Call me Russ L

GDFAF #12: Billy Ocean / Ebony Steel Band (18/10/7)

Posted in Going Deaf For A Fortnight 2007, Music by Russ L on 19 October, 2007

In what was without question the most anticipated gig of the fortnight, GDFAF number twelve saw Nyki and I heading to the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton for Billy Ocean. Billy Ocean himself.

First of all – nuts to your sneering little accusations of ironic appreciation. You may be a tosser like that, but don’t drag me down to your level. If I say I like something it’s because I’ve found qualities in it that I like, and I like Billy Ocean a lot.

We arrived to find the Ebony Steel Band already on. I always think Steel bands are really clever. Getting all those different mellifluous sounds out of things that are essentially percussive is a bloody nifty trick in my view. As such, this involved a fair bit of me murmuring “Oh, isn’t that clever!” A cover (with part of the assembled steel drummery imitating the vocal melody in the sort of style I’m sure you’ve heard before) of John Legend’s “Ordinary People” was the highlight.

Billy! Aaaaw, he’s lovely. When you see him in the flesh he’s just… munchable. You just want a little version of him that you can keep on your desk at work. When you get depressed he can do his little feet-slide-y dance to cheer you up.

It went much as you’d expect, anyway, and was as much fun as you’d think. Billy-O was never likely to alter his songs significantly in a live setting. I was surprised at the large (and I mean large) number of middle-aged women who came over all hormonal and kept running up to the stage, though. I suppose memory can be a powerful thing, or maybe it’s related to my previous paragraph. I bet the hanky that the one woman so lovingly mopped his brow with is already worth a fortune on Ebay.

So, “Love Really Hurts Without You” opened things, we soon got “Red Light Means Danger”, a bloody great three-card trick of “Loverboy”, “Gett Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” and “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Gets Going” finished the main set, and “Carribean Queen” was the encore. All your faves. I do genuinely thinK that the better of Billy O’s songs are amongst the greatest pop-soul songs yet created.

Why oh why did they shut the bars in The Civic once he came on stage, though? They don’t normally do that.



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