REVIEW: 10cc, Chichester Festival Theatre

10cc were a big hit in Chichester
10cc were a big hit in Chichester

I was seven in late 1976 and just becoming aware of what they called, and still call, pop music. And one of the first songs to make any sort of impression on me was 10cc’s The Things We Do For Love.

By then I’d missed the first half - and some of the biggest songs - of the band’s time at the top, though I loved Good Morning Judge and Dreadlock Holiday, the bigggest hits that came after I ‘discovered’ them.

The vocal harmonies and musical melodies that take many of their songs off in unexpected directions must be so hard to recreate live, but they manage it.

But now, four decades on, the earlier tunes are as familiar to me and people of all ages as those later works. And the whole lot, plus a few rarer gems, were heard by a highly-appreciative crowd at a very-nearly-full Chichester Festival Theatre.

It was the first time I’d seen music at this venue and it’s perfect for it. Because of the auditorium’s unusual shape, wherever you sit you are pretty close to the stage. The O2 Arena it is not - and is all the better for it.

From the first song, Wall Street Shuffle, to the last, Rubber Bullets, Graham Gouldman and the gang (and though this is some way removed from the original or classic line-up, that does not detract from the show) were note-perfect.

They are all superb singers - even drummer Paul Burgess, who weighs in with his vocal contribution in a brilliant and quite amusing a capella version of Donna - and they are all top-class musicians. The vocal harmonies and musical melodies that take many of their songs off in unexpected directions must be so hard to recreate live, but they manage it.

Everyone present would have had their own favourite song - for some it would be the atmospheric I’m Not In Love or I’m Mandy, Fly Me; for others, perhaps, The Dean and I or Life Is A Minestrone. For me it was that track that took me back to 1976.

Feel The Benefit received an ovation from the crowd that was almost as long as the song itself, while From Rochdale to Ocho Rios was a new one on me but immediately one to tap toes to.

Gouldman is the leader of the the pack, of course, and pays plenty of homage to the roles Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme had in making the music that made 10cc.

But Burgess, Gouldman reminds us, was with the band when they started out, and today’s other members all perform well up to the standards you expect from such a coveted outfit, particularly Mick Wilson, whose roles include the vital one of taking on the high notes once sung by Creme.

Their 90-minute set was preceded by support from singer Ben Cox and keyboard player Jamie Safir, who were excellent with a mixture of their own songs plus their own unusual takes on numbers ranging from Everybody Wants To Rule The World to Wichita Lineman.

STEVE BONE

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