Tony Christie – Review – Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe

tony christie live review scunthorpe

By Roger Crow, February 2024

My earliest memories were watching ITV Gerry Anderson crime-busting saga The Protectors and that closing song rattling around my head… for years. I had no idea who Tony Christie was, but I LOVED that voice, and in the 1970s, there were plenty of chances to hear him. (I did what I did for) ‘Maria’, ‘Solitaire’, and the immortal ‘Amarillo’ were beloved by many. Decades later I got to interview the man himself, which was a joy, even if for him it was probably just one of thousands of interviews. And when I inevitably penned a magazine feature on The Protectors a few years ago, I was thrilled when TC gave me some quotes at the 11th hour about that theme song.

When the chance to see him live arises, I jump, though the Press have understandably centred on two things: he has dementia, and is 80. If there is anyone who is a better role model for octogenarian dementia ‘sufferers’ I’ve yet to see one. He punctures that bubble within minutes of arriving on stage at the Plowright Theatre, sending up the condition, and yes, there is an autocue, but his performance never falters. With a shock of silver hair, he’s match-fit in a couple of stylish suits, shiny shoes, and THAT voice.

“Instant classics”

He opens with the cult classic ‘Walk Like a Panther’, which may baffle some of the pensioners in the audience, but I’m beaming from ear to ear. What unfolds before the interval is also a joy as he plugs his new album, plays a few instant classics from said new release, and leaves us wanting more by half time. After the break comes the song I’ve waited half a century for.

“You might know this one,” he quips before launching into ‘Avenues and Alleyways’. Naturally it’s a more subdued version compared to the original, but I’m still on cloud nine. And when ‘Amarillo’ kicks in, it’s like Christmas morning.

I’m convinced Tony Christie de-ages by at least a decade during the show, Dr Showbiz has that effect not only on performers but also the audience, and as we all sing along, I forget I’ve got a few sniffles.

Tony might plug the new LP, or whatever format you want to call it, but the songs do all the publicity. They’re fabulous, as is the supporting band. He wraps things up with that Golden Girls classic ‘Thank You For Being a Friend’, mostly directed towards the audience. The feeling is mutual.

What a show. What a performer.

image: Steve Fothergill


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