Scheibbs - Austria - July
The Quarrymen were invited to the little town of Scheibbs not far from Vienna to take part in a special concert in the courtyard of the old castle in the middle of the town. The concert was organised by the Town Council and by Johannes Willenpart, an old friend of the Quarrymen whom they had met in the USA some years ago.
The night before the concert was Johannes’ 50th birthday bash, so the band had plenty of time to practice with the local brew as they played in the open air outside a country inn. Their guest bass player for both gigs was local boy Christoph Eckel, who did a fine job keeping the Quarrymen on the beat.
Also on the big for the Saturday concert was a terrific local band, Johannes and Roots,, who played a great first set which really warmed up the audience, despite the occasional rain shower in the open courtyard which threatened to dampen the proceedings. The Quarrymen played to great acclaim, with birthday boy Joe Willenpart guesting on washboard for a couple of numbers. The evening ended with Roots and the Quarrymen playing “Mean Woman Blues”, “Down by the Riverside”, “Hey Jude” and “Give peace a Chance”!
Thanks to everyone in Scheibbs for a great weekend.
Knaresborough, Yorkshire - August
Len, Eric and Colin (Rod was away) made a rare appearance in theUK in August, playing a concert at the Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough as part of FEVA - the Festival of Entertainment and Visual Arts held in the town every year. The audience gave the Quarrymen a fantastic reception and the evening ended with four encores! Thanks to all those who helped to make it a terrific evening.
Japan - September
Every couple of years, top Japanese Rock Band, the High-Lows, invite some of their “musical heroes” to play a couple of concerts with them in Japan. This year was the turn of the Quarrymen who flew out in early September to Tokyo where they rehearsed with the High-Lows’ bass player Sakito, who would guest for them.
The concert, which was billed as the “Putting on the Style Tour”, took place on the Tuesday in the Kokaido Hall in Shibuya, a suburb of Tokyo. Before the concert the Quarrymen were delighted to meet an old friend, photographer Taki Mitsuhashi, whom they had met on one of his trips to the UK. Other welcome visitors included members of the Japanese Beatles Fan Club who presented the Quarrymen with some Imagine T shirts.
The High-Lows kicked off the evening singing a song in Japanese which to the tune of “Putting on the Style” which introduced the Quarrymen to the audience, there was a lot of laughter so it must have been very tongue-in-cheek, but it rather lost something in the very polite translation which the Quarrymen requested. Whatever the content of the song, it certainly did the trick because by the time the Quarrymen took the stage the audience were in party mood and the show went very well. The High-Lows delighted their fans with a second half which took the roof right off.
Next day both groups and the entire crew moved off to Osaka, travelling by Bullet Train and repeated their Tokyo success, performing in the Osaka Festival Hall.
Overall it was a wonderful experience and as skiffle is currently popular in Japan the Quarrymen are hoping for a return visit. Thanks go to the High-Lows - Hiroto Komoto, Mashi Mashima, Sakito Shirabe and Kenji Oshima, to their manager, Mr Hiroki Owada and to Tom and Lisa for taking such good care of the band.
EDINBURGH - September
A few days after their return from Japan, the Quarrymen made their way to Eric Griffith’s home town of Edinburgh to play a concert at the Queen’s Hall with Beatles tribute band “The Bootles” with whom the Quarrymen had played in Denmark in 2002.
The Bootles played the first half with their usual brilliant renditions of the Beatles at the peak of their fame, which was followed by the Quarrymen, with guest bass player Frank Cairns, giving the audience a an impression of how the Beatles’ musical tastes were formed way back in the 1950’s. The evening ended with The Bootles and the Quarrymen on stage playing a rousing version of “Down by the Riverside” followed by “Hey Jude”.
Thanks to The Bootles and Frank Cairns for making it such a great evening.