The 40th anniversary of The Move. It is a lifetime ago for some folk, whilst others will never have heard of the band at all. For those that do remember them as I do, as one of Brum's finest ever, the partly reformed band is back on the road and have played their first warm-up gig at The Barfly, Digbeth, Birmingham on 26 August 2007.
Led by two of the original founding members, Trevor Burton (guitar/vocal) and Bev Bevan (drums), the remainder of the group comprising; Phil Tree (bass guitar/vocal), Neil Lockwood (keyboards/vocal) and Gordon Healer (guitar). Former Move vocalist Carl Wayne of course is no longer with us but reportedly had stated a desire to perform some concerts with the group prior to his sad passing. Ace Kefford (the original bassist) had other reasons for not being a part of the reformed band.
It is sad that Roy Wood has only had hurtful things to say about the reformed outfit, referring to them as quote, "The Imposter Move Motherfuckers!!" and "just a tribute band". It appears that he has gone to extraordinary lengths to decry them in all the local Birmingham newspapers and some national music press. He further stated that they use the name without his blessing and that, in particular, Bev was just making money from the talent of others. Well, I for one would like to say that Bev, as well as being one of the nicest guys I have had the pleasure of knowing was the engine room of The Move and E.L.O. and he has always been one of Birmingham's finest drumming TALENTS.
Okay, so it's only two of the original line-up but I don't think the presence of the 'Hairy One' would make much difference. I watched a 'You Tube' performance of The Move doing "California Man" and Roy, guess what?, there were only two original members of the group in that version of The Move too - you and Bev!! Really, words fail me.
Perhaps he should be old enough and graceful enough to just let them do it and if they sink, then so be it!! It's no skin off his nose and shouldn't need his approval as he, quite clearly, didn't want to be a part of the project. The energy, image and life of The Move was provided by Trevor and Ace - full stop. It was their idea in the first place. Charlie caught most of the flak for being the one that dragged The Move onto the cabaret circuit but had stated on his website that Roy was his accomplice... The same old problems of ego are still the same old problems. At least the reformed band made it through the whole night at The Barfly without Bev and Trevor having a fight, so that's a bit of healing progress. WE know you are great Roy.
With all this negative publicity being put out, there was a little nervousness backstage in the dressing room at The Barfly before the set. However all those thoughts were cast aside as The Move came on stage to a very warm, welcoming reception and burst into The Byrds "Rock And Roll Star". I know for a fact that this has always been one of Trevor's favourites and was part of The Move's original set. The band then went straight into a couple of Move hits "Flowers In The Rain" and "Fire Brigade". They had the audience in their pocket now and kept them firmly in their grasp for the rest of the night.
At one point Bev talked about his days playing with Denny Laine and The Diplomats and that a couple of weeks after they had split up Denny was at No. 1 in the charts with 'Go Now' and (Bev) felt as sick as a parrot. The Move took the opportunity of showcasing Neil Lockwood's vocal talent with that very classic song and the whole current vocal line up sounded as strong as the original but of course with a slightly different sound.
There were a smattering of Move classics with added great rock numbers and a couple of surprise choices in the set list; 'Need Your Love So Bad' being one and 'Strange Brew' the other but that's just a personal thing. As expected, Trevor excelled singing his favourite Eddy Cochran songs 'Something Else' and 'Weekend'. The choice of the Barfly was a good one for this gig but the acoustics are not the best there and the sound suffered a little which is only to be expected when ironing out the creases.
I don't know whether or not this adverse campaign by Roy was on Trevor's mind during the night but he announced that this was The Move's first gig and he "didn't know how to play 'California Man'" and walked to the edge of the stage whilst it was played by the remaining members. Maybe it was an act of defiance, after all although Trevor wasn't a part of The Move line-up that recorded that - I know he's a very capable musician and would have had no problem busking it, after all it's not rocket science? Still, I imagine that all these things will be ironed out by the time the band make their return appearance at London's Marquee, a venue synonymous with The Move in their heyday.
The rest of the set was excellent and the night was theirs. After playing 'Blackberry Way' with its vocal solo of "Ooh La, Ooh La, Oo Oo Oo" steal from Harry Nilsson's 'My Old Desk' the final number of 'Gimme Some Lovin' (by Brum's own Spencer Davis Group) was a good choice to close with and was given the roar of approval at the end. The Move's tour is in it's early days but for a "shake-down" gig the audience went away happy, pleased to have seen their heroes back in action. There was still great charisma, great promise and by the time they hit the road for the commencement of their nationwide tour they should be absolutely mustard!!
Look, its not 1968, flower power and psychedelia have been and gone but these guys were in the thick of it so... Just go and listen to some great musicians. I wonder why they didn't play "Curly" perhaps Roy has the answer to that one?