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Middlesbrough Empire
Thin Lizzy / FM / The Treatment

5 December 2012

FM Tour Diary: Middlesbrough Empire - 5 December 2012

We have just over 120 miles to drive today to complete our journey to Middlesbrough. We're leaving at 12pm. I did the Costa run, read the paper and went back to the hotel for a shower and spruce up. Balls I've left my shower gel at the last hotel. We're in a Travelodge so armed with their "complimentary" apology for a bar of soap I venture into the shower which just so happens to be a wet room, a particular pet hate of mine. Within minutes it lives up to its name and I'm in one big bloody wet hotel room. Wet rooms??? Bloody daft.

We leave on time. I've received a text from a friend who's coming tonight saying it's been snowing in Middlesbrough. It's clear and sunny here in Altrincham. I'm sure our trusty bus will cope with whatever Mother Nature sends our way on the journey ahead. We set off and the weather is fine until about 15 miles from Middlesbrough… the snow starts and it's settling.

We arrive at the gig and the temperature has dropped considerably from this morning, it's freezing. We head inside to what seems to be a very quaint old Victorian theatre. The stage is quite small and it appears we're playing with a band called "Thin" tonight as that's all you can see of the backdrop because the ceiling is so low.

It's very cold in the venue and it's a toss up whether it would be warmer outside. Lizzy aren't soundchecking today, their crew are doing it. They finish and it's our turn. Ours goes without a hitch. We have VIP Pledger and long-time fan Rich Manley joining us today along with his good lady the delightful Karen, and it's great to catch up with them.

We don't have a dressing room tonight, we're getting changed side-stage but it's not a problem. We ask the local stage crew the direction of some local eateries. Those pesky kids obviously think it would be a wizard wheeze to send us off in the complete opposite direction. We finally find a Pizza Hut so it's pizzas all round and we return to the gig with full bellies. We get side-stage to our "dressing room". The Treatment are on stage… ah! there is a slight hitch - when a band is on all the backstage lighting goes off… it's pitch black in here!

We somehow manage to get changed into the correct clothing with the aid of the light from mobile phones, that's a new one :-) Stage time is 8.05 tonight. We have Janick Gers, esteemed Iron Maiden guitar player, coming down to visit this evening. He really is as nice a person as you're ever likely to meet. He's brought his young son Dylan along too. We have a good chat until showtime. Down go the house lights, The Pink Panther bursts from the PA… time to show the good people of Middlesbrough what we can do. With Janick and Dylan watching from side-stage the show goes without a hitch except for yours truly starting the That Girl intro on mini disc by mistake after Steve had introduced Only Foolin'. Oops, sorry guys! Drummers and technology - a lethal combination. Despite my faux pas it's another goodie and I get to keep my job, result! We head to the merch stand for a chat with everyone as usual after show. Steve, Jim and Jem decide to find a pub for a pint. They return very quickly as said pub is full of shaven-headed, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal types who appear to want to rip the boys' heads off.

After Lizzy have finished we load the bus and head for Darlington to our hotel. There's no bar but we do manage to turn Jem's room into one and after a couple of beers I head to my room for some kippage.

It's snowing as the tour bus heads into Middlesbrough The FM dressing room in Middlesbrough... yes, it's pitch black

The view in our dressing room

FM Metropolis at Middlesbrough Empire! FM with VIP Pledgers Rich and Karen Manley - Middlesbrough Empire 05 Dec 2012

Photos courtesy of PJ