Sunday, October 05, 2008

From absent friends...

All this pretending to be the new Bill Graham (I thought that was marginally more credible than saying 'the new Harvey Goldsmith'?) is ok- and I do intend to get involved in putting gigs on there, hopefully starting as early as next month- but it's time to play the guitar again. 2 very different gigs this weekend- in the case of last night's performance, 'different' being the operative word...

Friday night saw the Chicago Blues Brothers visit The Capitol Theatre in Horsham. Despite the post Load of Hay hangover I managed to programme the sat. nav. correctly and myself and the long-suffering Shirley arrived just as things were getting set up for soundcheck. With sound guru Ian Bond off elsewhere Rod's back behind the mixing desk but that aside it's an A-team gig with Pete's wife Jayne on costume control ably assisted by Shirley and Ian's wife Nadia. The only worry is Squirrel who's got back problems- he's subdued but playing as excellently as ever. Soundcheck includes a bizarre slow version of 'Funky Nassau' as well as ongoing work on the 'My Girl' harmony vocals and all goes pretty smoothly.
As I think I mentioned last month I've recently become a Fender endorsee (I've mentioned it as often as possible everywhere else so why not here?!?) and, since their H.Q. is not far away in East Grinstead I'd invited my old mate Danny Jones to the show (I went to school with him, he's now rather high up at Fender.) Sadly Danny didn't make it ('I start phoning America at 4 o'clock; I finish when I finish') which was a shame since I've not seen him since The Stratocaster Anniversary show at Wembley just over 4 years ago. One person who did make it was Max the carpenter who does much of the building work at the shop- he caught a good show with the crowd getting into it pretty much from the start and the band playing well, if a little loosely in places... Squirrel got through it in one piece (good!) and although I still don't feel quite right in myself (haven't quite shaken off the virus yet) at least I'm playing a bit better. As John Mayer sings- 'I'm not together but I'm getting there..'

None of this explains Dave's extraordinary post-show dressing room comment-

'It's like living in an egg yolk'

-although the next night I started to see what he meant, in a funny sort of way...

Saturday saw myself, new-ish staff member Rob and even-newer Saturday boy James man the barricades at Pro Music for an entertaining day which included Rob gleefully reading out a text message from a friend of his asking him 'what the 10 best albums ever' were. Within seconds we started work; within minutes we were compiling no less than 5 top 10's (rock, pop, punk, soul and live albums since you ask) and haranguing unsuspecting customers for their opinions. I don't think we did a bad job- I must get a copy of the lists... from there it was home to get changed before journeying up to Central London for a corporate show at The Guoman Tower Hotel next to Tower Bridge. Once again the sat. nav. did it's job very well although we missed the turning for the hotel and carried on over Tower Bridge- both Shirley and myself agreed that it was worth making the mistake for the view it give us of the River Thames from the bridge; through the rain it looked just amazing.
At the hotel we meet Ian and Nadia and find The Mortimer Room which is ours to use as a base for the evening. I'd hoped during the course of my time in London to manage to meet up with former Blaggers I.T.A. guitarist Steve Perry who'd arranged a 'I'm moving down to the coast' drink at a pub near London Bridge but ran out of time- maybe it wasn't the weekend for meeting up with old mates? Anyway back to the job in hand- tonight's a playback gig with Dave, Ian and myself playing along with the backing tracks and father and son Terry and Matt in the hats and glasses. We'd not worked with them before and they were an interesting team as you might well imagine... suffice to say that the show got off to a less-than enjoyable start with the lady organiser (I never did catch her name) barking at us something like 'they want you on stage now' 40 minutes earlier than we were expecting and then walking around with a face like a bulldog chewing barbed wire for the rest of the evening- or maybe she actually looks like that? (I've since been told that there was a problem earlier in the evening with a laptop computer being used for a presentation and that she's not normally like that; perhaps I should delete that last bit..? ) After a very quick set-up we're on- most of the tracks they're using have different arrangements and are in different keys to what we're used to, and the sound quality isn't brilliant, and I don't remember 'Bad Bad Leroy Brown', 'New York New York' and (gulp!) 'Bring Me Sunshine' being Blues Brothers songs... perhaps the best thing I can say about the show was that I got to stand next to the mighty Dave Land on trumpet- hearing him so clearly reminded me of what a fine musician he is, as well as being the originator of 'The Dave Land Shuffle' which I was obliged to join in with. I felt like I was in Status Quo!

Hmm... didn't they have a single called 'Living on an Island'?
Perhaps they meant 'Living in an egg yolk'?!?

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