Woke up early in Sheffield & decided i’d go have breakfast at The Bankers Draft. Went straight upstairs as knew it wouldn’t be busy. In fact, there were only about 3 tables taken. Had a nice breakfast, then walked through the city back to my hotel. As my train to Leicester didn’t leave until 12.49, i stayed in the hotel as long as i could do 🙂 When i got to the station, my train was running a bit late. No problem though as couldn’t check into hotel in Leicester ’till 2pm. Once on the train, they pretty much managed to make up most of the time that it had been delayed.
When i was younger, i used to visit Leicester a lot as i’d see gigs at De Montfort Hall, the University & the Poly.I drove there so often that i didn’t need any map (this is pre sat navs days lol). Ah that’s just brought a memory back of when i was very young & my dad used to drive me & my mates there. Somehow, he always seemed to take a different route in the city every time ! It’s a funny, but nice, memory of him.
When i arrived via train, it didn’t seem that much had changed. I was quite surprised how close both my hotel & Wetherspoons were to the train station 🙂
I’d booked the Mercure Grand Hotel. It might sound posh, but it isn’t ! It was a nice room, with a separate bathroom. The bathroom windows could certainly do with an upgrade though,as they didn’t close properly! In fact, the bathroom was quite cold because of that! Certainly was the quickest shower I’ve ever had ! Thankfully, there’s a door between the bedroom & bathroom, so the cold couldn’t get into the bedroom 😉 Still think it was ok for £60 though. Once i’d checked into the hotel, i did my usual thing : Walking the route to the venue. Again, it was pretty close to my hotel. I was surprised to see that the venue was closed as i thought it was a pub with a small room for bands. Maybe it’s just a bit too far from city centre for them to open in the afternoons? Who knows, maybe they don’t get much trade until in the evenings? Whatever, i found the venue easily & my next stop would be the either my hotel or the Wetherspoons pub 🙂
I already knew that for this gig it would be one of the biggest fan meetups…a lot of the regulars + a few more.
The first two people i met today were Garry & Ross. Where better to meet than the local Wetherspoons ? 😉 . “The Last Plantagenent” was in the perfect location; on same road as my hotel & not far away from the venue. Now usually when i meet up with the VMs family, it’s just a quick hello then get down to business with the gig. But today, it’s different, as we have a lot more time to talk with each other. I can safely say, we got to know each other a lot more. Was interesting sharing our stories about previous gigs etc. Though i have to confess, i had to ask Ross to repeat a couple of things due to his heavy Scottish accent 😉 Eventually we decided to mosey on down to the venue. Was quite surprised that it was still closed. Not only that, we were the only ones there ! Garry decided he’d nip off to get a sarnie or whatever as he hadn’t eaten all day. I took a couple of photos of Ross outside the venue : Eventually, a few more people arrived. When doors opened, going in i told the couple taking tickets that i’d pre arranged a seat/stool for tonight. The chap said wait over there & i’ll sort it out. Seemed like after 10mins he’d either forgot about me or was more interested in getting the punters in. Now at most venues, they get the disabled people in BEFORE the main crowd as it makes things easier for everyone.A lesson to be learnt there i think 😉 Seeing how tiny the room was, i was getting a bit bothered as he’d not sorted out the seat. During this wait, a few more of the VMs travelling family arrived. Said our hellos etc. As luck would have it, Ally came walking towards me (from direction of the doors) & asked if i was ok. I told him i’m still waiting for the geezer to get me the seat. So what does Ally do? Yep, you guessed it, HE goes to find me the seat! (Thanks Ally) He brings back a short stool. Intitally, i go down the left side right against the stage & close to the ladies toilets. Then i think it would be better on the right side seeing as i might be in the way of peeps going to the loo etc. That was a good choice to move to the right.
Tonight there’s 3 support acts. I sit on said stool for most of them 😉 The first one up is Callam Cook. Just himself & an acoustic guitar. He’s got a fine vocal abilty. He plays some cover songs etc. It’s a gentle start to the evening. Next it’s “Kynch” followed by “Dig Lazarus”. I thought that both of these were a bit “samey”. Certainly nothing that i hadn’t heard before by numerous other bands. Out of those two, i think Dig Lazarus were notch up over Kynch 😉
Am i too harsh as regards support acts? I dunno. For myself, after seeing so many bands over the years, i’ll only prick my ears up if i hear something different or quirky.
During the Virginmarys set, the front row was mostly the VMs travelling family of fans. From what i can remember,starting on the right side, going left, it was myself, Eva, Simon B, Ross, Garry, Rachel…any more ? (Thanks to Simon B. for the photos) I’d already decided that tonight i was gonna have a bit of a jump around etc. Maybe one last hurrah? Who knows? (Yes, i did film a couple of songs & took a few photos-it’s ingrained in me-but i most certainly jumped/danced or whatever you wanna call it for the longest time since 2 years back. I bloody loved it!)
As ever on this tour, they kicked off with “Portrait Of Red”. It’s great seeing everyone having big wide grins on their faces & jumping around like there’ll be no tomorrow….& this is just the first song of the night ! Next we get a one/two of “Dead Mans Shoes” & “Free To Do”. Then it’s one of my faves off “Divides”, namely ; “I wanna Take You Home”. Just 4 songs in & i’m already thinking this is a totally special night.
The video clip is a little shaky as couldn’t help myself not moving around etc 😉 During “Halo…” i just had to switch off the camera & have more of a proper jump/dance. After that, i thought to myself “I don’t want to burn myself out too quick”, so decided to film the next song “Sweet Loretta”
From then on wards, i was pretty much on my feet for the rest of the show. Living in the moment, feeling so happy to be doing this. All the shit went from my mind & i was kinda elated to be sharing this time with not only the band, but also the VMs family. Best time ever this year for sure. The evening just flew by. I’m sure a lot of us got a bit tired after jumping around etc. Encore time was a good moment to catch our breaths.
For the very last song of the night, they did something different : Rachel had the honour of banging Dannys gong ! (take that which ever way you like 😉 ). As this was a unique thing to happen, i took a few photos & then realised i should have made a video of it. Soz to Rachel i didn’t capture it all..
When the gig finished, someone said “hello” to me. In all honesty, i recognised his face, but couldn’t put a name to it! All i could think was that i knew him from meeting at a gig somewhere.(That happens a lot to me). Later on i realised it was James Chamberlain, who, yes, i had met at a gig 🙂 Damn what a night this was ! I loved every moment of it all. All my troubles were washed away due to the music & the community of the fans. I’ll never forget this show ! The one thing we did miss tonight though, was the group photo ! I only realised that after some people said they were leaving. We all said our goodbyes & went our separate ways. Walking back to my hotel, i think if anyone saw me, they’d think i was high on drugs or something. I was grinning like a Cheshire cat & thinking about what happened today/tonight. The only slight downer of the day was when i was walking down the street where my hotel was, there were a bunch of kids having a fight. It wasn’t a fair fight either as it seemed a few of them were ganging up against one lad. I just kept my head down & stayed on the opposite side of the street as didn’t want to get involved in it all.
P.S. There’s one thing i didn’t tell anyone on this night. By a very strange coincidence on this very date, 2 years ago, i had the seizure which would eventually be diagnosed as me having brain tumors. Think i did quite well to keep that quiet .
This gig & the next one were kinda hanging in the balance. I’d recently got my last M.R.I. results & they were not good. Tbh, to start off with, i wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be going. After speaking with my nurse, i decided to go. As i’d never been to this venue before, i wondered if i’d be able to SEE anything or not. When i emailed them about having a seat, it all seemed a bit sketchy….
Last time i visited Sheffield i checked out where Cafe Totum was, cos i’d never heard of the place ! (It used to be called “The Rocking Chair”)
I left Bostonia at 11.50. Changed train at Nottingham & finally arrived at Sheffield around 14.45. Stayed at Jurys Inn this time. A nice room, at a reasonable price & pretty close to the venue 🙂
After checking in, i had a walk to “The Waterworks” & had a late lunch. As it was Thursday, i had to have the usual Curry Club deal 🙂 On the way back i decided to have a look in Cafe Totum & confirm about the seat for later. The lass at the bar said the manager was downstairs in gig room, so i went down. Door was locked though! Luckily, i could see in the room & caught the eye of Gareth. We kinda sign languaged lol, Telling me to go back up stairs. Met him there then he took me into the gig room. The guys were finishing off sound checking. Even though i thought the room would be small, it really surprised me just how tiny it was. There was no way, even with a stool, i’d be able to see the stage. I noticed a kind of ledge right at the back, so decided to try perch myself up on there. Simon (another one ….too many Simons!) said he’d already took a snap from up there. It was a bit of a balancing act once up there, but seemed ok. Gareth got me a stool so i could use it to get up there (+ also put a note on it to say it was reserved. Nice one mate). Myself & Danny then went up to the bar for a drink & a natter. There was a slight problem at the bar 😉 During which time Stuart also came up. So i bought the round of drinks. We had a real good chat about “the business & contracts” etc (Hey Danny, don’t forget about those master tapes i filmed 😉 )
The closer to doors time, the more busy the bar got. I later saw, Gary, Ross et al turned up & they went over into a corner. Do i smell bad ? 😉 Then i saw Helen Tate & her clan arrive. She came over & had a chat with me (Maybe i don’t smell that bad after all lol). Always nice to see her & Lauren. Again, we briefly talked about the music industry & how hard it is for small bands to make it big. She mentioned about how Facebook has changed. Apparently, if they paid something like a tenner the posts would get more views. HOG have around 14,000 subscribers, but after the change, the most recent announcement for a new gig was only seen by about 160 people. What a load of rubbish is that eh? After a while she went back to her kids. I then noticed the room wasn’t so busy. Most peeps had gone downstairs to the gig room. So i went down. as expected, it was pretty rammed. I was surprised that no one had pinched my stool. I sat on said stool for the support acts; neither of which really did much for me.
There was a lad near me who was already pissed up. I told him i’d be going up on that “perch”. He said “Yeah…reckon i’ll do that as well”. I’m thinking to myself “I can see him having an accident just trying to get up there!”
The guys kicked off with “Portrait Of Red” & then went straight into “Dead Mans Shoes”. I then realised that the lighting in this venue is REALLY poor. Basically, i could see Ross & Danny ok, but there wasn’t any lighting on Allys side. Trying to film a clip, the camera just couldn’t see Ally. So i ended up just filming Danny, Ross & Garry ! Garry? Yes, he was nicely lit up on front row 😉
A bit later, they played a new song called “Don’t Wanna be Free”. Was interesting to hear that. About half way through the set, i noticed the pissed up guy next to me was wobbling on the perch & then he started knocking me. Sorry to say it, but, i was thinking “Just fall down already!” 🙂 I think i lost my focus then as was bothered about the chap next to me ! The guys played a lot of good uns, namely “Running For My Life”, “Into Dust”, “Blind Lead The Blind” etc. Again i had a go at filming another song:
When they got to “Lost Weekend”, i thought i’d try my mobile to see how it picked up the band in low lighting (I’ve never used mobile to film stuff as i’m sure sound would distort) As it was, it did pick up Ally better than my camera, but the resolution was a lot lower. Was an interesting experiment 🙂
“Sitting Ducks”, from the last ep they released, always goes down well. Then another classic VM song is played, namely, “Motherless Land “. We’re then treated to another new song “Look Out For My Brother”. Lovely stuff 🙂
The main set finishes with “Just A Ride” & “Ends Don’t Mend”. From my perch, i didn’t see much jumping around during the gig & also the crowd were not over loud. I think waiting for the encore even had a brief time when no one was clapping/cheering for them to come back ! Eventually they return & we get “Northern Sun” & “Bang Bang Bang”. Tonight they didn’t use the gong though 🙁 A few people hung around for a little while in the gig room, whilst others made their way up to the bar…or left ! Oh yeah, earlier in the day, an old local friend from the ’80s sent a message to me about meeting up as he was working in Sheffield. We ended up meeting after the gig had finished. He came down into the gig room, then we went up to the bar. Had a real good catch up. Hadn’t seen each other for years! Was great seeing you again Graham 🙂 .Before i went to my hotel, i said my goodbyes & got a quick photo with Ally & Danny.
After Alice had left, i had a look in FOPP, then checked out where Brewdog was (was thinking of going there later). Almost went to see a film, but the price put me off 😉 So i spent most of the time in my hotel. Decided i needed some grub to see me through the night,so once again, i visited The Gooseberry Bush. Had a lovely Grilled Chicken Tennessee burger, washed down with Devils Backbone (I’m a creature of habit).By the time i finished that, the rain had just about stopped.Think i had about 40mins in hotel before i needed to go to Rock City. Once there, the queue had grown. As i went to the doors, some one else who had disabilities was just being let in. I told the security chap i needed a seat etc & he kind of questioned me. I saw Kev was there,so asked if i could have the same seat as last night 🙂 His reply was “If i can find it,it’s yours.They keep moving it around the place!”. Couple of minutes later, the seat was brought up to the balcony for me. Must have been in a good 10mins+ before main doors opened.
It’s always interesting seeing people coming into the venue. Some head for the front row on the barrier & others head straight to the bar !
Whilst waiting for Therapy? to take to the stage, a chap to the right of me said ” Well done on getting the seat! Think i could also do with one!” (or words to that effect). When i told him that i NEED to have the seat & briefly told him why, he was initially dumbfounded. We carried on chatting, talking about the gigs we’d been to etc. It was surprising that we’d both sometimes been at the same gig (but obviously then we didn’t know each other) not only that, he doesn’t live too far away from Bostonia! (I think it was Heckington?). I told him about my blog which listed every gig I’ve seen since 1980 & he seemed quite impressed with what i’d done; “That’s amazing!”. Later he said something like ” You’re an inspiration how you cope with things & are still getting to the gigs”.I also said to him something like “It’s not until you see the situation from the other side, that you can really understand how it totally affects your life. Having a sense of positivity really helps”.Then he really shocked me ; ” I’ve been thinking….(He’s a headmaster at a school) Would you come to the school & give a talk about how your life has changed & how you cope with these health issues ?….I’m not putting you on the spot.”
Whilst i can see where he’s coming from, I’ve never been the sort of person that would, or rather COULD, do that type of thing. I said i’d think about it 😉 Enough of that, lets get to the reason why we’re all here tonight : A great line up including Therapy? & The Stranglers 🙂
I’ve seen Therapy? a few times over the years. We even saw them in Amsterdam back in 2006 ! (Bet you remember that one Chris H? Something to do with beers 😉 ). The thing with Therapy? is you’re always sure that it will be a great gig. When i saw they were opening for the Strangers, i just had to go.
Tonight they kick off with “Die Laughing”. Andy dedicates it to Ken Dodd who recently passed away 🙂 Next, from the album “Infernal Love”, they play “Stories”. A couple of songs in & there’s already a small group in the crowd bopping away.(Actually, i was surprised that more of the crowd didn’t get into Therapy? tonight) I’ve always loved their version of “Isolation”. I really think they made it there own. “Turn” is as great as always. Really wish i’d filmed a couple more songs tonight, but i was enjoying it too much to do that.
They play most of the “hits” from yesteryear; “Turn” , “Teethgrinder” , “Nowhere” , “Knives” all sound as fresh as the day they were released on albums. They finish their set with “Screamager” & “Potato Junkie”. Btw,Just who was “James Joyce” ? 🙂
This Stranglers tour is being called “The Definitive Tour”. After having a quick gander online to see what they’ve been playing, that title pretty much sums it up! I just know it’s gonna be a great night.
Tonight’s show starts with an intro which goes into “Curfew”. What a great way to kick things off.(Pretty sure i can hear the chap next to me singing along 😉 )
Next up it’s another classic Stranglers song “(Get a) Grip (On Yourself)”. That’s followed by “15 Steps” & “Bear Cage”. If my memory serves me correctly, the track “Bear Cage” wasn’t on any album & was just a single release. However, it was included on the reissue of “The Raven” CD. Talking of “The Raven”, I remember buying that on vinyl way back in 1979 (?) & it had a special cover. There was a seemingly 3D image of The Raven on the front. Pretty sure I’ve still got that LP somewhere. Hmm, i wonder how limited that release was? Might be worth a bit nowadays 😉
Next, from the same album, it’s “Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus)”. Some great shouts/interaction from the crowd. Bloody fantastic !
When they play “Peaches” it takes me back to when i was a prepubescent kid. What a great music scene it was back in those days. Growing up with bands like The Stranglers, Sex Pistols, Siouxie & The Banshees, Blondie, Buzzcocks, B52s, The Jam, The Members, etc etc.
One of the most unexpected songs to hear tonight was “Don’t Bring Harry”. Again, i remember when i got “The Raven” album, i really didn’t like that song !
Maybe it was because,at the time, i didn’t know what it was about ? (Heroin). Either way, i just didn’t get it.
They then play 3 of my fave songs, namely “Golden Brown”(Their biggest hit single i think), “Always the Sun” & “Walk On By” (OK, it is a cover of a Dionne Warwick song, but i think they made it their own 😉 )
I love the angst(lyrics) & power(music) of “Something Better Change”. Again, it’s right up there with the Stranglers classic songs. After S.B.C. they played “Duchess”
Tonights show comprised of around 22 songs & lasted just shy of 2 hours in length. Talk about value for money 🙂
They finished with “No More Heroes”
After the show finished, i hung around on the balcony & noticed that Michael McKeegan (Therapy? Bassist) was looking down at the crowd leaving. I just felt i needed to go have a brief chat with him. Basically, i just said that i’d seen Therapy? quite a few times over the years & ive not seen a bad show by them. Also mentioned how he always seems to have a smile on his face when he’s playing, so to me, he must be enjoying playing. After that quick chat, i said goodbye to the couple of lads i’d met earlier, then headed back to my hotel.
Damn, this has been such a great couple of days/gigs in Nottingham ! Feeling thoroughly contented with everything 🙂
It’s quite funny how this one happened. I booked a ticket for the gig & when i saw on Pledge there was a M&G package, as it didn’t cost much extra, thought i’d do that as well. I knew Alice (My niece) liked T.A. so asked her if she was going to the gig. Not only was she going, but had also paid the extra for the M&G. Asked her if she was driving there or staying over. I’d already booked my hotel (Roomzz for 2 nights,as next night was seeing The Stranglers) & suggested to her if she decides to stay over in Nottingham, Premier Inn had an offer on where a room only cost around £30. So she booked that quickly 🙂
We took quite a later train than usual. The earlier one would have had a 2 hour change over in Grantham ! When we got to Nottingham, we had around 30mins to walk to our hotels, get checked in , then go to rock city for 5pm (M&G time). There were quite a few in the M&G queue….some people who weren’t doing the M&G also joined the queue, but were soon set straight 😉 When the guy came out checking names, Alice had still not got to the venue, so i told him she’ll be here soon. As i was waiting, a bizarre coincidence happened ; someone behind me asked “Were you at the Marmozets show in Cambridge?”. I turned around & recognised the 2 girls i’d met in Cambridge ! We had a quick chat about the Marmozets gig & of course i moaned about the rubbish “seats” they had for disabled people 😉 Then Alice arrived…just as the dude was handing out the posters & beanie hats 🙂 Once inside the venue, we were took through a side door into the room that used to be called “The Rig”. I think they only use that room for the disco stuff nowadays. That’s a good thing as when it was a gig room, it was absolutely rubbish ! (The one & only gig i went to there was back in ’98. The band ” A ” were opening for “Symposium”. As i couldn’t SEE the band, i sat on the bar! Of course, security rightly told me i couldn’t do that 😉 So i said to them “show me a place where i can actually see the band, or i want my money back”! Ended up getting my money back & driving home ! Doubt that would happen nowadays lol)
So, back to the M&G….we all queued up then one by one we met the band, had a photo took, then hung around waiting for the M&G to finish. The band then went on the improvised stage & there was a short Q&A session followed by them playing an acoustic version of “Temple”. We then made our way to the main room. Along the way, i saw “Kev” (security) & reminded him he was gonna sort out a seat for me. We went to the balcony, only to be told it wasn’t open tonight. Ok, plan B it is then : Under the stairs ! Couldn’t believe it when Kev brought me one of the old high back seats! He was wise enough to save one 😉 Thanks Kev !
Alice seemed unsure if she wanted to stay in that position or to go down on main floor (I knew already what she’d do 😉 ) We watched the support acts from there. The first was called “The Gospel Youth”. Didn’t do a thing for me. Next it was “Roam”. I quite liked their set. Kinda wished i’d filmed a song.
Shortly before Tonight Alive were about to take the stage, Alice decided to go on the main floor to have a bop around. Wise choice 🙂 I woulda if i coulda…After a short intro,the guys walk on stage to huge cheers & when Jenna appears, the crowd get louder. They start the show with ” Book Of Love “. After that it’s ” Lonely Girl ” from the album “The Other Side”. This is a very upbeat sounding song, even if they lyrics don’t really relate to being “up”,so to speak. Next, another one from “The Other Side”. It’s great seeing everyone having a great time during “The Ocean”. “Crack In My Heart” sounded great.
During “World Away ” there was a great sing a long from the crowd. I managed to capture the tail end of the song & then the acoustic version of “Say Please”
The show finishes with the song that they earlier played acoustically at the M&G, namely “Temple”. A nice one to finish the night off.
When we leave the venue it’s raining a bit. Alice wanted to try meet the band again, so we hung around for a while. She managed to meet a couple of the guys & have a brief chat. Obviously, it was Jenna that she really wanted to meet again, so we waited a bit longer. In the end, as it was raining & cold, we thought Jenna might not come out. So kinda gave up. I walked Alice to her hotel & said to her ” You know, it would be just your luck that Jenna might come out after we’ve left!”. When i left her at her hotel, i said i’d text her if Jenna was around. When i got back, you guessed it, Jenna was there! There were only about 3 people there with her. So sent a text to Alice telling her. Literally seconds after i’d sent the txt, Jenna walked back to the venue/bus. So i told Alice to not bother coming back 😉
The following day, Alice was going back home. We arranged to meet & have some breakfast in Wethers. Wasn’t as busy as i expected it would be. After that, we walked back to our hotels & i said i’d meet her at the junction near the royal concert hall, so could walk her most of the way to the station. I was waiting a while so txt her as it wasn’t long till her train was due to leave. She’d walked further down, near to Subway (there’s no crossroads there 😉 ) So i told her “i’m on the way” haha. Said goodbye at Broadmarsh as i wanted a quick look in FOPP. I then headed back into the city & decided to have a look where Brewdog was. Typical, that they didn’t open till 12.00 & i was there about 11.30 ! As it was pissing it down i thought i’d see what films were on (As would kill a bit of time & i’d be out of the rain). When i saw the prices, i decided against that ! Spent most of the day in my hotel!
I was really looking forward to seeing this gig from Paul Draper, as he’d be playing the whole of Mansuns “Attack of the Grey Lantern”. For me, this was their best album they released. ( “Six” is still good, but for me, nothing will top the debut AOTGL).
When i set off, i was expecting the fields to have a lot of snow, but there wasn’t hardly any (In a few dykes, where sun hadn’t hit it, there was just a small amount of snow). Actually, thinking about it, i was very lucky to be able to get the train to Nottingham, as only a couple of days earlier, there were no services between Skeggy & Nottingham ! Train arrived on time & went straight to the Premier Inn to check in. After hanging there for a short while, i decided to go to The Gooseberry Bush for some grub. Went back to hotel, relaxed for a bit, then walked to Rescue Rooms. Explained to security i need a stool for the gig & he went to find one straight away. He then took me up to the balcony. He started carrying the stool towards the end of the balcony & i said “No. I much prefer being in the centre, straight on to the stage”. Think i got in about 10mins early.
It seemed to take a while before the room got busy (I wonder if some peeps didn’t know the doors time had changed?). Whilst waiting for the opening act, i got chatting with a guy next to me. Later his missus turned up & we were introduced. Thinking about it, this was probably the only good thing that happened tonight ; i made 2 new friends 🙂
The fist act was a lone geezer playing a guitar. Didn’t really do anything for me tbh.
When the Paul Draper band got onto the stage, i’d say it was the beginning of the end ! Once PD was onstage, i could just sense that he wasn’t into it tonight ! They played a short set of songs from PDs release “Spooky Action”. I didn’t know any of the songs, as don’t have the album. But lets be honest here; everyone was really there to see them play all of “Attack of the Grey Lantern” 😉 During the first part, there was no interaction between PD & the audience. When they came back to play AOTGL, things got worse! PD was mumbling & forgot some lyrics. It so obvious he wasn’t having a good time up there.
He seemed more interested in getting his glass of wine topped up than playing for the crowd. At one moment he held his guitar up & said something like ” I love this guitar….should i break it ?”. He even had a go at the audience when they played “Wide Open Space”. Later on, he just sat down on the drum riser & didn’t finish the song. I think it was after “Naked Twister” that PD just walked of the stage. No explanations as for why that happened. A lot of people “booed” when he walked off.
I can safely say, after seeing over 1000 gigs in my lifetime, this was the worse one I’ve ever seen!
The only good thing about this gig was how well his band coped under the situation they were in. They’re all exellent musicians & i have massive respect for them for not only coping, but also playing great.
I said my goodbyes to Steve (His missus had gone somewhere, so couldn’t say goodbye to her) & went back to my hotel. I laid on my bed thinking ” Did that really just happen ??” Of course , at that time, no one knew what the problem was with PD. So there were loads of people posting on FB with their thoughts about it. I did notice that PD did post something about “Drowned In Sound” & he called them Nazis…& it was quickly took down 😉
Whatever the reasons, i hope that PD seeks medical treatment (if needed), as this show really shouldn’t have happened.
Got pretty much everything here ! On the left is the “Golden ticket”. This gives admission to any HEADLINE gig by Saxon on the Thunderbolt tour, Yellow sticky another pass specifically for the Corn Exchange. Then of course the ticket for my seat (Though i didn’t go there as it was way back in the balcony !) As i couldn’t get to the Hull show ( & back on the same night), i decided to go see Saxon in Cambridge. My train arrived in Cambridge at around 1.45pm .I couldn’t check in to my hotel till 3pm, so i decided to go straight to The Regal pub & have food. Was quite surprised how busy the place was, even though i expected it to be busy-ish as it’s a Saturday. After i had finished my food & drink ( Tennesse Chicken burger + Devils Backbone IPA), as i was close, thought i’d have a quick look to see if there was anyone at the corn exchange. There were about 6 or 7 people queuing. I then went into the box office to see if i could get my ticket then, but primarily i thought i’d ask if there were any spare flyers/posters for tonights gig 🙂 It was a NO on both counts 🙁
So i went back to check in to my hotel. As the streets were so busy with people walking & just looking at their mobile phones ( ! ) it took me a bit longer than i expected it would. Probably only had about 40mins at hotel before i had to go back to Corn Exchange as i needed to meet Saxon tour manager for 4.30pm. When i got back, the same group of lads were still outside. I asked them if any of there were doing the M&G w/Saxon. None of them were & they didn’t even know about the M&G. So i explained how the “top” of the “Pledge Campaign” (At the time i booked mine at least) included a “Golden Ticket” which can be used at any HEADLINE gig by Saxon & also a M&G with them before the gig. If you’re the kind of person who likes to see multiple gigs by a band & you’re into Saxon, i think this package is great value for money.
After a while i went in the foyer to try find someone to talk with about meeting the manager. I could see they were sorting out tonights merchandise & i caught the eye of someone who i beckoned to come to me. When i told her why i was here she said ” Oh , so you’re the guy with the Golden Ticket”. Once inside, she introduced me to Saxons tour manager & i was very surprised to find i was the only one there tonight with this special ticket ! So, yeah, i had the band all to myself. The band were already sound checking, but i think i got to hear most of it.
When they finished, Velby introduced me to the guys.
I had a real good chat with Biff. The first thing i asked him was “Will there be a UK Thunderbolt tour part 3 ? “. (Why? Because the venues they’re playing on the part 2 are all so far away etc). He said there should be a Pt 3 & even told me some of the venues they hope to play, but nothing is set in stone just yet. Either way, i’m sworn to secrecy to not let anyone one know which venues 😉 That was exactly what i hoped for venues wise. I also mentioned how many years ago i bumped into him in Boston (Biff lived in Boston & a few other places in Lincolnshire back in the late ’80s early ’90s). When Nibbs came over & i said i was from Boston, he asked if the “Rose Of Bengal” restaurant was still there. Apparently the guys often used to have curry there & it was their favourite place 😉 Oh yeah, something quite funny that Biff said (without any prompting from me) was that he called Boston, Bostonia! Ya see, even he realises the place is totally different to how it used to be 😉
After having a bit more of a chin wag, Biff said “We need to get a photo of us all”. I think the TM took a couple on my camera, then Biff gave him his mobile phone to take another pic to put up on Facebook 🙂 (Later on i found out that somehow they’d put the wrong name for me in that pic! So very briefly, i was “Martin”! I doubt anyone noticed as it was quickly edited to my real name 😉 )
The T.M. said i could come & go as i please. At the same time Biff said ” You can go anywhere…except for backstage…If you go there, we’ll shoot you !”. My reply was “It’s a good thing i’m wearing my bullet proof vest tonight then !” (Nigel seemed impressed with my sharp wit 😉 ). Anyway, decided i’d stay in the venue as it was pointless going back to the hotel. So i checked out the venue & watched the soundchecks of both Diamond Head & Rock Goddess.
During this time, some of the Saxon guys came back in & i had a great chat with Nigel. He’s a big fan of IPAs & told me about all the beers they can get from their local supermarket in USA. Was very interesting.
Later on, i realised i’d forgot to ask the guys to sign the booklet that comes with the DVD “Heavy Metal Thunder, The Movie”. When Biff came back into the hall i asked him to sign it. I also told him that the short clip from when they played Download ’08 was filmed by me. (At that show they played in a tent. It was so packed that hundreds couldn’t get in. Saxon were back on the up again for sure). He wasn’t aware, as everything was submitted via Coolhead productions, but he did say ” I do like bootlegs” 😉 In the end, i only manged to get autographs from Biff, Nigel & Doug…so looks like i’ll take that book next time i see them 😉 If you want to check out the short footage that i filmed at Download, which they included in the dvd, go to 2 hours 29 minutes & 20 seconds 😉
I carried on watching Diamond Head & Rock Goddess sound checking. Took a couple of quick snaps. Then the doors opened.
I found it hard to believe i’d never seen Rock Goddess live before ! Not even as a support act! Back in the day, i liked them, but somehow, i never got to see them live. I enjoyed their set tonight. I’m unsure, but i think on the opposite side to where i was sat, Denise Duffort (Girlschool) was there.
I don’t think i ever saw Diamond Head with their classic first line-up. Seen them open for a few bands over the years, but never headlining. Also have seen Tatler jam with Metallica a couple of times (Lars was a big fan of NWOBHM). I’d imagine that most of the (younger) crowd would only know the name Diamond Head because Metallica covered a few of their songs. I think there’s only Brian Tatler left from the original line-up. Again, i enjoyed their set which started & finished with a couple of classics, namely “Helpless” & “Am I Evil”. For the time they had tonight, it was a really good set. They played “Helpless”, “Bones” (?), “In The Heat Of The Night”, “Lightning to the Nations”, “It’s Electric”, “The Prince” and finished with “Am I Evil”.
Both bands nicely warmed up the crowd, so we were all waiting for Saxon to get up on the stage to show everyone how it’s really done !
I’d really enjoyed the day, but then something unexpected happened : I fire alarm went of & we had to evacuate the building !
Initially, it seemed everyone (including the security) was a bit confused as to what was happening. I didn’t even attempt to go down the stairs for about 5 minutes as there were so many trying to get out, it came to a standstill ! I was also surprised at how long it took the security downstairs to open the side doors aka Fire Exits ! It took a while to get everyone out & it was quite a sight to see hundreds of people gathered outside….plus a fire engine! Thankfully, there was no fire & we were soon allowed back in. (I’ve since heard from a friend who was also there, that before the evacuation, he was pretty near the back of the hall, but once back in, he was much closer to the stage. Well played my friend 😉 But the flipside of that is i’m pretty sure some people who might have been on the front row after queuing for hours, might not have got back to their original positions )
Once everyone was back in, it didn’t take long before the intro, “Olympus Rising” was playing over the PA. They went straight into “Thunderbolt”. Afterwards, Biff said they’d got the go ahead from the venue to play the full show, even though it would be past the initial curfew (Personally, i think they still would have done it even if the venue hadn’t given them permission 😉 ) . So, i have to say good on Saxon for playing the full set tonight.
Next up, we get “Sacrifice”. Following that is one of my fave tracks off “Thunderbolt”, namely “Nosferatu (The Vampires Waltz)”. I love how dark & heavy it sounds. Next we get a couple of songs from back in the glory days. “Motorcycle Man” & “Strong Arm of the Law”. It brought back memories of the first time i saw Saxon at De Montfort Hall, Leicester way back in December 1980 ! I would have been 14 years old then 🙂 Something else to do with “Strong Arm Of The Law”….when i bought the vinyl back in the day, there was a big sticker included, which i put on my bedroom door (still living at my parents house then obviously) it’s still on that door to this day
Next up it’s “Battering Ram”. Oh yes, we like it hard & heavy ! It was cool to hear “Power and the Glory” again. But i must confess, when that album was released i was a bit pissed off with Saxon as they went chasing the American dollar.That year, i think they only played one UK gig, which was at Leeds Queens Hall. A horrible venue, even though it was a good line-up of bands.
We’re then brought back to the present day, with a couple of songs off “Thunderbolt”. “Sniper” & “The Secret of Flight”. I think that “Thunderbolt” is the best album they’ve made in a long time.
“Dallas 1pm ” is one of my all time favourite Saxon songs. The lyrics about the assassination of JFK really work well.
“Never Surrender” is another great blast from the past
We get a couple more from Thunderbolt & of course “They Played Rock n Roll” is dedicated to Lemmy & all of Motorhead. Next we get the song that describes when they played Castle Donington festival back in 1980; “And the Bands Played On”. It was quite a hit single back in the day.
The show finishes with 3 absolute gems from their glory years where the lyrics are about Planes, Knights & Trains ;”747 (Strangers in the Night)”,”Crusader” & “Princess of the Night”.
They encore with “Heavy Metal Thunder” & the great sing a long song “Wheels of Steel”.
The night finishes with the song that brought us all together, “Denim and Leather”.
What a fantastic day/night this has been. This is what i’m living for…
I knew that a couple of friends i’d met on the road would be at the gig, so i hung around for a while afterwards to see if i could find them & have a chat. Couldn’t find them though 🙁 (Hopefully meet next time Hannah & Mark). Bought myself a t-shirt, then walked back to my hotel. Damn it was cold !
For this one, i took a much later train to Nottingham. This way i could take my mum out for lunch before going ;-)(Ok, technically, she took me out as i cant’t drive now, but i did pay for lunch 😉 )
My train left Bostonia at 14.45 & was due to arrive Nottingham at 16.17. Train journey went well, with no hold ups. First thing i did once i arrived was to visit WH Smiths ! Why ? Because i couldn’t get the issue of Classic Rock Magazine “She Rocks”, locally, which has skin (Skunk Anansie) on the cover . Was pretty sure they’d have it in Nottingham. Managed to get it in the nick of time as store was closing at 16.30.
Job done, carry on walking to my hotel. Once again i’m staying at Premier Inn as i booked a few stays there cos the price was so cheap. Once checked in, i just hung around at my hotel to relax. Doors tonight had been put forward by 30mins, so that worked for me. I’d tried phoning Rescue Rooms with regard to having a stool, but it always ended up going to the answerphone & the mailbox was full, so I couldn’t leave a msg.
Once i got to Rescue Rooms i had a chat with the lass on the doors & said that i can never get through on the phone etc. She then told me the reason for this, which i wasn’t expecting….it seems that both Rescue Rooms & Rock City have had a change of staff/security. Apparently, the ones that left Rescue Rooms didn’t tell the other people what the passwords were for the answerphone mailbox etc !! If that is true, then i’m sure the people were not very happy bunnies & did it deliberately 😉 So the next time i go RR i wont bother phoning…The lass asked one of the security to find me a stool & when he came back, he walked me up to the balcony. Got the prime position again 🙂
I wasn’t aware that there were two opening acts before earlier today. Both of them i’d never heard of. So i was already thinking “…hope they finish quickly as i’m only here for Paradise Lost!”.
The first band “King Goat” were pretty dire. The singer wore a huge coat/cloak & couldn’t even see his face it was that black. The band didn’t play anything that i liked.
Next it was “Outshine”. Now i actually quite liked them. Their from Sweden & i liked what they played. It was really a good show. So much so, i’ll probably buy the new CD.
I was really looking forward to seeing Paradise Lost again as i hadn’t seen them since around 2009 (At Columbiaclub, Berlin). From memory, Nick Holmes could be a bit of a grumpy old bloke & had a very dry wit about him, so i was wondering how he’d be tonight 😉
They kicked off with ” From The Gallows ” which is from the yet to be released album “Medusa”. It’s a typical dark sounding Paradise Lost song. Next we get “Tragic Idol” which dates back to around 2012. I really nice chunky guitar sound on this one. Then 3 songs in, they play some thing i really know “One Second”. This to me, is classic Paradise Lost. Unfortunately though, there were sound problems during this one. It sounded like there was some kind of a loose connection somewhere as there were “crackles” happening a few times.
“Gods Of Ancient” is another one off “Medusa”. Heavy as fuck & what i can only describe as “growling” vocals.
They seem to play a lot of new songs tonight & older stuff that i don’t really know tbh !
If i’m honest, as the night went along, i kinda got a bit bored with it all. I dunno, maybe as the last shows i’d seen were all high enery stuff (Marmozets) Paradise Lost probably wasn’t a very good choice to see after those Marmozets gigs !
When it came to the encore time, there was one song i was really hoping to hear, namely “Just Say Words”. But they didn’t play it 🙁
After looking online to see the setlists at other venues, it seemed they generally finished with “No Hope In Sight”, “The Longest Winter”, then “Just Say Words”. I’m left wondering why they didn’t play it on this night as it’s a great song.
The earliest train out of Boston on a Sunday, leaves at 12.13.Today, when i changed trains at Grantham, there was a 2 hour wait for the connecting train. So there was nothing for it, i had to go to The Tollemarshe Inn for my lunch 😉 I was surprised it wasn’t very busy, especially as it was around 13.15
After i’d had my grub, took a slow walk back to the station. Train was due to leave for Sheffield at 15.09 & arrive at 16.34 Everything ran on time. As i got closer to Sheffield i noticed more snow in the fields. Once i got to Sheffield, i went straight to my hotel. Today i was trying out the Novotel on Arundel Gate. It’s quite close to The Leadmill & a bargain at £54. It was a nice quality room, but there was something i’d not experienced before : As i walked into the room,on the right hand side, there was a toilet (yeah nothing new lol) but not only that, there was another door in front before getting into the main room! Very “different”! (Actually, having the 2 doors probably helped so didn’t hear people walking by 😉 ) Also, another thing i’d never seen before was a table that could “swing round” to a different position. (Looking at the photo, the lighter coloured desk on top, swings round , away from the wall towards where i took the photo from! Very different!)
As it was cold & wet outside , i stayed in my room till about 15mins before doors were due to open. Once at the Leadmill, there was a reasonable sized queue & i went to the front of it to have a word with security. There were also a couple more peeps who had disabilities & were waiting on the security to let us in. Once inside, on the left, there was a turnstile to pass through & the numpty security chap told me to go stand there! Why did he tell me to go there, when the other disabled customers were to the right of it ?!? A few seconds later, the other security chap came in & said “You don’t need to wait there mate” So yeah, that other security chap was a big numpty 🙂
There used to be a raised area at the back in this venue. But a few days before the gig i had an email saying it wasn’t available as it had got “broken”. Yeah right, course it had… The stools we were given were rubbish. Way too low. It didn’t really help when some tall ignorant fucker stood directly in front of me (I say ignorant because he looked & saw me sat down, but still stood in front of me).
I sat down through all of Queen Zees set, just wishing they’d get it over with.
The show was sold out, so not hardly any room in the place. In fact, there was a point when someone in front of me kept stepping further back towards me & stood on my feet! A quick push from me sorted that out. Of the 4 shows i saw, this was easily the one i least enjoyed.
One thing i have learnt over the last couple of years is some venues are great with looking after people with disabilities whist others are just useless.
Untill you’ve seen it “from the other side”, you don’t realise what a difference it can make to either enjoying the show or not.
I won’t say much else about this gig except that it was the same set list as the other nights. The band went down a storm & from what little i could see, they seemed to enjoy it.
I did try taking a couple of photos/video clips, but it’s hard work to hold a camera above you for very long.
When i left the venue it was a bit sleety outside. Good thing my hotel was as close as it was 😉
The following day, as i was walking on the icy paths to the train station, i couldn’t help thinking ” I really hope they play the O2 Academy main room next time”.