Personnel: Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch (guitar); Cliff Hall (keyboards); Mark Griffiths (bass guitar); Brian Bennett (drums, percussion).
So long, farewell...the Shadows had been around so long that it felt like they'd go on forever. But their tours had been growing more sporadic as the years piled up behind them and, when 2004 brought the news that they were finally closing the lid on their career, it was difficult not to shed a tear for auld lang's syne. Of course they wouldn't really be gone; almost from the moment the first CD fell off the pressing plant, the Shadows have been subject to one of the most vociferous reissue/remastering campaigns of all. All their absence would really mean was, no more "new" albums to compete with the oldies. Well, almost. There would be one more. Recorded on that final tour, to be spread across both a two-CD package and an excellent DVD, Final Tour is the last word in Shadows finery, a 42-track behemoth that effectively tells the band's entire story, from the early days of omnipotence ("Apache," "Frightened City," "Man of Mystery," through the 1970s renaissance "Let me Be the One," "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," "Oxygene 5") and most points in between and thereafter. There's even a tip of the hat to the Man Without Whom...a clutch of Cliff Richard hits, "Summer Holiday" and "Bachelor Boy" included, turn up towards the end of the show, to remind us how the Shadows first came into our lives. Beautifully recorded and (needless to say) exquisitely played and arranged, Final Tour is the ultimate greatest-hits collection, played out before an audience that knows every chord. These drawn-out farewell recordings are normally something to avoid at all costs. But this one, like the band that recorded it, is priceless. ~ Dave Thompson