This trip was a "Rock'n' Roll Pilgrimage."Five nights of music and a lot of quick traveling made me a bit tired, but very worth it.
Upon my arrival at Heathrow, I trained to Waterloo Station and up to Birmingham for night one with Roy Wood's Army.I hadn't seen Roy play in over thirty years, and just the thought of reliving Move tunes live was motivation enough.
Roy gave his rendition of his Christmas Show with a band that included three trumpets, two saxes, two trombones, a keyboardist and percussionist / backup singer, all extremely talented women.Then add Neil Simpson on bass, the fantastic Roy Adams on drums, and Roy who did play the bagpipe: it was memorable.
Many Move and Wizzard tunes were played, including I Can Hear The Grass Grow, Blackberry Way, Fire Brigade, Roy's Revenge, and California Man to name a few: it was a "Move"-ing evening.
The next day it was off to Dusseldorf / Dinslaken in Germany to see Roger Chapman and The Shortlist with PH's Geoff Whitehorn.
I waited for the band to go onstage and then worked my way across the room to the front of the stage where Geoff stood.As the song progressed, Geoff happened to catch sight of me and appeared stunned. He had heard I was going to Copenhagen and didn't know that I had cancelled that in favor of seeing him and Roy play.
He started talking to me from the stage as he was playing and between the next two songs.After the set, I went backstage where we had a nice visit which included introductions, wine, and conversation with Roger's band: all great players and nice guys.Geoff mentioned that he had seen Michael Ackermann in the crowd the prior evening, but that Michael had left and they never connected.
I was introduced to a young woman named Mickey who was leaving the following week to help her uncle run his business just outside of Las Vegas.I believe she was working with Roger on tour as an assistant or as a promoter.I mentioned that I will be in Vegas from January 8 to 11 for the Consumer Electronics Show, and Geoff suggested we exchange info.We have communicated and will meet again next week.
We had 'phone calls with Jens and Roland from backstage.I recall Roland telling me that when his 'phone rang, he turned to Jill from LA who was staying with him and Linda and said, "That will be Geoff." We had a good laugh about that.
Then it was off to Heathrow again for trains out to Hastener and over to Chiddingfold for the first of Franky and Gary's charity shows.
I had a great room in a great inn called "The Swan."Palers will remember that Gary was a co-owner at one time with Roger Taylor.It was a very pleasant and comfortable place to stay.
Two nights and a luncheon with the band and Palers, includinga personal message from The Shortlist to Frank Mead brought a good laugh and nice conversations with Frank, Dave, and Henry.Surprisingly, for the second year running, I still haven't met Andy.
The two Chiddingfold shows were fantastic.And now that EC is due for a Cream reunion, I was taken more this year than last year by his vocal edge.I was wondering the other night if his inspiration for a reunion was partly inspired by the Crossroads Guitar Festivals he did this past year which I saw the other night on PBS.
On Sunday, we were off to Southend where we celebrated dinner in true PH style with Indian foods and curry. It was nice to see Paramount Mick Brownlee and to hear of the Radio Caroline shows.
Then it was back to Heathrow and off to Los Angeles, home for a clean-up and out to my brother's twentieth anniversary party.Needless to say, I was somewhat comatose when I got back home.
Outside of my typical hacking cough that I seem to get every trip, and which is just about gone, it was another wonderful time with Palers, great musicians, and most importantly Franky and Gary's very important charities.
To end, just a personal note – but you will no doubt hear about it – Brooker was fine at lunch on Saturday.For some unknown reason, and one he attributed to a shot of whisky gone bad, his voice got very hoarse that evening.He struggled a little, but made it through the show.It reminded me of a concert a couple of years ago in Croydon where the same thing happened prior to a PH show.
During the lunch I had passed by him and he said something like, "Oh, the Growling American."
When he came off stage at the end of the evening, I said, "I guess now I can call you The Growling Englishman."We had a nice conversation, which included American politics.
All in all, since over ninety people purchased Shoes tickets through BTP: it was impressive that Palers made such a nice contribution to their charitable causes. And I certainly got the impression that Franky and Gary are very appreciative of the support given by Palers.
Well, now we wait for 6 March.It should be fun thinking about what a setlist will look like and the opportunity to hear Josh play.I met him last year at the charity gigs.He's a nice guy and very dedicated to and comprehending of the PH catalogue.
See ya all at the Bloomsbury!
oe, the monocular one