Episode Six 50th Reunion
Alan Field reporting, with thanks to John Sales. Photos: Alan Field and John Sales.
Iconic Radio London favourites, Episode Six, held their 50th Anniversary Reunion on Sunday December 6th. The event took place at a private venue in north west London, in front of a specially invited audience of 80 or so of the band's closest family and friends. The invitation was kindly extended to the team at the Radio London website, and intrepid roving reporters Alan Field and John Sales were delighted to join the fun.
Episode Six had actually formed out of two north London bands, the Lightnings and the Madisons, in the summer of 1964. Gaining local work at home and then a residency in Frankfurt's Arcadia club, they finally won a record deal towards the end of 1965. The 50th Anniversary Reunion specifically celebrated cutting their first single for Pye, the Hollies' song, "Put Yourself In My Place".
Back l-r Tony Lander, Harvey Shield, Sheila Carter-Dimmock, Ian Gillan.
The setting couldn't have been better. There were montages of memorabilia in the hall where guests arrived, and the theatre had been turned into a night club. Photos and posters on the wall recalled highlights of the band's career: their time in Frankfurt, tours in Cologne and Hamburg, and another residency at the Casino du Liban, just outside Beirut. It was nice to see among the souvenirs an original programme for Radio London's day at Brands Hatch in June 1967 where Episode Six performed, and photos of the band in full flow at a Radio London night at the Marquee Club in August 1966. A slideshow near the stage area was accompanied by the soundtrack to the group's life and times: their music, their live appearances and interviews on early Radio One with Keith Skues, Tony Brandon and the like.
On top of a seemingly endless supply of food and drink, and against a background of emotional reunions of old friends (many of whom hadn't seen each other for decades), we were privileged to witness, without doubt, the gig of the year.
Opening the set, Roger Glover (bass and vocals), Harvey Shield (drums and vocals) and Tony Lander (guitar) got the house moving as they re-created the early sound of the Lightnings and the Madisons. Then, enter stage left, vocalist Ian Gillan and keyboard player Sheila Carter-Dimmock to (almost) complete the vintage line-up. They treated the audience to live versions of two of the band's best remembered songs, "I Hear Trumpets Blow" and "Morning Dew". They said they hadn't performed them together for years. They said they hadn't rehearsed them. You really couldn't tell!
More songs followed as others joined them on stage. Fittingly, Tony Reeve, producer of the group's first record and a musician in his own right, was prominent amongst them. There was plenty of good old rock 'n' roll, and what might be described as a second generation of Episode Six, with Roger's musician daughter Gillian Glover alongside Harvey Shield's daughter Mara. The set included some standout improv from Harvey, bringing the house down with his incredible "Episode Six 50th Anniversary Reunion Blues"!
Also on hand was the group's second drummer, John Kerrison, who joined in 1967. The classic line-up was completed midway through the evening via a big-screen skype link with Sheila's brother Graham Carter-Dimmock in New Mexico USA, where he's lived and worked these past 20 years. Graham couldn't be in London for the reunion unfortunately, but more than made up for it with chats with his former bandmates and greetings to the assembled guests.
Finally, a special mention for Terry Revill, a longtime friend of the band who provided the venue, and to Terry's wife Debbie and the rest of the team who, with Tony Lander and Sheila Carter-Dimmock, did everything to organise the event and kept it all running so smoothly. Thank you all for an absolutely amazing night!
Above: friend Terry Revill (in white) joins the band photocall
The massive collection of memorabilia included photos from the Big L Marquee gig, August 27 1966, below
Above: photos taken during the band residency at Casino du Liban, December '66 and below,
another Beirut shot and a 1966 Christmas card, courtesy of Brian Long