Kevin Montgomery & The Road Trippers with Jeff Finlin

Cardiff and Bristol- April 2004

On a pleasant evening in April, 2004, I found my way to the Point, an old converted chapel in the middle of a new dockside development, a great venue! I knew I was going to have a good time seeing the Roadtrippers in Cardiff; I had been lucky enough to see them twice before and I had also seen Kevin with Mike McAdam on another two occasions. Inside the Point, there was an area for dancing in front of the stage and tables and chairs set back near the bar which was in the corner. Robert Reynolds was at the bar with friends and gave me a little wave before disappearing backstage.

Jeff Finlin ambled onto the stage as support; I had never heard him before but he is a very talented singer and writer and I enjoyed his set.

After a break Kevin (who had been out front chatting to friends) kicked off on terrific form with Robert, Paul Deakin, Mike McAdam, Al Perkins and Johnny MacKinnon on keyboard. Kevin always likes to engage the audience and entertain them with stories, and amusing rambles; he explained that he had met Johnny in Scotland at various gigs. Johnny had always offered to play his keyboard with the band, something Kevin must have heard many times from different people over the years.  It wasn’t until Kevin was doing a house concert that he realized Johnny was seriously good and the rest, as Kevin said, was history!

Driving home later, I thought just how fab they were and writing a review I was rather lost for words (yes truly!!) to say how really good they were – best I had ever seen the band! Johnny was a definite asset; he added so much to so many numbers, particularly ‘Broken’ and supported Kevin and Robert on vocals. They all seemed to be really enjoying themselves too but no-one danced; the spacious dance floor in front of the stage was empty and I just stood at the back, grooving away. This meant there was a separation between the band and the audience. The audience – although appreciative, just sat politely, no leaping about. They, listened and then applauded – which they did enthusiastically.

It was Robert’s birthday so there were cards – including one from Kevin saying ‘Happy 40th’ (yes, he knew Robert was 42, he just couldn’t get one that said it!!)

It was a brilliant night and I didn’t mind the long drive home, knowing I would see them again the next night in Bristol.

The next evening Hannah managed to get her chauffeur to bring her down from Coventry to the Polish club in Bristol. It was heaving!! By the end of the night the walls were sweating!! It was absolutely packed with a really supportive, happy and enthusiastic audience. There was a wonderful atmosphere, Bristol is a really good fan base for Kevin, he has many, many friends there!

As usual, Hannah and I got ourselves right to the front; she was armed with her camera and took some great photos. It was good to see and hear Jeff Finlin again; he is a genuinely nice person! The Roadtrippers came on stage, and unbelievably, they were even better than the night before in Cardiff. Kevin was on excellent form, very quick with humorous comments, and embroidering stories I had heard before to make the different and funnier. There were so many jokes, the audience at times were almost hysterical with laughter. As usual at a Bristol gig, local radio personality Keith Warmington joined the band, singing and grooving on his harmonica. Who enjoyed his spot more – the band, the audience? Keith himself? Hard to say!!

By the end my legs were aching from dancing non-stop but as usual the band came to the bar and chatted with everyone and refreshing themselves with Polish beer. Hannah and I chatted to Robert, Paul, Jeff, Kevin and we were honoured to meet Kevin’s mother, Carol Montgomery, a charming and gracious lady; we were so privileged to meet her.

The highlight of the evening? For me it was ‘Not Fade Away;’ Robert was playing and singing out of his socks – people who have only seen him with the Mavericks have no idea how very, very talented he is.


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