The Last Hurrah
Back in Time Lite/Retrovision
10-11 September 2005

The announcements said this was the last Back in Time event, and also the last Retrovision meeting. Having already been to four BIT's and an RV, I was determined not to miss this one.

For me, the event started Friday evening in the hotel – which just happened to be the same hotel as many of the people I was going to see over the weekend. Boz, Slaygon, Paul Chapman, Neil Carr, Bog, Trooper, Subzero and more were all there drinking at a corner table of the bar, so I had to join them with my brother Chris for a few drinks and a lot of laughs. There are pictures, but I'm not sure it's wise to print them...

With the games machines set up on Saturday morning, the official opening time was 12pm. First order of business was to pick up my free Danceaway CD and buy some raffle tickets from Mark Rayson (Ming of Retrovision fame). Around the "retro room" where the games provided by Console Passion ( and Retro Passion ( – ranging from a Sega Master System playing Paperboy, to a Dreamcast running Soul Calibur. Pride of place was given over to the Xbox set-up with Out Run 2 – two linked machines with steering wheels allowing some ferociously competitive two player races. (Waz, it was a pleasure beating you – narrowly!) A couple of Commodore 64's put in an appearance, playing Monty on the Run, Last Ninja 2, Wizball and even a couple of little BASIC programs.

There was a bar in the corner of the "retro room", offering drinks as well as food. Kenz of Binary Zone was also there, selling his new Commodore Zone CD-ROM (to mark the 10 th anniversary of his awesome fanzine) along with music CDs and Emily Booth merchandise. Down the corridor was the concert room – which also had a bar. Catching a couple of rehearsals in here made me anticipate the actual concert even more; SID80s practising Spellbound moved smoothly into a riff from Tubular Bells, proving how versatile the musicians are.

Of course, one reason for going was the Back in Time Live DVD being launched by Chris Abbott. ( What should have been a triumph was spoilt by a mistake at the duplicators, meaning more work for Chris... Parts of the DVD were shown on a TV and a big projector during the weekend, and there's only thing to say – IT ROCKS! \m/

So Saturday evening rolls around and it's time to grab a seat in the concert room. The lighting and smoke machine produced some nice effects and Skitz warmed the crowd up with some remixes. Then at 8pm it was time for the first band – MJ Hibbert and the Validators. They were there effectively for one song – Hey Hey 16K, made famous by Rob Manuel (of who created a hilarious animation for the track. They actually played it twice, as the second song in their set and later as an encore. Despite some serious sound level problems, I liked their songs – I suppose they are very English, and the humour may not translate well. Still, Hey Hey 16K got a great response from the audience... and I bought the T-shirt.

Next up were half of Press Play on Tape – Theo, Jesper and Martin – playing an acoustic set. They were a little surprised to be announced though, as they thought they were on AFTER Rob Hubbard. Anyway, there was a really great vibe for just three musicians on stage and the songs really worked that way – Ghosts 'n Goblins, Aztec Challenge and Thrust (bringing back memories of the classic Thrust Concert demo!). And of course I had to secure my ticket for the Retro Concert in Copenhagen.

The collaboration between Mark Knight (madfiddler) and Rob Hubbard was next, and was full of superb musicianship. Looking through Andreas's set list now makes it clear what they were playing, but it would have been nice to announce what was what. Many fans criticised Rob's set in Brighton for being full of less familiar tunes, and he did the same here by playing a tune he'd written for a Disney project last year. While it was good, it was not what we were there for.

Next up were Stuck In D'80s, and this was the fifth performance by them I have watched. Every time the line-up changes. The core is Ben Daglish (on multiple instruments) and Mark Knight (madfiddler on violin). This time around Jon Hare was back on acoustic guitar, Marcel Donné on keys, a certain Andreas Wallström on percussion and special guest Reyn Ouwehand on keyboard for one track. New bass player Jeremy Longley fitted in brilliantly, ringing out some great bass riffs.

Kicking off with the Oriental mixture of Way of the Exploding Fist and International Karate, next came the familiar funk of Paperboy featuring Arcade Classics – complete with "paperboy" lobbing a rolled-up poster onto the stage. Rob Hubbard got a third tune in a row played with the awesome Spellbound (complete with soprano notes from Ben!). Think Twice 3 came as a welcome addition to the regular set list, followed by more funk in the shape of Pimple Squeezer – the cue for Reyn to join in, and Ben to do a Tubular Bells style introduction to the members of the band.

As the band set up for the next track, Mark did his usual little piece of Knight Rider, and Ben told him not to start that again. So Marcel started playing William Wobbler instead! Then the jamblock kicks in, and it can mean only one thing – Deflektor and the chorus of Day-Ohs from the audience. There was only one way they could round off their superb set – Rasputin, with Mark once again wandering around the audience as they clapped along, standing on tables and even leaving the room completely. The joke was on him though when the sound of his violin cut out as he returned, but that was soon fixed and the song built to the end. Once again, another kick-ass performance from the band that makes more substitutions than an American Football team.

Then it was straight into journalist mode to try and grab a few quotes from people before they left, and with the bar shut there was not much to keep us there. Sharing a taxi back to the hotel, it was time to get some sleep and prepare for more socialising on the Sunday. Getting back to the venue about 11am, there were fewer people around but still a very good atmosphere. Sunday was more about chatting and drinking than playing games, particularly as Console Passion had to leave early. The event sort of petered out around 4pm when the last few die-hards (including myself) left – with memories, memorabilia and new friends.

So if this the end for Back in Time & Retrovision, all I can do is look forward to the future – with November's retro concert in Copenhagen, and a little event for the future that may or may not be called SidStock (, it might not be Game Over just yet...

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