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BUDGIE - The 1996 Reunion Concert in San Antonio

Burke Shelley again reformed BUDGIE in mid 1996 for a 25th Anniversary concert performance in
San Antonio. Planned warm up gigs in Banbury, England and El Paso, Texas failed to materialize.
Rehearsals for the 25th Anniversay concert began in July with the line-up of Burke Shelley, 
John Thomas and Robert 'Congo' Jones. Budgie held a last rehearsal at the Showcase club in 
San Antonio, two days prior to the concert on 22nd August 1996. 

There had been no rain in San Antonio for over a month, but sure enough the clouds started to
look grey and rain began falling as they were completing their rehearsal. CD warehouse again 
held an in-store appearance for the band on Friday 23rd August, it was still raining. 
The early afternoon of Saturday 24th August saw the band soundchecking at the Sunken Gardens
Theatre, a large outdoor venue in central San Antonio. The rain had stopped, but would it 
hold off for the concert?

As fans began making their way into the Sunken Gardens for the concert, the clouds moved in.
Local band Pignation opened, followed by guitar whiz Steve Fister and his band. The rain began...
At around 9:30pm Budgie hit the stage and played a thunderous 100 minute set featuring;

BUDGIE - Sunken Gardens, San Antonio, Texas 24th August 1996
Intro - Crime Against The World/ She Used Me Up/ Gunslinger/ Panzer Division Destroyed
I Turned To Stone/ Singing In The Rain/ Black Velvet Stallion/ In For The Kill Medley 
incl. Rape Of The Locks -Guts/ Breaking All The House Rules - Zoom Club/ Melt The Ice Away
Napoleon Bona-part I & II/ Wildfire/ Breadfan incl JT Guitar Solo


Budgie's first live performance in over one year.
They played to 4,000 screaming fans at San Antonio's Sunken Gardens.
The band performed many of their older songs much to the crowds delight.
The set list was as follows:-
    Intro-Crime Against The World/ She Used Me Up
    Gunslinger/ Panzer Division Destroyed/ I Turned To Stone/ Singin' In The Rain
    Black Velvet Stallion/ In For The Kill Medley incl.Rape Of The Locks-Guts
    Breaking All The House Rules-Zoom Club/ Melt The Ice Away/ Napoleon Bonapart I & II
    Wildfire// Breadfan (encore) 

I'm sure every Budgie fan went away with a smile on their face. 
Hopefully the band will be back out on tour in Europe/ Nth America in the summer of 1997.
Simon Wilson SABRE DANCE September 1996
For original review visit

BUDGIE - Sunken Gardens 24th August 1996

Meeting the group and seeing them play live again was a dream I didn't ever think would happen. I missed the show last year, I didn't know about it. Through a roundabout way I found out about the fan club, and George Martin told me about this year's reunion and concert plans. I only saw Budgie one other time. That was at a nightclub in Lubbock, Texas called the Roxx. I believe it was in spring or summer of 1979, although I don't have the date. I don't have a ticket stub - they stamped our hands going in at the door. A local group called AXX opened for Budgie. Then when Budgie came out, I was shocked to see another guitar player than Tony Bourge! - Rob Kendrick! Budgie opened with "Melt The Ice Away", and I remember they played "Smile Boy Smile", "In For The Kill", "Breaking All The House Rules" and they encored with "Breadfan". Also I know they played three or four of the songs listed in Sabre Dance #17. Other memories of that show were that Rob Kendrick couldn't play the lead guitar solos worth a crap, and I remember Burke playing bass on the floor and on his back - like Angus Young! We left the club really disappointed that Tony Bourge didn't play.

17 years later... You asked me to write what I thought of the show - 8/24/96. I couldn't make the soundcheck that afternoon. Anyway, I had my camera, as I came up to the gate at Sunken Gardens the evening of the concert, but I couldn't get in with it. I kept hoping I would see you come in, but I guess you were backstage. So I had to leave it in the car. A friend of mine who used to work with me in Amarillo was at the concert. He now lives in Austin. He saw Budgie a long time ago at the Crazy Horse Saloon in Killeen, Texas. We talked for awhile, and the Steve Fister Band came on. I thought they were quite good, and I began to work my way through the crowd up to the front. I think they did a very good rendition of "Paint It Black". Finally, after the long anticipated wait, The BUDGIE appeared! I was right on the front row, and I had to hold on to the barrier pole to keep from being shoved away when the crowd surged. Anyway, I had a good view of the show, except for the intermittent rain that would trickle down my glasses. Between "I Turned To Stone" and "Black Velvet Stallion", Burke displayed his sense of humour when he sang a few lines of "Singin' In The Rain!" I also remember Burke wore a black sleeveless T-Shirt and red and white tennis shoes. John wore a black Steven King T-Shirt with green letters that read, "THE END IS NIGH." He also wore glossy yellow boots, maybe the rain made them look glossy! I thought the set was EXCELLENT - they couldn't have played the songs any better. And Congo Jones was an excellent drummer also. Of course, everybody would like to choose the songs for the playlist, But I think they did a very well balanced set. I believe it was very representative of what Budgie fans would want to hear. Personally I would liked to have seen them play "Power Supply", "Forearm Smash", "Superstar", and "Quactors and Bureaucats", and something from Deliver Us From Evil - that was strangely missing. "Bored With Russia" and "Give Me The Truth" have always been my favourites. I thought John Thomas played the older songs as well as Tony Bourge - if not better. I was really impressed. One thing that did kind of bother me. The group didn't seem to have eye contact with the audience. I kept thinking they might look at me, but neither Burke nor John did. It seemed to me that John was rather nervous, but I might just be misjudging. One other thing - After the show when the lights came on, I saw John Thomas's guitar pick lying on the stage, about six feet from where I stood. Some road crew guys were standing in between, in the barrier. I pointed at the pick, and asked one of them for it, and he picked it up and put it in his pocket saying, "Sorry, this is mine." I said, "Hey man, I have been listening to Budgie for twenty years, and I drove all the way down from Amarillo, Texas to see Budgie - I'll give you twenty dollars for it!" He said, "Twenty - really?", and I got out the money, and he gave me the pick. (Sorry to hear about this incident, but at least you have a nice souvenir -Ed!) I had been watching John Thomas play, and he never threw out any other picks, and I did notice when the lights were on him that he was playing an orange, or red pick. So I think he used this pick for the entire set!

Scott Burgan, Amarillo, Texas