Soundcheck started at 5:00: this was more like a band-practice as they played full versions of Quite Rightly So, The Emperor's New Clothes, Shadow Boxed, Fellow Travellers, Whaling Stories, and halves of Whisky Train and All Our Dreams Are Sold. The big surprise was the wonderfully new and upbeat War Is Not Healthy. I was blown away since it felt like I got to hear an extra set. Quite Rightly So was used to set the microphone and monitor levels, and a snippet of The Blink Of An Eye.
I was handling the merchandise again. Unfortunately, we were out of all but two A Salty Dog tee-shirts until tomorrow in New York. CDs were selling briskly, as were The Well's On Fire Shirts.
Many Palers arrived, the first of them Jeff Levine, Charles Pitluck, and Anthony Sadowski. Michael Tearson, a DJ of 36 years in Philly and currently with WMGK, thought he was going to have the opportunity to introduce the band as he had done in the early 70s. He took great pride in letting me know he is a Charter Procol Harum fan.
Through reading an advertisement in Goldmine Magazine, Hank Wurst rode in on his BMW motorcycle from Dayton, Ohio: 600 miles! After the gig, he said that every mile of the ride to and from the show was worth it; that the band were terrific!
Boyd Maits and his wife, Rosemary, from Philly asked if I was the one writing the diary and thanked me.
Other Palers present: Doug Schaub, Jim Morris, (who was at Croydon 2002) Joey Barbosa from Puerto Rico, and Bill Hammel at his first PH concert.
Michael Chaudhuri and Sherry Goold, who came to the Lewisham/Catford gig, arrived just before the first set.. Michael will join us again Friday at The Bottom Line.
This is an electric crowd. CDs and The Well's On Fire shirts are selling briskly. I made 100 flyers of the BtP homepage from a copy I took the prior evening. Only 19 were left, and that doesn't include the incredible fact that practically everyone else I spoke with has visited the site repeatedly. Many of them indicated that they will be going to the site and to the Shine On page to purchase items that weren't available. Requests included One More Time CDs, the Copenhagen DVD, pins, hats, and bumper stickers. Tonight I wore my One More Toast shirt from "Croydon, 25 May, 2002." (That's my addition the recent date discussion, even if it doesn't qualify.)
Michael Scheuerman from Maryland took the 'Venue Poll' and indicated that he wouldn't have known about the tour had it not been for BtP. He lives closer to The Birchmere, but with a prior family commitment, he decided to take the longer journey to Philly to see the band. He was extremely complimentary of the hard work everyone volunteers to BtP. After the concert, he could not stop talking about how brilliantly the band played.
The show starts at 8:10.
The sound and lighting are perfect tonight. Crowd response is high right away as VIP Room begins. The band is very strong tonight.
Nice response as Grand Hotel starts, and a nice tango this evening which brings massive applause and whistling from crowd.
Gary says, "You've got a lively little street out there, South Street. It reminds one of Haight / Asbury, without the drugs, of course."
Gary's voice is extremely strong tonight, and he sings, imho, the best Fellow Travellers I have heard so far.
Great lighting from Tony on As Strong As Samson. Especially amazing lighting during The Blink Of An Eye where the tones of that day were set with a white light on Gary, and with a red cast over the stage with a fog/ash effect.
He mentions Britain, Norway, and BtP in his tribute to the website prior to playing Beyond the Pale.
A very strong crowd response to Geoff during the lead of Weisselklenzenacht, and a prolonged standing ovation for Matthew. Beautiful green and red lights crossing with a white light on Matthew.
Gary banters on about a Brazilian who came the other evening, he believes, who flew in to see them play, and the Portuguese language.
Now Gary is having trouble with a switchbox at the piano. He picks it up looks at it, puts it down and says, "Send it back to the manufacturer, Electronic Keyboard Makers of Baghdad."
Gary adds a choochoo sound at the end of the slower blues opening of Whisky Train [Mickey Jupp's Hey Bartender] as crowd response is erupting again. A very nice drum solo from Mark as he uses the cowbell, but then continues getting that effect with greater use of the bells of the cymbals. A nice applause for Geoff right after his solo.
This ends the second set with at least a three-minute standing ovation, maybe five ...
The encore brought two additionally prolonged and thundrous standing ovations for A Salty Dog and A Whiter Shade of Pale: the big surprise this evening, three verses of AWSoP and the knowledgeable response to "the crowd called out for more"!
Afterwards, again many people came to me at the and wished to thank BtP for being so dedicated and responsive to the fans. Jeff, Charles, and Tony experienced the same comments.
As we departed the front of the theater, fans were still present an hour later for autographs. Matt, Geoff, and Mark signed, and one fan had a vinyl copy of Matthew's Journey's End, which did get signed.
Well, what do you do after a concert in Philly on South Street? You walk down the street to Jim's for real Philly Cheese steak!
So it was back to the hotel and a train ride Thursday to New York with the expectation that something beyond all Palers' imaginations is going to take place at The Bottom Line on Friday!
--oe, the monocular one