Prompted by Rigid Digit’s thread about oldies, I thought I would share my gig experience this week and pose a question. Back in the time of The Beast From The East, I was due to go and see Chris Barber’s Big Band, but the snow trapped him in Holland. He was quick to reschedule and the replacement gig was on Tuesday.
His current line up is a ten piece ensemble with plenty of brass and woodwind. This allows him to deliver not only the ‘trad’ repertoire that many of us will know him for, but also a range of ‘Big Band’ numbers from the likes of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, etc. We got a lively two hours of excellent playing, with the band splitting and reconfiguring to deliver in a range of styles. A packed house loved it all.
Chris was on stage for almost every moment of the concert and took his share of solos, which served to prove that he’s still got it. I last saw him in the 1990’s when Pat Halcox – with whom he played for 54 years – was still at the heart of the band and, nearly thirty years on it was every bit as good.
So, my question is this: Chris Barber is 88, who is the oldest artist you have seen live?