Wall Of Hits Hits The Wall

John Hessenthaler’s return to concert promoting hasn’t all gone exactly according to plan, as a March 18th Wall of Hits show at the 1,600-capacity Cambridge Corn Exchange only pulled 238 people.

Hessenthaler, whose Suffolk-based Concert Productions Ltd. went bust in the summer of 2005, leaving nearly 20,000 ticket-holders out of pocket and a messy trail of canceled shows, had originally planned a bill with Roy Wood, Hot Chocolate, and Heatwave.

Heatwave pulled out a couple of months before the show and was replaced by Katrina Leskanich, who won the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest with Katrina & The Waves.

Hot Chocolate was forced to pull at the last minute because of problems getting equipment back from a German show the previous day, which left fans angry about stumping up £22-50 for a bill comprising Wood, and Leskanich and her new band.

"We have had a fair few complaints about this," the Corn Exchange’s Fred Lewsey told Pollstar.

Hessenthaler said he proposed offering a discount to fans who still wanted to see the show or a full refund if they’d bought the ticket specifically to see Hot Chocolate. But he was told it wasn’t the council-run venue’s policy and unhappy punters should fill in a form that would be dealt with later.

Ironically, former Corn Exchange booker Mick Gray, who’d set up his own consultancy, was at odds with Hessenthaler over unpaid "finder’s fees" for 2004 dates with Van Morrison, Yes, and James Taylor.

Two days before the April 4, 2005, High Court hearing at Cambridgeshire County Court, Hessenthaler tried to buy Gray off by offering him 30 percent of what he claimed he was owed.

Gray declined and the case looked set to go ahead, but a last-minute second offer from Hessenthaler was accepted.