Last night I headed off to Aylesbury Waterside (though technically due to the ‘A’ falling off in the wind perhaps it should be W terside?!) to see the acclaimed Johnny Cash Roadshow. This tribute act has toured the UK endlessly so I was expecting something amazing to say the least especially as I was bringing my boyfriend along who is a huge Cash fan.
I have to say on the whole the show impressed but fell short of being outstanding. The first half went down very well with the audience swaying and singing along. Not even two drunken idiots in the balcony managed to distract from some sensational guitar playing. The double bass player was fabulous too…he looked like Captain Picard from Star Trek which made me chuckle.
Sadly though the first part of the second half was the worst part of the whole show. By worst I dont mean downright awful. It felt out of sync with the real Cash, so much so the gentleman next to me was overheard to say ‘thats not right’. Futhermore the band who tour as ‘Spirit’ (got a number 1 we were informed) decided to play one of their own songs. People didnt seem to warm to it as much perhaps because this was meant to be a Johnny Cash tribute and thus seemed indulgent to then perform their own music. Granted only one song but the people who I spoke to afterwards agreed it was not what they had paid to see. I rather liked the song if a little too pagan sounding at times, by which I mean drum beating like some sort of ritual.
My least favourite of the songs performed happened to be my favourite Johnny Cash number: Hurt. A beautifully woeful song which Cash covered (originally a NIN song) about the time his beloved June (wife) was dying, it was poorly executed and even the lead singer commented ‘now thats the heavy stuff over’ once he finished. I was most disappointed with this as this song is stunning and meant to break your heart.
Ok so this review seems to be a negative one but it is not. These were the only bad things I could fault the band on. Yes the June character was a tad too preppy for me and the intense duets that the real June and Cash were famous for fell flat with this band. The 1950s songs they performed were however near perfect.
I recommend this show to you but only if you see it as a tribute act in musical sense only. They may dress up to the part but last night…I felt they weren’t emboding the Cash spirit as much as they could be. Pity as they have such potential though they did say they had not played together since early December so may be they are simply rusty…