The Welbeck Group; a History: 6. First Overseas Tour, Second Album

The boys in the Welbeck Group, Danny Welbeck (Guitar, vocals), Robby Welbeck (Bass, vocals), Colin Cornell (keyboards, vocals) and Alex Cooper (drums and percussion) promoted the new album and the upcoming tour with a lot of radio interviews, posters, TV appearances, and public appearances. The Welbeck were on a crest of a wave, records sales of the album were still strong, and although their single was no longer in the top ten, a remix by Dead Mau5 had stormed the dance floors, keeping the Group very much in the record-buying public’s eyes.

 

DeadMau5

Robby Welbeck in Mother’s garden in Herne Bay in 1989

The Group’s manager, Rick Stein, decided to use all the money they had acquired so far to extend the tour of Europe, to take in North America, and make it a whopping 10 month tour. He also borrowed a lot of money on behalf of the Group to get their own special stage set created and transported to each gig. This included a revolutionary 3D laser projection affair, which enabled people to see the Group live and in 3D on two massive screens on the stage.

Danny Welbeck and Colin Cornell were also busy writing new songs. Even Robby Welbeck, not noted for his songwriting flourishes, had penned a riff-driven ballad “Be My Lady”.  Danny Welbeck’s songwriting had moved on a bit and developed, and he was penning songs with depth and imagination. He had had a close call in a car accident, and believed that there had been some divine intervention that prevented serious injury. Therefore a religious/spiritual theme began to enter his work.

Rick Stein thought this would do well in the mid-West “Bible Belt” in the States, and the set was designed, at some expense, around a kind of moving Jacob’s ladder affair.

The mammoth first tour set off. Robby recalls:

“It was such a humungous undertaking- I’ve never seen so many people involved in the gig. I think the mistake was brining all our own riggers, lighting, sound people, carpenters, drivers, roadies  etc. We had a convoy of 3Tour Bus affairs that were articulated coaches and 3 massive trucks carrying the set.”

The tour began in Germany, where there were immediate problems. This was not with the Welbeck Group’s performance, which was consistently good, professional, and at times inspirational in terms of improvisation and playing. It was with the material and the set, and the visuals.

 

"Fans more interested in messing about that concentrating on the music"- Colin Cooper

The set contained a number of the new more spiritual songs, which confused the European audiences who were familiar with the material from the first album.

The set was difficult to set up at some venues, and so gigs started late, which caused problems when the venue had to be vacated at a certain time due to local by-laws… some songs had to be cut from the set-list and the music press accused the Group of short-changing the fans. Worse was to come…

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