We couldn’t do what we do without the support of these wonderful people
The story so far....
Lots of problems at the Sheffield gig, from where I stood it sounded like we were playing on the runway at Heathrow Airport! The gig was saved by a fantastic crowd who just willed us on and we managed to get through it somehow.
At Glasgow all the technical problems were sorted out, we were on it, Stiv sang a blinder, the gig went smoothly… peace and calm was restored within the camp.
Saturday very early, woke at stupid o’clock, Novotel Glasgow. As with the rest of
the tour the sun was blazing and everybody was in high spirits after last night's
show. We headed off to Glasgow airport to catch the morning flight to Belfast. Arrived
at the airport to find out we were on a prop plane. With Jim and I being nervous
flyers this was not the best news. The flight was on time and because of the perfect
weather we were having, there was no turbulence… result. We landed in Belfast, picked
up another hire vehicle and headed for the venue.
Now let me say a few things about Belfast… I have played there many times, but the last time FM played there was on the ‘No Electricity Required’ Acoustic Tour. We played a show at the Limelight. We had just crashed the tour bus in Belgium 4 days earlier, and we were all pretty shaken up and still trying to recover. Last thing we needed was to get stopped at the border… due to a few minor illegal substances they delayed the gig by four hours and threw our drum tech in the slammer. (What did they expect to find on a band tour bus, wine gums and Tizer.... B*****ds!) I vowed from that moment on I would never go back to Belfast.
On the drive in, things had changed a lot, it looked different, none of the Belfast I remember from old, lots of money had been spent, no boarded-up buildings, no barbed wire, no sign of the military, police, religious fanatics, all the things I associated with the city, everything seemed to be quite normal and for Belfast that’s a serious result. Makes you wonder what all that bombing and marching was about in the past, this is surely a better way of life.
Arrived at the Spring and Airbrake, a stupid name for a venue (second only to the Limping Whippet in Scunthorpe). It looked good! The house crew were on the case, we had an early soundcheck and it all went smoothly. Just before I left the venue, I walked next door and there was the old Limelight - I walked in and the memories came flooding back of the last FM gig we did there.
Back at the hotel we met up with our legendary agent Steve Strange (X-Ray Touring).
This man has had a massive part to play in the FM comeback and to be playing in his
hometown made it all the more special.
The intro tape rolled, I was feeling quite confident... that didn't last... halfway through Wildside Jim’s amp blew up (f***ing typical!). I looked over during the second song at Jim, he looked like he’d just come off the log flume at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, he was soaked, sweating and stressed, his spare amp was up and running and he was back in business. The band worked hard to recover from the shaky start, there were no more technical problems, the audience got louder and louder… Belfast really rocked!!!
At the meet and greet afterwards we met some of the FM Belfast massive, some new fans and lots of fans from old who were at the fateful Limelight show. The overwhelming feeling I was left with was how grateful the fans were that we’d made the effort to come over and play in their town... very humbling... a feeling of guilt washed over me.
Later on that evening I joined Stiv, Jem and Adrian in the hotel bar, the cabaret was first class, it was Jim Kirkpatrick after lots of alcohol telling his favourite story... ‘how he saved the band’... very entertaining. If you see him in a bar, buy him 14 pints and I’m sure he’ll tell you the same story.
4am finally went to bed... shattered... set the alarm for 7am, early flight to Birmingham.
My thoughts on Belfast? In the words of Arnie...
...We’ll be back
News At Ten
Belfast live photo courtesy of Paul Verner -
Airport & Belfast soundcheck photos by Adrian Bell
Jem’s breakfast photo by Pete Jupp