#73. The Royal Oak Pub, Hampton. 23.10.15.

Wheere's Johnny!


What a fantastic gig! Every time we play at the Royal Oak it just gets better & better, mainly down to the positive, well up for it, enthusiastic, live music loving crowd. Plus this time round, aided by our great support band, Chopper Squad, making their debut live appearance.
The Squad kicked the night off in fine style. A rocking rendition of Cliff Richard’s ‘Devil Woman’ proved to be a standout track, alongside the climax of their encore, a top rendition of ‘Get It On’ by T-Rex. Thanks Chopper Squad.
So to the main event. Oh, before I start, MASSIVE thanks to ex band member, Paul, for stepping in at the last minute due to the unavailability of our usual bass player. No small feat learning an hour and a half set in only a few weeks. What a pro. And what a set it turned out to be.
Highlight of the evening for both band & bopping Phans alike was the Phantoms full on reworking of the Bangles 80’s classic ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’. It went down & storm, clearly appreciated by the masses. Unknown to everyone else this song had caused the most ‘discussion’ in rehearsals working out the key change in the middle. Probably no-one in the crowd actually even noticed that bit on the night but the band enjoyed it none the less!
Half way through proceedings, whilst the guitarists were up to a bit of tuning, the rest of the band launched into a quick rendition of ‘happy birthday’ for birthday boy Andrew & party in the crowd. What a great present, the Phantoms playing at your party!
Next, time to ROCK, and as the band ripped into the intro to ‘Highway to Hell’ our choice of song was vindicated on this occasion by the energetic response from the local (Frenchman!) in the AC/DC t-shirt.
Other stars of the show were the dancing couple down the front ensuring that parts of the Phantoms set resembled of an episode of ‘Strictly’. I’d love to see Anton Du Beke trying to choreograph a cha-cha to the Phantoms cover of ‘Gay Bar’! I digress…
With the planned encore done & dusted & the band doused in sweat & gagging for a pint, the fantastic but demanding crowd were still baying for more, resulting in a completely unrehearsed encore. Once we’d had a quick chat with our stand in bass player to find out what else he could possibly remember the Phantoms duly launched into the final song of the evening, what turned out to be a brilliant cover of ‘All the Small Things’. If we are that good without practice maybe we shouldn’t bother with rehearsals in future? On second thoughts.
Thanks again Paul. “Come and play with us Paul. Forever… and ever… and ever”.

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