10cc ten out of ten

The first band I ever really followed, they were my original soundtrack

10CC out of ten
8th March 2007 Jane Tomlinson

Last year we saw 10cc play at the Cropredy festival, billed as Graham Gouldman and friends. And they were wonderful. Wonderful! So when we had the chance to see them again play last night at our local venue, Oxford’s New Theatre, we jumped at the chance. Especially as we managed to get front row tickets.

I simply love 10cc. Their songs are so varied: sometimes emotional (‘I’m not in love’), sometimes nonsense (‘Life is a minestrone’), sometimes epic (‘I’m Mandy, fly me’) but always beautifully crafted with catchy tunes and riffs and with such attention to detail in, especially in their use of complex and fascinating percussion and note-perfect harmonies, that every listen reveals some new layer or musical gem.

Original 10cc band member Eric Stewart says on his website: “10cc is well and truly finished as far as I am concerned, but I can’t guarantee that GG (Graham Gouldman) won’t try to squeeze the last drop of blood out of it. It was a great band for most of its life and should be left at that, where it had some real meaning to all of us, fans and musicians alike.” I disagree. Great songs like these need hearing live. And so we have 10cc:Graham Gouldman and friends.

GG and friends

To bill this band as Graham Gouldman and friends is to overlook the permanence of this line up. The mighty Rick Fenn and Paul Burgess have been with 10cc from virtually the beginning of the band in the early 70s. Their musicianship is a wonder to behold.

Rick Fenn and GG

They played a set of what is essentially 10cc’s greatest hits … ‘Wall street shuffle’, ‘I’m not in love’, ‘Art for art’s sake’, ‘Donna’, ‘Rubber bullets’, ‘Life is a minestrone’, ‘The dean and I’ and so on. They also played some of the hit songs Graham Gouldman wrote for others in the 60s … ‘Bus stop’, ‘For your love’, ‘ No milk today’ … It would have been nice if for loyal, long-time 10cc fans they could have treated us to one or two of the epic album tracks. I would have screamed the place down if they’d played ‘Une nuit a Paris’ from the 1975 album I loved so much ‘The Original Soundtrack’ or better still, ‘Feel the benefit’ from the 1977 album ‘Deceptive Bends’. But they didn’t.

Instead I marvelled at the musical talents of Mick Wilson, who sings lead and backing vocals and plays guitar but is notable for his wonderful and active performance on the percussion. Vocally he can do everything Lol Creme and Eric Stewart ever did.

Mick Wilson and his extensive percussion set-up

Ten out of ten.

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