The Official Drifters ~ friendly from a distance
The Official Drifters came to the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne recently, and their management insisted that two bouncers stood guard by the stage in case ladies tried to get up there with the act. Yes, that’s right, in sedate Eastbourne.
So, two of the volunteer ushers were told to stand at the front, by the speakers, ready to be overwhelmed. Yours truly was one, a 66 year old pensioner, and some of the time his wife was the other one. I suspect that my courage would have faltered if presented with overwhelming odds. Rather than be overbearing, I thought that the tactful approach was far better, so stood there, in a prominent position, dancing away to the music, in my own little world. Apparently a lot of the audience were watching me instead of the main act.
I will willingly travel with them for the rest of the tour, performing the same support role, but so far the phone has failed to ring. Such is show businesses. There are still four men, but three are younger and would have been at best babies when the act was at its peak. They are slick, professional, and performed all their hits including Come On Over to My Place, Up on the Roof, Saturday Night at the Movies, More than a Number, and On Broadway. The capacity audience at this delightful theatre built in 1883 were entertained throughout, all you would expect from a group that have been performing on the world stage for so many decades.
Some strange little observations. They never once made eye contact with the audience. Yes, they were friendly, but there was no interaction. Their management made it clear that they would refuse to perform without the already mentioned two bouncers. If the stage were stormed, which had apparently already occurred at other venues, then they would leave the stage, never to return. And, even though they were keen to sell their merchandise in the foyer, there was no sign of the great men.
The Official Drifters are a class act. But they somehow made me feel that they think they are greater than they really are. They got to the theatre, they were professional, very early sound checks, but away as soon as possible, leaving the clearing up to their minions.