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The Bootleg Sixties – Rotherham Civic Theatre

Reviewer: Janet Jepson

It is said that if you remember the 60’s then you weren’t there, but this magnificent performance by the amazingly talented Overtures, certainly jogs some memories.  It’s nonstop nostalgia and fun all the way, right from the time lead vocalist and bass player Den Pugsley invites the audience to “get blind drunk, dance naked in the aisles, and get off yer face on LSD”.

The group – and in the 60’s they were groups, not bands, as the audience is reminded! – was formed in Hertfordshire in 1989 by Den and Steve Phypers (drums/vocals), plus Jamie Cook (guitar/lead vocals), Chris Skornia (keyboards/vocals) and Phil Evans (guitar/vocals).  Make no mistake, they themselves might not even have been the proverbial twinkle in the 60’s, but they certainly know their stuff and ooze talent, both vocally and instrumentally.  So much so, that in the past they have been invited to perform at private events for greats such as Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton and Lulu.

The Bootleg Sixties, is a true celebration of everything belonging to the decade, and the show is an eclectic mix of live performance and the visual spectacle provided by the triple view screen running behind the group.  The 1960’s is all there; the newspaper articles, films, TV shows, real life for the ordinary people and even those long-forgotten adverts on the telly.  The screen moves on relentlessly – it’s almost worrying that some small sixties oddity might be missed – the rag’n’bone man rides past in his cart; Dr No stares out; the defiant and youthful Rolling Stones shock; President Kennedy is assassinated; Twiggy struts her stuff on the catwalk; Elvis performs; Vietnam kicks off; and the kids swing from a lamppost that fronts the back-to-back terraces with the gasometer rising and falling at the end of the street.  Who watchedBewitched, The Saint, Fireball XL5, and listened to illicit Radio Caroline, eating Lyons Maid and seated on funky furniture, with the lava lamp glowing on the side?  Yes, it’s rose-tinted all the way.

But don’t dismiss the music; that is pure perfection.  The lads don’t go out of their way to imitate the original works, they just perform them extremely well.  From The Beatles, The Searchers, Roy Orbison, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Simon and Garfunkel, the whole Motown scene, Creedance Clearwater Revival (yes, it was a real group!), Procul Harem with their unparalleled and moving ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’, the list is endless and spell-binding.  Smart black suits begin the musical feast, and the outfits change to loud stripes and psychedelic paisleys as the 60s move on (pity they can’t model the timeless miniskirt ….) and on the screen the Hippy peace and free love gets more free.  Amongst the rows of seats, arms are waving in the air; feet are tapping, and at times tears are streaming down slightly wrinkled cheeks.

This show is a must-see for anyone who lived through the sixties, but equally so for anyone who didn’t.  Everyone needs to know about that truly influential era when the term ‘youth’ was born, hair was long, flowers had a certain power and real music was created.  Besides, it’s always good to visit the theatre and come out singing – especially if it’s one of those greatest songs ever written.

Reviewed on: Sat 8 Nov 2014



Scottish Daily Express October 2013

Everybody thinks that the music of their own era was the best. But this exuberant high-energy show proved that Sixties music certainly takes a lot of beating. From the moment the band launched into The Beatles’ She Loves You, the enthusiastic audience in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall knew they were in for a night to remember. There’s nothing like a bit of nostalgia Combined with some excellent music to bring a tear to the eye and the audience to their feet. And as this excellent band took us on a trip down memory lane and through the golden years of the 1960s, it was hard not to clap along and dance in the aisles. The Overtures have specialised in Sixties

music for quite some time and have now become so famous that they have become firm favourites of the stars from that era. They played for Lulu’s 60th birthday party – and Elton John gave him the greatest accolade of all by inviting them to be his wedding band at his civil partnership to David Furnish. And who could argue with Lulu and Elton? The performances ranged from an excellent rendition of a personal favourite, The Moody Blues’ Go Now, through The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, The Monkees and The Kinks as the decade unfolded over the evening. Adding to the atmosphere was background visuals of TV programmes, films and adverts from the era.

By the time we reached the end of the Sixties with The Who & The Doors  any doubters were truly converted. Yes, it’s true – they really don’t make music like that any more.

10th July

Anyone who has seen ther show before will know that "Pinball Wizard" has always been a big number in the show. Over the course of four tours its become a real showstopper, what with the fireworks, the smoke, the strobes, the images, and  the thunder of the band and Phil's Pete Townsends arm-windmilling 

Well its been confirmed that its not just you good people who think so ! .

Read what Mark Richie of "The Stage" had to say about the bands recent performance at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London

"The Overtures are quite simply outstanding. Here we have a five handed, all male pop group playing the sounds of the sixties. We skipped musically from The Byrds and The Beatles, through to Paul Simon and the best live version of The Who's seminal Pinball Wizard I have ever seen. When Elton John no less describes your band as "the best band of their kind in the world" this tag has to be lived up to.The guys manage it and then some. In fact, The Overtures drummer would have given mad Moon himself a run for his money."

The Stage
16th June 2013
Mark Richie