Legendary Sunderland rock promoter reunited with Free’s Andy Fraser

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LEGENDARY Sunderland rock promoter Geoff Docherty has an emotional reunion lined up tonight – with a multi-millionaire rock star.

The man responsible for bringing some of the biggest names in music to Wearside – including Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart and Led Zeppelin – will be meeting up with Andy Fraser, founder member of 1970s rock band Free.

Music promoter Geoff Docherty

Music promoter Geoff Docherty

Andy, who is performing in the North East for the first time in 38 years, co-wrote the band’s multi-million sellers All Right Now, Little Bit of Love and My Brother Jake.

Geoff will be at the Andy Fraser Band gig, at Tynemouth’s Park Hotel, and is set to reminisce about Free’s gig in Sunderland when they were still earning their stripes on the gig circuit.

“I was promoting a gig at the old Bay Hotel in Seaburn and I had this up-and- coming band from London – Free – on first with a big underground act, Tyrannosaurus Rex, following them,” Geoff recalls. “Anyway, I was informed that Marc Bolan – who went on to commercial fame with T Rex – had been delayed.

“I had a hall full of fans in the Bay and I needed to act fast, so I asked Free if they would go on again. They had just gone down a storm and Andy Fraser piped up: ‘Yes, but you’ll have to pay us again!’.

“He was the one who always looked after the band’s money. He was a lovely lad, great bass player and confident without being cocky. I knew they were going to be huge.”

Free went on to international stardom with All Right Now, before splitting up in 1971, briefly reforming, and then finally breaking up in 1973 by which time Andy had already left the band.

He has spent much of the last 40 years in America and has only just started to perform his old Free back catalogue again.Geoff said: “It will be fantastic to see Andy again. I got very close to him and the lads in Free and went to tour with them.”

l Tickets for the Free Convention at Tynemouth’s Park Hotel tonight, which starts at 7.30pm, are £15.

l Geoff is promoting a charity rock night in Sunderland on August 18 at The Point club. It will feature four bands, including Zephyr from Whitley Bay, and admission is £3.