Swimming through the Isle - November 09
Steve at Holmfirth
End of show at Holmfirth
Salford show from the wings
Steve with family - John, Katrin, Peter (Dad), Laura, Sophie, Steve
Our unforgettable tour of extremes continues through Britain... extreme rain, the heaviest ever recorded in some parts, but with wonderfully undampened enthusiasm from fans throughout the land on this best attended tour leaving a tired but particularly happy band of musos and crew looking forward to the last two gigs, while I take a moment to reflect.
There hasn't been a single duff gig. The energy of audiences was unsurpassed in my memory and that's saying something for a seasoned board stomper like me.
We checked into the hotel overlooking the Old Trafford cricket ground before going on to the Salford Lowry Theatre, named after the famous artist L. S. Lowry. It proved to be a gathering of the clans as several members of Yes descended to cheer us on. Chris and Scotty Squire plus Oliver Wakeman (Rick's son and current Yes keyboardist) and Benoit David their new singer all became backstage well-wishers along with various friends including Phil Henderson from my 1970 Quiet World days. It's no secret that Chris, Roger King and I have recently been working on a new project together. Yes have been on the road at the same time as our band which means that if I want to see one of their shows, Jo and I will be taking a plane ride to Europe. I want a chance to cheer on a band I've always loved since I first saw them at the farewell Cream gig at the Albert Hall in the late ‘60s.
Just to fill in some other possible blanks, Phil Henderson and I worked together on Quiet World's The Road album for the ‘Dawn' label, a subsidiary of Pye Records circa 1970. It was my first experience working in a professional recording studio. The ever enthusiastic Phil arrived at the Lowry with early photos of that young team with himself conducting... Phil's work has gone from strength to strength since then, having written music for the West End musical ‘The Far Pavilions' and he's currently working in a classical genre with some fabulous string ensemble ideas. Phil's two sons who came with him are also musicians. Down the line in a further blog I'll mention other fab musical characters that blew our way over the course of the tour...
On to the Holmfirth Picturedrome, an old converted cinema in the picturesque West Yorkshire town where Last of the Summer Wine was filmed. The town is like a metropolis in miniature - perfect for film making and drinking in equal measure. As we entered the place the usually unflappable woman's voice on the Sat Nav seemed to be getting confused yet again. It's tireless efforts have earned the title ‘Sat Nag'! Brian Coles our tour manager/agent, who has been tirelessly driving us through all the typhoons and fog, has often given her a stiff talking to, but to no avail. She had to be switched off for her own good as our tour bus resorted to a good old fashioned map.
Luckily despite the weather's best efforts to rain us off the theatre was full. Brother John and family braved the elements to bring dad Peter to the show. It's always wonderful to have John join in the set with a version of Jacuzzi that shows why he's master of that breathless double tonguing technique. Another bleak winter night turned glorious summer by our son of York... Now where was I...?
Oh yes, driving home Holmfirth to London nearly 200 miles and finally in bed around 5am... It's good to have a break now, but we're all really looking forward to Southampton Brooke on the 29th then Leamington Spa on 1st December. The train keeps rolling...
November 25th 2009
Salford backstage: Roger, Steve, Brian, Gary, Anne Beggs, Rob, Amanda, Nick