Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Best New Year's Eve in England with Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh


by George:
As a professional rock musician for the last thirty years, I have had many opportunities to experience the New Year's Eve in many countries around the world. This particular New Year, however, I was in England and spent probably the best time ever. No, it wasn't with the thousands crowded along the River Thames to watch the firework display and queue up for hours to see London from the London Eye and it wasn't at some 'posh do' that would set me back a month's wages. It took place in a small leisure centre just outside a small village somewhere not far from London, cost me less than £50 and not a drop of alcohol was available to drink.
'The best?' I hear you say but this sounds really boring... Oh no, my friend, this is the third time I have attended this event and each time is a magical experience and I can't imagine that it could get better but each year it does, and this year was the New Year of all New Years! So what was it that has caused me so much excitement? Maybe you are thinking I have experienced some kind of religious revelation, perhaps I saw a star hovering over this small venue in this small obscure English village?

Well, in one way you would be right! But not one star - there were many. And these stars were not celestial bodies but real human ones! One was called Eric, another Gary, there was Pete and Joe, Andy and Richard. Let me share my story with you.
Every year I am lucky enough to get hold of tickets to this private function that is organised by some of these above named to raise money for a particular charity close to their heart. Because the venue is small, the tickets are limited to as many people you can comfortably get into a large sports hall without contravening Health and Safety Regulations. The hall is laid out with decorated tables around the edge of a large dance floor and towards one end , a large stage is constructed at one end which professional sound and stage technicians have set up to give an impressive Wembley Arena output with the intimacy of a village hall.

On this stage, every year a special band plays live for more than three hours and it is this band that makes the celebration so magical. As a band, it is completely unknown and you will never find reference to it wherever you search in the musical media. Each year the band takes a different name and this year it was called the 'Complete Abandon' Band and not Totally Abandoned as many mention on the web. Its leader, for one night only, is probably one of the best rock and blues guitarist England has had and is known worldwide. Some songs that you will all know from this guy are Layla, I Shot the Sheriff, Lay Down Sally....now perhaps you can see why I am so excited....yes, it's Eric Clapton!

Now Eric Clapton by himself would be pretty mind-blowing. But put him together with Gary Brooker and from Procol Harum and Henry Spinetti who played their hit Whiter Shade of Pale, Andy Fairweather Low originally from the 1960s British band Amen Corner and still going strong touring with some of the best musicians of the 60s and 70s, and to this mix Joe Walsh from the US band, The Eagles, stir in Pete Townsend from the Who and sprinkle liberally with Ringo Starr from The Beatles and ........be blown away!!!! A jamming session pare excellence!

As a professional musician myself, having spent 30 years of my adult life earning my living in this precarious profession, to see 'The Big Boys' like this and to be able to get so close to them was beyond any dream I could have had. Top this though! My wife's friend and her family are the warm up band and this friend's husband kindly took me backstage where I could have a clear and private view of Ringo drumming whilst singing 'Boys'.

Later I sidled in there again and this time was met by an extremely friendly Pete Townshend who shook my hand and wished me a Happy New Year.
So that was it....my New Year celebration....breathing the same oxygen as my heroes. A big thanks to everyone who made this event something I will take to my grave. Not just to the Boys but to all the staff who made the night such a resounding success. Can't wait for New Year 2009!!


Another great New Year's party in the usual place with the usual Great Band of the Fourth Edition that this year gave us another magic night. The show began with the Tumbling Dice Experience, a great Dave on the guitar and his brother on the drums and Jackie the rock chick,  playing good old rock and blues, after that Nicky Griffiths and his band warmed more the atmosphere especially the moment he took off his socks whilst standing on his head!!!! Eric with his usual band ,like last year, started with "Knock on Wood" and after the break he opened the 2009 with the Midnight hour". A great night a great new years Eve. A big thanks to Eric and our friends for an other unforgettable party. Happy new Year!!!!!

And, in Ringo's words: 'Peace, Man'

Here are some of my favourite songs from those Great Guys.

Ringo Star(Beatles) with a little help from friends...(too many on the stage)

Ringo star

Eric Clapton (Yardbirds and the Cream) : Sunshine of your love

Eric Clapton

Pete Townsend (The Who) My Generation

Pete Townsend

Joe Walsh (The Eagles) (Take it Easy)

Joe Walsh

Finaly I want to add that the Support band was Great and the last song of the night was Chuck Berry's 'Johnny be Good'


Anonymous Mike S said...

Good un ya mate! Did you see Pete
Townshend's girlfriend?

What songs did they play?

January 01, 2008  
Anonymous 2 Doors Down said...

Nicht schlecht!
Weisst Du noch Sylvester 2005 ;D

January 03, 2008  
Anonymous rough mix said...

Il n'est nul besoin de vous dire que je vous envie..comme beaucoup de monde je pense.
Respirer le meme air que ces héros,quel belle entrée en matiere pour 2008
Hat off..

January 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there too. Was an amazing night. Spent sometime backstage.... we may have met. What a small world lol.

January 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there too it was brill. Please don't give away too many details as it's a special and unique event.

January 04, 2008  
Blogger admin said...

rough mix:Merci beaucoup, et bonne nouvelle année.
anonymous: Probably we did as only a few people where backstage.

January 04, 2008  
Blogger admin said...

anonymous: I have re editet the article deleting the details about the whereabouts of the event. But it is already reveald partly from many forums,blogs websites ech.

January 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was the DJ and MC for the evening. Big guy in light blue shirt. Spent most time back stage whilst acts were on

January 04, 2008  
Blogger admin said...

Hi DJ I remember you I was very near to you :), I was the guy with the black Polar Fleece Winter Hat in front of you. Thanks for the music.

January 04, 2008  
Blogger PHIL AND PAT said...

reading elsewhere, it appears this event took place just a few miles from my house and I didn't know! would loved to have been there - any chance you could send me a message telling me how to get tickets for next year??

January 04, 2008  
Anonymous Sally said...

At first I wish you a happy and peaceful New Year.
Thanks George for sharing your impressions of this special event. If it`s possible and if you don´t get into troubles you would make me happy with posting the songs of the evening, incase you`ll remember all the songs ;-)

Peace & love from Germany


January 04, 2008  
Blogger admin said...

Sally, Phil and Pat,sorry but I can't go on more details.

January 05, 2008  
Anonymous BluesBoy said...

I was there for the 9th successive year! This was the best ever.
It was a drink free event and I awoke the next morning with a clear head still buzzing with the excitement of what I'd seen.
Joe Walsh was superb, Pete T. interesting, Ringo was entertaining and Eric and the regular band are so so good.

January 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there too my cousin,uncles and aunty played in the support band, i have been attending the event since the age of ten.... but it is a very special event for people who are unable to drink new years and should stay that way... please do not give out too much information as we want eric clapton to enjoy this as much as we do every year. Tickets can not be brought anywhere except through people, many who are invited....
oh and by the way it was not "total abondon" as many websites have clamied it to be... it was infact "complete abondon".

January 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a reply to the above comment of the guy that he was there too ,the article will not do in my opinion any harm to the event and does not give any details as other thousands of articles, plus the first information started before the event from Rachel's Fuller blog and the official site of the Who, then the Independent wrote an article IMHO based on this article and so on. By the way your auntie was great as she played the guitar also your uncle was as good as ever and your cousin gave his best performance though I couldn't recognise him at the first point with his new long hair style.

January 07, 2008  

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