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Artrix crowd wowed by wonderful Wilburys

Droitwich Editorial 9th May, 2015 Updated: 17th Oct, 2016

BROMSGROVE’S Artrix was packed to the rafters for the arrival of a new and rather unique tribute act.

Paul Hopkins Big O and the Traveling Wilburys Show was a masterstroke as the six-piece band belted out a multitude of classics, much to the delight of the capacity crowd.

It provided an excellent two hours plus of pure entertainment.

If you ask people about the Traveling Wilburys, a fair few will give you a blank look, but they were truly a super group made up of world famous stars. Among them were Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. Jim Keltner was the band’s session drummer and features in the show.

Paul Hopkins (Orbison), Aubrey Robinson (Dylan), Owen James (Petty), Richard Gibson (Lynne), Matt Gaffiney (Harrison) and Andrew Whittaker (Keltner) were clearly good lookalikes and soundalikes but this show offered much more than that.

From the moment they took to the stage, the hits kept coming, one after the other.

The beauty of having a super group of this magnitude is you can also delve into the artist’s solo collections and other band works, providing the Wilburys with a massive music catalogue to choose from.

In the first half alone, there were the band’s Last Night and Heading for the Light, along with Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind, Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun, Orbison’s Pretty Woman, Petty’s Won’t Back Down and Lynne’s Mr Blue Sky.

They also performed Runaway by Del Shannon, explaining the American singer was an ‘in-out’ potential member of the group but never actually joined.

The Traveling Wilburys were always a bit eccentric and the story of how they got together, explained by the group, was also very quirky (they even called their second album Vol. 3).

The highlights of the show came in the second half during a three-song run which got the biggest cheers and applause of the evening.

It started with Handle With Care – the song which brought the band together and epitomises what they are about, showcasing what each member could do and their contrasting voices.

That was followed by a stunning version of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ by James and then Tweeter and the Monkey Man. That, a favourite of all Wilburys fans, was excellently sang by Robinson.

The Wilburys albums are ones you get out every so often and remember how good they are and this show gets a similar reaction – when you see it, you realise a tribute act to this super group is long overdue.

With the Wilburys’ music you get the impression they were five artists who just loved creating and performing songs and this is beautifully conveyed by this band. The real Wilburys, despite always planning a tour, never got around to it so their fans never got to see them live.

This is the next best thing and offers an insight into what it may have been like.

It is also hard to believe that Paul Hopkins Big O and the Traveling Wilburys Show has only been performing together for a year – their arrangement, harmonies, chemistry on stage and banter gives you the impression they have been life-long friends and performers.

The night – excluding the encore – concluded with the classic End of the Line. This is a fitting favourite to bring the curtain down on this superb show.

For more on the band, visit www.travelingwilburystribute.co.uk

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