20 or so years ago I bought a Pioneer Cassette deck with 5 band equalizer for my Ford Capri. It was the best bit of HiFi I owned and I loved it. I loved the car too with its huge bonnet, small racing steering wheel and cack brown upholstery. Better still, every time I got in it and fired it up, more often than not the tape deck would whirr to life with one of nine songs from what could easily be my favorite album of all time, Seasons End. Fast forward 20 years and here we are having just finished touring with Marillion, the band that played the soundtrack to most of my 20’s, how chuffed am I ….
Turning up at Manchester was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Walking into the venue and seeing the stage set for the first time was awesome. I didn’t care that we didn’t have a huge amount of space on stage or that I was going to front the band for only the second time or that Dave our bass player was playing his first ever gig with us, we were supporting Marillion and it was going to be brilliant. Hopefully…..
Walking out on stage for the first time and seeing the “sea of faces” generically stood with arms folded giving that “come on then, impress us” vibe was terrifying. Marillion fans are probably the most passionate, loyal and critical of any music fan on the planet, so the build up to that moment was intense (to say the least) and it’s fair to say I was s**tting my pants! I needn’t have worried. The band played incredibly well, I didn’t forget any lyrics, the gear behaved itself and our sound engineer, Chris, proved himself indispensable once again along with the rest of our crew.
The Fans though, it has to be said, were the highlight by far. For all four shows. They were f**king superb. Never in a million years did I imagine such a great turnout and such a rapturous reception for a largely unknown support band, so sincerely “thank you, whoever you are ….“
How do you follow four dates touring the country with your favorite band? Well, you hop in a Splitter van and head off to Holland, or more specifically to The Boerderij in Zoetermeer to play at the IO Pages festival.
Spending 36 hours in a splitter is no fun. In fact, it’s pure torture! Even if you’re accompanied by a wonderful bunch of people who laugh at everything, even if your driver stops every 5 minutes to let you out for a Smoke (on the pretence of having a “refreshment” break), EVEN if you’re off to play in a Holland to lovely Dutch people, it’s still a bind. That said, I’d do it again tomorrow if that was the venue we were playing. What a fantastic gig! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves despite being absolutely whacked. Thanks to everyone who came to see us for a great turn out and phenomenal welcome. I know there were people there who’d made longer journeys than ours (though undoubtedly in more comfort!) so special thanks to them.
Well that’s almost it for now. There’s one more gig announcement pending, but we’ll come to that a little later! I would however like to thank a few people by name … just for being awesome …
Mark Kelly, Pete Trewavas, Ian Mosley, Steve Rothery, Steve Hogarth, Rich Lee, Lucy Jordache, Stephanie Bradley, Jim Sanders – Thank you for everything.
Frans Keylard, Menno Schouten, Nick Keylard, Brendan Leber – sorry for being wimps, not living up to the DeeExpus name and going to bed without any form of partying. We’ll make it up to you I promise!
Ralph Rea, Carolyn Hughes – thank you for doing just the best job of looking after us.
Paul Paciorek, Paul James and Chris Hawkins – we couldn’t ask for better crew. Thanks for all of the time you put in, way beyond what was asked or expected.
Chris Lynch – 6th member of the live band, thanks mate for your professional and occasionally superhuman efforts.
Dave Anderson, Michael McCrystal, Henry Rogers, Mike Varty – the best band in the world. Potentially 😉 x
Finally, a thousand apologies to the poor duty manager at a certain hotel for putting up with Me, Henry and Mike Varty (oooh yes!!) til stupid o’clock in the morning. I’d like to state for the record that it was all Vartys fault.
Once again, thank you all for your support and see you all soon!