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Review of The Classic Rock Show: Top 20 Greatest Guitar Riffs Ever Part 2 at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

By very good fortune I found myself back at Royal & Derngate (with three companions) for The Classic Rock Show and this years theme, the Top 20 Greatest Guitar Riffs Ever Part 2. Never having seen this band before, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the evening as a whole although I certainly had some personal reservations.

Formed from eight members it gives the opportunity to have a great deal of variety from the performances, with only two of the group not getting their opportunity at the microphone for a solo. Lead vocals however are provided magnificently by Alex Dee and Ricardo Afonso. Personal highlights from them for me was for Dee during a superbly powerful rendition of Wings' Live And Let Die. While Afonso's take on Queen's The Show Must Go On, was an immensely strong point. I also loved their creation of Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell, with Dee bringing the softer moments and leaving Afonso to cover those big and bold periods.

Of the other solo moments from the band, on guitar Howie G gets his opportunity with a husky version of Pink Floyd's Money. Emily Jollands gives a wonderfully expressive performance in her full solo of Fleetwood Mac's Rhiannon, a superb tune excellently performed. Keys and also musical director Steve Parry gets his go during the Steely Dan number despite just briefly losing sound from his microphone. This was one of a couple little technical moments sadly during the early part of the show. For the first twenty minutes or so, we sadly were deprived of the screen projection at the back. However once fixed it treated us to a number of great little videos including the original Toto video of Rosanna highlighting a quite scary visual image from the eighties. It did however provide the most perfect timing and lip syncing opportunity. Also great fun was the video played during ELO's Mr Blue Sky, complete with a psychedelic Jeff Lynne.

The only slight criticisms of the show I might make is that at times the personality and presence on stage of the performers drifted into slightly soulless moments. One minute we could be in spectacularly dynamic periods with moments of octane dancing and guitar duels and then the performers snapped into a sort of automated way, just going through the motions. Having said that I would highlight the huge busy personality on stage of the one woman show Emily Jollands. Constantly jiving and swaying and during Van Halen's Jump she was quite something else.

Personally I also found the guitar riff theme a bind at times, with this theme sometimes taking some of the songs into just far too great a length. There is certainly no denying the immense skill of the performers and as this was showcased as a guitar riff show, it certainly did not disappoint in that. However I think riffs are not for me, so I therefore look forward to seeing them perform a different themed show in the future.

So a spectacular night of high quality music performances and at a good two and a half hours, an excellent value show. For fans of music of the rock genre, of many eras, The Classic Rock Show comes highly recommended. If however you are wary of guitar riffing, perhaps hold off until their next show.

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Performance reviewed: Wednesday 10th February, 2016 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton. 

The Classic Rock Show performed at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate) on Wednesday 10th February, 2016 only and are currently touring throughout February 2016. Full details can be found on their website here: http://www.theclassicrockshow.com/

For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

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