokingham Music Club and Carnival Hub should be applauded for organising such a splendid event. More please.
Details about the Wade Day Care Centre can be found at: https://wadecentre.org.uk/