Dickie Felton

I write about music and football

Sea swells, a soaking seaside town and headful of Blackpool soul.

Not one but two soul events on the same night and we almost crammed in both.

First the Pug Pub - scene of the Northern Soul Weekender warm-up. 

Packed at 3pm with wall-to-wall Fred Perry shirts, Keep-The-Faith pin badges, and musical memory jerkers, we joined in.

The DJ pumped-it-up loud. First Gloria Jones’ Tainted Love and then Frank Wilson’s Do I Love You? (Indeed I Do).

We would’ve happily stayed all night - but we couldn’t be late for a great.

Billy Ocean appeared at the sold-out Blackpool Opera House for the first night of his 13 date UK tour.

The 68-year-old pop and soul legend had no problems selling out this grand old theatre. 

The only difficulties we had was finding our seats. 

Navigating the Winter Gardens complex is a complicated business - especially with a few light ales on board. 

Me and birthday boy Dan got lost three times: trying to reach Row M, locating the loo and finding each other. 

We eventually claimed the very back row in time for Are You Ready? From Ocean’s 1980 LP City Limit.

Ocean has sold over 30 million records in his lifetime and spent the evening playing tracks from his glittering five decade career. 

Love Really Hurts Without You was the first song Ocean wrote in the 70s and in an interview with The Guardian said: “As soon as I'd written it, I knew it was a good song, and I suppose that's where the whole thing starts. If you like a song, then hopefully other people will.”

The three thousand inside the Opera House lapped it up. 

Football fans say you should watch Leo Messi at least once in your lifetime. And Ocean should also be on your musical bucket-list. 

This Blackpool gig was high on energy, tempo and some aura at witnessing one of the most powerful voices in music.

More than 30,000 people will head to theatres this winter for Suddenly and a dizzy double 80s header of Loverboy followed by Get Outta My Dreams, Get into my Car.

Red Light Spells Danger could be Ocean's greatest ever song and the crowd go crazy for one of the most underrated tunes in music history.

A cover version of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry was also out of this world.

Other huge cheers were reserved for When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going and the magnificent encore Caribbean Queen.

Of Billy Ocean’s winter dates only the last two nights have tickets remaining - Ipswich Regent Theatre and Bournemouth International Centre. 

Move fast if they want to catch the biggest black recording star Britain has ever produced.

Billy Ocean also tours the UK next spring. Dates and tickets here.

 

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