Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, Blues on the Farm, near Chichester

Bill Wyman - pic by Ian Hawkes
Bill Wyman - pic by Ian Hawkes

Some fine moments peppered a performance from Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings which the fates seemed against.

Georgie Fame’s amplification failed on the first song, at which point he understandably disappeared for the next half hour, leaving the band – at times quite literally – scratching their heads as to what to do next.

And this after a 20-minute delay coming on – time which couldn’t be made up at the end of the night because of a curfew.

All in all, it’s probably fair to say that they never really, truly hit their stride – though things improved markedly after a superb guest spot from Gary Brooker with, inevitably, A Whiter Shade Of Pale.

Geraint Watkins on keyboards is invariably the unsung hero, turning in another great performance; and once he was audible, Georgie showed plenty of that old Fame magic.

In the middle of it all, as gloriously imperturbable as you’d expect from a man who’s survived the Stones, was Wyman, smiling occasionally, as unshowy as ever, content simply – though slightly shakily tonight – to hold it all together.

And then all too soon, a concert which never achieved any great sense of flow, was over – but how good it was have been in the same room (well, tent) as one of the giants who made the Stones Roll.

For those of us proudly wearing the Stones T-shirt, there were even several songs with Stones associations, most enjoyably a cracking Harlem Shuffle.

And whatever the technical problems which slightly undermined the night, you still walk away thinking what a great event Blues on the Farm is – one which gets the mix absolutely right to create all that’s good about festivals and none of the hassles.

Phil Hewitt