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Friday 12th August 05                                                                                                                                        

Robin 2, Bilston.

When was the last gig?  It seems ages, but it's not really. I'm getting sick of saying this, but we were all looking forward to playing again.  The Robin being the first gig after a break is a double edged sword.  On the one hand, it's one of our favourite venues with a fantastic audience and a very high probability of us going down very well.  On the other hand, it is stressful because we want to do really well, play our hearts out for the crowd and be slick and as good as we can be.  We would probably have liked to have done a gig the night before....just to get into the swing of things.

Roy has traveled separately, but we arrive at the venue within 5 minutes of each other.  Ade and Dave have nearly finished setting up and have this time installed our monitor desk, so we should be fine.  Last time we played here, we had an awful on stage sound so we were very keen to rectify this tonight.
The fuse blew on my AC30 when the standby was switched on.  After replacing the fuse, it blew again! Oh shit..the back had to come off the amp and some prodding about needed to be done.  Turns out the rectifier valve was buggered and the spare I had in the car also turned out to have lost it's vacuum.  Fortunately, The Robin had a spare amp in the back which Eddie used and I nicked the amp he normally uses.
We drastically lowered our on-stage volume at the sound check and this seemed to work brilliantly.  If only we could keep it like this for the gig and not let the adrenaline take hold we would be fine.

After some great shepherds pie, we settled down in the dressing room to do an interview with Ashleigh for her website.

Once on stage, we proved that we could do it!  the sound was pretty much the same as it had been during the sound check.  We are playing very relaxed and not getting over excited about the enthusiastic reception from the great Robin crowd.  It's great.....this is by far the best sound we have had here and what's more, we are nowhere near as sweaty as usual.....and it's August!

Everything was going swimmingly until my solo spot in the second half.  I don't like to have the acoustic guitar up too loud in the monitor, but as the crowd started singing along with Here Comes The Sun, it became completely inaudible.  I panicked and turned to Dave to ask him to turn me up...but it was too late!  I had started to think about what I was playing....a very dangerous thing for me to do.  I made a complete porridge of the song at one point and was hanging on by my fingernails.  I did manage to get things together for the middle 8 and the last verse, but it was touch and go.  The rest of the band know what I'm like, it's an atrocious affliction to have to think about every note you play.  Sorry chaps.
A young lad at the front was clearly reading the set lists taped to the front of house speakers and was shouting out the next song at the end of the last.  But we fixed him!...   and changed the set to include I've Got A Feeling, which has been absent from our repertoire for 9 months.

Good to be back.

Dave Hill of Slade stops by to say hello
Pic - Ashleigh Pic - Ashleigh Pic - Ashleigh Pic - Ashleigh
Pic - Ashleigh Pic - Ashleigh Pic - Ashleigh Pic - Ashleigh

Video uploaded to YouTube by Ash.

Saturday 13th August 05                                                                                                                                   

Princess Theatre, Hunstanton.

A glamorous start to the day as I spend half an hour dismantling one of the spare AC30's.  The van has traveled on to Hunstanton after the Robin show and there is no way a Vox is going to fit in the car with us, so I decided to take the necessary valve out of the spare.
Hello! what's this?  The amp is completely different to the ones in the back of the van and so there is no similar valve to the one we need for the show tonight.  Bugger!  Several phone calls to the usual suppliers draw a blank, so does the possibility of hiring an amp in Norfolk.  Sod it...we will get by with putting a guitar straight through the PA.

It's very, very wet.  The journey to the Fens is more horrendous than usual.  The traffic on the M6 is crawling most of the way, very unlike a Saturday.  In spite of this we kept our spirits up with conversations about ladyboys and the density of XXXX XXXXXXX.  XXXXXXXXXX   XX  X  XX   XXXXXXX  XX  X XXXXX XX XX X  X.  (sentences have been removed after an inquest regarding relevance, good taste and the necessity to publish musings on band members bollocks)

It was a small miracle, that saw us arrive in Hunstanton in plenty of time to hit the local fish & chip emporium.
Clare, Jean and Barbara, had traveled over to the Wash intending to kill two birds with one stone; a day on the beach and a Cavern Beatles concert.  The first of these would not have been possible without professional oil skins and sow westers, the second was possible due to having to put Eddie's guitar through the PA!  Less than satisfactory, but Ade made the best of it.

Everything was going very well for the first two songs of the show.  Derek had noticed that Eddie was perspiring profusely and asked the audience if "Anybody wants to blow John......   erm....I'm sorry  does anybody want to blow ON John"   The audience were in hysterics and I was considering offering Derek a shovel so he could dig himself even deeper into the hole he was gouging for himself.  It was, as is often the case, Derek being rather clumsy with his choice of words.  But that was it....  he'd gone....completely lost the plot and was giggling too much to introduce the song.  I stepped up while he tried desperately to compose himself.  It was rather unfortunate that the next song was "A Taste of Honey"....  and it opened up with a two and a half part harmony instead of the usual three.  All the way through, poor Derek spluttered the lyric while trying to imagine really sad and poignant moments of his life.  I think it took about another three songs before his eye returned to the ball.
Towards the end of the first half,  I introduced the Little Richard song "Long Tall Sally" and gently strummed a G chord.  Derek stepped up to deliver the first line:
"You tell lie's thinking I can't see....You can't cry cos...."
"Oi......what yer doing??"
Proving the remarkable similarity between the two songs, Derek had begun to deliver a rendition of I'm Down.  We had to explain to the audience that he wouldn't be writing the rest of the song till next year and we would do it then.  Oh how the British love a cock up!  (oooer missus!)  On the final chord of Sally, the audience went mad, it was a real stormer.

After the show, we chatted to a few people in the bar before setting off on the miserable journey home, with Eddie still sweating and Derek hating The Clash and The Sex Pistols......    what's up with him?

Pic Jean Herbaut   Pic Jean Herbaut

Saturday 27th August 05                                                                                                                                   

Kew Gardens, Richmond.

I think this has got to be the first time we have ever played in a greenhouse.  But if you've got to do it, then it may as well be one as grand and spectacular as the temperate house at Kew Gardens.
As we arrived, Ade & Dave were about to be thrown out.  They had got to Kew in plenty of time, but had to wait around for the stage to be built and consequently were very pushed for time.  The set up window they had was being reduced minute by minute and they hadn't got things as they wanted them.  Event organiser, Dale, came out and explained that we would have a few minutes to make the necessary adjustments in a bout 10 minutes time....and by the way  "I thought there were four of you?"  We explained that Eddie was keen botanist, and had gone to explore some rare bushes he had spotted behind Ades van.
Rather than traipse to the hotel that had been provided for us to change in and come back in a mini bus, we decided it was altogether more sensible to change in the potting room underneath the greenhouse.

Question: What is the most popular enquiry of band members to Event Organisers at corporate doos?
Answer:   How far behind are they running?
Closely followed by..... "And how long do you want?"

With ten minutes to go before we were due to hit the stage, Dale returned to give us our notice.  He still seemed greatly concerned that there were STILL only 3 of us.  Up to this point Eddie had been the invisible man, and was skulking round the corner amongst the artificial xmas trees  (in Kew Gardens!!!  didn't seem right....a bit like seeing Jane McDonald on Live8) { not that I have anything personal against the songstress, but I saw her singing Nowhere Man once, and I had to hide behind the couch} adding the finishing and exhaustive touches to his theatrical headgear. [if that sentence makes sense...I'm a Dutchman....  lost me flow now......]
ermmm..   oh yeah....  The speech that had been prepared to introduce us was hysterical.   It was one of those rambling monologues using as many Beatle songs as possible... you know the sort of thing...  "Ladies and Gentlemen, its been a hard days night, and for some of you, it wont be long before dr. Robert calls you up and gets no reply......etc etc..    Anyway!!!!  our cue to go on stage was Octopuses Garden. And so there we were, hiding in a load of trees and tropical bushes, discussing whether or not we would kill the plants if we weed' on them, waiting for how that salty song could be fitted into the speech.....   A unanimous 'badly"

The gig itself, was fairly typical of such soirees. A handful of people who stood, examined, appreciated, clapped and generally 'dug' us; and the rest of them who couldn't really give two shits.  "Well... I'm very cynical as you know Ted!".
I think we all quite liked the gig though, the sound was good and, I dunno... sometimes you just enjoy playing, whatever the circumstance.

We packed up what we hadn't eaten from the rider to take on the journey (little squirrels that we are), and said are fond farewells to Trace.. who had, all night flitted from being our mate to being very... agent-y..with great aplomb.  We had lots of laughs.

  Yes...thats right Derek.... the monitor IS fucked again!
 Tracy and Dale compare their communication equipment



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