The Sensational 60s Experience, Sheffield City Hall

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Weighing in with more than 60 dates between October and June 2017 – including one in Sheffield – The Sensational 60s Experience is just about the biggest show dedicated to the music of that decade.

And this time it is even more special – as it is one of the last chances to catch The Ivy League before the band retires,

The sole solo artist this time around is Chris Farlowe, whose rendition of Handbags and Gladrags is always a showstopper.

Hermans Hermits, stalwarts of the tour in past years, will be once again performing their sixties hits with I’m Into Something Good, No Milk Today, Silhouettes and There’s A Kind Of Hush still getting the crowd on their feet and singing.

The Swinging Blue Jeans will also be along playing the likes of Hippy Hippy Shake, You’re No Good and Good Golly Miss Molly.

The Fortunes, whose hits spread over into the Seventies with You’ve Got Your Troubles, Here It Comes Again and Storm In A Teacup, are making their debut on the tour; but as guitarist and singer Mike Smitham says, they nearly did the very first tour almost a decade ago.

“We were going to do the first one, but another tour came up and we did that instead,” he says.”

Mike has been with The Fortunes for over 30 years and is really looking forward to the tour.

“I am really up for it,” he says. “We still love touring, especially when we’re up on stage.

“The worst part of it is the travelling as I do all the driving.” he laughts.

“Seriously though, I’ve been a professional for 45 years and it’s the best time ever.”

Mike loves the music and is in no doubt why it is still popular.

“The music evokes a special time in peoples’ lives – a candle that burned brightly and everything that has happened since has been a pastiche,” he says.

“I still get a shiver when I hear the music.”

However, as there are so many acts on the tour, time is limited.

Mike says: “We’re only doing about 25 minutes or so and obviously people want to hear the hits. We’re all well-oiled musicians and all good friends so it’ll be a blast.”

The lack of time is something which will affect The Ivy League, but singer/bassist Jon Brennan puts a positive slant on it.

“It’s very limiting, but it’s good for the fans as they see more artists.”

“It makes for a quick show though and we like to please everybody, so we’ll still get in the hits.

“We absolutely enjoy these tours, because the audience have paid money to see you, they are already on your side as you take the stage and that’s enjoyable.”

The enjoyment of the tour will be tinged with sadness as after the tour ends, The Ivy League are calling it a day.

“That’s right,” Jon says with a hint of regret in his voice.

“The actual truth is that our drummer, Dave Buckley, wanted to retire.

“We have been together 48 years now.

“We decided that if either of us wanted to retire we’d give each other a years’ notice.

“We’re retiring reluctantly and it’s never the right time, but we wanted to finish with something nice rather than waiting for the phone not to ring.”

Jon, who is also joined in the band by singer/guitarist Michael Brice, says: “We do have two more gigs after the tour ends next June and then that’ll be it, a complete stop with no one-off shows.

“If it has been a few years ago, we might have suggested getting someone in, but none of us are getting any younger and what better way to bow out than with such a great show.”

n The Sensational 60s Experience: The Tour That Never Ends is at Sheffield City Hall on Friday, December 2.

For tickets, priced from £26, visit Sheffield city Hall