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London Shepherd's Bush Empire
FM / It Bites / Vega

23 March 2013

FM Tour Diary: London Shepherd's Bush Empire - 23 March 2013

9.30am again and I'm wide awake.  It's very residential round here, we don't appear to be near any shops so I forego coffee and instead shave and shower. Jick is stirring, we're once again leaving at midday for the relatively short drive into West London and the Shepherd's Bush Empire. We're stopping on the way in Ealing to pick up some more T-shirts as we're running low on a few sizes. It's another cold day but the snow is holding off where we are, the roads are clear and the drive into London is straightforward. We collect the merchandise and arrive at the Empire around 1.30pm. The entrance takes you pretty much directly onto the stage and it's an awe-inspiring sight looking out from the stage out to this beautiful theatre. For all you history buffs out there the Empire was built in 1903 as a Music Hall and it still retains lots of the original architecture. In 1953 it became the BBC Television Theatre. Since 1991, it has operated as a music venue. There you are, history lesson over.

The backline is going up and everything appears to be on schedule. Our first job of the day is to meet a guy called Chris Grimmer and sign, of all things, his car. Chris has had our FM logo painted on the bonnet and wants us to sign it underneath. How can we possibly refuse? He has somehow managed to park it right outside the venue on the pavement, there are no pesky traffic wardens poking their noses in, we sign it, have some photos taken, job done. Chris you're a fine man.

Jick and I set off in search of sustenance and we find a café just around the corner. I celebrate the final gig of the tour with a fry-up followed by a naughty - but very nice - jam roly-poly and custard… Unhealthy for sure but bloody lovely.  

We head back to the venue and I take my suitcase up the four flights of stairs to the dressing room just in time for me to be called straight back down again to soundcheck the drums. Today's soundcheck goes without a hitch and with the lovely Jane once again doing our monitors, as she did last year, the onstage sound is again fantastic. Soundcheck over there's plenty of time for It Bites and Vega to both do the same. We've a lot of VIP Pledgers today so we go and meet them for a chat, photos and signing lots of stuff. I think we can safely say all the M&Gs were very successful and everyone that attended were all lovely people. Thanks one and all for your support.

So it's back up those stairs to the dressing room to start getting ready for tonight's show. Being London the guest list is always busy and pretty manic. I check to make sure all names are present and correct - they are, splendid. The dressing room is a hive of activity with well-wishers coming and going. Didge has travelled down to play with us again tonight which is great. With showtime fast approaching I get changed for the last time on this particular tour and we make our way downstairs to the side of the stage. I'm nervous but not as bad as I'd have thought with it being my hometown show with lots of family and friends in attendance.

The band have really been playing great on this tour and we're feeling pretty unstoppable, confidence is high. Down go the lights the intro tape kicks in. Are you ready London because we are. Downstairs is seated but before we've even hit the stage the audience are on their feet. It's still sounding fab onstage, everyone in the band seems happy and it's great looking out into this beautiful, historic venue and seeing a sea of smiling faces. We come back on for our encore and Didge joins us for Other Side of Midnight.  We finish and gather to take a final bow.

The reviews of Rockville and Rockville II plus the tour reviews have been amazing. Thanks once again to you all for your continued love and loyal support.

We can't wait to do it all over again. Xx  

FM London Shepherd's Bush Empire 23 March 2013 - Signing a fan's car! View of the historic London Shepherd's Bush Empire from the stage front FM London Shepherd's Bush Empire 23 March 2013 - view from the drumkit FM & VIP Pledgers - London Shepherd's Bush Empire 23 March 2013