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

 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 !

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MARMOZETS , The Junction , Cambridge, 6-2-18

I’ve been to The Junction a few times over the years, but was unsure if there were any raised viewing platforms or not. I know that when i saw Voice Of The Beehive there in ’91 there was something higher at the back as i filmed it, but nowadays i don’t know. So i went not having a clue what to expect!
Obviously in the past i drove there, but now i have to take the train.The journey seemed to take so damn long Boston>Grantham/CHANGE/Grantham>Ely /CHANGE> Ely>Cambridge. Took around 3 hours, but seemed longer). When i arrived in Cambridge i went straight to my hotel, which was very close to the station. For an Accor hotel, it seemed a strange set up for checking in. It looked like a bar with no check in desk! I had a nice room, which was at the end of corridor (so wouldn’t hear people walking to/from the lifts). Even though the hotel was virtually next to the train station, couldn’t hear the trains.

 

As i’m going to see Saxon at the Corn Exchange on 24th, i thought i’d walk the route from hotel to Corn Exchange so i know exactly where to go (again, it’s totally different to driving!). The online maps said walking time would be 23 minutes, i did it in 17mins 😉 Along the way i passed a Wetherspoons pub “The Regal” (took 15 mins), which i visited on my way back 🙂
After grub at The Regal, i walked back to the Junction. There was just one solitary chap queuing. I had a quick chat with him & made sure he remembered me. After the experience in Nottingham where that silly bitch thought i was jumping the queue, i thought it might be wise to mention it to said chap, so he wouldn’t think i’m jumping the queue when i come back 😉 So i walked back to the hotel & relaxed for a while.

Later when i got back to The Junction, there was only a small queue, which surprised me. When doors opened i explained i’d arranged to have a stool/seat.
What they gave me was pretty strange. Hard to describe, but nearest thing i can equate it to would be an upside down skittle ! Yes, it wasn’t much cop lol
This stool was placed on the periphery of the venue & of course, someone stood directly in front of me, so view of the stage was pretty rubbish. Wasn’t impressed by the support act. Just waiting for Marmozets to hit the stage. Won’t say much about this one. They played a decent set including the older classics & a few more from the latest album (It was the same set list on all 4 shows i saw). I just wish i could have SEEN more…this venue is no good for people with disabilities.

After the gig was over, i hung around for a while as wanted to try get the band sign some photos from a previous gig. Whilst waiting, a couple of kids commented on the hoody i was wearing (PVRIS) had a short chat with them & i think due to that, i missed seeing most of the band as they weren’t out for very long ! However, i did still manage to get a quick photo with Josh before i went back to hotel. (Thanks to the chap that took the photo) The following day, i had a scrummy breakfast before travelling down to London to see The Marmozets again…

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We Are The Ocean, Twin Wild , Standing Like Statues, Portland arms, Cambridge 17-5-15

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Ah, last minute gigs eh? On Saturday i was feeling bored & needed a fix (a gig to those who don’t know me!). So dropped a message to Cat to see if she fancied going to this. ( We’d already planned to see them at Slam Dunk festival the following week,but, i thought would also be cool to see them in an intimate pub! ) Straight away she was up for it ! That’s what i like to see. What’s that? You think you’re getting addicted to going to gigs Cat ? 😉

Come Sunday,as usual, i was going out for lunch with my mum & as i was leaving the house, my phone rang. It was Kristina. “Hey, guess where we are?” Me “huh?”(it was a bad connection to start). Kristina ” We’re in Cambridge & i saw you’re coming over here later!” Haha you couldn’t have made it up. Talk about coincidence. So we arranged to meet Kristina & Rob in Cambridge. They also decided to go to the gig then 😉 We met up in a (different) pub, then went to the gig.

It was pretty quiet to start with & tbh the support acts were pretty naff. All i can say about We are The Ocean is they are just a quality act. Man can that guy sing ! So it was a great day. Really nice to bump into Kristina & Rob like that!

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Garbage, @ Corn Exchange,Cambridge 25-3-96

As much as i was looking forward to this show, it was a bit of a disappointment. Why? I thought their sound was atrocious. Normally, i would have gone to see them at Rock City, but, i was going through my “I hate Rock City” stage (yeah, i know, stupid of me). As it was, a mate went to R.C. & he also thought the sound sucked. Well, despite the crappy sound, i still really enjoyed finally seeing Garbage live.

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