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 .