THE economy is in trouble, the climate is struggling and never before have so many folk sought refuge in nostalgia.
So it’s a good job The Sensational 60s Experience is heading back to Sheffield a week on Saturday.
The format is similar to the package tours of the 1960s, with a number of bands taking to the stage.
This year The Dreamers, who formerly backed Freddie Garrity, have joined the tour, but Alan Mosca, who has played with the band since the mid-’70s, is already familiar with the format.
“Last year I compered the show, which meant I really just introduced the bands,” he says.
“Usually in these ’60s packages, one band tends to back a number of different acts, but with us it’s different.
“We have four individual bands so you don’t get the same ‘sound’.”
The Sensational 60s Experience, in its fifth season, gives fans a chance to step back in time to a classic music era.
The Dreamers backed Garrity from the early ’60s until they split in 1969 when Freddie went solo.
However, he reformed the band for package tours and cabaret nights and he also took part in a re-enactment of the British Invasion tours of the States with songs such as You Were Made For Me, I’m Telling You Now, If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody and the madcap Short Shorts.
“We do all the hits and the silly dances they did back in the day,” says Alan.
“When we do the holiday camps there’s a lot of kids in the audience who might not know the hits, so we had to be a little different and do something visual to keep their attention.
“Our drummer, Ray Martin, who used to play in Brian Poole and Electrix, doesn’t do a drum solo like most drummers. What happens is that we play dustbins while he does fire-eating.
“One thing about Freddie Garrity,” he adds, “is that many people thought due to his appearance he was a big Buddy Holly fan, but his real hero was Al Jolson, and when he went solo he used to do an act impersonating Al.”
Top of the bill at the City Hall will be The Tremeloes. Still with two original members in guitarist Rick Westwood and drummer Dave Munden, they were responsible for classics such as Call Me Number One, Here Comes My Baby and the sublime Silence Is Golden.
The Tremeloes got their big break in 1962 when they auditioned for Decca Records, signing a three-year contract after seeing off the other band who auditioned; a Liverpool act called The Beatles.
They had hits as Brian Poole and The Tremeloes and, after Poole left in 1966, went on to greater success.
The Trems, as they are affectionately known, have carried on playing live throughout the years to ever-appreciative audiences.
Hermans Hermits have also survived the ages and boast an original member in drummer Barry Whitwam.
Originally with Peter Noone as singer, they had success under the watchful eye of Mickey Most, who had originally seen the band perform in Bolton, and sold over 75 million records, even outselling The Beatles in America for a time with the likes of I’m Into Something Good, There’s a Kind of Hush and Silhouettes.
The surprise hit of the tour has been The Union Gap UK, performing the hits of Gary Puckett & The Union Gap – Young Girl, Lady Willpower and Woman Woman to name but three, although they feature no original members.
During the finale, all the bands come together as one.
“Each principal does a rock and roll number,” says Alan. “There’s not usually a lot of rehearsal for that and there’s a bit of ad-libbing, but it’s a great piece of fun.”