My friend Ricardo bought me my ticket as a Christmas present. I was delighted: love Johnny Cash and have listened to him for several years. Actually my dad was also a big Johnny Cash fan, something I only found out fairly recently, so maybe it’s in the blood 🙂 Ric and I had both listened to the band online before going, and whilst looking forward to catching up and a pleasant evening, weren’t sure of what to expect. The Johnny Cash Roadshow are an English group who predominantly tour around the UK and Europe. I found some of the declarations on the groups website before attending to be possibly a little inflated. I feel bad now, as it was such a great night, but I did. I mean that’s the point of marketing though isn’t it, but it’s rare to find a group or an individual who sounds so like your favourite stars, and the cynic in me was a little unsure before going.
Well, in a nutshell: we had a fantastic evening! Wimbledon New Theatre was a gorgeous venue for it. The prices nearly knocked us over though and I have paid for a lot of drinks in London theatres: I forgot this was posh Wimbledon! And whilst it would be hard for anyone to sound exactly like Johnny Cash, I thought Clive Johns was brilliant as a lead show man, working the crowd and offering a wonderful performance as Johnny. Trumped though perhaps by Amanda Stone who as the voice of June Carter was absolutely brilliant. Vocally she just had the same pitch and intonation as June, and was warm, funny and charismatic with the crowd. And you know when you are not expecting something? Well the surprise highlight was the drummer Darren Bazoni, who came forward for a rendition from the Statler brothers. He had an amazing voice and to be honest, I felt the best voice of everyone. Those harmonies delivered during “Flowers on the wall” gave me goosebumps. And Clive Johns solo performance of “Hurt” was possibly his best performance of the night. “San Quentin” and “Folksome Prison” were also rip roaring good and got the crowd engaged! Bass and guitar player Martin Bentley is a delight to watch on stage as he is having just such a good time and smiling throughout. Its nice when its clear someone is enjoying themselves!
Overall I liked the format of the evening which took us chronologically through Johnny’s wide spanning career, provided us with many special anecdotal stories of both the Cash and Carter families, gave tribute to the Carter sisters who toured with Cash, mentioned the Statler brothers as above who were his support act for several years. It didn’t feel like a whistle stop tour, it felt like key and poignant reflections. There was so much fun and laughter during the night and you could tell the group really loved what they were doing. I say go and take a good friend with you!
For more information on the roadshow and whether its a town near you: http://www.johnnycashroadshow.com/