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  • Martin Bullard

It’s dark but there’s only light in Sweden


Last week we turned our clocks back one hour but, if I could choose, I would happily turn them right back to 2019. Just think, there was no pandemic, no war in Ukraine and no energy crisis. We were like the Titanic, speeding towards the iceberg, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen. 2019 was also the year in which many of the people who recently attended our shows first made their decision to buy a ticket, except they believed they would be attending in 2020. This year has been all about catching up with the shows that were scheduled to happen two years ago. Many things have changed since then, not least of all the band line up. Nobody knew what would happen if we no longer had Terry, the last remaining band member from the 1970’s. Now we know the outcome and I can say that this Smokie is stronger than ever. With the support of promoters and fans, as we also did in 1995 after the death of Alan Barton, we have proven that Smokie’s music transcends all adversity and lives on in the minds of so many people for whom the songs have etched lasting memories into their psyches. We represent escapism as well as entertainment. The night out is still a valuable asset even in hard times, perhaps more so because of the need to put serious matters aside for a while. Our hundred minutes on stage is like therapy for all of us, audience and band alike. The new show mixes humour with music, showcasing five people who really enjoy being on the stage together. That is a very rare situation for a band with a forty seven year history. No matter how dark it may be outside, there is nothing but light inside. I have never seen better crowd reactions than we have experienced of late, and most recently in Norrkoping and Vasteras in Sweden. People are accepting the band however we present ourselves, including the two bass players, Luke Bullard and Jon Clifford Cox, who bring some younger energy into the act, keeping us all on our toes musically. I can only guess at how the audience feel when they come to see us but their faces tell a story, and it’s one of which I shall never tire to witness. We now break for a few weeks before travelling down to South Africa to play three shows that were originally scheduled for the end of March 2020. I think they’ll be more than ready for us on this, our twelfth visit to the country.

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