There was always a quality to the nights at Shanghai Sams. Maybe it was the lay-out of the club; perhaps the decor – but they only formed the backdrop. The reality was the warmth of welcome from the management and staff, blended with first class DJs and a clientele to challenge any other in the UK; all culminating to create an atmosphere that lingered way after the club had closed.
Part of the policy during the early 1990s was to feature chart artists with funding from drinks companies. One of the first of which was Two Unlimited – who were enjoying phenomenal success with “Get Ready for This”.
The club was packed on the night of their visit, but when the duo (Ray Slijngaard and Anita Doth) arrived, it was clear that Ray was ill. He had a migraine, which gave him a blinding headache and feeling of nausea, alongside the sensation of absolute exhaustion.
Ray immediately dismissed any suggestion of not going on stage – the public had come to see his act, and he had no intention of letting them down.
After the show Ray settled into a chair in the manager`s office and Anita spoke to some of the staff, all of which had been unable to see the stage because of the busy bars and high numbers of people.
Ray heard this and came out of the office. He then announced that they would do another show – just for the staff – when all of the customers had left.
Two Unlimited created another brilliant show, after which they went back to their hotel.
Gabrielle was equally professional. Her single “Dreams” was doing extremely well in the charts, and she produced a pitch perfect live version of her hit. She had a little girl lost appeal that warmed the audience to her in ways that produced goose bumps.
She arrived at Shanghai Sams in a black VW Golf, supported by a number of males who had no intention of showing friendship or interest in the venue or its customers.
Nevertheless we had another night to remember at the venue.
I understand that one of the Shanghai Sams managers was converting the now empty premises into a bar called Halo.
If this is true I wish him the very best of luck.