by Billy J. Shears
The Statue 4 Eppy concert is part of campaign to honour the Beatles manager in his hometown to raise £70,000 for a statue in his honour.
Strangely they exist for John Lennon, The Beatles & Billy Fury, Ken Dodd, Cilla Black & Bessie Braddock around Liverpool but not for Brian Epstein, the man who brought the Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Cilla Black and a host other Merseybeat bands to the World.
The sold out concert held at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool was performed in two acts.
The show begin with a video message from Andrew Lancel who portrayed Brian in the acclaimed play Epstein: The Man Who Made the Beatles wishing everybody good luck.
Part one held together to a fashion by Billy Butler featured original Merseybeat artists from the 50's & 60's all backed by Cavern Club favourites the Shakers.
Taking care of business in the second half was Debi Jones. It featured Ian Prowse formerly of Amsterdam and amongst others the brilliant 13 year old Millie Courtney who had a number one in Nashville at the age of 12!
The fabulous Shakers opened the show with a high energy performance including a rousing version of My Bonnie. Most of the Merseybeat acts have been performing for over 50 years but that doesn't stop them performing with an energy that belies their years.
Cy Tucker still has a voice to send shivers down your spine. Although he didn't perform the classic 'My Prayer' his perfomance of the Beatles Help! as a power ballad was outstanding. He had already performed earlier at the Big House, the Vines on Lime Street.
Karl Terry is the ultimate showman who first formed a band called the Gamblers in 1956, eventually changing their name to Karl Terry & the Cruisers a year later. He performed a great version of 'See You Later Alligator' backed by The Shakers along with 'Cruiser' Ronnie Pilmmer on tenor sax. He packed more 'Mach Shau' into two numbers including doing the splits and dropping to his knees to imitate Ronnie's sax solos than a band does in a full set. Rock on Karl.
Beryl Marsden is considered by many to be the best female sixties singer to come out of Liverpool and with superb backing by the Shakers she ran through most of her well known songs including 'I forgot I recorded this' Breakaway, I Know & the Sha La La song Baby It's You.
When Ray Ennis retired as lead singer of the Swinging Blue Jeans it was the end of an era for me. He still had the voice, the looks:-) and was chairman of the EBC (Elbow Bending Club).
I believe he was performing with a local band under the name Ray Ennis' Swinging Blue Jeans but could never find trace of any gigs so to see he was on the Eppy bill was a highlight for me and he didn't disappoint.
His short set included my favourite Blue Jeans song 'You're No Good', Hippy Hippy Shake & Good Golly Miss Molly. Another special mention for the Shakers as there seemed a real connection with Ray especially on Hippy Hippy Shake when to the delight of Ray Ennis, Eddie Harrison produced two great solos.
Billy Butler who had done a sterling job bonding all the bits together for some reason misled the audience into thinking it was an interval and many people had gone to the bar before the Merseybeats appeared.
Many managed to get back to their seats but it still prompted Billy Kinsley to dedicate a song to all of you in the bar! The Merseybeats performed a brilliant set including Wishin' & Hopin', Sorrow & Let it Be Me..
Thomas McConnell opened the second act performing two songs including the wonderful Penny (Won't Help Me Down). It's also included on the four track Eppy single which Tom told everybody to buy. Good on you Tom.
Debi Jones introduced Millie Courtney as having had a number one hit in Nashville at the age of 12 and now she was going to entertain the capacity crowd in the Epstein Theatre at the age of 13!
She opened with a stunning version of the Beatles 'Eleanor Rigby', this was a little girl with a big voice. She followed that with her own composition 'The Way He Smiled at Me.' The crowd loved her and I'm sure we're going to hear a lot more of Millie in the coming months. She's already creating a buzz in Liverpool.
The MonaLisa Twins came over to Liverpool 10 months ago and are big Beatles fans. They played last year's Beatleweek and have a regular slot at the Cavern. Tonight they performed The Beatles This Boy followed by a cracking original beat number This Boy is Mine.
Finally, stalwart Ian Prowse took to the stage. Opening with the Amsterdam classic 'Does this Train Stop on Merseyside' before finally getting everybody back for a driving Twist and Shout with La Bamba thrown in for good measure!
A tremendous night finished with a screening of the video of the Eppy single Old Friend by The Eppy Centre.