It seems unlikely that I'll be able to do a day-by-day account of our Windsor week which is a bit of a shame- I'd be interested to see what stands out each day as worth mentioning, and indeed how my mood changes throughout the week, if you know what I mean- but yesterday was a good start to proceedings, even allowing for the fact that Windsor town centre was all but closed for a large part of the day (it was a dress rehearsal for today's state visit by the French President) meaning that sound guru Ian Bond had to be at the venue at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m to load in. And he wasn't alone- Pete and Squirrel were sharing his pain whilst your humble narrator was on his way to the shop to show new staff member Adam how to open up without incurring the wrath of the alarm company (they send an armed response unit and everything!). I ended up staying there for the best part of 3 hours which no doubt contributed to the nervy packing and re-packing session that I really should have done the day before but somehow didn't quite get around to.
Shirley and myself arrived at the theatre sometime before 4 o'clock to find everything taking shape nicely. We were using a slightly different stage set-up to normal- guitar, bass and drums stage left, keyboards and horns stage right with a walkway for exits and entrances centre stage- and there were a few changes to the show to rehearse, not least the addition of some dancing girls on several numbers (hurrah!) (sorry Shirl!) and a couple of new songs in the set. Band wise it's the A-Team- Richard and Dave on trumpet and sax, Marc and Squirrel on drums and bass with Tracy on vocals and Mario and Mike as Jake and Elwood, with Pete in as Jake for Saturday and his wife Jayne with the ever-expanding number of costume changes that the show seems to feature these days. Sound check/rehearsal goes pretty smoothly, and in no time at all our new friend Rob's voice is coming over the backstage tannoy loud and clear-
'ladies and gentlemen this is your act one beginners call'
It's the first of 8 shows in 5 days (Tuesday to Saturday evening with matinees on Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and it amazes me how much it feels like a first night as opposed to 'just another gig'. It takes a bit of getting used to but with Marc, Squirrel and myself all within a couple of yards of each other it feels like a real rhythm section and the first show is definitely a good one. I'm playing my new-ish Baja Telecaster through the very recently purchased Fender Blues Junior combo (there went the wages!) and using a Tube Screamer for the solos and, even though I say so myself, it's sounding good... then, during my solo in 'Green Onions', the black plastic knob on the pick-up selector switch comes off and rolls a yard or two away in front of me; I can't get across to pick it up (I was a little busy at the time) and suddenly the B.B.'s are back on for 'Everybody Needs Somebody to Love' and they're dancing closer and closer to it and it's going to get trodden on and it's really hard to get a replacement and I'm trying to work out how I can pick it up whilst still playing and they're getting closer and closer and... and... and...
It's always the little things in life isn't it? I picked it up at the end of the song, put it in my pocket and started 'Sweet Home Chicago'. Easy. But for a few moments it felt almost as though the world was going to end. And I wonder what I played while I was trying to work out how to pick it up?!?