40 Years Of Fashion & Fame – The Angels

It has been 40 years since The Angels launched their assault on the rock n roll loving, hard rockin public of Australia. To celebrate that fact, the band have kicked off a tour that covers songs from their 4 decades of classic Aussie rock. The band has also released two commemorative albums, which include 80 tracks of studio and live versions of all the classics.

Kicking off in Melbourne on the 30th of May, the tour will travel around the country and finish up in NSW at the end of August. These shows go for nearly 2 hours, and even being so long, it still leaves you wanting more. So many great tunes, it must be so tough to choose what gets played and what doesn’t. That is a luxury that few bands have, and is testament to the success over the journey that The Angels have enjoyed.

I caught the first show of the tour, at Chelsea Heights Hotel. The band was tight, loud and finished the gig with a special guest: Bob Spencer. Bob joined the band for the encore songs, and looked like he had never left the band that he was a member of, from 1986 to 1992. Maybe some other members past may join the band during this tour?

The setlist included all the songs you would expect, old and new. No Secrets, Fashion & Fame, Long Line, Face the Day, Am I ever Gonna see Your Face Again, Shadow Boxer, No Exit.. An extensive list of hits and memories! Everyone knew the words to nearly all the songs, even the younger folks banging their heads down the front.

According to Rick Brewster, lead guitarist of The Angels, the band are organising a website dedicated to all the past members of the band, with each one getting to tell their story of their part inside the band. This will include all previous members, along with road crew, managers, maybe even a groupie or two! Well, maybe not the groupies, but such a band deserves to have their history told. After all, they are one of the most successful bands of our time.

One of the reasons for the bands extended success was Doc Neeson. Hailing from Northern Ireland, Doc was a founding member of The Angels back in 1974, and contributed to the song writing with the Brewster Brothers over the years. Doc was best known for his screaming vocals, his energy on stage and his personal quirkiness. He would be known to come off stage, absolutely dripping in sweat, cool down as best he could and then settle in to read a classic novel.

Doc was diagnosed with brain cancer in December 2012 and fought long and hard to beat it. The tumour was removed during surgery, and he went through chemotherapy and radiotherapy before losing his valiant battle on June 4th 2014.  Neeson’s career and his battle with cancer was the feature of the ABC’s Australian Story, titled A Very Good Rascal, last month.

Rick Brewster was full of praise for his former band mate. “Doc stood out as one of a kind, a totally unique performer,” he said. “His feverish stage presence was unsurpassed yet beneath the public persona was a gentle soul. He leaves behind a wealth of shared memories – good times, hard times and the thrill of creating timeless music together… RIP Doc.”



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