#100. Canbury Gardens Bandstand, Kingston, 10.8.19.


With Force 8 gales being predicted all week, the bands (& supporters alike) performing at this year’s bandstand gig were mightily relieved to see on arrival that conditions weren’t anywhere near as bad as expected. And as the day progressed, the weather held off (just) as The Phantoms & friends enjoyed another great summer outing to Kingston's Canbury Gardens Bandstand...
After battening down the hatches (by which we mean gaffer taping down absolutely everything on stage), The Phantoms (joined on this occasion by stable mates Op Acoustic & the FU’s) kicked off what was to be their 100th gig. Expertly powering through an opening 45 min set of crowd-pleasers whilst the lead singer simultaneously attempted to wave to as many joggers as was humanely possible.
Next up a radically different looking (& sounding) Op Acoustic aka the first outing of the new Op Electric Super Group. The usual line-up bolstered on this occasion with the addition of long-time collaborator Paul Read on bass & Phantom Nov making his debut appearance with OP/AC on keys. Both guests helping to ramp up the usual Op Acoustic sonic ambience to unprecedented new levels. Highlight of their opening set being a fantastic new cover of Kylie’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of my Head’.
The last band to appear was the FUs (Feltham Ukuleles) opening their set with a possibly prophetic cover of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival. “I hear hurricanes a-blowing”! Thankfully, that didn’t happen as the FU’s cruised through the remainder of their opening set with band leader Dave Harris providing lead vocals to the massed uke ranks.
Then, time to do it all again… Once again the Phantoms mounted the bandstand for an action packed second set. First joined by birthday girl Abby who along with a couple of her little mates interrupted their party gathering to join the band on stage to add percussive accompaniment along to ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis. Happy birthday Abby. Next the FU’s main man (who had quite clearly forgotten he was going to do this!) swelled the ranks on Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids in America’. Finally, special guest Acoustic Graham helped the Phantoms on a sing-along rousing rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond which had all present singing along. It was then down the Phantoms final song ‘YMCA’ to also get Canbury Gardens dancing along, which they did just in time as the one & only raincloud of the day chose to rear it’s ugly head!
With the brief shower over, the sun again came out to greet the Op Electric Super Group’s next contribution. It wasn’t long before the strains of appropriate song ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ by Crowded House were floating across the park. Although not completely appropriate as thankfully it didn’t snow! Not to be outdone on the special guest love in, the Phantoms lead singer then joined the band to voice ‘The One I Love’ by REM with aplomb. Highlights of the boys final set being ‘Shine’ by Take That & ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams. Both songs thoroughly enhanced by the musicianship & vocal talents of Op Acoustic/Electric’s temporary new members.
It was then left to the FU’s to headline the show, & entertain the local Labour Party gathering who obviously love a ukulele!
Many thanks to the lovely people at Kingston Council for having us back, and the equally lovely people at the Canbury Secret Café for looking after us so well throughout the day.
So that’s what 40mph gusts feel like then!

The Phantoms were: Mark Gibson (lead vocals & keys), Kevin Rogers (guitar), Jason Biggs (guitar & vocals), Jon Novice (bass & vocals), Alun Westoll (drums & vocals).
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