And so, we pull away from The Symphony Hall in Birmingham and say farewell to the utter carnage that is Broad St on a friday night.
I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it in all my days. There were at least 5 ambulances at the top of the street, just waiting for it to kick off – which it inevitably will. Gaggles of spotty youths and orange girls teetered from pub to pub, stopping only to insult the occasional police constable (who were also, strangely, either spotty or orange??)
Sodom & Gomorrah with a silly accent….
Anyway, we were out of there and on our way to much more civilised climes.
Oddly enough, although I originate from that part of the world, I’ve never ever been to, seen, nor really given much thought to the Sage Gateshead. Shame on me.
There it stands by the side of the Tyne Bridge, a cultural sentinel guarding against the cap sleeved T-shirted hoards threatening to cross the bridge and engulf the place in the immutable odour of CKone and regurgitated kebabs.
Built by Norman Foster and serving as the home of the Northern Sinfonia, it is another of those halls that never quite expected such musical ruffians as us to be assaulting its acoustic properties.
Having said that, the on-stage sound was nowhere near as bad as the Symphony Hall of last night and so, true professionals that we are, we cracked on.
Mick had a large contingent from Hartlepool in tonight so we were extra careful in making sure that the show would be the best that it could be. We both specially washed our leg warmers and polished our tap shoes.
We did, however, stop short of tuning up as we both felt we had taken care of the important stuff and didn’t want to overdo it before the show.
After the sound check Mick went off to the pub as he seemed very concerned that his guests wouldn’t be able to find their way to the Sage, despite it being the biggest building for twenty miles around. In fact, he was so concerned for their welfare, he went a good two hours before the show started – just to make absolutely sure they got here safely.
That’s Mick. Always thinking of others….
I, on the other hand, have sadly fallen straight into that general state of torpor that usually comes after a couple of weeks on the road.
The process of breathing recycled bus air for half the time and air conditioned public building air the other half, sends your brain into a sort of low level fug which renders you exhausted, even though you haven’t actually done anything!
In my experience there are only two things which can effectively defibrillate the brain in this circumstance:
1 A brisk walk in the fresh air
OK, three things…..
3 Red Bull
In the end I opted to got to bed for an hour and then administer a combination of two of the above listed items in healthy doses.
Before we knew it, it was show time and we were ready for the last show before the Live DVD which we will be filming in Manchester tomorrow.
This was our last chance to make sure that everything was running smoothly and that the whole set flowed nicely, with each song running smoothly into the next, before the whole thing was digitally captured forever on DVD (available soon in all good stores and web sites ;-)
Except, true to form, we changed it all didn’t we?
Anyway, that’s a story for tomorrow’s blog.
Tonight it was Gateshead’s turn to feel the awesome power of the optimism-fuelled mayhem that is a Lisa Stansfield show.
We were all pleasantly surprised to find out that the whole tour is virtually sold out and, if all the crowds are as up for it as the Geordies, then we’re in for a good time all round.
It took a couple of numbers but, once they got into it, the crowd were tearing the place up (that’s tear that rhymes with There, not tear that rhymes with Here)
Lisa was on form as usual and looked absolutely amazing in a new frock. In fact, it’s prompted Mick and I to wonder if we shouldn’t follow suit and perhaps buy some new socks?
After the show, we all said hello to the Hartlepool massive and once again offered our sincerest condolences to Mick’s partner Gill. There ought to be some sort of medal….
Then it was all on to the bus for the overnight drive to Manchester and the scene of the next show – which has a few little surprises to offer!