Thursday, 6 March 2014


Civic Theatre, Darlington
Buddy is a musical extravaganza, telling the extraordinary story of a Texan determined to make his mark on the world with wonderful songs and their new, edgy sound. ''I just want the world to remember the name Buddy Holly,'' he said. Well, how could we ever forget it?

Buddy runs briskly through the story of our hero's short life with a perfect combination of play and concert. Buddy Holly knew exactly what he wanted to achieve and didn't show any desire to compromise. Rock 'n' Roll was controversial when he dragged the genre, kicking and screaming, into the doubting world. The show starts with Rose of Texas being blasted to one side by Buddy Holly and The Crickets unleashing Rip It Up, much to the consternation of a local radio station.

The play aspects of the show does enough to inform the audience of the salient points of Buddy's life without outstaying their welcome. However, it is the concert parts that really bring the whole thing to life. To hear the likes of That'll Be The Day, Not Fade Away and Well Alright blasted out at a high tempo, with the full band really going for it, is a real treat. Even now, all these years later, the songs still possess a vibrancy and potency that simply cannot be ignored. The show does a fantastic job of bringing across a sense of real excitement.

Things shift up to another level altogether when the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens join the fun, with their respective trademark songs - Chantilly Lace and La Bamba - adding significantly to the excitement. Tragically, of course, the plane flying the terrific triumvirate away at the end of the show crashed, with no survivors. Buddy handles the tragedy with great sensitivity. The show looks to be over, but a final, dramatic rock-out (Johnny B Goode!) makes absolutely sure the audience leaves the theatre on a substantial high.

Buddy Holly achieved far more in a year and a half than most people can ever hope to achieve in their entire lifetime. His legacy lives on in the work of many others. Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker and a whole host of other cats freely admit to Buddy's influence on their own music.

Fans of Rock 'n' Roll in general and Buddy Holly in particular must see this show. Rave On, folks!

For the latest news and tour dates, head for the Buddy website.

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