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Comic relief came in the form of Robert Wells, a pianist singer well known particularly to Scandinavian audiences. His rock and roll persona were slick and exciting, yet it was his second song, with its homage to Victor Borge, that impressed most: here he slid into Beethoven's Fur Elise, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody, the Moonlight sonata and a few other classics, before retrieving the original beat.

Two solo songwriter guitarists appeared next: Hugh Cornwell, down from a Manchester tour, who sang two numbers, including an original Stranglers song, and Midge Ure, well known for his raising millions for Africa through his song Do They know it's Christmas. Alone on stage after the bands had left he wrily commented that he was doing the I've got no pals slot. Guitarist songwriter Martin Taylor performed a moving piece inspired by the Caribbean sunset, a poignant tribute in memory of his son.

The whole ensemble returned for the finale, with Eddie Floyd as front man, Geno Washington eliciting cheers from the somewhat tired yet exhilarated nostalgia-laced crowd. It was good to see these historic stars come together to have fun, for that is what it was, with some of their hits and some jamming, all in aid of a charity for young people. Their success stories based on record sales and concerts were above all a phenomenon of the new youth cultures from the 60s onwards, and this historic programme was a fitting way to express their support for the younger generation.

Copyright © 26 April 2006 Malcolm Miller, London UK

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