I’d like to start off by stating that I absolutely love the Damned. They have given me a great deal of pleasure over the years, and some of my fondest memories are of hearing Damned, Damned, Damned for the first time and seeing them play live at the Locarno in Portsmouth, supported by the Anti Nowhere League.
I managed to catch them at Rebellion earlier in the year, and on Wednesday I went to see them, although they were support to Motorhead. (Honorable mention to Girlschool, also on the bill, with Blitzkriegs Jax on guitar). They opened with New Rose and from that moment I knew I was going to be dissapointed. To be fair to them the crowd seemed to really love them, and maybe I’m still living in the past, but I wanted New Rose to sound like New Rose – the New Rose – the very first vinyl pressing of a Punk song ever…a piece of history. Musically it was the same, vocally it could have been Whitney Houston.
Maybe Dave Vanian is bored with singing the same old stuff for 30 years and he want to put some variety in his life…and I think for that its understandable…but I paid £25 to hear the Damned as I wanted to hear them, not what I got at all.
The week before I managed to catch the Specials in Brighton, another 30 year tour and another band on the nostalgia bandwagon….but what a band, what a show and what a difference. Every song was sung as I remembered it being, the whole blace was bouncing and I left through the pouring rain with a smile on my face. It was what I’d paid for, my memories, my songs and my experiences brought back for a few hours.
And Donny Osmond? I watched an interview with him once where he told the story of singing Puppy Love in a rock style cos he was bored with it. Then one day a fan asked him why he ruined their memory of the song. It affected him and he now sings songs in the way he sold them. Please take note Mr Vanian…to me and lots like me, you are a hero. The Damned are one of the greatest bands ever and I for one would like to hear New Rose as it was recorded by the Damned, not a night club singer.