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We're meeting in the hotel reception at 11.am. I make my way down still feeling a little weary, I guess yesterday ended up being quite a long day. We stayed in a Days Inn and I have to say for a budget hotel it's very good indeed, I'm impressed. I don't know if they're all the same but the one in Wetherby is a goodie.
We head off for some breakfast in the nearby services and I treat Richard to a coffee
and cake in Costa. With the normal services rip-off prices two coffees and two cakes
end up being a few pennies short of a tenner... disgusted of Ealing. I'm back travelling
with Richard. We set off for Manchester and arrive without any dramas.
The rest of the boys are there and the gear is going up. We can't make any noise until after 5.00pm. I pass the time by changing the drum heads on my kit. We start to soundcheck. The guy on the monitors is great, it's sounding really good onstage. Tickets have gone well, tonight’s going to be a goodie.
Ant turns up with some friends and we have a good chat. This will be the first time he'll see us from out front in the audience since we reformed because every other time he's been working filming etc.
I have my shower and get ready for the show, the white T-shirt tonight I think.
Steve Church comes down to say they're ready for us. It's another packed house and
standing by the side of the stage it becomes apparent it's going to be decidedly
hot up there. The lights go down, we hear the cheer and the intro tape starts...
let's go... or not unfortunately! We're all onstage but Jim’s guitar amp isn't working.
The intro tape finishes, Jem hits a bass note, still no guitar... Jim and the crew
are frantically trying to get to the bottom of the problem. Poor old Jim, this is
exactly what you don't need... The bass note drones on.
Mr. O goes to the mic and announces with a wry smile "There's nothing like a big
intro is there... and this is nothing like one!". Jim’s amp bursts into life and
goes quiet again... the bass note drones on... "Great keyboard solo Jem" chips in
Steve with a smile.... Kerrang! and after what seems at least a lifetime or two Jim’s
guitar is back and we finally launch into Wildside. The audience are well up for
it and sing their hearts out. It's still sounding great onstage, the lights are good,
so after the false start its all systems go. A great gig! Two out of two! Thank you
Back in the dressing everyone is hacked off with the debacle at the start, it really does throw you and it takes a while to settle down and get back into the swing of things. Luckily the crowd were with us which helped us settle quicker. We get changed and head up for the Meet and Greet, and, although due to the venue curfew we’re pushed for time, we have over 50 people waiting which is great.
We’re staying in Chester tonight and Richard has already left as he fancied a curry and a few beers tonight especially after having to sit around in A&E with me the previous one. Go for it Rich. On our journey I called him and he said he’d found a curry house right by our hotel.
Speaking of journeys - after a couple of beers too many young JK is embarking on
one himself. We arrived in Chester and Jim and I head to The Bombay Palace to join
Richard. Richard was just finishing his meal, we sat down and ordered a couple of
pints, Cobra I think. It was about 12.45am, I wasn’t really hungry at all so of course
the obvious thing to do was order a chicken madras, pilau rice and a naan. Jim is,
to use his own terminology “F***ing leathered”, but continues necking the pint in
front of him whilst ordering a feast of chicken jalfrezi, mushroom pilau, naan etc.
He’s getting loud…
Thankfully due to the lateness of the hour the restaurant is frequented by people pretty much in the same state as him. Steve and Adrian turn up, we order more beers and they too succumb to curry lust. Jim has now taken to calling us all “Fat c**ts”. “Do you want another beer you fat c**t”, “What time are we leaving tomorrow you fat c**t” “Oi! Fat c**t have you finished with that curry?”. You get the sad, sordid picture I’m sure, but in truth he was hilarious. Jim announces “I’m going to bed you fat f***ers”, stands up and smacks his head against some decorative object sticking out of the wall… "F***ing hell" he shouts and leaves the restaurant rubbing his head.
I meet a very sorry looking, greeny kind of grey Jimmy K in town the following afternoon and he tells me he has no recollection of what happened once we arrived in Chester but he vaguely remembers using the “C” word in a restaurant a tad liberally the previous evening and he apologises. Merv told me later that Jim had left his suitcase in the middle of the road outside the hotel and just headed straight for the curry house.
Manchester Academy photos courtesy of Ian Parry