Smokie ready to fire with a bang

By Ranjit Vethakan

Following the huge hullabaloo over the recent concert that really wasn’t, sanity will return to the local entertainment scene with Smokie’s confirmed performance at Water’s Edge on November 30.

Yes, Smoke is the Real Deal and the only rock band travelling around the globe with that name is the firm assurance from their manager, John Wagstaff. In a telephone interview from his holiday villa in Lanzarote, a Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean – the easternmost of the autonomous Canary Islands - Mr Wagstaff promised Colombo concert-goers a “Night of Nights”. “The show will encompass hits from the Seventies, Eighties, Nineties and the Naughties,” he said.

Local music fans will be delighted to learn that the five men gracing the stage of the Grand Ballroom of Water’s Edge will be none other than  Mike Craft (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mick McConnell (lead guitar, vocals), Terry Uttley (a founding member on bass, vocals), Steve Pinnell (drums) and Martin Bullard (keyboards), a quintet that has been together since 1996.

Mr Wagstaff said the band, like most other outfits in the business had experienced changes in personnel since first formed in the 1960s. The changes were forced on them due to people pursuing solo careers or “other interests” while another, Alan Barton, was killed when the band’s tour bus skidded off the road during a hailstorm while touring Germany in 1995. “There aren’t too many bands out there that have lasted over four decades with the same guys,” he admitted. “They do keep moving on.”

With more than 30 million album sales to their credit, Smokie is one of the hardest working bands around with well over 200 gigs per year. In fact, they will be heading for Colombo at the end of an extensive tour of Australia.

Mr Wagstaff promised local fans “full value” for the hard-earned money they will fork out for the privilege of seeing Smokie in action. “The guys will roll out their hits, one after another, and will also include some of their own personal favourites that fans will recognise instantly,” he said. “Yes, fans at the concert will be guaranteed they’ll be swinging to Living Next Door To Alice, Mexican Girl, Don’t Play Your Rock n Roll To Me, Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone, Needles and Pins, Baby It’s You, and the hit list goes on,” he said

“It’s a typical rock concert, the way a concert ought to be performed,” Mr Wagstaff assured.  There’s no smoke without fire, is how the saying goes. And Smokie will be firing on all five cylinders! 

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