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Jools gets with the boogie-woogie.
Jools gets with the boogie-woogie

Jools Holland at Blickling Hall

Jools Holland led the crowd gathered at Blickling Hall through a show of upbeat boogie woogie with plenty of twists and turns, writes Rob Sykes.


Blickling Hall opened its grounds for the final weekend of this summer's musical spectaculars with Jools Holland entertaining more than 6,000 people on Saturday.

The crowd came prepared with their picnics and the site was taken over by people trying to outdo each other with their extravagant spreads.

Rob Sykes gives the show 4 out of 5 stars.

From strawberries and cream to champagne and salmon, the boat really had been pushed out.

Not content with eating their banquets from blankets on the ground, some revellers brought along tables resplendent with table cloths, salt and pepper shakers and the odd candelabra!

Walking to the front of the stage and looking back on the crowd provided a daunting sight.

Apparently Jools doesn't like the tables too close to the stage as he likes space at the front for the crowd to dance. So standing at the front before the gig started, you could wander round freely.

However, if you turned around you were greeted by the legions of picnickers. There was row upon row of music hungry people tucking into their food like a good-mannered army setting out in preparation for battle.

Warm-up set

Support was provided by new band The Fields, led by Jools Holland's guitarist Mark Flanagan. The three-piece took to the stage and warmed the crowd up with a country-inspired set.

Jools' guitarist opened the show with his new band
Jools' guitarist opened with his band

Playing their self-penned songs, the country influences shone through. In particular, Carry Me Down was a song Johnny Cash would have been proud to sing. "It’s a cheerful little tune, it’s all about a funeral, sung from inside the box," was the description given by the band.

However, the crowd's mood didn't drop as The Fields' folk and blues styles prevented the set from becoming too maudlin.

They played the Dylan-esque What Would You Do with its social and political lyrics and the spaced-out Pretty Zen, apparently the band’s obligatory 'weird song'!

Despite being a trio and looking lost on the giant stage, their musicianship cut through and the sound was amazing. The PA system helped, but the band members themselves projected the music perfectly.

Jools Holland

By the time Jools came on stage the temperature had dropped, most of the picnics were finished and people were ready to boogie!

The Rhythm and Blues Orchestra provided a striking visual contrast to The Fields with a minimum of 17 people on stage at any time.

Jools Holland's band.
Jools Holland's band crowd the stage

The crowd abandoned their deck chairs and headed towards the front to shake their stuff along to the opening jam.

By the time the sexily-voiced Sam Brown took centre stage to sing the slower Valentine Moon everybody had forgiven the harsh British summer.

His time as an interviewer enabled him to work the crowd. Although Jools Holland was not alone on stage, he was the centre of attention and he worked the crowd into a frenzy, while the boogie woogie style of music allowed the band to react to the audience to great effect.

The presence of BBC Radio Norfolk motivated Jools even more and he encouraged the crowd to sing along for "the people listening at home."

Audience vote

The Rhythm and Blues Orchestra took turns stepping up to the mic to take the lead solo and the crowd even had the opportunity to choose who they wanted to hear next.

But the highlight was the three-song contribution by Ruby Turner, starting with a funked-up version of Blowin’ In The Wind.

Sam Brown gives it her all.
Sam Brown gives it her all

Arriving on stage at a time when many of the picnic blankets had been redeployed around people’s shoulders, her voice complemented the band perfectly and added the spark to re-ignite the evening.

The band eventually left the stage only to return twice for encores. The band's supreme ability was summed up by Jools laying down the gauntlet: "We're going to play a song we don't really know. It will be more fun, won't it?"

As the final notes died out, the sky to the right of the stage came alive as a barrage of fireworks was unleashed from behind the trees. In short, a fittingly spectacular end to the evening.

Jools Holland and The Rhythm and Blues Orchestra played at Blickling Hall on Saturday 23 July 2005.

last updated: 03/02/06
Have Your Say
Tell us what you thought of the show - plus what do you think of being able to listen again to the highlights.
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The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Angela Smart
Please can you make a DVD of yourself and the Rythm & Blues Orchestra only - no other bands on it please - guest appearances fine. You are excellent to listen to and watch.
Tue Nov 8 16:37:27 2005

Bob
Just pick superlatives - the Man, the Band and Singers are the best around. Sitting here listening again - long live boogie and well done Radio Norfolk
Sun Jul 31 22:08:31 2005

Michelle
Jools and his band were brilliant.Ive seen them before at the UEA but this was so much better.He is playing again later on this year at the UEA and I am looking forward to seeing him again.The whole band just fits so well together and produce such an amazing quality of music.Well done Jools.
Fri Jul 29 09:03:12 2005

John Hurn
A fantastic show 2nd time I have seen Jool's. Great idea to be able to listen to the highlights.
Wed Jul 27 16:03:25 2005

Emma Low
It was a great show, and there was some very funny dancing going on!
Wed Jul 27 11:22:49 2005

JUDITH CAVEY
GREAT SHOW - JOOLS' BEST YET IN NORFOLK. RUBY TURNER - FANTASTIC. ENJOYED LISTENING TO HIGHLIGHTS - WOULD HAVE LIKED A COMPLETE CD OF THE SHOW!!
Tue Jul 26 23:04:58 2005

Nicola Devine
An amazing night. Havent seen Jules Holland since he played with Squeeze!! But I want to see him and his amazing band again soon.
Tue Jul 26 21:55:56 2005

Sophie Marshall
The concert was fab, atmosphere really good. I have seen Jools at Thetford but thought Blickling, with the downward slope towards the stage, a much better venue. The Radio Norfolk team was clearly very excited which added to the atmosphere and it is great to know that I can choose to hear certain tracks again performed live.
Tue Jul 26 17:46:07 2005

Claire Parfrey
Great to be able to listen to the highlights - being able to listen to the whole show would be better though!!!
Tue Jul 26 12:51:20 2005

Claire Parfrey
Jools was once again excellent! Brilliant night out - fantastic setting, excellent picnic, great warm up band (Field) playing a different style of music to Jools's band, WOW
Tue Jul 26 12:42:47 2005

Peter, Diss
I've seen Jools about 5 or 6 times now and I think this was his best show yet. Sam Brown is amazing and Ruby Turner's outstanding. The sound quality was superb and I loved listening back to the highlights on BBC Radio Norfolk afterwards. Your listen again option is the icing on the cake.
Tue Jul 26 11:54:53 2005

Chris, Norwich
Brilliant once again! You cannot get a better evening out than this. Jools and his band really give you that feel good factor.
Tue Jul 26 09:57:05 2005

Paula Meades
Fabulous and fantastic show - top night. Would have been good to hear Graham Barnard's after show again on the web.
Mon Jul 25 20:40:32 2005

Jacky Smith
I think the whole show was superb! First time hearing Jools live, but will go again. Wonderful to listen on Radio Norfolk on the way home and also to hear some of the concert again. My friend in Virginia USA is going to check it out too!
Mon Jul 25 20:15:54 2005

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