Review – Glen Campbell, Derngate, Northampton, 24th October 2011

Glen CampbellWhen we heard that Glen Campbell was doing a few dates in the UK, and that, extraordinarily, the Derngate in Northampton was one of them, we leapt at the chance to catch him.

You may have read that he is now diagnosed with the dreaded Alzheimer’s. I believe there was some criticism that his family were making him go on this tour almost as a last attempt to wring some cash out of the old chap’s reputation. Well, having seen the show I would entirely refute that claim. Yes, he clearly isn’t as mentally strong as he used to be, but there’s nothing but pleasure in this evening of celebration of his showmanship and his wonderful songs.

I’m showing my ignorance, but I had no idea he was such a great guitarist. I remember those stirring guitar solos on Wichita Lineman and Galveston, but I always assumed they were some backing musician, and that Glen was purely on vocals. Not a bit of it, and I tell you last Monday night he really made that guitar sing.

I’d forgotten how cynical By The Time I Get To Phoenix is, and he gave it a great performance. But why pick out one song? He was all masterful all evening. His classic hits still send shivers down your spine and the packed audience was mightily appreciative.

Instant PeopleHis backing group, Instant People, includes three of his children who subtly keep him on the correct course for the whole show, ensuring his guitar is in the right key, and that he has clear view of his monitors for reassurance. Musically they are great, and their half hour introductory set certainly put you in the mood for some good old country rock.

It was an honour and a privilege to be there, and the great man clearly enjoyed himself too. Well done the Derngate on getting such a great booking!

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