Fan review from Winter Gardens Margate Show 4.2.11

Winter Gardens – Margate, 4th February, 2011

Written by Stephanie

The gigs you don’t expect to get to are the best ones I think and this is true for me.   Michelle and I both couldn’t previously attend the gig in December, so as soon as it was rescheduled; I was on the phone booking tickets.

I had seen a Jamie and friends gig before (Paris 08) and wondered if it would be like that.  However, there was something about the fact that Jamie would be sharing the stage with two jazz legends, Ian Shaw and Liane Carroll that led me to think that this would be totally different to any other Jamie gig that we had seen and these sentiments were shared by Michelle as we approached the venue on Friday, 4th February, 2011.

Our excitement had been growing slowly throughout the day and we were very blessed to meet them all before the show, quite by accident really.  We then found ourselves surrounded by musicians and volunteers as we ate our dinner in the cafe bar on the sea front. Apparently, Ian Shaw is a regular, with a poster stating he was doing a show for Valentines, which would be very special as the cafe bar was very intimate.

The venue was right on the sea front with a distinctly Victorian feel.  Once inside, the room was all mainly on one level and our seats were front stalls on the right hand side, handy we thought in case Jamie decided to wander around the audience, which unfortunately, he did not.

Jamie appeared first, bounding on the stage with the talents of Mark on bass and Simon on drums. There was also another piano player, Harry or Aaron, very talented.  And, due to there being 4 musicians able to play the piano, Jamie’s Yamaha (who helped sponsor the event) was mirrored, by a walnut brown baby grand too, which all got played by various muso’s throughout the evening.

“Love For Sale” was the opening number followed by “Come Together”.  It was at this point I realised that we probably wouldn’t hear too much of Jamie’s album material but knew that it would be pretty special given the talent of those involved.

Jamie then addressed the audience and with a rousing speech that made me want to shout VOTE JAMIE, encouraged us all that live music and the arts are worth preserving even in this difficult political and financial time.  He told us that he was working on his next album and preparing to be a dad, (building the cot though he wasn’t very good at it, lol)

At this point, Aaron (piano player) joined the stage and Jamie delighted the crowd with “It Had To Be You” followed by “But Not For Me”.

Liane Carroll and Ian Shaw sung “You’ve Got A Friend”. Such lovely voices and I hadn’t really heard Liane sing before, what a range!  Jamie was sitting on the speakers at the back, taking it all in.  Ian then introduced Christine Tobin who is a Director at the Vortex in London, the reason for the charity gig.  Christine Tobin had a lovely voice and sang “Natural Woman” then Jamie joined the stage with Liane and Ian and they sang a line each of “Old Devil Moon”.

The first half was over and we sat and wondered how much better the second half could be.  The muso’s had such fun together.  No ego’s, each allowing room for the other and although the venue was quite big, it echoed the fun and tricks you would expect in a smoky jazz haunt off Soho.  Proper, traditional jazz methods of singing and interpretation were going on and Jamie held his own, as we knew he would.  I guess being loved by everyone in the room helped and if Jamie ever felt out of his depth, he never showed it and was a brilliant and funny as always. A perfect gentlemen you could say.

The second half opened by the proprietor of the cafe bar who explained the difference the gig had made to the Vortex.  Over 400 gigs had been ‘saved’ which we believe to mean, will continue to go ahead, show casing new and up and coming talent of all genres.   The team of volunteers, Yamaha, promoters and technical people were all thanked and reason for it all coming together was because “Jamie gave up tonight for free” at which point Jamie stuck his head round the curtain and waved.

Liane began the second set with a couple of songs, one of which her mother sang to her which she interpreted really beautifully, i just hope someone else can fill in the name of it.  Ian joined Liane and they sang and played together on either piano.  Jamie appeared again and Ian played the piano for “In The Wee Small Hours”.  Not sure I’ve heard this live but oh my life, I wanted to cry.  It really did sound like the most beautiful song Jamie had ever sung.  Christine then joined Jamie and they sang “Georgia, On My Mind”, but Jamie sang Margate, leading me to laugh out loud all over Michelle’s recording, opps!!  I really liked Christine’s voice and the vocal interludes that she sang over the music, fabulous!!!!

The stage then fall silent as Jamie began strumming the piano strings and beating a rhythm on the piano. I nearly screamed as I recognised “Don’t Stop The Music”.  I was worried that some songs would be lost without the rest of his usual band (and we did miss Rory, Tom and Brad), but Jamie made it work, like he always does. “All At Sea” followed, *sigh* At this he got a standing ovation from a few people and Jamie’s fans were getting excited but then just to challenge the proper jazz purists and fans of Ian and Liane, Jamie sprang into “I’m All Over It”.  Christine, Liane and Ian joined Jamie on stage and finally got everyone to their feet, but to hear that song without the chipmunks seemed a little wrong somehow.  Time was ticking and it was time for the encore.  Glad to see and hear Margate shouting and stamping their feet for more.

Everyone reappeared and Jamie was on drums, much to Simon’s surprise (sort of). The tempo increased as each muso took a turn in singing or playing.  All 4 piano players did a musical chair impression, moving from one set of keys to the other, all in time, all having fun and being part of an amazing night.  The gig was high energy, very tight and lots of fun.  It wasn’t a typical Jamie gig, but thankfully, one that continues to reverberate around my mind.  Thank you to Jamie, Ian, Liane and Christine for a very special night.

Key facts since the show

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The Margate event has raised about £20,000 which will be shared between the Vortex and the Margate Jazz Scene. The Vortex, which is a charity, puts on live music 7 days a week and with associated festivals this amounts to about 400 live performances every year.

The Margate Jazz festival is wholly reliant on fund raising. So the Jamie gig has ensured that both the future of the Vortex and the Margate Jazz festival is secure for the foreseeable future.

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