Des Henly's Rock and Roll Circus

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Festival, Germany – four gigs in two days

The Altstadtfest (Old town festival) in Hannover (Germany) is the biggest street festival of the year with street performances, stalls, arts and crafts and live-music on five stages.

I came across Fumble by chance on my way from the Festival to the underground station. I had an unhappy time and was in a bad mood - Fumble changed that completely!

Saturday afternoon
I was on my way home. Right next to the underground station there was a big stage, about 15 metres wide and 2 metres high. Somebody announced the next band with the words: „England’s best Rock’n’Roll Band“, but I did not pay attention. When Fumble came on stage a few seconds later I stopped because I liked the music. Mario’s white cap was the reason I went closer. He was wearing it so low over his eyes that I could not see his face.

There was something special about them: they really seemed to enjoy what they were doing - and this came across to the audience. I had never seeen a band having so much fun on stage! Inbetween the songs they made little jokes - and though I did not feel like laughing at all I just had to in the end... and later I even found myself singing along to 'Runaround Sue', 'That'll Be The Day' and 'You Never Can Tell'. How could that be - they had cheered me up! Something I thought would not be possible. I just had to go and see them again!

Saturday night
About 2000 people had gathered in the big square. Fumble were headliners and came on at about 10pm. Within minutes they turned the place into a big party with people dancing, clapping and singing along.
They announced a new album to be released in Germany in October. (this album 'It’s only a Rock’n’Roll Game' actually came out in spring of the followig year) From the album they played three songs: 'No Money Down', the Chuck Berry classic, 'Not A Kid Anymore', a beautiful ballad written by Des Henly, and 'Wasn’t That A Party', an up-tempo rock’n’roll number and their new single out in Germany. The singer always announced it with the words, "We want everyone of you to buy two copies of it to make us rich and famous"!

That night they gave three encores. After the first two the crowd kept shouting for a long time - until they came back for a third. I had already made my way into the underground station when halfway down the stairs I heard an applause – and ran up again. I would rather have missed my last train home than another encore!

Germany 1981
Sunday afternoon
I had my camera with me and took some pictures.
It was a hot and sunny afternoon and only Des, the singer, was wearing his pink jacket which he took off after the second song. (see photo)

Germany 1981He made a remark about how nice the weather was and how hot it was, and asked us not to jump up and down too much during the gig because if we did they would get the smell of our sweat... At one point he asked everyone to just turn to their neighbour and smile - because it was such a lovely day - and we all did! ’Not Fade Away’ followed, where he asked the audience to join in, first the people on the left, then the people on the right. “...and what about the people in the back? Hey, you people in the back, you are not singing...!!!”
Again, he announced the new single and again he suggested that everyone should buy two copies of it... (by that time I was seriously beginning to think about it...).

I realized that in the last 24 hours I had forgotten all my troubles. And that was very much thanks to Fumble. I was a fan now! Shame there was only one more gig to come...

Sunday night
As always, the band was announced with the words “England’s best Rock’n’Roll band”, and now I believed it! (You can hear the same announcement, by the way, at the beginning of their live bootleg LP ‘Rumble with Fumble’ – so there must be some truth in it...)

I cannot remember the setlists for each individual gig, but the songs they had played each time included: Runaround Sue, Not Fade Away, All Shook Up, Book Of Love, Reelin' and Rockin', You Never Can Tell, Teenager In Love, That'll Be The Day and No Money Down. And, of course, the songs from their new LP: 'Not A Kid Anymore' and 'Wasn't That A Party'.

As it was the last day of the festival they had to finish early and so there was only one encore. When they left the stage and waved goodbye to the audience for a last time I wondered if I would ever see this band again...

19 years later I found Mario through the Internet and in 2002 I started this website. And this website is my way of saying "Thank You" to Fumble for that unforgettable weekend back in 1981!

I still have my two copies of the single!!

- Angie -