Review

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JOHN OTWAY & THE BIG BAND CELEBRATE THEIR 30TH ANNIVERSARY ON THE ROCK

Dubbed Rock N Roll’s biggest failure, John Otway and The Big Band are a show you won’t want to miss if they ever come to town again. I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of his fans flew over for the occasion and more so that Dr Otway knew them all by name as he mingled and with them all prior and during the gig itself.

Dubbed Rock N Roll’s biggest failure, John Otway and The Big Band are a show you won’t want to miss if they ever come to town again. I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of his fans flew over for the occasion and more so that Dr Otway knew them all by name as he mingled and with them all prior and during the gig itself.

Opening up the night’s music was local band Thrifty Malone. Thrifty Malone, now a four piece band, are always entertaining and their setlist, a blend of originals and well known covers, are always delivered and executed with perfection. They kicked off their set by going back to 1972 with a J. J. Cale classic in Call Me The Breeze. Their rendition of this one is sublime as are all their covers truthfully. They are really flying at the moment and with a lot of originals on their plate which are available on digital music platforms, Thrifty Malone just don’t disappoint and I expect more things to come from them in 2023. The fact that they got to open up for the occasion was a remarkable experience that they won’t soon forget, especially for a celebration of this magnitude. The band were always welcomed with open arms by the travelling Otway fans who gave them a huge round of applause at the end of their set. Thrifty Malone were able to present Otway with something special as well. The lads were able to find a copy of the set list from The Old Grey Whistle Test to celebrate the Big Band’s 30th Anniversary and also 45 years since Otway and Barrett appeared on the show with a lovely dedication from the legendary Whispering Bob Harris.

Speaking to Insight prior to the gig; Otway said: “It is great to be in Gibraltar. We did a little scouting a few months ago in order to bring the Band over for the 30th anniversary, ideally somewhere in the Mediterranean and Gibraltar fit the bill. There is a great atmosphere and everyone has been incredibly welcoming. I was also able to quiz him as to how many of his fans had flocked over for the event and it is here that he highlighted how many of them do it but had never been to Gibraltar before. Just before we finished our interview, Otway emphasised and highlighted how instrumental Thrifty Malone have been throughout, especially to set everything up prior to the gig itself.

It was now time for Otway to take centre stage and as someone who was familiar with his work, it was a huge thrill to see him live (At last). His setlist was composed of many of his hits, in between stories. His band deserve a lot of commendations for what true professionals they are and how well they sound as a whole. I was absolutely floored with them, something that a fellow Otway noticed from a far as I grinned throughout, I might add.. In an age where rock n roll isn’t unfortunately followed as much except for the hardcore fanatic, Otway blew Gibraltar away and it is a gig I won’t soon forget. The rest of the band are composed by Seymour Fluids, Murray Torkildsen and Adam Batterbee. One thing or one of the many things rather to take rather is the energy that they all possess but it wouldn’t be fair if I wrote this without mentioning how courteous they all were. I actually felt it even before I met them for some reason and I felt honoured to be there. One of my personal highlights was to see them perform We Rock which was streamed via Facebook Live. Otway has adopted it and appointed it to be Gibraltar´ś national anthem! His cover of the Tom Jones classic Delilah is also a vision and of course Really Free.

I sincerely hope that this isn’t the last of Otway on the Rock, I think a venue like Ince’s Hall would be perfect for someone of his magnitude and he can definitely sell it out in a heartbeat.

I would like to sincerely thank Otway and his Management, especially John Skews for not only accrediting me for the event and for being a true professional throughout.

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