"The Great Big Noise"

Review by Oliver Hunter:

Whilst waiting for the doors to open, my (then) girlfriend, Jackie, and I took the opportunity to eat some chips whilst sitting staring at the sea (well, the bits we could see anyway - it was, shall we say, a 'bit misty'). We also bumped into Tony Greco and did all the obligatory "hello's". Once inside we grabbed a couple of drinks from the bar before things started.

The evening was compered by Jane Friggins (from a local radio station) and Edward Halls from (Granada & Sky TV) who are both low-end celebrities which quite frankly I could have done without. I guess they might have appealed more to the 'younger' members of the audience (which incidently included all 3 of Tony & Jackie's kids) as they tried to hype everything up and get the audience to run back and forth. I just found them annoying.... The audience was not as large as it might have been, I estimate it at about 300-400, with about 100 of those having one or two of the various VIP/Guestlist/Access All Areas tags flying around. Could have been a better turnout I suppose, but those that were there had a great time. First up, starting off the evening were...

JAM SAMBA      (Drumming)
54Kb JPG ...who are a drum band playing what I suppose could be described as caribbean carnival rhythms. They were lead by a guy with a medium timbale and whistle who 'conducted' the group with his whistle and with 'key' rhythm patterns to signify changes of rhythm and/or tempo. The players were of a mixture of ages and played 3 bass timbales, several high timbales a woodblock, a double-cowbell, a shaker and probably some others that I've forgotten! I thought they were excellent - the sound was incredible and they played together brilliantly, if they have a CD coming out I'll buy it. Mr. Halls joked that they (Jam Samba) had held an audition for a drummer, 72 people turned up and they said "F*ck it, we'll take you all and call ourselves Jam Samba!"....most amusing I'm sure..... On to:
PELT		Feel, Gonna Be Fine, Nannie, I Wish I Was,
		Wasting My Time ,Toffee Apples, Another Day
41Kb JPG Sisters Bridgitte and Lana on guitars and vocals along with a bassist and a drummer (sounds like a winning combination :-)) have, according to the programme, "captured the essence of contemporary British pop with songs that combine melody, harmony and some seriously solid and occasionally quirky rhythms, with lyrics straight from the vulnerable inner child." I guess that's a fair description, but I think I would have just said "they're bl**dy brilliant!"... ;-) My favourite support band and 'one to watch', me thinks.... Next up:
BLIND PANIC	Three Words, Miles Apart, Bodyheat,
		Close To The Edge, You're Amazing, Loving You From A Distance
56Kb JPG 50Kb JPG Pretty good AOR group - nothing to get too excited about, but they have some good, polished, entertaining (if short) numbers. They probably play a lot of private functions, wedding receptions and the like. They do however have a cool Bassist in the form of "Funky J" complete with bleached spiky hair! On to:

CAROLINE BERRY	A Million Dollars, Love In My Blood, Little Black Dress,
		Respect Me, Love Games, How Am I Supposed To Feel, Glorylands
32Kb JPG I'm not really keen on Country music, but if you are or have the slightest interest at all then you're likely to enjoy Caroline Berry. She had a lot of energy and put everything into her numbers. She had a extra band member on stage for one number - a harmionica player, aged 12(!!) who was pretty good and added to the whole affair. Then there was an 'intermission' featuring:
JAM SAMBA	(More drumming)
More of the same - very impressive, a -huge- noise...perhaps this was the "great big noise".....sorry.... :-) After them came:
SYRUP		Preacher Man, Acidic, ?????, But Why, Fragile
61Kb JPG This group are mental. That's it. Hmm. OK They're pretty good and seem to already have a good local following of teenage boys and girls who 'dance', pogo and gyrate their bodies madly whilst singing and shouting at their idols. They're quite heavy and state their influences as: Smashing Pumpkins, Therapy, Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Soundgarden and George Michael(??). They were apparently special Guests of Big Country at the Plymouth Pavillions in 1985. Next:
SACRED TURF	?????, Crazy, Upside Down, Stepping Out
		Higher And Higher, Watch (?), Holding On To My Youth (Encore)
46Kb JPG 44Kb JPG A five piece band including a 17-year-old electric fiddler and a diddgerido. I really enjoyed this band who are in a similar style to the Levellers who they list in their influences. I'd agree with their write-up which says that their "furious blend of punk, folk and rock appeals right across the board". They were great fun & I'd recommend a listen. They were so popular with the crowd that they were allowed an encore before:
TONY BUTLER	The Great Unknown, Pleasuretime, I Believe In Angels,
		The May Queen Leads Her Parade, One Day To The Next
		When The Trees Come Down, Everyday
37Kb JPG Tony appeared rather nervous to begin with and joked that he normally shares the stage "with two mad Scotsmen"! I hadn't really thought about it until he came on, but he was playing lead guitar -not- bass... Well, it surprised me anyway! The music is different from BC - rather more hard rock I would say in a style of his own, and all very enjoyable. The track "One Day To The Next" is sad, moving and beautiful both musically and lyrically. M.E. is a terrible illness and I hope this 'awareness single' will help raise funds for research.

Tony said that he was prompted to write "The May Queen Leads Her Parade" when, not long after he moved to Cornwall, he was lazing around sitting on his ride-on lawn-mower in his front garden when a neighbour came by and asked him if the 'owner of the house' was around.... (tee hee..)

54Kb JPG 58Kb JPG 61Kb JPG Tony called back on stage the support acts one by one (which meant some band members had to be pulled back out of the audience) and finished the set with a titanic Rockin' In The Free World. Each band sang a verse or part of a verse, with everyone joining in on the chorus. It really was a sight - even better than the crowd of musicians at Dingwalls for the Eclectic recording! I had a bit of a 'rock' with Tony Greco which finished the evening off nicely.

36Kb JPG After the gig I had a chat with Tony Greco and he introduced me to Jackie Butler, which was a pleasure! As (my) Jackie and I had to drive back to Falmouth and it was getting rather late we decided to make our way home leaving Tony to go backstage and hob-nob with the stars...

All-in-all a great night out!!

Review by Tony Greco:

Well that was it, after much humming and ha - ing, wailing and gnashing of teeth, it was confirmed, I would be embarking on another adventure, inspired by my obsession with BC. a trip to St. Austell to see Tony Butler's TGBN.

Normally, of course, there would have been no question in my mind about attending, but a sneak preview of my diary for that weekend shows you why I had a problem:

Friday    August 1st: Cathy's Birthday
Saturday  August 2nd: TGBN
Sunday    August 3rd: A.M.     Travel back from St. Austell
                      P.M.     Chelsea FC v Man United @ Wembley
                      Evening. Begin Holiday in Hayling Island.
To put things into perspective, my other great obsession is Chelsea FC, so Sunday's event also came under the heading "unmissable". Now, since Oli's account of TGBN deals with the factual aspects, I will concern myself with other matters. This is probably just as well since a quarter of a century of hard living has buggered the old short term memory.

I had decided, once it was obvious that I was going to TGBN alone, (I am now in a serious debit situation with Cathy, on the brownie point front) to travel by train. I am a big kid at heart and long train journeys still seem like an adventure to me! You know, since privatization, booking train tickets has never been so confusing (I hope your satisfied Thatcher! [c] The young ones mid 80's).

Ringing the telephone booking line I was greeted with an offer for my Maidenhood to St. Austell trip, a special double-secret super apex return fare for 31. My glee at getting this bargain was short lived. Sorry sir, said the teleseller, this fare is not available on the train you have selected, to qualify you must travel on the 23.00 train, agree to have all of your fingernails pulled out by the guard, and stand in a bucket for the entire journey, singing "Jerusalem". ([c] Monty Python late 70's)

Never mind there's always the slightly hush-hush 7 day advanced fare at 44, but alas, this too was not available on the journey I wanted to make. (such a shame, as all I would have had to endure was verbal abuse from the rail staff for the entire trip). So, the only option was a weekend saver at 54! Through expert salesmanship by SW trains I plumped for the upgrade to travel 1st class, I am a bit of a snobby name dropper, so this really appealed to me, the daydreams of more chances to rub shoulders with the rich and famous had already started. By Saturday morning I had reached fever pitch, but I must confess this had nothing to do with TGBN or Wembley.

My children were going swimming in the same class as a certain Cameron Johnson, whose mum was none other than Ulrika..ka..ka..ka. I was given the onerous duty to accompany the kids to there Saturday lesson. In preperation for my meeting with the lovely Ulrika, I had been practicing my dirty old man thigh rubbing routine ALA Vic Reeves for days, but alas, if the person accompanying young Cameron was the Swedish sex symbol then she had been caught the same devastating beam of light as Ursula Undress had in the film "SHE" and had transmogrified into a wrinkly excuse of here former self (actually, it was her mum). The day got worse as I boarded the train for St. Austell to find my seat occupied by a snooty woman with her delightful child Abby (ugh!) and even worse a yappy little dog.

I gave it my best shot to encourage them to move. The main thrust of my strategy was to continually fill my not inconsequential gut with beer, and then, as nature dictated, empty my bladder. This meant that mummy never quite got to relax, having to move every 20 minutes or so for me to re-fill or empty. Whilst I probably broke the world record for the number of dirty looks and tuts from one person to another, she resolutely refused to take the hint and bugger off! However, I did get some perverse pleasure from kicking the fidgety mutt, every time it re-settled on my feet.

Anyway Abby, Mummy and mutt got off at Totnes, thank God. But not before I really cheesed mummy off by pretending to sleep, snoring and farting as loudly as I could.

So the final leg of the journey was to be spent in blissful isolation. Suddenly, I began to feel a cold sweat of excitement drenching my lower body, no, sorry, the mutt had had the last laugh and had pissed on my left leg before alighting!

Finally, I arrived at my bed & breakfast around 6.15 pm. Mrs. Allison, the owner, looked a worried woman! I insisted on retracing my steps to the room several times, merely to ensure that I didn't surprise her and her husband in the wee small hours, or try and sleep in the bath. With a slight quiver in her voice she requested that I didn't drink too much. I don't think she was convinced by my claim that I was the Beaconsfield representative of the temperance society.

Now for the last leg of my mammoth journey, a gentle 10 minute, downhill stroll to the Cornwall Coliseum. I was amazed to find that the venue was situated 20 yards from a fabulous sandy beach, so, since the doors were shut (i.e. bar inaccessible) I decided to sit on the beach and gaze out to sea, and contemplate my navel.

My navel, now being fully contemplated, I returned to the entrance, and waited impatiently for the doors (bar) to open. On the way, I met Oliver, and Rita from Action for M.E. Rita invited me to the up-coming sponsored abseil event in Chepstow. Since I'm more likely to abplummet than abseil, I politely declined, at which point, with some relief on my part the doors finally opened.

I have to confess, I ensured that I was positioned right buy the doors, as they opened. Jumping queues is a bit of a tradition with us Greco's, started by my Mum in the early 50's. It does help, if you can master a phrase in a foreign language, such as: "Hasmenesem van, hol talalok egy halkereskedest!"

Shout this in an agitated fashion at the assembled populous, this serves to confuse the enemy and allows you free passage to the front, usually resulting in nothing worse than a shrug of the shoulders and a curse under the breath. Try it, it may work for you, however in order to protect myself against costly litigation, I must warn you not to use this phrase in Hungary. (In case you're interested the phrase translated is: "I have diarrhoea, where can I find a fishmonger".)

So, back to the plot, yes, there is one, sort of. After buying my ticket at the door and collecting my aftershow pass (bloody name-dropper) I set about trying to quench my almost insatiable thirst.

I can't really give you an accurate account of the concert. It has nothing to do with the copious amount of beer imbibed that evening. I just find I get immersed, (metaphorically and physically!) at a concert so to put that experience into words is difficult for me. In any event, Oli has covered that, but, it may come as a nasty shock to you, he bloody cheats! His memory is probably no better than mine. He was making notes all through the concert, on little cards! I'm sorry Oli (pun intended) but it had to come out sooner or later.

Anyway, onwards and upwards. I really enjoyed all the bands, if I had to pick one it would be a close call between Syrup and Sacred Turf. Probably Syrup just edge it because of their manic lead singer. If I could sing, was 20 years younger, not bald, fat or ugly, that could have been me!

At last it was time for Tony Butler to appear, and a chance for the Big Country fans in the audience to gather together, and throw themselves around like lunatics, which we duly did, especially to Rockin' in the Free World. For me the best moment was when Tony sang "One Day To The Next". I knew of the song, but this was the first time I'd heard it, and I got a bit emotional, soppy old git that I am.

So the concert ended, but the biggest thrill of the night for me, was yet to come. Suddenly, from being just another fan (I acknowledge Tony and Jackie's kindness over the years in making me feel more than that), I was catapulted into the inner sanctum of the glamourous world of Rock and Roll! I offered to help Tony pack up his gear, and he said yes! My dreams of being a roadie for a famous rock and roll star were fulfilled, so it was with much pride and a puffed up chest that I carried out my duties.

By the time we were finished it was definitely time for another pint. I managed to behave like a big drunken kid, rushing up to everyone I could, telling them how brilliant they were. I think the worst moment was when I insisted that Steve of Blind Panic give me his autograph. He got his own back by writing: "To Tony, you sad Bastard".

A few more drinks and it was 2.00 am. Somehow I remembered I'd told Mrs Thingy that I'd be back by 2 - ish, so up I got, and waddled out into the cool Cornish night. The hill I'd descended 7 hours earlier loomed menacingly in front of me. It seemed as though a mysterious force had tampered with the gradient, what was a gentle slope had transformed into the twin peaks of Mount Killamanjaro. Covering my left eye with one hand I opted for the right peak, and set off with a purposeful stride, which soon degenerated into a wheezing stagger. I turned into the road where my B&B was, and sure enough Mrs whassername had left the outside light on, bless her heart. (This was at my request, in order that I ensured I entered the right house!) I decided to repay her kindness by giving her neighbours a rendition of my favourite song from the Rocky Horror Show. I felt the words were most appropriate, you know the one? "There's a light over at the Frankenstein's place". If you are familiar with this little ditty, you will also remember the wailing guitar solo, well so do the residents of Carlyon Bay, although they may claim the sound was more akin to a mutant cat on heat, having it's testicles removed without an anaesthetic! I suspect that many of the people I woke wished the same operation to be performed on yours truly!

You'll be pleased to know that I made it to the door before the police arrived, and was soon safely tucked up in bed, although not before completing my ritual one legged trouser dance. If you've ever seen a drunk trying to remove his lower garments you will be able to picture the scene!

My peaceful, but all to brief slumber was broken abruptly by a 7.30 a.m. alarm call. Lying there in bed, the thought did cross my mind to abandon the idea of a 275 mile dash to Wembley Stadium to see my lovely boys in blue, but I resisted my body's aching plea to be allowed more rest and sprung to my feet with such force and vigour that I nearly went through the ceiling!

Breakfast was a painful affair. No words were spoken between me and Mrs Thingameegig, in a way this suited me? as only dull people are bright at breakfast ! ([c] Oscar Wilde).

I could tell from the bags under her eyes and the look on her face that it wouldn't be wise to invite her to partake in some pre breakfast aerobics and do "The Time Warp" with me. But, I have to give her her due, she was a consumate professional and served me a delicious breakfast.

I managed to pluck up the courage to thank her, and bid her farewell. Now for the race against time. Here is the plan:

 9.00 Taxi to St. Austell Station
 9.25 Catch Train
14.02 Arrive Maidenhead, drive to Beaconsfield to catch
14.28 Catch Train to Wembley Stadium
14.55 Cheer the lads onto the pitch
To my utter amazement, I got there! But, of course, fate conspired to raise my blood pressure on severall occasions along the way. Not least of which was the message I received on my mobile from my wife, timed at 11.00 pm on Saturday night. I won't go into details, in case you are squeemish, but broadly speaking it concerned an incedent that evening involving one wasp, three stings and a buttock. Since I could get no reply at home I concluded that the cheeky insect had not inflicted sufficient damage to prevent Cathy driving to our caravan, so with a slight feeling of guilt continued my journey.

After the match, which I refuse to talk about, (if you hate Man U stand up!), my mates were off to drown there sorrows, and were flabbergasted when I cried off coming up with the feeble excuse that I had to drive to Hayling Island. I could see the headlines now:

Greco declines beer in dash for crappy caravan on naff holiday island shock; see full story on pages 2, 5, 7, 11 and 37.

So, journeys end at 9.00 pm. Greeted by my wife (standing up) in the caravan, she kindly poured me a glass of Red wine, instinctively I ducked expecting that she wanted me to wear it rather than drink it! Oh ye of little faith, as I got up she handed me the glass and asked " How was it?"

"Cathy darling" I replied, " I havn't had so much fun since I put lard on the Cat's boil!" ([c] Monty Python).

Best Regards

Tony Greco


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