"Not so strict!" - The Strictly Banks concert at The Orchard Theatre, Dartford, Sunday 6th September, 1998. Review by Paul Hedges.

Being a fan of Tony's work, I was interested to see what this event would be like from a musical point of view. None of these songs had ever been sung live before. I arrived at the theatre, nabbed a programme and walked in, in time to see a few of Tony's videos being shown on the safety curtain which started things off quite nicely.

Then the curtain was raised to reveal a stage full of equipment and an acoustic piano, a few electronic keyboards, a drum kit and a neat set of speakers (which I think they probably stole from Genesis!). The music started with the opening segment of "The Border" repeated over and over again with a film countdown projected onto the back wall, also repeated over and over. This was fine for a while but I think it went on too long, so when the band members walked on it wasn't surprising that they received a good round of applause.

The first number started and sounded OK apart from the lead singer's dead microphone which was eventually changed. All six of Tony's solo cd albums were well represented (it's about time that "The Wicked Lady" soundtrack made an appearance on cd!). I am sure that the next TWR will provide us with a full track listing but, "An Island In The Darkness", "I'll Be Waiting", "Red Day On Blue Street", "Water Out Of Wine", "Another Murder Of A Day" and "Somebody Else's Dream" were all superb live. Performance adds a quality you just can't put on a studio album. All credit to the band for bringing that quality as well as adding their own character. There was one Genesis song that crept into the running order, which was "Mad Man Moon".

I do hope that they do a run of gigs in the future, as this concert showed how good Dave Whitehouse and Sophia Capernaros were on vocals. Dave had real staying power, imagination and energy and Sophia surprised me by delivering subtle, emotional vocals, restrained at the right moments and powerful in the upper registers. I gather that the performance was recorded though I doubted the whole concert will be released. There were a few technical problems and fluffs, but there was enough great stuff for a general release cd (fan club cassette?). Then fans would be able to have this album next to their ReGenesis cds.

I was there - it was great!

Editor's note: Since this review was written, Duncan has managed to produce a disc containing highlights of the show which will be available from 6th September this year! See the details on the Strictly Banks website for further details.