SECOND OPINION REVIEW: ROBERT SUTTON (PHOTOGRAPHER \ CONTRIBUTOR – MYGLOBALMIND)
PHOTO CREDIT : ADRIAN HEXTALL
On Friday 24th July the weather was raining and very windy. This did not bode well for the first ever Ramblin’ Man Fair festival to be held at Mote Park Maidstone Kent on the weekend of the 25th and 26th July.
However, good old English weather prevailed and the morning of Saturday the 25th the rain stopped and the sun was out, there was still a good wind and this helped the ground dry out. This was what we wanted a great day to start this festival off.
Ramblin’ Man Fair was billed as a festival of Classic Rock, Prog and Country & Blues. It had two main outside stages the ‘Classic Rock’ and ’Prog’ stage and a third under canvas stage used for the Country acts on the Saturday and the Blues acts on the Sunday.
With the weather on the Saturday being such a gorgeous sunny summer’s day it was all about the Classic rock stage for me and I spent the whole day there, (although in hindsight I should have probably ventured across to the Prog stage to see Touchstone …)
Up first on the Main stage were No Hot Ashes an Irish rock band that have only recently just reformed after ‘calling it a day’ back in the early 90’s. They gave a good solid performance and certainly got us in the mood for the rest of the day.
Toseland were next on, lead by James Toseland from World Superbike fame and with the backing of Toby Jepson of Little Angels, this group is starting to gather more and more fans from the rock scene as well as from the motorcycle one.
FM followed on from Toseland and did what FM do best and give a good traditional set with nothing bad to report but nothing exceptional for me either..
I do have a rather soft spot for Saxon and have followed them ‘through the ice and snow’ for many many years. For me they always give a good strong performance, but I have to say this time once Biff had mentioned about the fact that he used to ‘ramble’ in his early days, with reference to the Ramblin’ Man name, he did seem to then ramble on a bit too much himself and possibly did lose the audience at this point.. With time always limited at a festival they had to play their classic hits with only ‘Sacrifice’ being from their latest album. I would like to say it was great to see Nigel Glockler back on his drum kit after some recent ill health earlier in the year.
Blue Oyster Cult were up next but for me they didn’t do anything special and I did find the southern bluesy guitar segment a bit boring….The two tracks that I feel saved them were their two best know hits of ‘Godzilla’ and ’(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’.
Dream Theater were main support and whilst many say they are probably a Prog band and should have been headlining the Prog stage, I do think that they are too big a group for the smaller stage and deserved their spot on the main stage. They gave a super eight song performance …and I will forgive them for not playing my favourite track ‘Along for the Ride’..(Perhaps next time guys??).
Scorpions were headliner for the Saturday Main Stage with a UK exclusive performance. They are one of the longest running bands still performing these days having originally been founded some fifty years ago!!. They played an eighteen song setlist and could I’m sure have played another eighteen song set with all the songs being well known hits from their extensive back catalogue. To the stage they also bought their very impressive back drop screens and a raising /lowering drum kit platform. I can only describe this performance as exceptional and possibly one to rival the AC/DC performance a t Wembley a few weeks earlier for my gig of the year.