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70s fever returns on a Saturday night
Review, T-Rex and Boomtown Rats at the MECA, Regent Circus, Swindon.
Paul Fenton told me he got the gig with Marc Bolan and T-Rex because he was a feisty drummer and Saturday night he proved it. He was on fire.
The gloriously decorated ballroom of the MECA rang to the sounds of the 1970s as two pioneers of rock blazed into action.
The Boomtown Rats opened the show with original guitarist and drummer Garry Roberts and Simon Crowe showing they have lost none of the gutsy, in-your-face attitude of the Rats, but now it is tempered with fun and good humour.
Simon's anecdotes gave us all a an insight into the life and times of the Rats including the fact they wrote Rat Trap as an antidote to John Travolta and Olivia Newton John's Grease.
The crowd sang along to all the favourites including a fab rendition of Like Clockwork but one of the highlights was oddly not a Rats’ song. It was a stunning rock and roll track Riot In Cell Block Nine first done by The Coasters and then featured in the Blues Brothers movie.
The set ended with a Rat Trap, Modern Girl and an orchestrated sing-along of I Don't Like Mondays. And that was just the support!
For one night, and one night only, the majority of the room felt 13 years old again, dancing round the juke box at youth club.
T-Rex, now led by Paul, gave a storming show with some truly magical moments such as Paul's solo. It started as a jazz instrumental with the keyboard player and built into a bombastic rock explosion of epic proportions. The guy is 66 and plays with all the passion and energy of a 20-year-old but with more precision.
We rocketed through a set of classic T-Rex hits including Get It On, Ride A White Swan, Metal Guru, Jeepster and Telegram Sam all played with panache and respect.
The singer Jay Spargo at first seemed to be trying too hard and singing at a very high pitch but he soon settled into the groove.
The lead guitarist I suspect has a blues rock background. He gave us some lush solos and threw himself into the part making the toes curl during his encore solo.
Nice one Meca, a good start to the new regime and wonderful to see the good folk of Swindon, on a cold night, supporting what is a cracking venue for music.
By the end of the night everyone Loved To Boogie and Twentieth Century Boy brought the house down - Flicky Harrison.