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20th Anniversary - 18th November 2005

Chelsfield Village Hall 

Photos: Phil Lane 

There was only ever one way of celebrating 20 years since we first hit the stage and that was an Anniversary gig. Following on from our extremely successful Chelsfield Festival performance back in May, we decided that the facilities provided by Chelsfield Village Hall would suit our purposes perfectly so the venue was decided. The date of the first gig was the 18th November 1985 which was a Monday and typified the awful gigs a young band has to do when they start out. 18th November 2005 happened to be a far more civilised Friday night - a perfect night for perforating a few eardrums!

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At rehearsals we discussed whether reviving one of our own numbers for the night would be feasible, given that in our early days Rob took on most of the lead vocal duties and his vocal range was a notch higher than Pete's. Copious scientific research commenced, most of which involved Pete singing along with the old demo tapes/CDs in the car in quiet country lanes, and it revealed that one of our favourites from that era, All Your Promises was vocally possible. The rest of the band also had to resort to listening to the original recordings in order to re-learn the various instrumental parts and after a few run-throughs, we decided that it would probably hold together for one performance.  In fact it's that kind of perfectionism for which we're renowned!

A number of new covers had entered the set since our last Chelsfield performance: You Better You Bet (The Who), 20th Century Boy (T-Rex), Moving Out (Anthony's Song) (Billy Joel) and another revival from our first gig: Back in the USSR.  A couple of weeks before the gig, the running order was agreed and musically, all that was left to do was to arrange Long and Winding Road to incoporate an electric cello part for my wife Helen to play.

The original album version of Long and Winding Road suffers from Phil Spector's complete lack of restraint in the orchestration although there are some extremely good ideas.  Pinching the best bits and dumping the Walt Disney choir yielded a rather nice cello part which blended with the band very well during rehearsals.

A number of honorary band members(!) need to be thanked for their involvement: Helen Griffiths for playing the loudest cello in the South East, Julius Bannister for booking the Hall, providing most of the raffle prizes and helping set up, Hugh Alexander for running the entrance, Paul Hartrup for videoing the evening, Andy Vass and Philip Lane for taking stills photography, Doug 'Yogi' Parkes for helping with the raffle and Barry Foale and Philip Lane for setting up the Chelsfield Players' lights for us.

After a rather troublesome setup which saw our most vital piece of electronic wizardry, the Feedback Destroyer, stop working, the doors opened at 7:30pm and the audience began to assemble.  The recent spate of horrible colds and sneezes took its toll on some of the regulars but the Hall soon held a sufficient number of bodies for the band to start.  We hit the stage at around 8:10pm and hammered through an enjoyable set in which we made some absolutely appalling mistakes which we recovered from somehow, the first one of which was my failure to put the volume up on the vocal P.A.!

The traditional encore of Black Night and Hey Jude wove its magic once again and everyone had a great night, especially us, although there were a few post mortems on how I had managed to play at least 8 bars of the Deep Purple song, Lazy, in the wrong key plus a few other misdemeanours!

As we cooled off backstage, the raffle was drawn and when we finally made it into the warm atmosphere of the Five Bells, it was gratifying to see that most of the audience had done likewise. Julius handed over the takings from the night, some £305, and this has since been sent to Harris Hospiscare to help them continue their excellent work in the local area.

The first 20 years have been a blast and at the moment we see no reason why DUPE cannot carry on for many years to come. A huge thankyou to all of you who supported us on the 18th and have supported us over the last 20 years.

Dave Griffiths © 2005