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Fans go wild for Wilburys tribute

Redditch Editorial 15th May, 2015 Updated: 18th Oct, 2016

PAUL Hopkins’ Big O and the Wilburys Show saw the band belt out a multitude of classics to the delight of the capacity crowd at the Artrix in Bromsgrove.

If you ask people about the Traveling Wilburys, many give you a blank look, but they were truly a supergroup of world famous stars. Among them were Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. Jim Keltner was the band’s session drummer and features in this show.

Paul Hopkins (Orbison), Aubrey Robinson (Dylan), Owen James (Petty), Richard Gibson (Lynne), Matt Gaffiney (Harrison) and Andrew Whittaker (Keltner) were clearly good lookalikes and soundalikes but this show offered more than that.

The beauty a super group of this magnitude is you can also delve into the artists’ solo collections and other band works, providing the Wilburys with a massive music catalogue to choose from. And the hits kept coming and coming.

In the first half, as well as the band’s hits Last Night and Heading for the Light, they also performed Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind, Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun, Orbison’s Pretty Woman, Petty’s Won’t Back Down and Lynne’s Mr Blue Sky.

The Traveling Wilburys were always a bit eccentric and the story of how they got together, explained by the group, was also very quirky.

Another number they performed before the break was Runaway by Del Shannon, with the band explaining the American singer was an ‘in-out’ potential member of the group who never actually joined. The hit features on their second album (quirkily named Vol. 3).

The main highlights came in the second half during a three-song run which got the biggest cheers and applause of the evening.

It started with Handle With Care – the song which brought the band together and epitomises what they are about, showcasing what each member could do and their contrasting voices.

That was followed by a stunning version of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ by James and then Tweeter and the Monkey Man. That, a favourite of all Wilburys fans, was excellently sung by Robinson.

You get the impression The Traveling Wilburys were five artists who just loved creating and performing songs and this is beautifully conveyed by this band. The real Wilburys, despite always planning a tour, never got around to it so their fans never got to see them live.

This is the next best thing and offers an insight into what it may have been like.

It is also hard to believe the members have only been performing together for a year – their arrangement, harmonies, chemistry on stage and banter gives you the impression they have been life-long friends and performers.

The night – excluding the encore – concluded with the classic End of the Line, which was a fitting favourite to bring the curtain down on this superb show.

Visit www.travelingwilburystribute.co.uk for more on the show.

Tristan Harris

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