Malcolm and Eileen Knowles

Review: SAILOR in High Wycombe (UK) 16 November 2002:

From Rio to High Wycombe – a night to remember by Malcolm Knowles:
This was the concert which all SAILOR fans have hoped for. This was SAILOR playing a full set to an audience of SAILOR fans at an intimate venue. Whatever we fans may think about Georg and Henry no longer being with the band, make no mistake, this was SAILOR at their absolute best.
When Eileen and I arrived at the theatre, we were warmly greeted by other SAILOR fans we had met a few months ago at, the now infamous, “Sarah’s party”. With tickets in hand we waited for the doors to open during which time we met more fans, many of whom had travelled from other parts of Europe just for this gig. In the knowledge that the concert was also being filmed for a DVD, anticipation was running high.
The excellent opening set by Chip Hawkes gave us all a chance to warm up our singing voices. After that the curtains were pulled back and the amazing SAILOR stage set was revealed. In addition to the nickelodeon there were barrels, ropes, giant anchor, palm trees, street lamp, an Anchor pub/hotel and loads of other stuff creating a superb nautical set.
And then....the band took the stage to play the most exciting gig you can imagine. There were so many high points during the set – “Jacaranda” and “The Old Nickelodeon Sound” being personal favourites. It was wonderful to hear “Sailor” played live again but, for me, hearing “Josephine Baker” live again was the outstanding moment. Back in the 70’s, this was always a crowd pleaser and at High Wycombe the fans were clearly delighted to hear it played again. Phil, Grant, Peter and Rob seemed to enjoy every moment as much as the audience and they finally left the stage to a standing ovation from a very happy crowd.
The after show party gave us all the opportunity to thank the band, take photos and get a few things signed. Again we chatted to so many fans and it was particularly nice to meet Katrin and Karsten – not only were they great fun to sit next to during the concert but they also run this fabulous website!!
For those who were there, this was a truly memorable night. So many thoughts of those wonderful SAILOR gigs in the mid-70’s just came flooding back. For those who missed it, make sure you buy the DVD when it is released – you will not be disappointed.
Copyright by Malcolm Knowles, 20 November 2002

Malcolm and Sarah Kendall in High Wycombe

Karsten, Katrin and Malcolm in High Wycombe

Review: SAILOR in Tring (UK) 20 March 2004:

Part 1: The Darkness
We all know that sometimes days just don’t quite turn out the way you expect. Well Saturday 20th March sure was one of those days. After weeks of quiet anticipation, the day finally arrived when SAILOR would play their first full set in the UK since the DVD/High Wycombe gig. Having paid a quick tourist visit to Camden Town in the morning, Katrin & Karsten (who we had welcomed a few days earlier) together with Eileen and myself headed off to Tring. Arriving early, we stopped by the Tring town sign for a few photos and noticed that it was rather windy!! However, this was mid-March and we were out in the countryside so nothing seemed particularly unusual.
Having dropped K&K at the theatre (they were hoping to see the band beforehand), Eileen and I headed up to the local hotel. Now this is a good quality hotel which was hosting a very posh wedding when we walk in dressed in our SAILOR gear demanding to know where the bar was. I’m not sure what the bride thought as we strolled through her photo shoot but I just hope we didn’t ruin her special day in any way.
In the bar we greeted SAILOR fans we had known from High Wycombe and the amazing "Sarah’s Party". It was also good to see Susanne, who I had met in Kassel last year, and some new faces, especially those who had traveled from outside the UK. As we walked down to the theatre anticipation was now running very high. After a short (!!) wait outside the doors opened and we took our seats.
The stage looked wonderful. There was the street lamp, a full size anchor (not sure who carried that in), ropes, barrels and even some sand (just to add that perfect touch). We sat chatting and taking photos with other fans for a while and then finally the moment arrived. The lights went down and on came the band. To ensure this perfect evening stayed perfect, the band opened with "Sailor". Now I have long held the belief that this should always be their opening number – it is after all their signature tune. I accept that it is not the easiest song to play and that the band would probably prefer to play it later in the set when they were into their stride. However, play it first they did and it was a brilliant opening number. The sound in the auditorium was perfect and audience response was fantastic.
Sadly, at that point the power failed and we were plunged into darkness. Not knowing if or when power would be restored, the band and theatre staff had tough decisions to make. Information is difficult to obtain from the electricity suppliers at the best of times but on a stormy night when power is failing in many areas it is almost impossible. The audience remained patient, taking more photos, swapping SAILOR memories, singing (who were those brilliant girls?) and, of course, supporting the theatre bar!
However, after nearly 2 hours, and with little sign of power being restored the inevitable decision was made – the concert would have to be postponed. For those lucky enough to be able to stay, the band would play the concert the next morning at 10am (for which I will write a separate review when I can muster another burst of energy). For others however, this was the end of the road. With flights to catch or other commitments on Sunday, it was never going to be possible for everyone to return. Refunds were given to those who needed them and the band stayed behind for a while to offer their apologies. Everyone understood that this was not the band’s fault. We understood that they had no option but to give up and send the audience home after so long without power. We understood that very few bands would have offered to play a concert on the Sunday morning, rather than just call it off completely. However, we also understood that the opportunity for what was to have been a very special day for SAILOR and their fans had gone and would probably never happen again.
There wasn’t much to say in the car going home. K&K put on brave faces but, in the end, all we really wanted to do was cry :-(
to be continued...

Eileen, Karsten and Katrin in Tring 2004

SAILOR fans in Manchester united! - Review: SAILOR in Manchester (UK) 20 February 2005:

Having renewed acquaintances with other SAILOR fans on the front row, Eileen and I were ready for our first gig of the long awaited UK tour.
We knew the band would only play for about 35 minutes but the question was would they make the best of that time? Helped a bit by the domination of SAILOR fans on the front row, it did not take long to get us cheering and singing along. Well done to Linda for wearing her full SAILOR gear and doing us all proud. When Phil made his remark about the front row being like the Rocky Horror Show (hopefully a reference to dressing up for a concert rather than meaning we looked scary) I could only feel guilty that I was not wearing the usual captain’s hat, etc. Later on the tour perhaps?
After the opening "A Glass Of Champagne", "La Cumbia", "The Old Nickelodeon Sound" (personal favourite!!), "Karma Chameleon" and "Latino Medley" there was a worrying moment when the music struck up for the "Full Monty" just 20 minutes or so into the set. We expecting to see them finish with the "Full Monty" and began to think that the anticipated 35 minutes would be even shorter. Thankfully it was a false alarm with "Girls Girls Girls" and "Champagne (reprise)" still there to complete the set. So there it was, marvellous of course.
In truth, I feel they could probably have done even better. Whilst the audience seemed to rise to humour of the "Full Monty" and sung gently along with "Karma Chameleon", this set was far too short to play covers. Whilst the set provides a professional warm up for the other bands, it does not do SAILOR the justice they deserve in their own right. UK audiences are different from those in other countries and will generally regard bands who perform covers as bands who have insufficient material of their own. This is clearly not true of SAILOR who do have a huge back catalogue of great stuff to call upon. Personally, I would like to have seen them open with the amazing "Sailor" (their trademark track) and to include "Josephine Baker", "Stiletto Heels", "Traffic Jam", "One Drink Too Many" as well as "Girls Girls Girls" and "The Old Nickelodeon Sound" and then finish on a high with "A Glass Of Champagne". This is all up beat stuff which, even if unfamiliar to some, I am sure would gain the admiration of UK audiences old and new. Let’s face it, those are the tracks which made most of us fall in love with the band in the first place and I see no reason they should not capture the imagination of a whole new generation today. Plus, it would create a far stronger demand for "Buried Treasure" and probably even help encourage the release of the back catalogue. Go on boys, be brave and play a proper SAILOR set – there’s nothing to lose.
However, all this is just a personal viewpoint. It was still lovely to see the band again and I’ll certainly be attending a few more dates before the tour ends.
And finally…to anyone who still hasn’t bought a ticket for Glitz, Blitz and 70s Hitz do so now. There are very few bills which will give you so much value for your money.
Copyright by Malcolm Knowles, 22 February 2005

Colder down South!! - Review: SAILOR in Halifax (UK) 02 March 2005:

As I drove into Halifax on a bitterly cold night the roads were thankfully clear of any snow or ice, but reports on the radio suggested that things were much worse in the South. Would SAILOR make it? Had they set out in time? Were any of them snowed in or stuck in traffic jams (ooh, an idea for a song perhaps)?
Anyway I needn't have worried as, from my front row seat, I could see them waiting in the wings and ready to hit the stage on time. Again, the guys were sadly limited to little over half an hour, but this time things were much tidier than they had been in Manchester. With the "Full Monty" left until the end, the whole thing flowed much better and things seemed much more relaxed. Unlike Manchester, this Wednesday night crowd stayed seated through the SAILOR set, but they were clearly enjoying themselves. Although the band did not stay behind to meet folk during the interval (presumably worried about a dodgy journey home), there were plenty of people in the bar talking warmly about how much they enjoyed SAILOR, and I suspect some of them will now be seeking out some SAILOR CDs - or, looking at the age of many, digging out their old vinyl albums!!
If I am permitted one request, I would still like to see the set open with another song ("Sailor" would be perfect PLEASE) and leave "Champagne" as the last number before "Full Monty". It just seems weird hearing "Champagne" reprised when you only heard it about 20 minutes ago. However, that's just a small moan - this was a very good gig and I can't wait to see them again North of the border in a couple of weeks time. Scotland watch out!!
Copyright by Malcolm Knowles, 06 March 2005

SAILOR belong to Glasgow - Review: SAILOR in Glasgow (UK) 21 March 2005:

Glasgow Concert Hall Main Auditorium is a very large venue and it was clear as we took our seats that the hall would be far from full. Difficult to get a full house when there has been a football cup final in town and Kylie is playing down the road on the same day!!  However, this was Scotland and Scottish audiences, big or small, are famous for giving bands a warm welcome. And that’s exactly what SAILOR got – an enthusiastic response to every song.
"Champagne" had everyone clapping from the start and Grant had no problem getting the crowd waving their arms and swaying to "The Old Nickelodeon Sound". "Karma Chameleon" is not always the easiest crowd participation song, but the good people of Glasgow even made a decent job of that.
Rob’s "Hornpipe" provided a very smooth link to the "Full Monty" which, in turn, created genuine hilarity throughout the hall. In short, the boys played their short set with visible passion and energy and were rewarded with the best response anyone could expect from the number of people there.
During the interval, there were plenty of people keen to grab a few words with the band and wanting to get things signed. Not sure how many bought the merchandise – with three bands on the bill it is always going to be difficult for the first band on to sell many CDs. However, it was clear that here in Glasgow SAILOR had definitely made some new friends. One die hard Sweet fan told me that he had been "worried" about seeing SAILOR but having seen their set "thought they were great". No arguments from me – this was a fast paced, lively set played to a receptive crowd. I left with high hopes that my trip to Edinburgh the following night would be similarly rewarded.
Malcolm Knowles, 23 March 2005

left to right: Grant, Phil, Malcolm, Rob and Peter

Hornpipes and bagpipes - Review: SAILOR in Edinburgh (UK) 22 March 2005:

The journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh did not take long, allowing me most of the day to wander aimlessly around the tourist spots and shops of this lovely city. If you’ve never been to Edinburgh make plans to go there – it’s a fantastic place even on a grey cloudy day in March.
I arrived at the Edinburgh Playhouse about an hour before the start and it was obvious even then that this was going to be a fairly small audience. This theatre is also quite big and it was going to take plenty of enthusiasm from those present to make this Monday evening a success.
Bang on time, SAILOR took the stage and played the same set as in Glasgow. Again, they had no problem getting the crowd clapping along and I could hear the people in the row behind me signing along perfectly to "Champagne". Plenty of clapping continued through "La Cumbia", and we all swayed in perfect harmony (well just about) to "The Old Nickelodeon Sound". There were not really enough people in the audience to do justice to "Karma Chameleon", but we did our best. Phil introduced the song by again explaining how he had written it with Boy George and that the SAILOR version would appear on "Buried Treasure". It’s a shame that "Buried Treasure" has not been released in time for the tour, but hopefully people will have made a note and will be keeping an eye out for the long awaited release.
For the faithful who were at Glasgow the previous night (and there were several of us) I had hoped the band might have replaced "Vera" with something different, but they decided not to. Both the Rubettes and Sweet did make some changes to their set although, to be fair, the SAILOR set is now working very well and is probably best left as it is.
As in Glasgow, "The Full Monty" was enthusiastically received and, as the lights finally went down on the SAILOR set, there was a good spirited buzz in the hall. Again the band made themselves available for signatures, chats and photo’s during the interval – a gesture which always goes down well.
I chatted for a while to another couple of SAILOR fans (Carol and Alan I think – apologies if the names are wrong) where we reminisced about ‘Sarah Party’ back in 2002.
As the band headed towards Dundee I sadly had to head home. I had thoroughly enjoyed my two days in Scotland and look forward to finding an excuse to visit the area again sometime soon. Once again, this tour provides a fantastic night out and, even though some dates have been cancelled, there is still time to catch this fantastic line-up. Don’t miss out!!
Malcolm Knowles, 26 March 2005

Two of us over a glass of champagne - Review: SAILOR in Buxton (UK) 03 April 2005:

Please forgive a little self indulgence in this review, but the gig at Buxton coincided with the weekend of our 25th Wedding Anniversary. After flying back from a couple of days in Paris we drove through the wonderful countryside of the Peak District and arrived early (as usual) at this lovely theatre in what is a beautiful, if rather remote, town.
Heading straight for the bar, we bumped into Phil who could not really ignore us dressed in our full SAILOR gear. After a beer and chat we headed for our seats and settled down to see the band play what has now become a very slick, if still too short, set.
Then came the highlight of our evening. As Phil introduced "Karma Chameleon" he dedicated it to Eileen and myself and told the audience that we were celebrating our 25th Anniversary. We felt Phil then sang the song directly at us and we appreciated every moment. I had mentioned the occasion to Grant in Scotland, but for Eileen it was a complete surprise. THANKS GUYS, it was a very nice gesture and has guaranteed our joint support of the band for another 30 years!!
See you in Oxford…..

Malcolm Knowles, 11 April 2005

You’ve got the theatre full of delights - Review: SAILOR in Oxford (UK) 10 April 2005:

Unable to get to Grimsby, Oxford was to be the last date we would make on this tour….and what a great night it turned out to be. In the absence of any useful signage in Oxford City Centre, we found the theatre thanks only to a very helpful commissionaire in a nearby hotel.
After a few minutes in the bar it was clear that, of the three bands, this was to be SAILOR’s night. It was great to see Karin over from Denmark as well as some familiar faces from around the UK. The band also appeared to have brought along their own support from friends and family, and from the moment they took the stage they were clearly relaxed and enjoying themselves.
The set remained the same as it had been for most of the tour but playing to the ‘home’ crowd brought more smiles and interaction between the band members than had been apparent on some dates. The road crew added to the fun – firstly by taking Rob’s hat just before his Hornpipe and then leaving the Full Monty soundtrack to play just a few seconds longer than it should have done before the rewind section. The band handled the moment brilliantly and the audience, most of whom I suspect now know the routine intimately, loved every moment of it. The boys left the stage to a standing ovation and I wondered, for just one moment, whether we might just get an encore. Perhaps for one night the Rubettes would give up a few minutes of their set to allow SAILOR one more number. Sadly, it was not to be but we took our seats again happy that SAILOR had given all they could in the time permitted.
In the foyer during the interval, SAILOR remained in jovial mood. Unlike other gigs where they had stayed to chat and sign, Oxford had not provided a specific table. They were therefore free to wander and chat and took time to ensure their fans had all the pictures and signatures we needed. We had had a great evening and we all knew how much it meant to have witnessed SAILOR on tour again in the UK. Despite some small audiences and the limitations of a short set, SAILOR have renewed many friendships on this tour and without doubt acquired some new followers along the way.
We now await the release of ‘Buried Treasure’ with interest and look forward to the possibility of a special gig or two later in the year. Meanwhile, THANKS to Phil, Grant, Pete and Rob for making the past few weeks so enjoyable.
Malcolm Knowles, 18 April 2005

Last updated: 28 May 2005


copyright by