THE LEVELLERS, GINGER WILDHEART, Gliderdrome, Boston ! 15-6-18

I really couldn’t believe my eyes when i saw that The Levellers were going to play at the Gliderdrome ! To think that someone had finally took the initiative to book a proper real band for the Glider was mind blowing. I bought my ticket from Chris Cook Printers (no booking fees!) as soon as they were on sale in December. I asked most of my friends if they’d be going. Even if they’re not fans of The Levellers, surely if there & many others who support this event, then hopefully this will be the start of big things to come. Also, if you didn’t go to the gig, then you can’t moan about there not being any local gigs. Yeah, you know who i’m talking about πŸ˜‰
My own personal backstory about this event is this : Back in 1988 i was frustrated that this iconic venue, where all the greats had played (The Who, T-Rex, Elton John etc) was now only used for bingo nights ! I even wrote a letter to Boston Standard asking why they don’t book concerts there any more. To my surprise, they actually published my letterΒ Β Unfortunately, there was no further discussion about it & i gave up hope of ever having proper bands at the Glider (They did start having “Tribute Acts”, which apparently sold well. But still, why did no one even consider having proper real bands there ?!! )
So it’s took 30 kin years for this to finally happen !

There’s also a personally ironic thing about this gig. As i’d started a new Chemotherapy regime, my oncologist told me to not go to any more concerts (The Chemo makes your immune system totally drop. Even the slightest infection could get worse rapidly & could even get so bad as having Sepsis). As if i wouldn’t go to a gig that I’ve wanted to happen for years ! Sometimes, you just have to live on the edge ! Absolutely nothing would stop me from going (well, unless i was hit by a bus whilst going there πŸ˜‰ )
I started thinking how important it was for me. I don’t know how long i have left to live, but decided i had to go no matter.
When it was announced that Ginger Wildheart would be opening, it was like the icing on the cake to me πŸ™‚
I subsequently tried all the channels i know to try meet Mr Wildheart & ask him how he felt about being the first act to play the Glider in the modern era. But it was to no avail πŸ™
I also contacted “Look North” to see if they’d report about the gig. Didn’t get a reply πŸ™
Never mind though; at least i’m going to the gig πŸ™‚

I arranged with Steve Greenhough via “One Inch Badge” (the promoters/booking agents) to get early entry due to me disability. On the day of the gig, as i was going up town anyway, i thought i’d have a quick recce of the venue to see where the “White door” was.Β Β I then went back home for some grub & to relax.

I set off to the venue about 6.45, got there for 7pm. When i got there, there was a small queue.Β Β I headed straight to the white door & all ran smooth & i got in 30minutes before the official doors time. Got a great spot on the balcony.
A security guy was wandering by & i asked him if he knew the set times & how many tickets had been sold. We then had a chat about the venue etc. He was a local chap as i recognised his face. (Steve Greenhough had told me that they were bringing all their own crew & i thought it might include security. But it didn’t go that far)
When doors opened,as is always the case, a few people headed straight to the front & others straight to the bar !
Whilst waiting, i got a txt from Andy. He said The Moon was rammed with Levellers fans. I Told him they opened doors slightly early & to get here sharpish if he wants a seat at the table. Both he & Dusty arrived a few mins later.(I had a few people ask if the seats were free & i replied “No, i’m saving them for some friends) Was great seeing Dusty again. Don’t think we’d seen each other since some time last year. Alice arrived a bit later. I knew a couple more friends would be here & during the course of the evening Matt & Vicki came up then later on they brought Rachel with them. Great to see everyone.

Before starting, Ginger says to the crowd (pointing) “You know who i am ?” Then pointing to the back “You lot don’t care. Let’s see if we can change that”. He kicks of by “Daylight Hotel”. This is from his latest album “Ghost In The Tanglewood”. There seems to be only a minority clapping after that. Maybe most of the audience don’t know who he is ? But whatever, he knows it’s an honour to be playing on this legendary stage which has previously had bands such as The Sweet, Elton John etc. He goes so far as saying “If it doesn’t impress you lot, it impresses the fuck out of me !” The next one we get is “The Pendine Indecent”. This is from his album “The Year Of The Fanclub”. Later, whilst he’s talking about “Golden Tears”, he’s obviously getting wound up about the audience. Or as he says it ” The ignorant cunts talking”. He still perseveres though. He then gets a bit political with “Toxins & Tea”. Think it’s lost on the audience πŸ™ Another sign that he’s annoyed by the audience is when he says “This is a very special night. So shut the fuck up! Or go to the pub. You don’t have to be here…” There’s then cheers from the people who get it πŸ™‚ Good on Ginger for calling out the silly fuckerz. He really makes me smile when before playing “Paying It Forward” he says “This is a song about kindness…something that a lot of people just don’t understand” It’s pretty obvious who he’s directing this at πŸ˜‰
Finally, he gets a bit of audience interaction (GOOD interaction). One side shouts “Off” & the other shots “Fuck Off” πŸ™‚
The night finishes with a song that all the Wildies love, namely, “Geordie In Wonderland”. That goes down really well & the majority of the crowd seem to be clapping.

I think considering the circumstances, Ginger coped very well with an audience who didn’t really seem to give a shit.(Maybe they’d never been to a concert before?) But also i have to say, there were a few in the audience who totally got it & i’m sure they loved it. Just a shame about the retards πŸ˜‰

I’m not gonna write much about The Levellers. But i will say they played great, did all the classics, nice to see the Didgeridoo up there. They were consummate professionals & the crowd loved them.
Here’s a few of clips that i recorded :

After it all finished Dusty was quick to leave (I said he could crash at my place if he wanted to, but didn’t take up the offer). Matt, Vicki & Rachel came back up stairs. We had a bit of a natter, there was talk of going to the Coach for a swift drink (Oh btw, The Levellers were in the Coach & Horses earlier in the day. Later i was told a couple of them also went there after the gig) but i didn’t fancy it as was quite tired. We took some photos & then went our separate ways.Β Β (“I can see a Major System Error in You”…Amsterdam angles Mr T πŸ˜‰ )Β 

We somehow lost Andy T. πŸ™‚ Alice offered me a lift back home, but i wanted to walk there to get some fresh air after it being so hot & stuffy in the venue.
This was a great night out. Amazing to think, finally able to see a gig in my hometown & it’s within walking distance. The next day i saw that they’d sold 1500 tickets.(Which i think is around the official capacity of the venue). Lets all hope that this is the kick starter for more bands playing in Boston πŸ™‚

Setlists (Think i got it right. If i didn’t, please tell me)

GINGER WILDHEART
Daylight Hotel,The Pendine Incedent,Golden Tears,Toxins & Tea,The Words Are Gonna To Have To Wait,Caer Urfa,Paying It Forward,No One Smiled At Me Today,Geordie In Wonderland

THE LEVELLERS
The Game,Fifteen Years,Sell Out,Belaruse,The Road,Julie,(Didgerydoo song)This Garden,One Way,Another Mans Cause,Exodus,Hope Street,Men-An-Tol,
What A Beautiful Day,Dirty Davey,The Cholera Well,The Riverflow,Liberty Song,England My Home,Just The One.

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SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL, PRVIS, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, As It Is, Jimmy Eat World, Leeds, 26-5-18

Β The songs that are crossed out on the set list couldn’t be played due to time constraints. (They were “Mirrors” , “Smoke” & “Holy” )

Again, i’d been really looking forward to this gig, for a couple of reasons : 1. Seeing PVRIS playing on a bigger stage. 2. The bonus of seeing Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes again. The only “downside” was that this gig would probably end up being the last one i can attend for a LONG time πŸ™ (In the end, even though i shouldn’t have, i DID go to Ginger Wildheart + The Levellers at the Gliderdrome, Boston. There was no way i could miss that. So after that gig, it will be a long time before i can get to another)

Athula & Alice picked me up in the morning (on time πŸ˜‰ ) & we drove to Grantham to catch the train there. Made good time getting there. Whilst in the waiting room, i saw a chap i often see at Boston train station. Poor lad, he’s obviously got some issues : He wears lots of thin clothes & all you can see is his eyes & his bare feet. When i point him out to Alice, she says that she knows him & doesn’t live far away from their place. It’s a small world….
For this festival, i’d bought one ticket & Alice would get the complimentary helper ticket for free. I’d also been liasing with Lisa B (PVRIS T.M. this time) about hopefully meeting PVRIS when we’re up there. I’d booked a different hotel to where i usually stay,partly due to cost being higher than usual. Once in Leeds, we checked where our hotel was & then went to get the wristbands/tickets/passes. Had prearranged to collect everything at the “Disabled Window” at the Leeds arena. Asked a security chap where said window was & he said “I don’t know. I’ll ask my manager” (Yup, we’re off to a great start). Eventually, i see the head of security & he’s also a bit unsure! When i finally get the wristbands & had gone back to Alice, i realised they didn’t give us the passes we need to meet PVRIS ! So once again, the head of security goes to the window to ask about those. By now, as it’s pretty warm & the last few nights i’d not had much sleep, i’m already feeling knackered & annoyed by all the tomfoolery going on. Guess what ? The passes were at the other collection point, back near the hotel !
As we were back down that end, i thought it might be a good idea to see if we could check in early (official time was 3pm). As luck would have it, we managed to get checked in around 14.10 πŸ™‚ We had a decent enough room, but i noticed a couple of things that were not right. Firstly, the TV could only get one channel ! Second, the toilet seat was broken !Β Β Whilst we were there, Alice somehow watched “The Dangerous Summer” on her phone. I guess they must have been streaming it live.
We then decide to go try to get some food. I know a few Wetherspoons in Leeds. The first one, Beckets Bank, was absolutely rammed. No worries, theres a couple more πŸ™‚ We end up at The Hedley Verity. Whilst there, i get a txt from Garry. I say “Come to here to meet us. We’re just about to have food”. A few minutes later he arrives. He decides to just have a beer & no food. The food i had was pretty rubbish tbh. Even with a steak knife, the chicken was hard work to cut! Ended up leaving most of it. After that, we all went to the “Rocksound Breakout Stage” as Alice wanted to see “Dream Straight”. What a joke that room was ! It was a really small room which was rammed. We see there’s a small balcony, which is about 6 steps up.It was pitch black trying to get up those stairs! If it wasn’t for Garry waving his mobile phone, i wouldn’t have a clue where he was! If fact, it was so damn dark you couldn’t even see where you were putting your feet! I certainly don’t think there was a Health & Safety issue there LOL. After that wonderful experience, we went to the underground carpark ! What ? Yes, you ready correctly! This was where a load of merchandise was being sold & throughout the day, some of the bands would be there. Alice wanted to meet “Dangerous Summer”. I didn’t realise that she was so into them. She showed them a tattoo she has on her ankle to do with the band. They seemed quite impressed about that.Β Β After that, Garry left us to go get himself some food. We decide to go back to the hotel to have a little rest & also to collect the PVRIS photos. We hung there for a while. Later we went to the underground car park again ! This time it was because Alice wanted to meet “Dream State”.Β Again, i took some photos for AliceΒ Β We then go back into the arena (Jagermeister Stage) to watch Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. During “Wild Flowers”, he certainly didn’t get as many girls on stage as in Nottingham πŸ˜‰

Once again, they finished with “I Hate You” (But unlike Nottingham, he didn’t direct his Hate towards anyone )

As PVRIS are the next band, we stay there.Β Β Tonight there set is shorter than it should have been. I think it was due to time constraints, that they had to miss playing three songs. They start off with “Heaven”

Next up is “St Patrick”. Again, they skip a song, so next it’s “Half”. That’s closely followed by “You & I “. The rest of the set comprises of “What’s Wrong”, “Winter”, “Anyone Else”, “No Mercy”

And they finish with a rowdy version of “My House”. Whilst it was a short set, it was still great πŸ™‚Β When they’ve finished, we go outside the venue. I see I’ve had a missed call from Lisa B (PVRIS tour manager). Also i got at txt saying “Please call me”. Then a txt saying ” security was very very tight, so i’ll come meet you to take you back to the bands room”. As we’d already checked out where the backstage entrance was, i thought lets see how far we can get. Just showed our wristbands at a table outside, then walked inside! There was no one around, so we just looked for a sign as to where PVRIS dressing room was. Found it easy. I knock on the door & Lisa comes. I think she’s probably a bit shocked that we got in so easily πŸ˜‰ There’s quite a few people in the dressing room & Lisa kindly asks them to leave as we’re going to have a wee meet & greet with PVRIS.
We all say our hellos & have hugs etc. They ask me how i’m doing as regards health wise. I ask Brian if the proposed big London show which was meant to be at the end of the year, is still on. He replies “No, we’ve decided to leave it for a while & instead take some time to start writing for the next album”. This is also the first time I’ve met the drummer Justin. (Previous times we’ve met them he’s never been there). We have a bit of a chat & he soon leaves the room. But not before we get a full group photo or two πŸ˜‰Β Β I quickly take a selfie with LynnΒ Β Then i show them the photos (Smallest one is Norwich UEA 2-4-16 when myself & Alice did the M&G) The bigger one is when i went on my own to see them in Birmigham 23-11-17 And boy did that gig lift my spirits! Never expected what would happen at that one πŸ˜‰ & finally a photo from Brixton 30-11-17 where both myself & Alice went to & the band paid for our trains & hotel!
I suggest to them that we get another photo,of a photo of a photo , to carry on the tradition πŸ™‚ Lynn, Alice & Alex hold the photos whilst Lisa (or was it someone else?) takes the photo Β Our time with the guys seemed to fly by. Eventually we said our goodbyes & off we were going to see what was still happening. Unfortunately though, Alice had forgot to take the photos with her ! So i quickly send a txt to Lisa to ask if she could bring us the photos & we make our way back to the backstage entrance. As we’re going there,who should we bump into, but Alex ! I tell him that Alice forgot to take the photos with her, which i think he found amusing πŸ™‚ Whilst we’re waiting for Lisa, we get a quick selfie with himΒ 
I then notice Lisa running towards us with the photos in hand. Once again, thank you Lisa πŸ™‚
By now it was around 10pm. We go to the Signature stage to watch a bit of “As It Is”. I think that the singer sounds a bit like Brian Molko. I took a couple of photos & filmed one song :Β 

The last band of the night we see is Jimmy Eat World. Again, i filmed one song.

After that, we made our way back to the hotel. Along the way, we had a look to see if any place like Tesco was still open as Alice was hungry.
I think it was around 11pm & was surprised to see a few places we closed. Carried on to the hotel. I reckon that even though Alice looked sleepy, she was as high as a kite after this day. Myself, i was knackered ! Alice then had the bright idea of ordering some food via room service. I thought it was quite expensive tbh. But she managed to change my mind πŸ™‚

Early next morning, Alice got a txt to say she needed to be somewhere in town, earlier than had previously been arranged. She phoned Athula to ask him to bring some clothes/make up as time wise, it would be cutting things quite short. I could see she was getting wound up. Made sure we got to the train station early & Alice decided she needed to have a coffee so i waited opposite the shop. After a while i thought “Where is she? She’s not in the shop still”. I assumed she’d gone to the platform where i train was leaving from, so i made my way there. Once i got on the train, she wasn’t there. So i txt her to see where she was. It was only about 5 mins till departure! Fortunately, she gets there quickly. Hell it would have been a mess if she’d missed the train as would have had to buy another ticket! I think it was down to lack of communication that we didn’t get to the train at the same time. But it didn’t matter, as we both made it on time & were soon on the way back home πŸ™‚ Athula picked us up at Grantham & drove us from there to Boston. A few days earlier, i’d ordered some new speakers for my PC & they could be collected on this day. So i asked Athula if once we’ve dropped off Alice, he could take me back to Tescos to pick up the speakers. No problem. Alice then said “But that means he has to go into town & then back to Tescos. Think we should stop at Tescos before dropping me off”. I said no to that as she needed to be at the meeting on time. Also it’s not as if it would cause any problems for Athula. Most certainly, i didn’t want to be blamed for her arriving late (especially as she had been wound up since the morning!) It was the logical thing to do dropping Alice off and then going back to Tescos πŸ™‚
Finally, fate was not on my side today. When i got the speakers home, setting them up, i thought the bass sub sounds too weak. Upon inspection, i found it had a bad wire connection, so i had to return them ! Hilarious eh ?

But hey, at least the gig was great πŸ™‚

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MACHINE HEAD Rock city, Nottingham, 21-5-18

I was soooo looking forward to this show ! I took a later train than i originally planned to (gave me more time to relax). Once i got to Nottingham, i headed straight to my hotel, “Roomzzz”. Upon checking in, the manageress asked me “How are you? Which gig are you seeing tonight?”
(As i stay there so often, she always asks me those questions). I reply “I’m ok, but have a slight problem with a future booking”. I explain that i wont be able to come in June to see Stone Sour as i’ll be having more chemotherapy & ask if i could get a refund for the room i’d pre-booked. She said “Normally it would be non refundable, but, as it’s exceptional circumstances, I’ll phone through to central reservations, to see if we can get a refund for you”. Went to my room & 5 mins later she phoned me to confirm i CAN get a refund ! Phew ! That’s over Β£100 coming back to me πŸ™‚ I then start thinking about if i can sell on the ticket for Stone Sour. I’d heard of “Twickets”, so thought I’d try it on there if none of my friends don’t want it. (I’d payed extra for the M&G so total cost was Β£146 !)
Didn’t bother going to my usual(s) for food, as I’d took some with me πŸ˜‰ Phoned Rock City to confirm time for doors as on tickets it said 7pm ,yet on their website it said 6.30pm ! Doors were confirmed for 7pm. So stayed in the hotel for rest of the day.
Went to RC about 15mins before doors. Bumped into a lad i often see at gigs (Hi Tonito πŸ˜‰ ) & asked him if he’d be interested in Stone Sour ticket. He’s already going somewhere else on the same date πŸ™ After a while, they let us disabled people in. Again i got the best seat…one of the security said “Go to Bar 2 & ask for a seat”. Me “Which bar is that then?” He then said “Ah you can have this one i’m sat on!” Then told another security chap to take it through to the gig room. Very kind of him. Wish it could work this way always πŸ˜‰ There were probably about 30+ people in there already as there had been a M&G earlier. Still managed to get my fave spot though. Whilst waiting, i see a mate Gary come in & he went up in the balcony. We then txt each each other about what was in store for tonight πŸ˜‰
Rock City was absolutely RAMMED tonight. Totally sold out. There was no support act, just Machine Head playing a super long set, which was getting towards 3 hours long. A bit later i saw Richard M. & his Mrs making their way through the crowd to get near the front.
Tonight’s gig was just fuckin amazing, full on metal ! I ended up filming quite a few songs, but this is the only clip I’ve uploaded so far.

Afterwards, tried to meet up with Garry, but we didn’t manage it (I waited across the road for 5-10mins & thought he’d nipped of sharpish. Following day, he told me he was in the queue for car park as i was going into my hotel ! Oh well c’est La Vie ! Hope to meet up later in the year). I had a great time tonight. It’ll be one of the two gigs that i can do before i restart the chemotherapy on 30th May.

3-6-18 Slight edit, now a 2-cam mix of “The Blood the Sweat The Tears ” (thanks mate)Β  πŸ˜‰

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VIRGINMARYS , Massive Wagons, Big Boy Bloater & The Limits, Lincolnshire Showground ,21-4-18

This was another gig hanging in the balance for a couple of reasons. Firstly, was unsure if Alice would be able to drive us there & secondly, i was still waiting for appointment with my Oncologist. Obviously, i didn’t want to buy a ticket & then not be able to go. I mentioned this to Danny & he kindly offered myself & Alice guest list places. That way, if couldn’t make it, wouldn’t be out of pocket etc. In the end, everything fell into place very well.
Earlier on gig day, Alice had been playing her own gig which was part of some sort of a small festival in Horncastle. She had a 30minute slot. She told me that she enjoyed it. If any of you are interested in hearing any of her songs, here’s a link to her latest song :
https://alicekat.bandcamp.com/track/i-want-everything (She’s released a 12″vinyl EP & a CDr of some of her songs, which you can purchase there ;-)).
You can also listen to her songs for free (or make a donation) on Soundcloud : https://soundcloud.com/alice-kat

Can’t remember what time Alice picked me up, but we made sure we’d be there in good time before the doors opened. We went the same route as she’d done earlier in the day, via Horncastle, skirting around Lincoln (Which would have been very busy at that time). It was nice weather for travelling this day (unlike a couple of days before). When we got to the Showground, the sat nav sent us to the wrong place, but it was easy enough to find the correct entrance. (Btw Alice,please get some kind of a holder for your mobile phone so it will be higher up & you wont have to look down at it. We all love you & don’t want you to have an accident just because you looked down).
They had a one-way-system to the parking, so that was nice & easy. We drove past loads of people enjoying the sunny day drinking their beers etc.
I had the fore thought to take a pack up because i hadn’t eaten anything since brekky & i doubted that Alice would have had any lunch. So we shared that. I told her that the plastic container is older than her ! I used to use it when going to Monsters Of Rock/Download. But i didn’t put much food in it then…i sneaked in my camcorder using it ! (I’d wrap it in kitchen foil & take the container out when they searched bags πŸ˜‰ )
As the doors to the venue were open, we wandered in there. The guys were just finishing their soundcheck. First person i spoke to was Gareth. After our hellos/hugs & introducing Alice to him, I mentioned that Danny had put us on the guest list & i hadn’t arranged the seat. Good old Gareth then went off to sort out the wristbands & seats! (As ever mate, it’s always appreciated) We also saw Stuart walking around so said hellos & introduced him to Alice.
Looking at the stage barrier, i think if the crowd gets rowdy, it wont be much use. As this is the first event to happen here, if it’s a success & they subsequently get more people attending, then they’ll most certainly will have to get a better barrier πŸ˜‰Β Β When sound check had finished, Ally came & had a chat with us. I introduced him to Alice, but he said he remembered her from when he did a solo gig at Brewery Tap,Peterborough.Nice one.
After a while, we went out of the venue to chill for a while near the car.Β Β Later we went & sat on the benches in the lovely sun. I did take a wee video as i was walkin back. But seem to have lost it.
There was a great vibe as everyone was hanging drinking beers on this glorious day.
I don’t know how long it was before doors opened, but i suggested to Alice, if we want to get photos with the VMs, it would probably be best to do it before they play. That way we could get a quick exit when leaving & not get stuck in traffic. I think at the time, the lads were watching the footy on TV. Can’t remember who i asked to get the group photo.(Might have been Danny)Β 

The lads wandered off & Ross stayed for a while. It was cool as this was the first time i’d had a proper chat with him. He most certainly has his heart in the right place. A great chap. It’s obvious he has a passion for playing. No disrespect to Matt,but, i really think he fits in well with the VMs. Hopefully they’ll make him a permanent member πŸ™‚

Eventually it was time for the first band. When we went in, the seats hadn’t been moved, which kinda surprised me. Obviously it’s a crowd that respects others. First act was “Big Boy Bloater & The Limits”. I’d never heard of them before. They had a typical rock n roll kind of sound.
They seemed to get a good reaction.Β 

Next up it was “Massive Wagons”. From memory, i think i saw them open for The Wildhearts in 2017. They have a lot of energy & to me, seem more professional than BBB. They rock like crazy & get an even better reaction from the crowd.

Finally, it’s time for Virginmarys.
I love it how, at the beginning of “Dead Mans Shoes”, Ross plays air drums ! (Didn’t quite capture it unfortunately)

A couple of songs in i try to have a little jump around/dance, but it’s not the same without the VMs family. Alice took a sneaky shot of me doing it πŸ˜‰Β 

Also, i think i had more enery than Alice did. (But as she’s already had a long day, it’s hardly surprising)
In general, i think the audience was probably the weakest i’ve seen of all the VMs gigs. Only saw a couple of pockets of people jumping around etc.
As always, they finished the show with “Bang Bang Bang”. It was so cute to see a little kid hit the gong…& was pretty much in time :

So, overall, a nice day out. Can’t remember when it happened,but, Primordial took a group photo of everyone outside…i duly pinched it πŸ˜‰Β Β We got out of the car park nice & quickly before everyone else started leaving. Took a different route home, through Lincoln, as there wouldn’t be much traffic by then.

 

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VIRGINMARYS + Dig Lazarus + Kynch + Callum Cook ,The Soundhouse, Leicester, 6-4-18

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚
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 πŸ˜‰ Still think it was ok for Β£60 though.Β Β 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 πŸ™‚
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 ? πŸ˜‰ . “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 πŸ˜‰ 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 :Β Β 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰Β 

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 ? Β (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 πŸ˜‰ 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.Β Β Β 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.Β 
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 πŸ˜‰ ). 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..Β Β 

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 πŸ™‚ 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.Β 

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 .

 

 

 

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VIRGINMARYS + Ten Eighty Trees + Quesey @ cafe totem, Sheffield, 5-4-18

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 πŸ™‚Β 

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰ )
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 ? πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰

Next it’s “Free To Do” & then, one of my faves from “Divides” “I Wanna Take You Home”. Again, due to poor lighting, the photos i tried to take are pretty naff.Β 

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!” πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

“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 πŸ™‚
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 !Β  Eventually they return & we get “Northern Sun” & “Bang Bang Bang”. Tonight they didn’t use the gong though πŸ™ 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 πŸ™‚ .Before i went to my hotel, i said my goodbyes & got a quick photo with Ally & Danny.Β 

P.S. The Hero of the evening was Ross. Why ? Because he’d not been well recently but battled though the lurgy & played the gig. Good on ya Ross πŸ™‚Β 

 

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THE STRANGLERS ,+ Therapy?, Rock city, Nottingham, 12-3-18

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰ Enough of that, lets get to the reason why we’re all here tonight : A great line up including Therapy? & The Stranglers πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ ). 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 πŸ™‚ 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” ? πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ )

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 πŸ˜‰
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.Β 
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 πŸ˜‰ )
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 πŸ™‚
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 πŸ™‚

 

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TONIGHT ALIVE, Rock city, Nottingham , 11-3-18

Β 

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 Β£30. So she booked that quickly πŸ™‚
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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰ Then Alice arrived…just as the dude was handing out the posters & beanie hats πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰ 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”.Β Β Β 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰ ) 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 πŸ™‚ 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”.Β “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”

During the course of the evening, they played around 16 songs.There was always a positive vibe in the room πŸ™‚Β Β 

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.Β Β 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 πŸ˜‰
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 πŸ˜‰ ) 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!

 

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PAUL DRAPER, Rescue rooms, Nottingham, 5-3-18

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 πŸ™‚
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” πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰
Whatever the reasons, i hope that PD seeks medical treatment (if needed), as this show really shouldn’t have happened.

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SAXON, Diamond Head, Rock Goddess, Corn exchange, Cambridge, 24-2-18

Β 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 !)Β 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 πŸ™‚ It was a NO on both counts πŸ™Β 

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰
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 πŸ™‚ (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 πŸ˜‰ )

Β 

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 πŸ˜‰ ). 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” πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰Β Β 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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰ ) . 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 πŸ™‚ 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 dayΒ Β 

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 πŸ™ (Hopefully meet next time Hannah & Mark). Bought myself a t-shirt, then walked back to my hotel. Damn it was cold !

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