Time for another 3-in-a-row for myself and the Blues Brothers boys:-
Thursday's show was at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Liverpool- a benefit night for the Merseyside Police Charitable Foundation (yes, I know- but I thought I'd let you do the punchlines this time). Myself and the long-suffering Shirley travelled up the day before so I could see some of my relatives- in the course of visiting my Uncle George and Auntie Joyce I was shown some photo's of my Grandad that I'd not seen before (he died in 1950) as well as a letter written by my Mum (strange- but great- to see her handwriting again).
The Crowne Plaza is part of a new development on The Princess Dock. Shirley's not too keen on tunnels but we made it through The Mersey Tunnel without too much drama before getting lost trying to find the venue; somebody once told me that Liverpool is officially the worst signposted city in Britain and I for one can't think of a place that's more difficult to find your way around. Still we got there eventually to find everyone all present and correct- it's Mario'n'Mike's first gig together as Jake'n'Elwood; Andy & Dave are on sax & trumpet, Steve's on keys, Keith's on drums and Squirrel's on bass. After a quick sound check it's off upstairs to our room which was previously occupied by KK Leisure- I misread this as 'KKK Leisure' which made for an interesting thought... Andy & Dave are swapping stories about the legendary drummer Phil Seaman (hilarious!) and there's a few set-list changes to discuss before some food- then it's 'hurry-up-and-wait' time as usual. The Everton match is on T.V.- strange as it's happening about 2 miles from where we are- and there's some very nice sporting memorabilia in the charity auction. Eventually we get our turn- and the dance floor's busy more or less from the word go, a rare occurrence at an event such as this. There's a few mad moment's on stage with at least one sax solo going missing but all thing's considered it's a good show. Back upstairs afterwards and Dave's writing with a Merseyside Police pen that he's 'acquired'- again I'll let you do the punchlines...
Friday and we're at The Pizza Express in Maidstone. It's a l-o-n-g haul down the country with Shirl and myself managing to avoid too many hold-ups until we reach the dreaded M25; we find 'Smooth Radio' just as the traffic report comes on- 'shall I just say that it's Friday and the M25's busy?' And he's right, it's a virtual standstill. Through the magic of mobile phones I keep the band informed of my lack of progress; a surreal moment occurs as 'MacArthur Park' by Richard Harris (one of the great 'mad' recordings of all time methinks) plays on the radio and the bumper sticker on the car next to us reads 'I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe'. I know the feeling... we arrive just in time to see the rest of the band finishing their pizza's. I thought the stage had been extended but they've just changed the position of the piano giving the rest of us more room. It's a great gig with the rather peculiar site of people dancing whilst eating and Mario singing the intro to 'Do You Love Me?' to the girl on the front table. Excellent.
Saturday's a shop day- usual madness!- before heading off to Brentwood for the third of the three. It's a 30th wedding anniversary party in a very big tent in the very big garden of a very big house- Adam replaces Dave on trumpet and a very nervous Neil replaces Mario in the hat'n'glasses. He's done duo/playback shows with Mike but not played with the band before. Again it's 'hurry-up-and-wait' time with the projected 10 o'clock start time only ever a rough guide- we go on around 10.30 to initial bemusement (I believe that the audience had been kept in the dark as to what type of band we were) then much dancing and somewhat drunken merriment. I used my Baja Telecaster for the first time (I'd forgotten to use it at the other 2 shows!) and it sounded and felt as great as I hoped it would. But the real revelation was Neil- quiet to the point of withdrawal before the show, on stage he became Jake. Superb.
We got home sometime after 2 o'clock- and then, it being the end of British Summer Time, put the clock back by one hour. I woke up today feeling almost jet-lagged. Strange what a difference an hour makes isn't it? I mean, it can't be anything to do with the previous few days- can it?