A bit of Reggae history today. Who doesn’t love The Pioneers? They are one of my favourite groups and they are always welcome in The Ballroom Blitz. Some days ago I found this fantastic piece in a Fab 208 from January 1970 and today I would like to share it with you all.
It was a cold, wet, windy night and very uncomfortable for the fans queuing outside the hall. But inside there was a hall full of rhythmic Jamaican sunshine, just waiting to warm them up.
Few people who got to live concerts realise the hustle and bustle that goes on back stage to make sure that the show is presented smoothly and efficiently. No exception to this rule was The Pioneers’ concert at Eastcote recently.
The crowd had been queuing long before the doors opened, and inside the building the organisers and artists alike were rushing arounf trying to organise things before admitting the ever-increasing throng of ardent reggae fans (not a long-haired person amongst them).
The resident disc-jockey was unravelling his electronic equipment, the group’s roadies were assembling amplifiers and testing them, the group’s publicist was organising their stage clothes and running out every now and then for Wimpys and Cokes.
Soon the magic moment arrived and as Long Shot Kick the Bucket boomed out through the speakers of the discotheque, the hall gradually filled, everybody vying with one another for the best place at the front. A few people started dancing to the constantly changing reggae records that the DJ was feeding to the crowd, but most chose to save their energies to welcome the stars.
At 9.30 p.m., dead on time, Sweet Blindness – The Pioneers’ backing group – appeared and, after three well-performed numbers, on came the stars.
Impeccably dressed in their beige ‘Beatle’ suits they went straight into the soul classic Knock on Wood and followed through with a succession of other numbers, including Long Shot and their latest record Poor Rameses
The crowd was, by now, really excited and wouldn’t allow The Pioneers to leave the stage until they had performed two extra numbers. When they eventually finished they were tired but very happy about their reception.
Then all the gear was packed up and they zoomed off into the night to another booking and the whole procedure, all over again.