UB40 to play Blickling as Gibb cancels

RICHARD BATSON Bee Gee Robin Gibb has cancelled a series of summer picnic concerts including one in Norfolk. Reggae group UB40 have been lined up to fill the gap at Blickling Hall - but it is just a month after they appear at another local outdoor gig in Thetford Forest.

RICHARD BATSON

Bee Gee Robin Gibb has cancelled a series of summer picnic concerts including one in Norfolk. Reggae group UB40 have been lined up to fill the gap at Blickling Hall - but it is just a month after they appear at another local outdoor gig in Thetford Forest.

Organisers said tonight there was scope for both gigs at opposite ends of the county.

Gibb's scrapping of a seven-venue tour in July was said to be down to “scheduling difficulties”.


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It was part of Summer Nights open air concerts which also feature stars such as Bryan Adams, Westlife, Status Quo, Simply Red, Il Divo and Pavarotti visiting arenas at stately homes such as Chatsworth House and Cardiff Castle.

Gibb, with his Bee Gee brothers Maurice and Barry, took the pop world by storm in the 1960s and '70s with classic falsetto disco hits such as Jive Talking, You Should Be Dancing, Staying Alive, Tragedy and Night Fever, along with ballads such as How Deep Is Your Love.

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Backed by a live hand and orchestra, he was due to sing those hits to open a two-weekend series of gigs at Blickling on July 14.

Publicity spokesman Chris Hewlett today said the tour had been dropped due to “scheduling difficulties” in bringing together the shows. It was not a case of the Gibb tickets failing to sell.

Other Gibb dates were being plugged by Tom Jones and Jools Holland, with UB40 filling the slots at Cardiff and Blickling.

Robin Gibb's website was “down for maintenance” but said he apologised for any convenience. It also added that a tribute show planned for New York Central Park in July had also been put off, but a gig in Lisbon had been confirmed.

Speaking about the Blickling concert, Mr Hewlett said: “It is a shame we have had to make the change - but what a change to make.”

Promoters would not have booked the Blickling concert on July 14 - just a month after the one at Thetford on June 9 - if they did not feel there was scope for them both, he added.

UB40 were one of the most successful and popular live bands around, and he was sure they would be well supported at Blickling, where there was a big following for the outdoor concerts, which were all selling well.

The National Trust stately home near Aylsham has sellout concerts for Westlife on July 15, and Bryan Adams on July 20 as well as concerts by Van Morrison on July 16, Simply Red on July 21 and Il Divo on July 22.

Birmingham-based UB40, taking over the curtain-raiser concert, topped the charts in August 1983 with Red Red Wine and again two years later with their cover version of Sonny and Cher's I Got You Babe featuring the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde. Their other hits include Don't Break My Heart, Kingston Town and I'll Be Your Baby Tonight.

People with tickets for the Blickling Gibb concert should seek refunds from wherever they bought them.

Tickets for the UB40 concert, at £37.50, go on sale from 9am tomorrow, Friday March 24, through the 24-hour credit card hotline 0870 400 0688, the Blickling box office 0870 010 4900 or www.summernightsonline.co.uk

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