I won’t forget a single day, believe me

So. I’ve made it. Tonight will be my 100th Sunny Afternoon!

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For a number of reasons, I’ve jumped very quickly from 93 to the big 1-0-0… Getting paid certainly helps! It’s also been nice to re-live the early months of my Sunny addiction – and it did also feel a bit like a mini Sunny Challenge (so tiring going back to nightly shows after a week off!).

I could easily have spread the nineties out more (oi, stop laughing!); my original target was the end of July, but events out of my control did force me to re-think that. Shame!

Understandably, hitting this milestone has made me feel more than a little nostalgic. I’ve been asked to compare shows by some members of the cast before, and stopped being able to around the 85 mark… But, as it’s a special occasion, I’ve given it a real go. Just for you! A combination of comparisons & my favourite parts of the show in general.

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Favourite song

‘You Really Got Me’ – an obvious contender. Perfectly positioned in the show (after several iterations of the riff) and a chance for the guys to really rock out. And boy, do they! It really does feel like a true gig experience, with the bass going right through you. There’s also the added bonus of watching Lillie have a tremendous amount of fun playing the tambourine!

Ned Derrington, John Dagleish, Adam Sopp and George Maguire in Sunny Afternoon.  Photograph by Kevin Cummins.
Ned Derrington, John Dagleish, Adam Sopp and George Maguire in Sunny Afternoon.
Photograph by Kevin Cummins

Of late I have also been enjoying ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ more and more. I’ve always enjoyed it, particularly Pete’s attempts at peacekeeping & keeping the show going – but watching Mick singing the chorus so angrily (and somehow angrier every time) just tickles me. The range of facial expressions Adam gets through is incredible – and all without corpsing! And I really needn’t say more than “Just keep going”…

John Dagleish and George Maguire in Sunny Afternoon.  Photograph by Kevin Cummins. (2)
John Dagleish and George Maguire in Sunny Afternoon.
Photograph by Kevin Cummins

It’s not just about the rock, or the comedy. ‘Too Much On My Mind’ has truly altered my life. It’s a deeply personal point in the show, which always manages to move me. It was a real turning point in my life, hearing those lyrics; I could relate completely, and found it a real relief to know I wasn’t alone. Ray understood.

John Dagleish in Sunny Afternoon.  Photograph by Kevin Cummins. (3)
John Dagleish in Sunny Afternoon.
Photograph by Kevin Cummins

But… I stand by my very first blog post: ‘Dedicated Follower Of Fashion’. It’s a sharp & witty ensemble number, with some fun choreography – and lots of entertaining background moments! It never fails to make me grin like a loon, plus it served as inspiration for this moment:

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Favourite scene

As with everything, there are a few. The drum solo, of course, but we’ll come to that in its own section…

Ray & Dave working out the sound for ‘You Really Got Me’ is fantastic. Some great physical comedy on top of the one-liners, a chance to see Dave’s ‘creative process’ – and a wall of sound that hits you square in the heart. The final (very loud) play of the riff puts such a wide grin on my face every single time. It’s involuntary; I just can’t help it!

The pair of car scenes early on in the second act are just hilarious. From Mick’s slightly worried waves to Ray’s unexpected hair loss… But my favourite part of this happens only occasionally: Elvis faces. The chauffeur talks about phoning “Elvis Aaron Presley” and Pete & Mick sometimes make fun of him by doing their own impressions of the King; Ray also shows this off to Dave at times. It doesn’t matter who does it – it always makes me chuckle, and/or screech.

But my favourite is probably Ray’s series of phone calls towards the end of the first half. It shows the increasing strain being put on the front man from every angle, and the tension building within the band & its management. From the menial (Mick: “You need to do something about Dave, he keeps stealing my birds…”) to the slightly more worrying (Pete: “I’m just generally feeling increasingly isolated!”). It manages to be entertaining, as well as laying the groundwork for some of what’s to come in the second half.

Ned Derrington, George Maguire, Adam Sopp, Tam Williams and Dominic Tighe in Sunny Afternoon.  Photograph by Kevin Cummins.
Ned Derrington, George Maguire, Adam Sopp, Tam Williams and Dominic Tighe in Sunny Afternoon.
Photograph by Kevin Cummins

Favourite drum solo

The best bit of the entire show: FACT.

Adam Sopp in Sunny Afternoon.  Photograph by Kevin Cummins
Adam Sopp in Sunny Afternoon.
Photograph by Kevin Cummins

Now we’ve established that… It is very difficult to compare, especially considering Adam’s solos are continually evolving.

Just last week I was treated to a pair of stunning solos when I did yet another midweek double. Everything he tried just seemed to come off – particularly great as I was sat at front tables for both shows (the best vantage points), plus I was introducing some friends to the show in the matinée and had rather hyped up the solo…

Another that stands out in my mind was on the evening of the 13th May. All was going swimmingly, when all of a sudden a stick snapped, but just in time for Adam to pick up a new one and carry on. He said he could feel it going so whacked it to test it out – and it ended up being what he believes is one of the coolest things he’s ever done!

I can still recall the one from my 40th show, back in February. I can’t remember the specifics, other than that it was completely flawless! The atmosphere for the whole show was electric and that just took it up a level.

But my favourite is probably from the night of the 25th March. Again, I cannot really tell you why – it was “all about the feel”… And I remember telling Adam that it was my favourite (who in turn told Elliot!), so that’ll do for me!

I’ve been promised an extra special one for my 100th – who knows, could that end up at the number 1 slot?

Favourite stage door moment

I haven’t been to the stage door after every show (you may recall that I nearly chickened out of my first visit following my second time at the show), but I’ve managed to rack up some fun moments.

The whole of #SunnyChallenge week was fun (for me) at the stage door, putting pressure on the stars to answer questions as part of ‘stage door daily’! My favourite of those was probably chatting to Ned about which Kinks song he wished was in the show, and subsequently discovering what a fantastic bassline ‘Apeman’ has.

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John is always great value, whether he’s doing impressions (Anthony Hopkins, Frankie Valli, Kate Bush…) or pulling silly faces – including a pretend album cover photo-shoot from a few weeks ago:

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But, by far & away my favourite has to be after the show on Monday 13th April – the day after Sunny’s Oliviers success. Ray had been onstage showing off the awards, and later appeared at stage door, along with another hero of mine, Brian May… However, what I’ll never forget is our reunion with the award-winning cast – long, emotional hugs all round, and even an Olivier or two to hold!

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I won’t be stopping at 100. For one thing, I’ve already been booked in during October! And for another thing, I’m more than attached to this show. It really has had (& continues to have) a strange effect on me – and I like it…

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