Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pictures of matchstick men

Bloody hell I'm tired. And I think I'm getting a cold. Not good, frankly.

I've just (just!) got in from today's re-stringing session at the theatre with Stuart the guitar repairman, which included a visit to The Jersey Boys where your humble narrator got to re-string a Jerry Jones Baby Sitar. Now there's something you don't get to do everyday! Well, I don't anyway... we also dropped a guitar off at Avenue Q (Stu had repaired it for noted guitarist Andy Jones) before stumbling home, or in Stu's case off to the pub. (Good man!) But today's not the reason that I'm so tired...

Yesterday saw the first Chicago Blues Brothers theatre date since the end of August, and it's a great one to come back with- at The Lyric Theatre in Manchester which is part of The Lowry Centre on Salford Quays. Myself, Richard (saxophone) and Tracy (vocals) made the journey North without too many problems, and arrived to find Old Trafford quiet, which was something of a relief since the venue is very close to the football ground and if there'd been a match on we might never have got to the theatre! Sadly there wasn't time for a visit to Lou Macari's Fish and Chip Shop (now there's a name for older football fans to conjure with) as we were running a bit late- we arrived to find everybody else ready to soundcheck. It's an A-team gig- Matt and Mike as Jake and Elwood, Ian on keyboards, Squirrel and Marc on bass and drums and Dave on trumpet, with Pete on hand to direct operations as well as making a couple of cameo appearances (more about that later) and his wife Jayne on costume control. Phil's behind the mixing desk, and he's not having a very good day- there are problems with the monitors which will take a while to sort out so we leave him to it for a while and have a look around. The Lowry Centre is a very impressive place- sadly there wasn't time for a look in the Gallery (although it's amazing how many people say things like 'anybody can paint like that' when the name Lowry is mentioned) which was a shame... it was also rather a shame that in my haste to extract my phone from my pocket to answer it I dropped it on the stone floor and cracked the front. Bugger! I didn't have the money to buy a case for it when I got it, but I definitely should have got one in the meantime. Oh well- another lesson learned?
Back on stage it turns out that one of the amplifiers isn't working so I haven't got a monitor which makes hearing Ian's keyboards a bit tricky- we turn them up in Squirrel's monitor which isn't to far away from me. There's not much time left to sort things out as the door's are opening soon as there are over 1,000 people coming to see us...
Back in dressing room 21 there's a visitor, and it's someone that none of us have seen for a while- Dave Finnegan. It was great to see him again after several years of not being in contact (myself and various other band members were members of Dave Finnegan's Commitments- Dave played Mickah Wallace in the film) and he was on fine form. And the band was on pretty good form too as we played a great show especially considering that we've not played together much lately. (In the dressing room afterwards Ian commented that he'd forgotten a couple of things; Marc said that it didn't sound as though he'd forgotten any of the good bits...) Talking of forgetting things Pete had forgotten has stage trousers meaning that he made his appearance as the preacher Rev. I.C. Delight in jeans (I thought it looked alright!) and the back projections that we first used in Worcester back in August looked even more amazing this time. An excellent gig- it's good to be back in show business!

It's a long haul home 'though, with Richard doing a fine job behind the wheel and your humble narrator drifting in and out of consciousness on several occasions; at one point I came round to hear an extraordinary version of 'Wild Horses' on the radio- all 3 of us were astounded when the DJ said that it was the new single by Susan Boyle- you know, the woman off of that TV show? I'd never heard her sing before, but judging by this recording she certainly has an amazing voice.

Tracy was asleep in the car when I made Richard a cup of coffee at some time after 3 a.m.- we both agreed that it had been a great night, and that it was going to be a long day today. Judging by how I feel at the moment, we were both correct...

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