From the moors to the metropolis - November 11
Steve, Roger and Amanda, The Wharf, Tavistock
Last spotted on Dartmoor
The initial journey towards our first tour destination took us deep into the mystical West Country. We reached it as our Tardis whizzed by ancient Stonehenge with its nearby burial mounds. An eerie magic kicked in through low clouds as our tour bus wound its way up through the wilds of Dartmoor amidst the autumnal gold and green and occasional deserted mine with towering chimney. Equally haunting was the castle-like hotel we arrived at beside ruined battlements of grey stone, impressive amidst the undergrowth. The hotel itself was a turn back world, replete with grandfather clocks, a portrait of the Queen in her youth beside poppy trays and dark oak tables.
The nearby Wharf venue in Tavistock was packed and lively from the start. It was good to welcome John Wetton as special guest to the stage, and Martin Barre (Jethro Tull guitarist) with wife Julie dropped in to see the show.
From West Country to Cotswolds, the Gloucester crowd gave us an equally fab reception, and the magic continued on... I dedicated this Rememberance Day show to Richard Stewart (cello player on several of my albums who recently passed on). It was particularly poignant, as his parents and sister attended the gig, so soon after his funeral. My brother John joined for a beautiful rendition of Hands of the Priestess.
On to the city lights... The RNCM theatre in Manchester was a beautiful venue again with a great audience. Happily the new numbers from "Beyond the Shrouded Horizon" were as warmly received as our more familiar family of tunes. We drove back through Christmas lights, traffic jams and revellers. The festive season here has already begun with aplomb...
From one great British city to another, finally we arrived in London for our show at the Islington 02 Academy, once again joined by the two Johns, Wetton and Hackett! The crowd raised the roof and there was a tremendous buzz in the air for the event, band and guests. It was great to see so many friends, some of whom had travelled for many miles, including Canada, Italy and Germany.
Many thanks to band, crew, agents and promoters... Roll on more UK dates in February!
Phil Mulford, Tavistock soundcheck
Roger and Gary, RNCM, Manchester
Gary, Islington 02 Academy, London