Saturday, February 23, 2008

Newark Newark- so good they named it twice (sorry!)

Another 'one-off-up-North' Chicago Blues Brothers gig last night, this one in Newark which, although not as far away as some of the stand alone shows that we find ourselves playing, still provided a few moments of transport confusion. Since the band members are scattered around South-East England there's generally e-mails and/or a phone-around prior to gigs (often by Pete) to try to minimise the number of vehicles involved and so keep costs down. This time Richard was taking Tracy, Mario and myself (the 'west-of-the-M25'-er's), whilst the Essex contingent (pretty much everyone else, with the exception of Norfolk-based Dave the trumpet) were in a couple of cars from their area. All well and good- until I got a call from Richard; his mum had been taken ill, heart trouble apparently, was in hospital having tests, he was going to go up separately so couldn't take us... I ring around everyone to see what we want to do- then Richard calls again, incredibly his mum's 'alright', she's been given the all-clear, she's going to drive down to see him (!) so he can take us all after all... it all looks a bit ordinary written down here but provided more than a few moments of genuine drama. When we arrive at The Palace Theatre Richard tells me that the venue has 'strange memories' for him- then reveals that he played there on the day that his dad died...

Soundcheck goes well so it's time for a drink. Pete's watching the show from the audience to get some idea of how things are developing, John's back on drums again (this is getting confusing!) and the all-round mood is upbeat. The show's pretty good too, if a little loose in places- were we a bit nervous with Pete watching, or was it just one of 'those' nights? Who knows- but somehow Squirrel and myself are out of time with each other on more than one occasion, 'though from my point of view that had a lot to do with the fact that I was having trouble hearing myself (and ultimately the band) clearly. Still it all goes down well enough with the audience, and indeed Pete himself who pulls us up on a couple of things here and there but generally seems pretty pleased with how things are going.

Home time and people are hungry. Inexplicably we don't stop at the Chinese takeaway 'Wok'n'Rolls', electing instead to look for a service station further on up the road. And we chose well- the tills weren't working so they let us have our food for nothing. It had been that kind of day.

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