News: Prog rockers CAMEL play Moonmadness in September 2018

CAMEL - Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 7 September 2018

Camel’s appearance at London’s Royal Albert Hall in September 2018 will be preceded by an extensive run of UK tour dates.

The band – led by Andrew Latimer (guitar, flute, vocals) and featuring Colin Bass (bass guitar, vocals), Denis Clement (drums) and Peter Jones (keyboards, vocals) – will be playing their 1976 album “Moonmadness” in its entirety plus plenty of other classic tracks.

‘Moonmadness’ was one of Camel’s most successful albums and has featured in various prog polls.

The full run of UK dates is as follows.

Fri 07 Sep 2018 Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Sat 08 Sep 2018 Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle
Sun 09 Sep 2018 The Assembly, Leamington
Mon 10 Sep 2018 Friars Aylesbury at The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury
Wed 12 Sep 2018 O2 Guildhall, Southampton
Thu 13 Sep 2018 Corn Exchange, Cambridge
Fri 14 Sep 2018 Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham
Mon 17 Sep 2018 Royal Albert Hall, London

This summer the band have been playing gigs in Europe including the Netherlands, Poland and Germany.

It’s nearly 50 years since the formative Camel emerged as “The Brew” with an early job of backing the singer Philip Goodhand-Tait.  By September 1971 another important piece of the jigsaw was fitted into place with the arrival of keyboard player Peter Bardens.

By December 1971 the band – now known as “Camel” – were playing their first gig supporting Wishbone Ash.

By 1976, with three albums under their belt, Camel released ‘Moonmadness’ which led to greater attention in the States.  For some fans however the jazzier direction was less endearing, a trend consolidated on the subsequent albums ‘Rain Dances’ and ‘Breathless’.  The addition of Mel Collins on sax underlined this change of direction and the first casualty was bassist (and founder member) Doug Ferguson who left in early-1977 and – in 1978 – Peter Bardens on the eve of a UK tour.

Following Bardens’ departure the band used two keyboard players and the bass position was then occupied by Colin Bass.

By the 1980s Camel re-grouped with an all-new line-up following drummer Andy Ward’s prolonged absence due to alcohol-related issues.  The album ‘The Single Factor’ featured musicians who had worked with The Alan Parsons Project.  Around this time, the band was involved in a legal case involving former management that dragged on until the late-1980s.

In spite of one further album (‘Stationary Traveller’ in 1984) Andrew Latimer – the sole founder member of the band – became disillusioned and decided to emigrate to the States in 1988.

The 1990s ushered in a new era for the band, with the subsequent releases very much part of a “cottage industry”.  ‘Dust And Dreams’ appeared in 1991 followed by a live album (recorded in 1972) and culminating in the release of ‘Rajaz’ in 1999.  Camel were back touring extensively in 1997.

Andrew Latimer succumbed to a debilitating blood disorder at the start of the millennium and it wasn’t until 2013 that the band ventured out on tour, followed by more dates in 2014.

2018′s September tour will be a reminder of one of the most enduring of progressive rock bands that has witnessed tragedy, turmoil, but a large amount of persistence in the face of adversity.  This is largely due to the perseverance of the band’s founder member and guitarist.

Photo: David Randall/GRTR!
Get Ready to ROCK! Radio 9 September – Andrew Latimer of Camel Part 1
A two hour special celebrating the music of Camel – on tour in the UK 7-17 September. (Part 2, Monday 10 September, 16:00; Parts 1 & 2 Thursday 13 September, 22:00).

Gig review (Manchester, 7 September)
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