Wednesday, 1 July 2015

O2 Shepherds Bush London: Woody Woodmansey's Holy Holy & Tony Visconti 30 June 2015

I'm a big Bowie fan, particularly of the album Aladdin Sane. On one holiday as a teenager back in the 70s, I only had one one cassette to listen to while sunbathing; it was Aladdin Sane. I listened to it again and again and quickly began to realise it was really special! I loved every track (which I can't say about many albums) and still do today with a passion. It will always be one of my all-time favourite albums.

Unfortunately I never saw Bowie live, but last night's gig pretty close. Woody Woodmansey's Holy Holy band were on fire! I got to see two tracks from Aladdin Sane performed live for the first time (Time and Watch That Man) and loads of other big Bowie favourites: Man Who Sold The World, Life on Mars, Changes, Ziggy Stardust and the concert ended with the huge sound of Suffragette City.

After the gig, the whole band (almost) signed albums and posters, posed for photos and chatted with fans for ages!

The warmth and affection the audience had for the band, and especially for Woody, was palpable. It was also very moving to see tributes paid to the two deceased members Spiders from Mars, Mick Ronson (two members of his family were in the band!) and Trevor Bolder.

An added bonus to the evening was to see both Marc Almond and Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet on stage singing several numbers! It was a shame David couldn't be there too, but I have to say Glenn Gregory (of Heaven 17) did a really excellent job as his replacement ;-)

I learned last night that David & the Spiders used to play a live medley of songs that included Oh! You Pretty Things and All The Young Dudes that David wrote and gave to Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople). Pleasantly surprised to see that, because I saw Ian Hunter live recently and my mate Steve Holley is his drummer. Here's my clip of All The Young Dudes last night:


The sound quality was superb, so #respect to the sound guy! And what a treat to see and hear so many amazing and highly talented musicians on stage.  I'd also like to say #respect in particular to Paul Cuddeford, Berenice Scott and James Stevenson - and of course to Woody.

I wish the band all the very best for their forthcoming tour of Japan.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Yom HaShoah UK 2015

On Sunday 19th April, I was honored to attend Yom Hashoah UK, a celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Holocaust, at the Barnet Coptnall Stadium, London.

The event was attended by 5000 people making it the UKs largest ever Holocaust Commemoration. Also in attendance were 150 survivors and refugees.

I attended the event to represent my father, Major Leonard Berney, who recently wrote his memoirs of his experience as one of the liberators of Bergen-Belsen.

One of the attendees was Anita Lasker-Wallfisch who was a survivor of Belsen and was also interviewed, like my father Leonard Berney, for the film 'Night Will Fall'.

London Mayor Boris Johnson filmed a speech especially for the event

Local Jewish schoolchildren ended the event singing a specially written song for the occasion

Eva Behar - Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen Survivor - ended the event with a moving speech:
"If people, today, would just remember to respect each other, whatever creed, colour or nationality or whatever they are, instead of this hate that goes on... the world would be such a better place, because hate is a terrible thing."

For more information please visit:

You can buy Liberating Belsen Concentration Camp by (former) Lt-Colonel Leonard Berney R.A. T.D. from Amazon UK

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Like A Storm's first UK gig at the start of their European Tour

Like A Storm merchandise
* click on the images to enlarge them *

Sunday 15th March 2015 - Electric Ballroom, Camden, London:
It was so good to meet these guys - the biggest New Zealand rock band ever! And it was especially wonderful to see my nephew Zach Wood again. He's Like A Storm's drummer! He lives in LA so we don't get to see each other very often. It was the first time I've seen him perform and it was such a joy - I'm a very proud uncle! And it was such an amazing experience to see him signing autographs after the show! He's on his way to becoming a big rock star!

I really enjoyed Like A Storm's set, especially Love The Way You Hate Me. They are an exciting new band with lots of promise, clearly on their way to the big time!

The sound check
Harry and Zach... cousins

Harry being a model
Steve Wood, Chris Brooks, Harry Wood
Gemma's backstage pass on her er.... T-shirt
The audience is waiting to be let in
The billing (Like A Storm are opening for Black Veil Brides)
Like A Storm in concert
The crowd are loving it!

Zach with Riitta
Zach signing autographs
Zach being admired by the fans
Zach & Harry - they hadn't seen each other in years
Zach signing more autographs
Zach being adored by more fans
This guy asked for his arm to be signed by the band!
Like A Storm with friends and family

Monday, 16 March 2015

Steel Panther Headlines at Wembley Arena

Steel Panther at Wembley!
* click on the images to enlarge *

Saturday 14th March, Wembley Arena: The show was outrageous of course, and hilarious.

When we first saw what we thought was the band on stage, we were all collectively worried for a moment that all four members had shrunk! In fact, they had hired 4 "little people" (is that the politically correct term nowadays?) dressed up as Steel Panther! What a really funny prank and a highly original way to open the show. Roadies then chased them off stage but they came back on for the finale.

Satchel made me laugh so much! He is such a comedian! "You are definitely the best audience we've had all week."

During the encore, Steve (brother) went on stage to present the band with an award for the vast number of records they have sold (almost impossible to achieve nowadays).

I had a little chat with Stix the drummer afterwards. He remembered me from Download last summer!

Gemma's backstage pass on her er... dress
Gemma looking foxy just before Steel Panther came on stage
Steel Panther "little people" tribute band with Steel Panther
Steel Panther posing
I took this picture because I liked the lights
Satchel of Steel Panther making us laugh
Girls on stage!
Steve Wood (centre stage) presenting Steel Panther with their awards
The grand finale
Me with Michael Starr of Steel Panther last year at the Download Festival
The support bands were also great!

The Lounge Kittens
Me with Benji Webbe of Skindred

Saturday, 14 March 2015

I finally make it onto the stage in Monty Python's Spamalot!

Me (the peasant) on stage clutching my tin of Spam, with King Arthur and a bunch of silly English Ker-nnnig-hts. I've wanted to do this for such a long time! 
Me on stage! What an experience! It was worth all the tea in China!

Seat Done, or rather D1
With Joe Pasquale - the longest serving King Arthur?
With Todd Carty - the longest serving Patsy?
Spamalot's run in Woking 2015
Gemma after the show being er, "Queen Arthur"?
Friday 13th March 2015: Monty Python's Spamalot, New Victoria Theatre, Woking:

I first saw Spamalot in January 2007: I loved it so much, I went again, and again, and again... last night was the 17th performance of Spamalot I've seen, and I'm going again next month when the show is in Southampton! I have a sneaking suspicion, that won't be my last time.... As far as I'm concerned, it's the funniest show ever! You can't keep me away - it's hilarious, whether you're a Monty Python fan or not!

I've seen the show so many times, I notice any changes they make to the script. Some of the changes since the last time I saw it (which was at the Playhouse Theatre, London) were:

  • "And I'm the Emperor of Norway; bugger off" has been replaced with "And I'm the Emperor of China; bugger off"
  • King Arthur no longer tells Patsy that those who see the Knights of Ni seldom live to tell the tale.  Consequently, Patsy no longer replies, "Oh great!"
  • There's a new country-by-country section (with each country indicated by flags)
  • Pointing at a bail of hay and shouting "Hey!" has been reinstated but not in the same way and not in the same place as it was before (which was during Sir Robin's song)
  • Talking of Robin's song, that has been completely updated. Out goes Jedward and in comes Michelle Obama and Ant & Dec. Out goes Boris Johnson and in comes Mary Berry. It's so up to the minute with current affairs because the lyrics now include Top Gear, and King Arthur made a joke about Jeremy Clarkson's latest shenanigans!
  • There's also a small tweak to the lyrics of Diva's Lament that concerns the artist formerly known as Cheryl Cole (but I won't ruin it for you).
  • The "peasant" that helps find the Holy Grail used to get rewarded with an "Arthur", but now, it's a tin of Spam.
So how come I ended up on stage, I hear you ask. It turns out I was sitting on the Holy Grail the whole time! Whichever unsuspecting soul sits in seat D1 ends up on stage! When Joe asked my name, for some reason I pronounced my surname a little like "Woood", so he took the piss out of me royally about that! (See what I did there?)

I found going on stage such a wonderful experience, which, thanks to Gemma, I can now, finally, tick off my bucket list. She's going on stage next time at Southampton! Watch this space :-)