On Tuesday 25th October 2016 Russell presented a Showcase for his new album, ‘True Stories’ at Liverpool’s Cavern Club – “The Most Famous Club In The World” – as a charity evening in support of Smooth Radio’s ‘Make Some Noise’ campaign.
The first thing we want to say about the afternoon and evening that we spent in and around the Cavern is just how friendly everyone was and that Russell was a big hit even before he’d sung a note. We’d arrived early to queue for the ‘Live Lounge’ – as you do – and managed a few brief words with a number of folk passing in and out who all had only the nicest things to say about him.
After the sound-check and rehearsal, behind closed doors, Russell came out into the Cavern and was honoured to be added to their Wall Of Fame by having a brick with his name on it placed in the wall.
Our afternoon passed happily with some great live music in the public bar … mostly Beatles, Stones and other music that we grew up with … and there was a fair bit of ‘bopping’ going on in the queue!
The Lounge isn’t huge and it filled up quickly while local artists entertained before Russell was introduced. No suit tonight; jeans and a ‘skull’ patterned sweater, with a long, dark blue velour coat. Very ‘cool’ looking.
His ‘showcase’ play-list started gently and built up the tempo through the show.
If I Loved You
In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
Who Can I Turn To
Russell introduced the next song by explaining that it had been released as a single in the United States where it had reached #16 in the charts and, much to his and his record producer’s surprise, was still there that week.
Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough
The next song will also be released as single in the US.
Now And Forever
Russell said the album does also have several classical tracks but he felt that the “pop” songs were more suited to a performance in the Cavern and he continued with his own two compositions, for which Gregory Darling had written the music. The first song is about his recovery from the second, near fatal, brain tumour, waking up after surgery to find his two daughters at the end of his hospital bed and wondering if he was now in Heaven.
He joked that, having written that, he wrote another. “Once I got started I couldn’t stop. They’re like Pringles …”
Russell then recalled the passing of his long-time Musical Director, friend and mentor, William Hayward. Singing William’s favourite aria Panis Angelicus at the funeral on a very grey day, sunlight suddenly flooded the church on the last two words in what Russell called the most emotional and spiritual moment he had ever experienced. Later, at bedtime, while still thinking about not seeing his friend again, the curtains wafted in a breeze and a beam of moonlight lit up the room in another surreal moment. This song is about those experiences.
When It Shines
After thanking the members of the band for having joined him for the night, Russell ‘tried’ to bring the show to a close with a tribute to The Beatles.
Of course, the crowd called for more and he obliged, rocking it out with …
Twist And Shout
That appeared to signal the close of the evening and the band left the stage but the audience was not going to give up easily and after lengthy applause, much cheering and calls for ‘Just one more …’ Russell returned alone to sing
So much for classical songs not suiting the Cavern! It was a superb performance. That really was the end and the stage crew promptly began the clear-up process but it had been the most fantastic finish.
Many, many thanks to Russell and his Team, The Cavern Club and their brilliant staff, Smooth Radio North West and to the members of the band :
From left to right in the picture at the top of the page.
Gregory Darling : Piano
Nigel Harrison : Bass Guitar
Clive Deamer : Drums
Dani Robinson : Guitar
Mikey Rowe : Keyboard
More Pringles please, Mr Watson!
On a quick return visit some three years later we found this inside the Cavern Club although the ‘brick’ with Russell’s name on it had been moved to an outside wall of the Cavern Bar, a separate building on the opposite side of the fairly narrow road.