'We try to keep it as authentic as possible': What it's like to play in a top Shadows tribute band

By Heather Large | Entertainment | Published:

They may be better known for being Cliff Richard's backing band but their iconic instrumentals have inspired generations of musicians.

WALSALL COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 09/11/2019..Pic at Pelsall Community Centre of ' Step Into the Shadows' tribute band. Rob Fellows from Brierley Hill (Dark hair and glasses), Mark Greenly from Wolverhampton (Long hair glasses), Colin Evans from Aldridge (Drummer), John Haden from Wolverhampton (Dark hair no glasses)..

Today, more than 60 years since they first formed, The Shadows still have a loyal following of fans around the globe - including Colin Evans and his bandmates who regularly take to the stage in a tribute act.

Into The Shadows have been recreating the unique sound of lead guitarist Hank Marvin, rhythm guitarist Bruce Welch, bassist Jet Harris and drummer Tony Meehan for more than a decade.

Drummer Colin, from Aldridge and rhythm guitarist John Haden, who lives in Wolverhampton, have been there since the beginning.

The musicians started off playing pubs in covers bands before taking the plunge and staging shows at theatres as a Shadows tribute act.

Into the Shadows

The gamble certainly paid off and they now regularly perform across the Midlands as well as further afield including at venues in Swindon, Exmouth and Southampton.

Over the years the group has carved out quite a reputation for their authentic sound and people travel from miles around to watch them perform.

"We've played in pubs where you have to fit around the bingo but at theatres people have come just to see us. We have people who have seen us four or five times and they travel all over the country.


"We were playing in Burton the other week and someone said they had seen us in Exmouth during the summer too.

"We've had people who tell us they've come to see us because their friends had told them about us. The appreciation we get from the audience is always really great," says Colin.

The group's present line up also includes lead guitarist Rob Fellows, of Brierley Hill, and bass guitarist Mark Greenly from Wolverhampton.

Into the Shadows


Together they perform a set list that includes hits such as Wonderful Land, Guitar Tango, Frightened City, Dance On, FBI, Atlantis as well as popular Cliff number’s, written and produced by The Shadows such as Don't Tease Me, Dancing Shoes and The Young Ones.

"We've got a really good line-up now. Rob is a fantastic guitarist and so is bass player Mark. John really enjoys doing the vocals on the Cliff songs.

"Rob also does some solos - Cavatina, which was the theme from The Deer Hunter - and Don't Cry For Me Argentina. It's amazing to see the audience stand up and applaud at the end.

"It's just good music and everybody always says how good it is, which is really nice. My favourite number is Foot Tapper - that's a fantastic one to play. At the end of every show we always thank the audience for coming out and say goodbye," says Colin.

The 70-year-old says they all get a buzz out of performing live and recreating an authentic sound thanks to original Fender Stratocaster guitars and Ludwig drums.

Into the Shadows

"We try to keep it as authentic as possible. I've been playing the drums since I was 14. I started out playing The Shadows' music and now I've come a full circle.

"I love it when I'm standing at the side of the theatre stage, waiting to go on with the others and their guitars, and I know it's a full house - that's a great feeling.

"Our audiences are older, I must admit, but we do get a few younger ones too. There was a young lad that came with his grandmother and he loved it," says Colin.

Last year the group was delighted to have Claudine Lordan, the widow of Jerry Lordan, who wrote many of The Shadows' most popular hits, among the audience at their show at Bishop's Castle Town Hall in Shropshire.

The Shadows had five number one hits and 16 top ten hits, and were in the UK charts for 310 weeks - no other instrumental group has ever achieved such success.

Into the Shadows

And their most famous hit, Apache, which was written by Jerry, who died aged 61, in 1995, is still recognised today as one of the most iconic records of all time.

"Jerry was a huge influence on The Shadows and wrote all of their hits. It was a huge honour to meet Claudine. She's a lovely lady and she invited us to her house to see where Jerry lived. She thoroughly enjoyed the show," says Colin.

The group is now looking ahead to a busy 2020 with tickets already selling fast at many venues including Bridgnorth's Theatre On The Steps and Lichfield Garrick - two theatres where they always enjoy taking to the stage.

"A lot of theatres are giving us two nights because they are selling the tickets so fast. We usually change seven or eight numbers every year to keep it fresh for both the audience and us. We usually do a couple of shows a month and we always thoroughly enjoy them," says Colin.

  • Into The Shadows' shows in 2020 include Lichfield Garrick on January 24 and 25, Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury on February 16, Theatre on the Steps, Bridgnorth on April 17 and 18, Forest Arts Centre, Walsall, on May 1 and Brierley Hill Civic Hall on May 21. See
Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.


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