Hotel California in Weston-super-Mare

Many years ago I worked with someone whose husband was in a Beach Boys tribute band; my husband has always been in bands, all sorts of bands going back to the early days of the ‘beat combo’ which metamorphosed into ‘a group’. As a teenager I always wanted a boyfriend who was in group, several decades later my dream came true and I married a ‘boy’ in a ‘band’. Always involved in music my husband has played in every imaginable music performance, pit theatre, dance band, dining trio, rock, brass band, original, ukulele orchestra, Celtic rock, everything you could imagine… except a cover band.

I’ve been on the audience side of music and have always loved watching and dancing to it live, and I have watched a wide variety of different bands… Canned Heat, Swinging Blue Jeans, the Incredible String Band, Hot Chocolate, and of course in more recent times, Kevin Montgomery, and then of course, my beloved Mavericks. When my friend told me about her husband and his Beach Boy band, I was intrigued because I used to love the Beach Boys and had most of their albums. I went on their site and there were the requisite number of musicians, all in their fifties and sixties (and maybe older) dressed in beach shorts, gaudy shirts, and clearly carrying their tribute onto the stage as a cover version of the originals.

I didn’t ever hear my friend’s husband’s band so I’m not judging or making any comment, I’m sure they were great musicians and singers, and gave a great and entertaining performance, but I have to confess, it wasn’t really my sort of thing.

As I mentioned here before, I went along with a gang to see an Elvis tribute – it was a dinner and show I went to with a group of friends. ‘Elvis’ had a good voice but seeing a chubby broad Somerset bloke squeezed into a white catsuit, although entertaining, was not really something I necessarily want to repeat.  We went with the same group of friends to see another show about Elvis, and this had a story line, it followed a particular year in the singer’s life, and although the second half was an impersonation of the star, it was within the context of the story – and the performer was very good. I also mentioned going to see a show (with the same group of friends) about the Dubliners, Seven Drunken Nights; again this was ‘about’ the band and told their story without pretending to be them. Another excellent show.

And so to the Illegal Eagles who we went to see last week at the Playhouse in Weston-super-Mare. If I say I’m not a fan of the Eagles, I don’t mean that I dislike their music, it’s just that although I know some of their songs I’ve never really listened to them or bought any albums. I wouldn’t have gone to the show on my own but because we went as a gang (the pub quiz gang!) I knew it would be fun.

The show we saw really was a tribute to the band; the musicians weren’t trying to be them or look like them, only play and sing like them. And boy, were they good! Having said I didn’t know much about the Eagles, I was amazed how many of their songs I already knew – most of the ones which were played that night! As with the Dubliners tribute we saw, this told the story of the band, their history and the different people who had played with them. It really was a brilliant night!

The Illegal Eagles have been going some time, have just celebrated their twentieth anniversary, and the musicians we saw – the amazing musicians we saw were:


  • Trev Newnham
  • Mike Baker
  • Christian Phillips
  • Greg Webb
  • Garreth Hicklin
  • Tony Kiley

Seeing the audience go into the auditorium at the beginning you would have seen a lot of grey, quite a few walking sticks/walking frames, lots of pairs of glasses, perms, hearing aids, twinsets, cardies… But once the lights went down they went wild!! Cheering, singing, shouting out, on their feet, dancing, having a wild and amazing time – transformed by music!!! Back to their youth!

Here is a link to the band:



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