New Music Express Magazine
8 April 1967
By Keith Altham
We were well and truly blitzed with "mini-happenings" on the Walker Brothers’ Tour opening night, at Finsbury Park Astoria last Friday, when Jimi Hendrix literally set the scene alight after his guitar exploded in a sheet of flames at the end of his act.
The curtain fell and rose again on the Walkers’ exciting act to reveal an Amazon-like fan mobbing Scott Engel and gallantly being rescued (or was it abetted?) by publicist Brian Sommerville.
Cat Stevens wore a Stetson and gun holster to convince us all that "I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun" was just a little old cowboy song and nothing controversial, while Engelbert Humperdinck was smooth, suave and sophisticated and followed Hendrix rather like Dr. Jekyll following Mr. Hyde.
The Walkers proved to be supreme pop stars, giving us a sensible selection of "songs to scream to" (but what a pity no one takes time out to listen to Scott Engel’s fine voice), including "Land Of A Thousand Dances," "Hold On I’m Coming," "What Now My Love," "The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore." "I Need You, " and finishing with "Oop Oop A Doop."
Lovable "Leeds "—the Walkers’ auxiliary drummer, gave us "Turn On Your Light" as his solo spot. He proved he still had his supporters.
Cat Stevens looked good—in green Edwardian frock coat—sounded good, especially on "Matthew And Son" and "Here Comes My Baby."
An intelligent variation in numbers, in which he also performed "I Love My Dog," "If I Were A Carpenter." and "I’m Gonna Get Me A Gun" rounded off a first-class performance.
To me Stevens was the surprise packet on the show.
Engelbert Humperdinck closed the first half and appeared the picture of sartorial elegance in a tuxedo, singing a selection of songs more obviously suited to a cabaret audience.
This might have misfired had it not been for his professional approach and excellent stage manner. His best reaction was undoubtedly for his huge hit, "Release Me" and a fine vocal performance of "Summertime" well suited to his strong voice.
Other numbers were "Ain’t That Good News, " "Let Me Be Yours," "Midnight Hour," "Ten Guitars" and "Jambalaya."
The Jimi Hendrix Experience are a musical labyrinth—you either find your way into the solid wall of incredible sound, or you sit back and gasp at Hendrix’ guitar antics and showmanship, wondering what it’s all about.
The sounds are something new—you either dig it or you do not.
"Foxey Lady," "Can You See Me" and Jimi’s two hits "Hey Joe," and "Purple Haze," were the entire Hendrix programme.
Finale to Hendrix’ act came about when his guitar burst into flames by "accident" we are assured, and precipitated the entrance of a security officer who sprayed detergent from a canister all over compere Nick Jones.
The Californians’ act was all but drowned by a posse of young "ladies" seated directly behind the reviewers. The show was opened by the Quotations, who later provided brilliant backings for Cat Stevens and the Walkers.