It's Thursday morning around 9.45 and the Central Line is not running very well at all. A train's been derailed somewhere further along the line and we're stationary at Bond Street station. The announcements say there's nothing to worry about but we won't be leaving for a while yet. The train is crowded, very crowded, and the nearest person to me- and they're very near indeed- is an extremely good looking blonde young lady. She smiles a little awkwardly at me, I smile rather more awkwardly back. And I suddenly thought- 'suppose the train was derailed because a bomb went off on it'.
I walked the rest of the way.
At the Dominion Theatre it's audition time; Stu and I sit up in the musician's gantry attempting to silently service the guitars while a seemingly endless procession of hopefuls take their shot at the title on the stage below. Most get one song, some get two, a panel of three watching their every move. They all sound good, some sound great, they all deserve a medal just for putting themselves through it all. We finish and sneak away- I ended up getting lost Spinal Tap-style backstage, musing if any of the people I'd just seen would end up in the show, in the areas of the theatre I walk through everytime I go there. A strange thought.
The Central Line's still in trouble but I make it back in time to meet Shirley and head off the Maidstone where we're playing a Blues Brothers show at no lesser venue than Leeds Castle. We meet the rest of the troops in the car park of The Park Gate Inn; from there golf buggies take our gear to the stage while we walk through the golf course to the backstage area. It's a lovely afternoon, bright and sunny and the castle looks amazing. It's a magnificent setting for a show- hope the weather holds out...
...which, of course, it didn't. It clouded over as we soundchecked and started raining as we finished, getting a few degrees colder in the process. But we sounded good- all the usual suspects with the addition of Andy on trombone, both Steve and Ian on keyboards (Steve on organ, Ian on piano) and Rita joining Tracy on backing vocals. And we looked good too, with us all suited and booted in black with white ties- a semi-hilarious photo session of the band with the castle in the background should reveal just how cold and wet it had got by the time we took to the stage. Incredibly the audience (and there was plenty of them considering the conditions) were well up for it and it was a great show with the horn section providing an unforgettable moment during 'Rawhide'- as they galloped around the stage on imaginary horseback Andy lost his balance and, despite attempts to control himself, ended up sprawled flat out in front of their music stands. Priceless. Even the interminable roadworks on the way home couldn't ruin a fine evening. Great stuff.