The Drifters

Theatre Royal, Brighton, Tuesday, August 7

HAVING a career that spans over 60 years, The Drifters are still a household name.

With hits including Saturday Night At The Movies and Under The Boardwalk (fun fact: this has been covered by one of the most famous bald men in Hollywood, Bruce Willis), they’ve influenced many musicians and helped mould the music of future years.

Fast forward to present day and the rebooted version of The Drifters are still bringing the soulful, rock ‘n’ roll songs we all know and love with their 2018 tour which hit Brighton’s Theatre Royal on Tuesday, August 7.

The show was more than just a concert of songs.

It was interspersed with videos showing the history of the band, making it more of a whole learning experience.

The four men drift on to the stage wearing all black with glittery waistcoats; a brave choice for such a swelteringly hot venue.

Starting off with a selection of classics, accompanied by a live band, it wasn’t long until people we on their feet in the aisles, singing and dancing along.

With the average age of the audience being around 65, it was lovely to see them re-live their youth and have a jolly good time.

It could be thought of as a very well put together tribute band, as they were hand picked by The Drifters estate to continue the legacy of the famous four.

Each of them had such unique voices and they took it in turns with various songs.

The first half was compiled of songs by The Drifters, but after the interval, it became a tribute within a tribute.

In the second half (such an alien concept to have an interval at a music gig…) the band kicked straight back in but it wasn’t long until they did a tribute to Ben E King, former member of the original band and arguably the most famous.

The crowd went wild. Following that, they then did a tribute to the friends of the band, including Stevie Wonder, Jackie Wilson and even a Jackson 5 medley due to the fact that one of the band members looked and sounded just like MJ himself.

I’m not sure if it was the increasing levels of drink or the songs themselves, but the crowd seemed much more lively for the tribute covers in the second half than they did for The Drifter’s songs in the first.

When the band went off stage, the audience called out for an encore and the band did not disappoint.

They came filing back on stage to give us a couple of final songs, saving Saturday Night at the Movies for last.

The whole roomed beamed with energy and joy, and it was such a celebration of not only The Drifters, but great music from an era that helped shape the music industry today.

My only criticism would be that the backing band often made the songs sound a bit like a karaoke track, with questionable keyboard choices.

Other than that, the show was “Some Kind of Wonderful”.

Jodie Allan