SIXTIES star Spencer James had to make an 80 mile dash from Somerset to Hampshire after finding himself in the wrong place for a gig.

The leader singer/guitarist and his fellow Searchers were headlining at The Concorde.

But Spencer had gone to the Warner Leisure Hotel at Cricket St Thomas, near Chard, where the band were due to appear on the night after the Stoneham Lane club gig.

Long serving Searcher Frank Allen appeared on stage to apologise for a delayed start.

It was not long before the missing Searcher was back on track and the full line-up hit the stage running with their infectious sixties sounds.

And it was worth the wait as the band, who were second to The Beatles in the Merseybeat pecking order, delivered a Friday feelgood performance.

A Searchers gig is all about fun and magical music, playing dance floor fillers which were the soundtrack to many teenagers’ lives in the golden era of pop.

And they still produce the same foot tapping and arm swaying response as they did all those decades ago. It did not take their fans long to hit the Concorde dance floor.

The mix up over the gig location provided a light hearted theme through the 90 minute set packed with the band’s chart busters, including Needles and Pins, Sugar and Spice, Sweets for My Sweet, Don’t Throw Your Love Away, When You Walk in the Room and Love Potion Number 9.

Much to the delight of Searchers aficionados they threw into the mix their album tracks from way back in time and there was plenty to choose from this musical treasure trove.

With a total record sales of more than 50 million the secret of The Searchers’ sixties success was turning covers of American songs into instant hits.

It was a welcome return to The Concorde for lead singer and guitarist John McNally who was one of the founders of The Searchers who began their life as a skiffle group in Liverpool in 1957.

John has recently recovered from a bout of ill health which forced him to pull out of a sixties package tour.

But he proved that he was back on top form as he mesmerised the audience with his trademark 12 string guitar – a rare instrument on the rock ‘n roll circuit – which defined the sound of The Searchers.

And he saluted his American rock hero with two tunes from the Buddy Holly song book – Peggy Sue and Oh Boy !

In between playing bass guitar and vocals Frank Allen who is the band’s historian did a brilliant job as master of ceremonies .

With his quick fire humour he took the audience on The Searchers' sixties journey.

The band were given a well deserved standing ovation. And the next stop on their nostalgia filled pop tour really was Cricket St Thomas.

Duncan Eaton