Stand by your caravan... December 09
Leamington Spa show
Photo © Ben Fenner
Southampton Brook show
Photo © Ben Fenner
Steve and his mum, June
Nick and June at home in Tammy's caravan
The Train on the Road tour pulled in to our two final UK destinations, the Brook at Southampton and the Assembly in Leamington Spa, with many familiar faces dotted around the audience. I know some of you have travelled far and wide to be there for virtually as many shows as the band itself. All I can say is, well done, especially considering extreme weather conditions throughout our green and pleasant land! I was chuffed to meet so many people at the gigs, including long term supporters, musos, friends and family... in fact, everyone feels like an extended family.
Neil Marshall, percussionist extraordinaire of engine driving fame, showed up backstage at the Brook (for the uninitiated Neil drove the steam train used on the cover of Out of the Tunnel's Mouth). A great bash was had by all in every sense of the word, not only by Gary during his stunning drum solo. After midnight our carriage sped back to London. Luckily none of us turned into pumpkins.
Next stop, on to Leamington Spa for the last gig of the year, which is where a real Cinderella carriage, or rather Tammy Wynette's caravan comes in. I often wish I could invite everybody to see what goes on backstage, especially when you encounter the occasional mini fairground - a whole other private show that made Leamington so unusual.
At the end of the onstage festivities I introduced everyone involved with the tour, including my partner Jo and also Mum June, little knowing Mum had missed the entire event barring the last note, due to a car breakdown. Nick Clabburn, our friend and song writing Poet Laureate, was acting as June's chauffeur for the evening - a disastrous journey for them but hopefully the party afterwards made up for it.
There were many in recline in Ms Wynette's famous trailer working off the effects of the odd bucket of champagne (courtesy of David Robinson). The trailer was luscious in pink and chrome with more mirrors than any other in the world. Needless to say, Nick Beggs and my mum felt instantly at home in it!
As you can see, I'm going to find it hard to return to civilian life after such a memorable tour that fuelled up so many. I feel like I'm well into my afterlife, out of the tunnel's mouth indeed and right back into the living room already writing new songs on the crest of a wave of energy generated by the whole tour experience.
Glad you loved the band as much as I did... can't wait to do it all over again and touchdown in a galaxy near you.
A big thank you to Roger, Nick, Rob, Gary, Amanda, Brian, Ben, Tigger, Steve B, Richard, Dave, Nathalie, Jo and brother John. Many thanks to everyone who travelled with me on the train and who joined us at all the stops along the way...
December 4th 2009
End of tour celebration