Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
When an international star makes their debut appearance in the city it is the duty of all who profess to love music to get to the venue and bathe in the splendour of the moment; especially when that star has been credited as one of Elvis’ favourites and who has thrilled millions for decades.
Gary Puckett might not mean an awful lot to those under a certain age in the U.K. but across the expansive ocean that tosses with its crest unhindered and buffets between the coasts of the two countries, Gary Puckett is a man with a voice so full of heart that he arguably stands in the same exulted company as Roy Orbison and Elvis himself; a man to whom the voice is the unfathomable beauty that many miss out upon.
Playing main support to Liverpool’s own The Searchers at the Philharmonic Hall is a big enough deal, especially as part of the much loved 60s package embraced by countless thousands across the country, however to perform in the arena of the Liverpool heartland for the first ever time was arguably an honour and a collector’s item for those that make the Philharmonic Hall their place of residence during the yearly season. This was not just any support, this was akin to Genesis playing at the Echo as Pink Floyd waited to headline, Liverpool legend supporting Bruce Springsteen in the Empire Theatre or Kate Bush turning up unannounced to support Eleanor Nelly at Studio 2, something’s are almost impossible to believe.
Time may change us all but the reverence that some musicians receive can still strike pleasure in the heart, for any artist to come to the home of British music for the first time, even many decades after their first hit, is to know just how important the art form is.
A colossus on stage, deeply humble but with that energy deprived of so many who allow their light to dim far too early, Gary Puckett serenaded and cajoled the crowd to their feet, memories of first loves flooding in to the faces and minds of those in the audience and nostalgia, that byword for dark melancholy, became a riveting reminder that music is meant to make your pulse race that little faster.
In the tracks Don’t Give In To Him, Over You, Lady Willpower, This Girl Is A Woman Now, a perfect rendition of Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman and one of the great songs of the 20th Century Young Girl all making an appearance, the Liverpool crowd were not just treated to a memory, it was the recall that was radical and overwhelming.
A generous set by one of the great American masters of pop, the hit single was never in better hands, a welcome debut and one that captured the ethos of the evening superbly.
Ian D. Hall