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Level 42 and Shakatak kicked off the Castle Concerts in Rochester last night

By Clare Freeman

Rochester boogied its way back to the 80s on the first night of this year’s Castle Concerts with jazz funk bands Level 42 and Shakatak.

The Eighties hitmakers, led by bass player Mark King, rolled back the years with favourites including Lessons in Love, Something About You and Running in the Family.

Mark King, lead singer for Level 42, said the crowd were wonderful.
Shakatak singer Jill Saward.

People of all ages danced the night away and definitely hadn’t forgotten any of the words.

Bill Sharpe from Shakatak called it a “night of jazz funk in the birthplace of British funk” and Level 42’s Mark King said the crowd was wonderful before taking requests for their encore.

Level 42 fans Richard Randall, Alison Randall, Paul Randall, Glyn Walters and Sandra Walters knew all the words to all the songs.

The night was extra special for one group of ladies who had not seen each other in 40 years. Sue Franks, Jackie Keep, Yvonne Collins and Brenda Castle, all aged 57, went to Vinters Girls School in Maidstone and were reunited at last night’s concert.

School friends Brenda Castle, Jackie Keep, Sue Franks and Yvonne Collins haven't seen each other in 40 years and were reunited at Level 42. Photo: Adam Elsden.

They said: “This was our era. None of us have changed since school.”

Cllr Vince Maple was spotted in the crowds dancing away and Carl Madjitey, the council event’s manager and front man of the Soul Traders, got a shout out from Shakatak.

Cllr Vince Maple with friends. Photo: Adam Elsden.

KMFM’s Andy Walker and Nicola Everett hosted the evening and tweeted an on-stage selfie. Concert goers responded with their own selfies, tweeted to with the hashtag, #castleconcerts. Click here to see if your photo made it online.

The Castle Gardens were packed with fans waiting for Level 42. Photo Adam Elsden.

Tonight sees Shane Filan from Westlife take to the stage supported by Medway’s very own Jamie Johnson plus X-Factor winner Sam Bailey and Jack Pack from Britain’s Got Talent.

Friday sees the eagerly-anticipated UB40 concert which sold out in hours. Like Level 42, the band has promised fans they will be playing their most popular hits.

The Castle Proms are on Saturday and the concerts wrap up on Sunday with Under Siege, a free concert featuring the best young musicians from Medway who will have their chance to play to the castle crowds.

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