Wayne Fontana, Gig Review. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

There are moments that you are sure that music will live forever, it might change, it could evolve, the cycle of what is sexy and what is indescribable nonsense will change, it will revolve and switch across the generations and the genres but one thing is undeniable, that great music that defined the beat of a generation, that a voice that can make a person swoon and another’s heart race faster even after 50 years is apt to be a bit special.

In Wayne Fontana, the twinkle in the eye, the turn of comic phrase and absolution, the liberty to enjoy himself on stage, is to herald a hero from another age and still agree that like many of his contemporaries, he still has the mass appeal to kick off a night of music from the decade that defined art muscling itself in the world and making a fool of class.

Whilst being the opening act in a night of memory and a time of simpler pleasures, Wayne Fontana strode the Philharmonic stage as if nothing had changed, nothing had happened between the early 60s and to the minute he was there, larger than life, joking, inspired and ready to let the voice work its magic. Like a conjuror, the strands of his life were illuminated, overwhelming and the audience’s eyes could not be faulted for sending the message back to the brain, that this man is that all important national treasure; a perhaps overused symbol of beautiful expression but one that fits the man perfectly.

A short step back in time perhaps but one filled with imagery, with the complexity of emotions and aided by a superb backing band, one that titillated the senses throughout and in between each song.

A short step back in time perhaps but one filled with a sweet caress that Time’s velvet glove rarely adorns and in the songs The Game of Love, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, the wonderful Graham Gouldman song Pamela, Pamela, a very cool rendition of Thomas Baker Knight’s The Wonder Of You, made famous by Elvis and the charming A Groovy Kind Of Love, Wayne Fontana broke more than just the ice of the returning 60’s champions, he took a pick axe to it and served the pieces with any large Scotch going.

A night to remember for Wayne Fontana fans, a chilled and relaxed affair but one that was high on praise and enjoyment. The decade that saw Britain emerge as a powerhouse on the pop world, found its feet again with the man from Manchester who broke the early Beatles’ dominance.

Ian D. Hall