Chesney Hawkes @ the HAC

Posted on Saturday 18th June 2016 12:38 by FreckFest

Chesney Hawkes. The poor man is known for one thing and one thing only. And boy, does he know it. In the lead-up to Wednesday night’s up close and personal show in the HAC, we were force-fed all manner of One And Only puns, all bad and some far worse than others. Mr Hawkes has heard them all. Even West FM’s Colin McCardle, an Irvine boy who knows only too well what Freckfest is all about was in on the act, cracking cheap gags on his morning show. As it transpired, the joke was on all those pun-cracking doubters.

 

Entering the stage to a hysterical cheer of excitement from a capacity audience, Chesney took his place on his bar stool, kicked off his shoes, “It’s just like playing in your living room, isn’t it?” and began proceedings with a slowed-down jazzy take on The Hit. Just as he reached the end of the second verse, he jumped off the barstool, held his guitar aloft and self-deprecatingly thanked us all for coming. “Good night, Irvine! That’s all I got! See ya later!” and off he went.

                                                                                               

He came straight back on again, of course, to much good-humoured applause, and treated us to a run through of a back catalogue that few, if any, in the room were familiar with. Alternating between acoustic guitar and electric keyboard, he filled the gaps between songs with entertaining banter and anecdotes. “I wrote this when I was 17. I thought it was the perfect follow-up to The One And Only. The record company didn’t. They said it was ‘too grown up’, so I’ve sat on it for 25 years…

 

Not that Chesney could ever be accused of being grown up. For a man in his early 40s, he has the boyish charm (and, rather grudgingly, the waist size) of someone half his age. He now lives in LA with his wife and 3 children, who at one point appeared behind him in the video for his song ‘Aeroplane’, after which the majority of the women wiped a tear from their eye as Chesney confesses how much he’s been missing them whilst on tour. He is quite possibly the nicest man in music we will ever meet.

                                                                                             

 

After an encore where he runs a bluesy take on Prince’s ‘Kiss’ into a roof-raising run through of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, Chesney appears in the foyer, much to the delight of seemingly all of the audience who’d held back in the hope of meeting him. 100 selfies and several dozen autographs later (old records, a tour programme from 1991, a well-worn ‘Chesney’ t-shirt from back in the day being the pick of the bunch) and he’s off into the night, refreshed on nothing more than several cups of tea and Irvine hospitality. “I’ll be back,” he promises. We’re going to hold him to that. It’ll be interesting to see if the two elderly ladies who had come especially to see Chip Taylor (singer with 60s group The Tremeloes and Chesney’s dad) come back too. I’m not quite sure how they thought that’s who would be appearing. Oh dear! If either of you are reading, you both looked like you were enjoying yourselves, ladies.

 

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