Liverpool March 28th 1958

daisymaeholly

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Yes, that was the day - the day I saw him on stage in Liverpool. I remember being so excited when I saw he was coming over. I raced to find my friend - we'd been to lots of concerts together - seen Paul Anka amongst others. We went to the ticket agents in Chester and asked for front row seats but he said they'd all been sold! So we settled for one of the forward rows of the dress circle.

Well, came the night, we went to Liverpool by bus and train and excitedly took our seats in the theatre. It wasn't long before we realised the dreadful truth. This was a concert hall, not the kind of theatre we'd been accustomed to, and it was built for acoustics rather than visual performance. The stage seemed MILES away! Not only that, the circle was miles away from the stage as well which meant we could see rows and rows of stalls seats below - all empty! In fact barely the first 20 or so rows were occupied which was, to say the least, infuriating. And when the show started and people came on stage it was even worse - we were so far back you needed binoculars to see them!

Never the less we settled in to make the best of it though it seemed that several of the other people sitting with us had been similarly disappointed and were grumbling too. I figured later that the agent had never had any seats for the front stalls issued to him and rather than front up, he'd sooner lie than admit it.

Anyway, the show starts. The supporting cast was not, I should think, quite what Buddy and his pals were accustomed to.

Ronnie Keen and his orchestra
Gary Miller
The Tanner Sister and
Des O'Connor!

Keen was more a kind of ballroom band, lots of saxes and trombones. Gary Miller was a crooner and not a very good one at that though he had had a couple of chart entries with the ever forgettable "Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men". The Tanner Sister were three dark haired singers in flouncy dresses who sang awful songs in a kind of harmony. And Des - well, we all know Des and he was the best of a bad and most ill-fitting bunch!

Eventually the boys came on stage to great applause and shouts. We were so excited to see him! Anyone could have thought it was at least Elvis in the building, we were so pumped up! I remember I could hardly breath for a bit! But then - the most extraordinary thing happened.

Buddy had plugged his guitar into the amplifier and started to play but nothing happened! Silence! He went to the amp and checked the plug, pulled it out and pushed it in again, Still nothing! So he found the wire to the power socket and followed it across the stage - hand over hand - until he got to the edge of the stage when it just came up in his hand - the plug was just hanging there, not plugged in! He held the plug and looked around at the boys like "what the heck ... ?"

Eventually someone ran in from the wings to find the socket and plug it in - no roadies or sound checks in those days, obviously! But he came up empty handed as well! Either the plug was broken or the wrong size for the socket - we had so many in those days! So Buddy and the boys had to leave their instruments and go back to the dressing rooms while they sent for an electrician to fix the plug!

So back comes Ronnie, Gary, the sisters and Des and set about trying to keep up entertained. They did good, actually - even though they had to rack their brains for songs and jokes. It must have been quite an ordeal for them, especially as we all started slow clapping and chanting"why are we waiting"!

And old boy had arrived and was sitting on the edge of the stage, with the plug in one hand and a screwdriver in the other. Eventually, when Des was telling some jokes, he stopped working to listen and Des had to plead with him to get on because he said "we're dying up here!"

Ultimately power was restored to the famous Fendercaster and the boys returned. The show was great! Only time I ever heard a band was wasn't using backing tracks or miming and yet sounded EXACTLY like their records! It was truly awesome! There was quite a bit of physically activity, Buddy jigged around and even got down on his knees to play the Fender at an impossibly high angle and Joe B did much the same, at one point laying on his back with the double bass held up in the air above him on his feet, still playing up a storm!

Now, all Philharmonic halls have a particular difference in design to normal theatres and that is the stage having a half circle of seats at the back for the choral or even for some of the orchestra. This night it was filled (we were told by Des) by guests from the local USAF air base. They had been shopping as well and the rows of seats were cluttered with big bags from the classiest fashion shops in Liverpool. They'd made quite a ruckus coming in. Well, because of the delay with the plug, there came a time they had to leave to get their coach. So, in the middle of the performance, whilst Buddy was announcing the next number, they all got up and left! Making, I might add, as much noise and disturbance as they had when they came in!

Buddy just waited while they left and then said in his endearing Texan drawl, "Well, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go!"

It never phased him one bit though. He continued on like the trooper he was and we had a ball! The people in the front stalls got up and started dancing which made us all envious but the show just rocked! Fantastic!

As a rule, my friend and I had always waited at the stage door to see if we could get a close up glimpse of the artist but this night we'd had to run to catch out train back as my father would be waiting for us the other side of the Mersey in Birkenhead. He would have have been seriously annoyed had we missed it.


But who could know that it would have been the one and only time we could have seen Buddy close to. Less than a year later the dream died in Clearlake and we were left. I can only say, these 50 years later "Buddy - thanks for the memories. You rocked this planet big time!"
 

sittacus

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Sep 27, 2008
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Germany
Well, I don´t know whether I should add something to this report. It should stand for itself, but I just HAVE to write a few words. When I read this I really had to swallow hard. Not only because I really envy you to have had the chance to see him alive and on stage (I was born a few years too late to get that chance) but also because you never got to see him again. I only know those few television appearances that are left. But from what I´ve read - on stage he must have been a volcano. Thank you so much for letting us take part in what you experienced there in Liverpool. So great!!! :)
 

daisymaeholly

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You've no idea how I ached inside when I knew he was appearing on TV but I knew no-one that had a set in those days. I was, after all, only 16! And then they had all the tv footage on YouTube which I'd copied in here but ME went and pulled all the copyright stuff so they had to go! Major rant!!

Did you know she even tried to charge Lubbock silly money for using his name in the town for Buddy Holly Boulevard and the Buddy Holly Museum? The thought circulating was that she would have charged them for having his grave there too if she could have! Of course the town couldn't afford it so they've had to change the names! Incredible!

 

sittacus

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Sep 27, 2008
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Germany
I know that! And I ask myself all the time why just to use his name to make money, money, money! Instead of letting all true and loving fans take part in his life and career. Makes me furious!
 
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