HAVING seen them on their last visit to the Town Hall, when I saw that the Drifters were to return, my wife and I bought tickets in anticipation of an enjoyable evening of memorable music.
Having been performing for so long it's inevitable that there will be personnel changes through the years in any group and it's fair to say that the Drifters, over the 50 years or so that they've been in existence, have had a fair turnover, with some big names among them.
At their previous concert in October 2003, none of the four faces were familiar, Johnny Moore had passed away some little while before, but they were all accomplished vocalists, presenting a solid, well put together show that seemed to go down well with all the audience.
You can imagine my surprise then, on Friday when the Drifters walked on stage and not one of the four had featured in the previous concert!
Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the show. All the old songs came out and the two singers certainly did them justice but the other two group members really didn't do much more than just make up the numbers. As reported in the Examiner, the sound system meant that anything said between songs was unintelligible, certainly in the balcony, and overall I felt that the foursome were not as capable as the line-up from 2003.
I know it's impossible to see the Drifters with Sam Cooke and Ben E King but I can't help but feel that what I was watching on Friday was a tribute band, good, but none the less a tribute band. Was there another quartet of "Drifters" performing somewhere else on Friday? Over the years artistic differences and plain old fallings-out have meant that there have been more than one group on the road, each claiming to be the real Drifters.
It's not many years ago that Johnny Moore's Slightly Adrift were touring at the same time as the supposedly genuine Drifters. You weren't sure then who you were going to see and, seemingly now, the situation appears not to have changed that much.
A pity, really, as once you've bought your tickets, you can't be sure who'll walk out on to that stage or the quality of the show that they'll give you.