They played their last gig at the Brighton Hotel, a place that looked more like a 1930's nightclub than a converted subway. Fans and friends and locals filled it comfortably, and their anxiety turned to excitement as Passengers Jim Dickson (bass), Jeff Sullivan (guitar), Steve Harris (keys), Jerry Jones (drums) and Angie took their place on stage to belt out the old Ronnettes hit Do I Love You - a song only the Passengers could do justice. Angie Pepper held up by her portable wall of sound as she laid her heart on the line in front of you, as you stood transfixed to the floor, slowly turning into a mould of human ooze with nerves of molten putty. After such an adrenaline-stimulating introduction you can't fail to inspire your audience to a great time and they screamed into the next number with a fury that lasted exactly 4 four bars before the energy got too high for the fuse box.
Everything, besides the drums and Angie, was thrust into abrupt silence. After that, it's kind of hard to keep your momentum going, and it took another couple of songs before fever level was reached again... which also coincided with the same old power trip... silence, and expressions from the band ranging from disappointment to anger and frustration. But this was the last time they were going to appear and no pisspot system was going to blow the whole night. The temptation to storm off was resisted and the rest is proverbial history.
If not always technically perfect, the songs were made fantastic by sheer energy and spirit. Among the members of the Passengers there were no great pretensions; no guitar heroism, extra musical garble, or calculated moves. Angie had the most poignant stage presence I have ever witnessed... she doesn't just sing songs, she places herself in a position, and drags you in with her. In songs like It's Just That I Miss You, you see her ready to break in two - she cuts you up as she pulls you into the same agonies. Even though their originals are all classic, Angie's theme will always be the Shangri-La's (Remember) Walking In The Sand. It was never done better than that last night as she gazed, shattered, into space, her voice reverberating through the audience who stood, clicking their fingers in time to the chorus, waiting for her tears to start spilling as she collapsed on stage.
They wouldn't have been able to walk away without an encore, the last two songs The Passengers would ever play. With the knowledge the end of an era had come, everyone did the frenzy on the dance floor, Angie introducing the finale with "We're not ready to break up yet." No one else was ready either. Angie Pepper exits to America next week, possibly for all time. If she never does a great thing again, at least she won't ever have to worry about never having left an impression. There aren't many people around who could ever dig inside and rip out the raw emotion of a total stranger like she could. (review by David Gregory)
Angie Pepper Band:
Angie Pepper - Vocals / Deniz Tek - Guitar / Clyde Bramley - Bass / Steve Harris - Keyboards / Michael Charles - Drums
Pip Hoyle - Piano on track 2 / Dave Weyer - Hammond on tracks 2, 3, 4 / Jason Morphett - Saxophone
Angie Pepper - Vocals / Jeff Sullivan - Guitar / Jim Dickson - Bass / Steve Harris - Keyboards / Gerry Jones - Drums
Angie Pepper Band (Tracks 1 - 5):
Recorded at Trafalgar Studios March 1981 / Engineered by Charles Fisher / Mixed by Deniz Tek and Dave Weyer March 2000 / At D.W.S. Laurel, Montana
The Passengers (Tracks 6 - 13):
Demo sessions recorded at Palms Studios November 1979 / Engineered by Alistair McFarlane / Remix by Deniz Tek and Ron Sanchez at Gods Little Ear Acre / Bozeman Montana December 1999
trax "It's Just That I Miss You":
01 Frozen World 02 Miss You Too Much 03 Last Chance 04 Why Tell Me? 05 It's Not Easy 06 It's Just That I Miss You 07 Blind Night Out 08 Only One Way Out 09 Face With No Name 10 Love Execution 11 Back To The Dance 12 Girlfriend's Boyfriend 13 Sad Daytrax "Frozen World":