We couldn’t do what we do without the support of these wonderful people
Tired. Got to bed about 5.45am, woke up around 9am and just couldn't get back to sleep. Grrr! We met in reception at midday and found a rather splendid diner where we had brunch, Bellies full we headed off to Shepherd's Bush and the Empire.
Now the Empire has always been one of those venues I've wanted to play but never had done. After we called it a day in '95 I thought I would never achieve that ambition but here I am on 10th March 2012 finally realising it with the band I love. I am indeed a very lucky individual. I walk onto the stage of this lovely old theatre and look out at the various tiers, feeling pretty damn good. I came here many years ago with my oldest friend Bob Skeat to watch a recording of The Cilla Black Show when the Empire was owned by the BBC. T. Rex were guests on the show and Bob and I were Marc Bolan / T. Rex fanatics. Bob's dad was in the house band so we spent the whole day there hanging out and even got Marc Bolan's autograph. The day is etched in my memory. I even remember getting chased by girls thinking we were the band when we left in Bob's dad's Rolls Royce. And now here I am, standing on the very same stage on which Marc and Cilla duetted on Life's A Gas. Priceless.
We've hired in some extra lights and the rig is looking pretty impressive. Tonight's lighting lady Stacy has done us proud. We have the lovely Jane on the monitors who is an absolute sweetie. "Can I have some more kick drum in the monitor please Jane?" "Of course you can my darling." Fantastic. The vibe in the camp is awesome. Soundcheck is once again hitch-free and we retire to our dressing room to sign more DVDs. We have some interviews to do today and once they are done it's time to shower and get ready for the show. Being London, my family are all coming. Freya is bringing some school friends and they're very excited apparently. Even my sister-in-law is coming along, she hasn't been to a show since the reunion and I was told she was very emotional during the gig bless her. With my brother too ill to attend I think it just got to this most special person seeing us back on stage together. Love you Ana x
Showtime of 9.15pm is looming, we're side stage and I'm nervous, the most nervous I've been for all the 3 shows. It's my home town, family and friends are there and I don't want to let them down. The lights go down for the last time, a huge roar goes up and the intro tape comes on. Heart racing, I head up to the kit. I look out again onto a sea of smiling faces. Steve walks out playing the opening chords to That Girl. We're off! The venue is seated tonight and we were told by our management "Make sure you get the crowd on their feet." They wasted their breath as everyone is on their feet from the off. It sounds great onstage where I am, everyone in the band seems relaxed. There's always a little added pressure playing in London as it's where all the industry types are invited to come and cast their critical eyes over you. But to be truthful it's the opinion of you, our fans, I'm more interested in and from the reaction we're getting I think we're doing ok.
The final chord to encore Hot Legs dies away, we take our bow. These last three shows have far exceeded my wildest expectations. It's an honour to have been such a part of peoples' lives and seeing the smiling, singing, dancing mass of fans every night, it's hard to put into words... so I guess a simple thank you will have to do, but it really doesn't begin to express my gratitude for all the love and support, not to mention hard-earned money, you've given us over time.
Thanks to everyone concerned in making these shows happen. We had a blast, but again, thanks to you all for turning up, you're as important to our gigs as that bloke Overland at the front.
See you next time. God bless.
Pete Jupp xx