AS ENTRANCES go, it was pretty grand. Helicoptering into Goodwood on Friday night, His Gingerness was in the mood to party – and so were the hundreds of brave souls who ignored the rain to see and hear the man they know from radio and TV.
For somebody more used to the warmth and seclusion of the studio, it was a strange setting. Standing behind a covered DJ booth overlooking the racecourse’s parade ring and winner’s enclosure, Evans surveyed the sea of damp people and umbrellas beneath him and chuckled at the Britishness of it all.
Beginning with Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now and taking in everything from Elvis and Dexy’s Midnight Runners to Bon Jovi and the Stones before finishing with Sinatra’s New York, his playlist reminded me of a wedding reception. Indeed, near the end of his 90-minute set he told the crowd: ‘This is like a wedding, only nobody’s getting married.’
But down on the temporary dancefloor – which had been rapidly laid over the grass after the last race of the evening – nobody was complaining. Bedraggled but unbowed, they jumped and swayed as Evans urged them on.
It wasn’t the hardest gig he must have had in his life – a sidekick lined up the records. But it was Evans’s presence and enthusiasm that made this an event.