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Roy Wood's Rockmas 2016 at Symphony Hall, Birmingham - Review

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event: -
We wish it could be Christmas everyday
It doesn't take Roy Wood long to get a party going just a few bars into opening song, California Man, and the near-sold out Symphony Hall is singing along. The music of the ex-Move, Wizzard and Electric Light Orchestra star makes everyone feel good, just what you want at Christmas.

Roy Wood, Enigma Strings, Rockmas 2016, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Andy Fairweather Low, Chas & Dave
Party on: Roy Wood, Roy Adams, Shell Naylor


Fire Brigade, Angel Fingers and I Can Hear The Grass Grow were performed with aplomb by Roy and his Rock & Roll Band, singer Shell Naylor, keyboardist Danny McCormack, bassist Neil Simpson, drummer Roy Adams and a superb four-piece brass section.

Roy Wood, Enigma Strings, Rockmas 2016, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Andy Fairweather Low, Chas & Dave
Aplomb: Roy Wood on stage at Symphony Hall


Could it get any better? Yes it could! Near the end of Are You Ready To Rock Roy leaves the stage, only to return playing bagpipes and accompanied by the massed ranks of the Birmingham Irish Pipe Band and the West Midlands Fire Brigade Pipe Band. Well we were promised surprises!

Roy Wood, Enigma Strings, Rockmas 2016, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Andy Fairweather Low, Chas & Dave
Getting better: Roy Wood with pipe bands


A roof-raising See My Baby Jive heralds the arrival of special guests Chas & Dave for a handful of their hits, including Rabbit, Ain't No Pleasing You and The Sideboard Song.

Roy Wood, Enigma Strings, Rockmas 2016, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Andy Fairweather Low, Chas & Dave
Rabbit: Chas & Dave with Roy Wood


For me, it's then the highlight of the show as the on-stage musicians are joined by Enigma Strings, all graduates of Birmingham Conservatoire, for The Move classics Flowers in the Rain and Blackberry Way. The string arrangements were superb here's an idea: an album of Roy Wood songs performed by his Rock & Roll Band and Enigma Strings!

Roy Wood, Enigma Strings, Rockmas 2016, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Andy Fairweather Low, Chas & Dave
Enigma Strings with keyboardist Danny McCormack


Finally, it was the song everyone was waiting for I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday which got the audience to its feet and cheering for more.

Those who had arrived early which was practically everyone were treated to a super support set from Andy Fairweather Low and the Low Riders. The 68-year-old seemed genuinely surprised to find an almost full auditorium ready to enjoy his bluesy, soulful rock & roll. ''Most people are in the bar for the opening act,'' he quipped. Highlights? A great instrumental tribute section and (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 the song that inspired Andy to pursue a career in music after seeing Keith Richards perform it with the Rolling Stones in 1964.

Roy Wood, Enigma Strings, Rockmas 2016, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Andy Fairweather Low, Chas & Dave
Surprised: Andy Fairweather Low


Let's not forget the show's other warm-up act, comedian and former Britain's Got Talent contestant Kev Orkian whose 15 minutes of Symphony Hall fame was funny and very clever. He's been around for a few years now, appearing in pantomimes and in musicals, and deserves to be more well-known.

Roy Wood's Rock & Roll Band complete their Christmas tour at Doncaster Dome on December 23.

Roy Wood, Rockmas 2016, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Andy Fairweather Low, Chas & Dave
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Why? Because we wish it could be Christmas every day!
When: December 20, 2016, then Doncaster Dome on December 23
Phone: 0121 780 3333
Where: Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Cost: 32.50
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