Stars of the Sixties set for Steel City show

Weighing in at more than 60 dates between October and June 2018, The Sensational 60s Experience is just about the biggest show dedicated to the music of that decade.
Sensational 60s Experience legend Mike Pender.Sensational 60s Experience legend Mike Pender.
Sensational 60s Experience legend Mike Pender.

And this time, the line-up is colossal, with six artists – three groups and three solo artists.

Performing solo this time around are Handbags and Gladrags singer Chris Farlowe, who had a number one with Out of Time former Manfred Mann lead singer Mike D’Abo and The Searchers co-founder Mike Pender, the man on sang on all their classic hits such as Sweets For My Sweet and, Needles And Pins, writes Martin Hutchinson.

Also on the bill are The New Amen Corner, who will entertaining with classics such as If Paradise Is Half As Nice and Bend Me Shape Me and tour stalwarts Herman’s Hermits, performing their iconic Sixties hits including I’m Into Something Good, No Milk Today and There’s A Kind Of Hush.

The Fortunes, whose hits spread over into the Seventies with You’ve Got Your Troubles, Here It Comes Again and Storm In A Teacup, are making their second appearance on the tour.

And guitarist and singer Mike Smitham says “The Geordie Boys – promoters Alan Wearmouth and Billy McGregor, of Stageright Promotions – always put on a great show and they always look after the bands.

“The worst part of it is the travelling as I do all the driving.”

It is a sentiment echoed by 76-year-old Mike Pender, lead singer of The Searchers from its formation in 1959 to 1985.

“I still enjoy the touring, but not the travelling,” he says. “In fact, I still look forward to any sort of 60’s show as they’re always a success.

“And it’s because of all the hits. If you can’t get a crowd to enjoy all those great songs, then that’s the time you give up.

“I don’t feel my age, in fact I don’t think about it – it’s just a number. I’ll go on for as long as I can.”

“The Mike Pender’s Searchers shows are few and far between these days, this tour is the sort of gig that I prefer doing these days.

“It’s difficult when you have your own band when the members are spread around the country. The logistics can be a problem.

“On this tour, I’ll be doing about half an hour, so I’ll squeeze in as many hits as I can, plus the chat which people seem to enjoy.

“I usually also do one surprise song – on my last tour it was Solitaire; Searchers fans always seem to request it.

“I can’t tell you what it’ll be this time, but I try to make it a show-stopper.”

With a career spanning more than 55 years, Mike has enjoyed many highlights – including the band’s names.”

“I remember going to the movies to see The Searchers with John Wayne and thinking at the time that it would be a great name,” he says.

“ That really stands out, but for a little while I thought it was a little corny.

“Other stand-outs for me were giving up my job as a book-binder to go to Hamburg.

“That could have all gone wrong, but when we got back Tony Hatch contacted us and put us in the studio to records Sweets For My Sweet. And the rest is history.

“Going to America in 1964 and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show is another great memory.”

“And a personal memory was meeting a girl in The Cavern Club in 1962. The following year, I was about to go around the world touring and I asked her to marry me. And we’re still married today.”

The Sensational 60s Experience is at Sheffield City Hall on Saturday, December 2 – where there will be a chance to win a guitar signed by all the acts on the bill.

Tickets for the show are available from the box office on 0114 278 9789 and via