Steve Harley is on the road again. Globe columnist Peter Grant caught up with him.

THE singer-songwriter and man behind Cockney Rebel is heading to the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool on March 2.

He remembers playing there when it was the Neptune.

Steve taking a break in rehearsals, told the Globe: "I heard that the historic Palm House in Sefton Park was in a terrible state and in need of repair.

"I decided to put some of my early acetate records in an auction to raise money so it started there that very night and I continued to support it and I was the first to play a concert there when it re-opened.

"It's a beautiful building and I always take time to visit it when I come to Liverpool - one of my favourite cities. I used a picture of the ago rely statues on my Stranger Comes to Town album.

"The last time I called in to see the Palm House there was a barbershop quartet singing session. It was beautiful ... and free.

"I am happy that I was able in some way to contribute something to help save it."

Now Steve will be playing 31 concerts as part of his ever-popular Acoustic Trio tours with a stalwart line-up where he is accompanied by virtuoso players and long-standing Cockney Rebel members, James Lascelles on piano and percussion and Barry Wickens on violin, guitar and mandolin.

It has been a summer of 2018 outdoor shows with his full rock band.

Now it's back to playing intimate venues.

Steve continued: "No two shows of mine are the same.

"I come armed with a few anecdotes, but even they change. In this tour I am looking at four songs I don't usually play.

"I have very strong connections with Liverpool since I fell off the stage at the Empire and I was there when the Stadium caught fire.

"Liverpudlians always remind me of those two gigs.

"I am proof that the show must go on."

Happily nothing like that has happened during his last shows at the New Brighton Pavilion and the St George's Hall Concert Room.

He said: "I don't want to sound like a grumpy old man but I don't like it when people start filming on their mobile phones.

"I am with Paul McCartney on that. Paul stopped someone filming him during his concert in the Cavern.

"Like Paul, I am performing. I need to concentrate. I don't want distractions.

"I knew exactly what he was talking about."

Steve says he can't understand why someone would want to stand there with phone aloft taking pictures

He adds: "What is the point? If they want to have a keepsake then buy my own DVD."

Indeed, he will have his Live in Holland film with him on the tour.

It is a stunning 16-strong collection of Steve performing greatest hits and more at the Music Center De Bosuil Nederlands including his classic song A Friend For Life, which has been recorded by Rod Stewart.

Rod says Steve is one of the UK's finest lyricists.

And there's that song ... Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me), written in 1975, which is one of the most played songs ever on the radio.

It is currently being heard in a Viagra commercial.

"That song is my pension," he laughs.

Happily he will never become a rock and roll pensioner.

Although he is now a very proud grandad.

"My beautiful daughter Greta gave birth In early February to lovely Penelope Joy. I travelled up from Essex with my wife Dorothy to London to be with her."

Deptford-born Steve quickly posted a picture on his website.

At 68 next week he says he will always record, write and tour.

Apart from a recent hip operation he in in fine, fighting form.

He said: "I am there to give people a great concert - the best of my life every night.

"And that means every concert I do."

Fans can hear just how good he is sounding in a nine-minute sample of his DVD on his entertaining website.

The quality is astonishing not only in sound but the camera work where this one time actor lives and acts out each of his classics.

Steve says he is genuinely looking ahead to the Liverpool date on the Northern leg of his tour and will be at The Lowry the following night.

He ended: "Playing Liverpool is always a real joy for me. I always feel at home there."

Steve Harley Acoustic Tour is at Neptune Theatre, Liverpool on Saturday, March 2 and the Lowry, Salford Quays on Sunday, March 3.

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