Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On stage at the Apollo

Amateur night at the Apollo in Harlem takes place every Wednesday evening and has done so for 80 years. The first winner was Ella Fitzgerald in  1934 and every big act has appeared on the stage since then, from James Brown to Michael Jackson. Yesterday it was the turn of the Hampshire Hogs, aka Paul Waring and myself, as we took part in a mock Amateur Night as part of a tour of the famous New York theatre. Our rendition of Mess of Blues went down well with the audience - no doubt helped by Paul's Elvis style hairdo. We touched the Tree of Hope which all wannabe stars touch for good luck and we definitely held our own against the other contenders, most of whom were drama school students. Billy Mitchell ,who has worked at the Apollo for 50 years, was an entertaining tour guide and it was fascinating following in the footsteps of the stars. Afterwards John Howard, Gordon Fleming, Paul and myself had a drink in Sylvia's, a long established soul food restaurant, and ate at Mannas, another soul food place where they charge by weight. An excellent day in Harlem. Now it's off to Las Vegas.
Nick Cobban.


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