Oliver Hunter writes (with help from Mike Lynd):
I left work early and drove down the heavily-crowded M1 to London in searing temperatures. It was one of those times when you're asking yourself "why didn't I buy car with air-conditioning?"... Anyway I got parked in the carpark over the top of Safeway at Shepherds Bush by 6.15pm and went looking for "The Empire" & the pubs...
The first pub I came to was "Harvey's" so I went in to see who I could find. The first person I saw was Tony Dennison shortly followed by Martin Hetherington and Ross Campbell. I got them 'stickered-up' and was introduced to Mazz & Tara and a few others from the BB, just before discovering Tony Greco & Cathy.
Tony D. & I wandered over to "The Bush" pub (picking up Ian Everett on the way) where we found Mattias Engvall and his sister Marie waiting. Eventually we rounded-up Dominic & Sonja, Mike Lynd, Sylvie, Steve & Carol, Phil & Julie and Claus & Linda. Steve kindly bought me a drink and ordered some food. Boy was it hot! Most of us were sweating...
Neel Gandhi (who I met at the Borderline gig last year) also turned up in the pub. He was again wearing a T-shirt that he had had embroidered while in India.
Simon Callow ("4 weddings..." (his funeral)) was in the pub (presumably appearing at the Bush Theatre (part of the pub) so I got an autograph from him (ssshhhhh Steve! ;-))
Ian Everett's wife is expecting a baby and every few minutes he was checking his mobile to make sure she hadn't rung... :) We all spent a while chatting to each other and 'putting faces to names' which was very pleasant.
As we made our way into "The Empire" 'Kolony' were playing (sounded OK) & we headed for the merchandising stand to check out the new stuff. The football shirts look pretty good and a few people bought them. Shortly 'Snowdogs' came on and played a pretty good set which I enjoyed with Claus.
We congregated in the front of centre-stage a little way back as people started filtering in from the pub. I spotted Steve & Carol up on the balcony and they pointed out Mike (never did spot him). I met up with another friend (Pete) who I used to know & live near in Reading years ago.
When BC came on we tried to get nearer the front during the initial surge, but couldn't get in, so a few of us, went round to Tony's side of the stage. BC played the following set:
1 - Driving to Damascus (SA: "We're called Big Country and we're Driving to Damascus.") 2 - The President Slipped And Fell 3 - Perfect World 4 - Just a Shadow 5 - John Wayne's Dream (SA: "It's about managing to keep the dreams that you have as a little kid into adulthood and not losing sight of the things that are precious to you.") 6 - Fragile Thing (+ Eddie Reader) (SA: "A song of loss and redemption.") 7 - I Get Hurt (inc. instrumental smidgeon of "Susie Q") 8 - You Dreamer 9 - Spirit To Me (+ Eddie Reader at end) (SA: "When things happen to you when you least expect them to.") (SA: "That's a very dark place indeed.") 10 - Dive Into Me (+ Eddie Reader) (SA: "This a song about welcoming people into your life.") 11 - See You (+ Eddie Reader) 12 - I'm Not Ashamed (inc. Harvest Home) 13 - Somebody Else (co-written by SA and Ray Davies) 14 - Wonderland (inc. Restless Natives instrumental) 15 - Grace (+ Eddie Reader) (SA: "A song that grew out of you people because each and everyone of you - you bring me grace. Thank you.") 16 - Look Away 17 - Chance (+ Eddie Reader) 18 - In A Big Country 19 - Fields of Fire (scratch)Stuart wasn't happy with his guitar during the beginning of 'Just a Shadow' and part-way through stopped completely. He changed guitars and made some adjustments, then the band started the song again.
Before "See You" Stuart told one of his stories explaining where the name for the song came from. He said that one day he was in a book store and saw some cards that you send to people who've pissed you off basically telling them to "F. Off". He saw one that he liked that said "See You"...
He mentioned at the begining of Somebody Else that he was really honoured & excited to have been able to write it with Ray Davies.
Eventually I managed to make it right to the front smack in front of Tony where I met a girl from Dublin called Irene (who noticed me writing track names down) who had visited "IHYLI!" and Phil Dixon & Tony Greco were right behind me - all of us 'moshing'! :)
The crowd went ballistic during Wonderland (predictably) and, of course, for Look Away, Chance & Fields of Fire. The new stuff sounded pretty good although I must agree that Fragile Thing was not the strongest of the new ones, but I'll wait to hear the studio version before making my mind up.
After the gig I bought a grey "Driving To Damscus" T-shirt, the Snowdog's CD & Bruce's 'Wild Blue Yonder' CD) which I'm listening to as I type this. (both good!)
Several of us hung about for around an hour by the stage door during which time I had a good chat to Phil. When the band finally came out they rushed out the front and were whisked-off to the F1 gig. By the time we had made our way back to the front they had gone, leaving several dissapointed fans...
I walked with Phil & Julie back to their hotel, we took a couple of pictures then they went in and I walked back to my car. There wasn't much traffic on the roads so it took me just over an hour to get back home and I was tucked up happily in bed with my ears still ringing by 2am...
All in all, a great evening - made some new friends, met lots of old friends, put faces to names and had a top night rocking with BC. Thanks to everyone for coming, playing and making it such a top night!
A special "Hello!" to Steve & Carol, Mike Lynd, Tony Dennison, Martin Hetherington, Ian Everett, Tony Greco & Cathy, Ross Campbell, Mattias & Marie Engvall, Dominic & Sonja, Phil & Julie, Mazz & Tara, Claus & Linda, Neel, Colin, Pete Jowett, & Irene Masterson.
Claus Tappert writes:
I just wanted to add some of my impressions of the gig to the - as always - excellent review of Mr. Hunter. First of all, let me say that it was really great meeting some of you guys and gals. I really enjoyed seeing the face behind the signature and having a good time talking acoustically to them ;-). Sorry that we had to vanish so early, but Linda was not feeling too well, and it still took us some time to go back to our hotel in Blackheath. Anyway, I truly hope that this has not been the last time meeting you.
Ok, to the concert. Just some flashes:
Well, that's it, somewhat longer than I planned, but I'm sure I still forgot loads of stuff. On thing I will not forget is to thank Oliver for his input in this meeting and for the nice stickers (which I still somehow have to get off my shirt without destroying both ;-)).
Until next time, Claus.
Phil Dixon writes:
Hi those of you who did and didn't make it to shepherds bush.
This is probably my first post here in about 2 years. Wife Julie is the honorary monitor (hence her name on the return address) but I try to check in on the latest from time to time.
It was great meeting everyone at the SB concert! I wanted to second Oliver's, Mike's, and Claus's messages. I'm glad they took the notes, because I was having too much fun. I drank too much to remember specifics of the new songs, but hell, I liked em! I'd buy a copy even if it the band members just hummed songs.
I win the "most dedicated" fan contest since I travelled the furthest (4875 miles, 7846 km). Julie and I had a marvelous time sightseeing London, southern England, and Wales. Toward the end, I was even beginning to like roundabouts. Cricket was on TV every evening; I watched alot, but never "got it".
Back in Utah, it's near 100 degrees, and I really miss the weather back there. I try to tell our Welsh Corgi puppy about Wales, but he'd rather lick my face than listen.