Tonight I was privileged enough to go to see “Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings” perform at Buxton Opera house to a sell-out crowd. I’ll be the first to admit, it took me some telling that Bill Wyman was a member of the Rolling Stones, but once I knew who he was, I knew I was in for a good night.

The band, formed 16 years ago by ex-Rolling Stones band member Bill Wyman, contains many Jazz and Blues legends, such as Albert Lee, Frank Mead, Geraint Watkins, Terry Taylor, Graham Board and Beverley Skeete, and the guest star for the evening was “Midnight on the Oasis” singer Maria Muldaur, who performed intermittently throughout the evening.

The opera house was packed out to the rafters. The lights dimmed and Wyman walked out onto the stage to thunderous applause…and he hadn’t even picked up his bass guitar yet! He introduced the other members of the group and got right into their first number. Many wonderful jazz and blues songs were played, including “Time is on my side” and “Talk to me baby”, when Terry Taylor started to get the audience involved by singing along to different parts.

5 songs in, and Ms Muldaur struts onto the stage to sing “Smooth Love” amongst others. I remember this one especially because she had such a kick about the way she sang it, it was amazing. Her voice was very soulful and sounded as if she meant all the words she sang.
Just before the half time, the Rhythm Kings choose to sing a number written by Bill Wyman himself, called “The Jitterbug Boogie”. It was a very fun-loving tune, and just perfect to serenade you to the ice cream bar for some interval refreshment.

Over to one side, albums of the Rhythm Kings were being sold….and Maria Muldaur’s CDs were being signed by the lady herself! I couldn’t resist and went over to talk to her. She was so nice, and has a lovely American accent. She was talking to me about the fan-base that come to the shows, and some come on more than one occasion! It was lovely to speak to her, and it really added to my evening.
The second half started with Beverley Skeete and her beautiful rendition of “It’s a man’s world.” I was awe-struck by the end of the song. I love that song because it’s so empowering, and you felt empowered after it. She was one of the highlights of the night. Other well know songs performed that half were “Johnny be good” and the Rolling Stone’s hit “I just wanna make love to you”.

One song that deserves a special shout out was “I’ll be your baby tonight” simply because of the harmonica solo. It was only a small part of the song, but it was so beautiful and gentle amongst the other instruments, I felt it deserved a little shout out.

One thing that slightly ruined it was that Bill Wyman himself, even though he was on the stage for the entire gig, didn’t really come to the front much, but hovered just in front of the drum kit. He came and spoke to the audience at the beginning of each half and introduced people and the opening number, but that was about it. But I didn’t let it spoil my evening!

Overall, this was a very impressive gig. With the legendary line-up, the superb vocals and awesome musical ability, this was a night that did not disappoint.

Helen Fulton






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