The East Coast Boys are currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of touring with the stage show Big Girls Don't Cry which features the sound of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The entire line up has changed since I last watched this show two years ago and taking on the roles tonight are Lee Matthews as Frankie Valli, Joseph Connell as Tommy Devito, Henry Moss as Bob Gaudio and Bradley Clarkson as Nick Massey. Once again the standard is high as they sing dance and give snippets of information about the Four Seasons in their mastered New Jersey accents which they keep to all evening.
Launching into their first song predictably, 'Big Girls Don't Cry', the audience are singing and arm waving from the start without any encouragement and this continues throughout the show with many respectably dancing in the aisles as requested by the group rather than obscure the view for others sat behind. Continuing with 'Let's Hang On' and 'Working My Way Back To You' the guys are on a winner with their synchronised dancing and, as was the fashion for bands in their day, all kitted out in matching suits.
Matthews hit all the high notes replicating Frankie Valli's renowned falsetto vocals whilst Clarkson at the other end of the scale demonstrated his deep bass. Collectively the group harmonise perfectly performing so many songs I had forgotten all about and you will be surprised at just how many there are that you didn't realise were originals for the Four Seasons such as 'Silence is Golden', which was written for them and first appeared on the 'B' side of 'Ragdoll'. Many accredit the Tremeloes for the song as they achieved much more success with the hit, and yes, 'Bye Bye Baby' was theirs long before The Bay City Rollers! Another is 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' written by Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe for Valli and released in 1965 but it was when the Walker Brothers recorded it in 1966 that it became a hit. An opportunity to display those harmonies comes during a fabulous a cappella version of 'Blue Moon'.
The guys enjoy banter with the audience and make reference to local places and amenities trying to capture the local accent which brings laughter. Several times they leave the stage to dance and sing along those in the stalls which may have been frustrating to those in the upper seats who would have been restricted of what they could see. How simply amazing with what must be sheer 'coincidence' there happens to be ladies in the audience sporting the names of some of the Four Seasons top hits such as 'Dawn' 'Sherry' ' ' Marianne' and 'Marlena'! Marlena was led up onto the stage to be serenaded with this song where she sportingly joined in with before we were treated to the other songs.
The East Coast Boys are supported by a four piece band under the musical direction of Andrew Sackett on keys and a special mention has to go to enthusiastic bass guitarist Martin Roach, they really need to promote you to front of stage!
With songs that seem simply made for a finale, the show comes to an end with 'Bye Bye Baby', 'Let's Hang On' and 'Stay Just a Little Bit Longer' before the more than apt 'Oh What A Night'....and it certainly was!
For a night of fun and nostalgia be sure to catch one of the shows, tour dates can be found at: http://www.eastcoastboys.biz/tour-dates.html
Reviewer: Lorna Weekes
Reviewed: 11th March 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★★