The Real Thing – At Catford Theatre 26th October 2018
The Real Thing performed at The Catford Broadway Theatre tonight and what a show it was. I had just come up from Leeds, got into Victoria Coach Station at 5pm then legged it around to catch my train to Catford, so that I could get to Theatre for a 7.30pm show start. I got a little side tracked at Victoria Station. The temperature has dipped somewhat and I don't do the cold very well. I get grumpy and have intermittently more PMT moments. I needed to buy some thermals and a couple of jumpers so I got slightly distracted in Next which shaved 30 minutes off my journey time home in order to get ready for The Show. I was tired from my trip so any chance of running more than 2 mile per hour to catch the train was going to be one of those I-Can't-Feel-My-Heartbeat moments. However, I had to run for my train and I was not happy. I don't like to run when I don't look good. It has an impact on my street cred. I'm a Usain Bolt type of gal - grace, style and fast. However, today I moved as if I'd eaten a big bowl of dumplings with extra yeast and I'd had several pints of Guinness. I had three minutes to do a 1 minute sprint and my heart and my legs did not find it funny. However, as I said before, I had a show to get to and I had wanted to see The Real Thing perform for years. I was also determined to meet Chris and Dave and personally show and hand them a copy of my magazine TurningPoint: your Lifestyle, Your Well-Being Issue 4 where I had interviewed Chris. So I had to do the run. However, I finally got the train , rasping and panting like a deranged hyena on a pub crawl and composure was not working well for me, but like I keep saying....I had a show to get to.
I got home with 45 minutes to grab something to eat, let the dog out the front garden to do his number one, and put on something nice and warm. My partner who is usually always on time was running a little late. He was going to pick me up. A real gentleman he is. I'm so blessed. Anyway, without further ado and not wanting to be rude to him, I abruptly summoned him to "forget picking me up, meet me at the theatre and I'll get bus" because The Real Thing were in my part of town and I was not going to miss them, nor be late. If I came across rude and high and mighty to my partner, at the time, then I certainly would be apologising later. Anyways, I was finally ready and left out dressed like a yeti. My big green woolly scarf wrapped itself around me three times and I still had enough left to act as ear muffs, but I didn't care, it was cold out there and I wanted to arrive looking composed and...warm. I got to the theatre and promptly asked to speak to the manager. No time to waste, I was going to see make sure I said hello, face to face with Chris and Dave. I told the manager promptly that I was a journalist who had interviewed Chris several months ago and there and then I put in my request to see if he could please, eye flutter, flutter arrange for me to meet The Real Thing after the show and organise that I get some pictures as well. I also threw in that I had a copy magazine to show them. My calling card. The Manager said he would do his best and I must say, he really did deliver, as you can see from the picture above.
During the first part of the show was a supporting artist, she was good, they were good. Or maybe there was a band there as well. I don't know I didn't quite catch her name/their name because I was so hyped up. I could barely listen to her perform as I just wanted to hear those old toones such as 'Can you Feel the Force,' 'You To Me Are Everything', 'Children of the Gheto' etc These songs were plaguing me inna my head. Every time the supporting act said in her lovely soft lilting voice 'and now I'm going to sing another song' I was almost tempted to get up and shove her off the stage. No......No...No....I wanted to hear one of my favourite bands NOW, NOW, NOW. No supporting acts or actresses or actors or musicians or clowns or ventriloquists...No ......I felt the tingles of the impatient Sagittarius rise in me, I wanted to hear them NOW.
And then BAM, they came on. The build up was fantastic. The band threw everything into a wonderful melodic frenzy. The crowd got delirious and then THEY came on. Chris and Dave. I'm so glad I've passed the stage of throwing knickers and all that nonsense on stage, or diving into a teary eyed gushing of 'I Love You Chris, I Love you Dave' as I know my partner would've back handed me across my forehead just the once, and I'd have to stay seated in my chair all night from concussion.
Chris certainly still has that energy that is symbolic of The Real Thing. An energy that speaks volumes about the way he is dedicated to music and his passion to perform. An energy that describes the place where his soul is at, that energy that tells a thousands stories about who The Real Thing were and still are. Chris, Dave, Eddie and prior to that Ray and Kenny. Eddie Amoo who passed away early this year, was more than an integral part of The Real Thing. They are a band who are intrinsically bonded into a brotherhood of divine inspiration which weaves its magic into the lives of their audience and that has been founded on their core values, their respect for each other and their understanding of their own humanity which informs the humanity of others.
Now that there were only two of them, to be able to keep the essence of what The Real Thing Stood for, to have had to reinvent or should I say adjust themselves just slightly while still keeping the essence symbolically of who The Real Thing are is an art and a gift in itself. But they managed to do this. Chris' passion for his art, passion for the audience, to deliver, to sing, to perform, to share, to engage, to uplift, to inspire, to have fun was still highly potent. Dave held his own splendidly, coming in at those right moments, his more subtle energy juggling with Chris's high intensity whilst creating a synergistic duet de deux. I also loved Dave's little antics and when Chris spoke about Children of the Ghetto and what the song meant to them, especially the part Eddie had sang, I could see and sense Dave's memory of Eddie and a moment of sadness crept over him and then Chris started singing and I could feel tingles down my spine. This song had become almost an anthem for these two incredibly powerful men and I could feel their soul as they lullabied (if that's a word) the crowd into a deep, soulful almost seductively mournful duet. The synergy between both Dave and Eddie swayed and flowed into their own intimate orchestra, embraced by the crazy high energy of the band.
This was not just a show, this was a performance. The Real Thing still had it going for them. They gave us a rendition of Ain't No Stopping us Now by McFadden and Whitehead. I knew this was more than just the performance of that well known tune; there was a message from Chris and Dave to us all. The message behind this, I believe, was to say that no matter what happens in life, no matter what you are going through if you have a dream, if you are on and in purpose there ain't no stopping YOU. This year they both lost someone who was such a powerful force not only in their lives, but in the essence of who the band was; an angel who symbolised the message of hope and how to live life and that was full, and full of love, and full of love and hope and dreams. That is what Eddie's spirit advocated and that is the message I believe was and is the undertone for everything The Real Thing stands for. I don't know where these two gentlemen get their energy from but as they say, age is nothing but a number. It was great to see how the crowd responded, rocking and rolling allowing themselves to be serenaded into ...back in da day.
The New Version of Children of The Ghetto, Sung Live in Ipswich this Year
We can inspire someone, somewhere to get up and follow their dreams. I am so privileged to interview so many of these old skool classic artists. For me, they have the attributes of what it really takes to 'be called a celebrity because they cele..brate life through their journey and experience which they can then infuse into their art. Individuals who are selfless, who understand the tenants of respect, the honouring of each other and of themselves, honouring their art and honouring the gift they have to share with the world.
Thank you to Chris and Dave for allowing me to finally meet YOU. Thank you for your messages of love, hope, dreams, desire, to live large, to have fun.
Remember: Your Brother's spirit will always live on in you both and through you both.
Click on Front Cover of Magazine