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With our new album Rockville being released last Monday it's again time to gather the troops and head out on the road this time for our UK tour. I'm picked up in Ealing around 11.30am, we head off to pick up Merv and it's onto the M4 heading towards the Welsh valleys in a westerly direction. We've used the same van hire company as we did on the Thin Lizzy tour and again the van's governed at 60 mph. It's a bit of a dull, overcast and damp kind of day but nothing to trouble us battle- hardened warriors.
The closer we get to Wales the damper it gets. We're about 60 miles out and it's lashing it down. We cross the bridge go through the, in my opinion, extortionately priced £12.40 toll and we're into Wales. It's still hammering down and we now appear to be caught up in the Friday afternoon rush hour which is a bit of a pain. Don't these people realise I have a set of Paiste cymbals to polish?
We arrive close to 4pm, the gear is up and ready, my lovely new Premier kit is looking resplendently mean and sexy up on the riser. We have some VIP Pledgers joining us today so I go down and introduce myself to them. I feel a bit bad as I can't spend as much time chatting as I would like because I need to tweak the new kit a bit in preparation for tonight's show. I apologise and they're very understanding, thanks boys and girls I appreciate it.
We soundcheck and finish in good time, it's great that Serpentine and Vega will get
soundchecks. While Vega are sound checking I take the opportunity to give my cymbals
a polish. With my cymbals all lovely and shiny I make my way to the dressing room
to see what's occurring. Pizzas have arrived so we all have a good scoff.
Serpentine have just gone on stage so I pop down and check the guys out. Liking it fellas, good work. Back up four flights of stairs into the dressing room to kill a bit more time before going to see Vega go through their paces. Another winning band folks, we do spoil you, you know :-)
Showtime for us is 9.30. Back up those pesky stairs to the dressing room and it's time to choose my stage frock for this evening's festivities, a nice black and white ensemble comes out tops. Showtime arrives and we congregate side-stage waiting for the house lights to go down which they do. We hear a cheer from the crowd and our new intro tape fires up. I climb up behind my new pride and joy and bang! we're into Tough Love. It's a good crowd and the way the lighting is I can see the first few rows which I love. Sometimes all I can see is a black void but tonight I can see smiling faces and it's so much more fun interacting with you.
I think it was Jeff Beck who said "one gig is worth a week of rehearsals" and that is so true. As soon as a few nerves and a whole amount of adrenaline kicks in it's amazing how it can affect you. Tonight though, despite all that, we're on it and I look out to a sea of smiling faces singing along to every song. The show goes without any hitches and we come off really happy with the evening's proceedings. The after-show autopsy is all positive… it's a happy little camp.
We're staying in Wolverhampton tonight. It's a couple of hours in a normal vehicle but in our trusty wagon you can add half hour. It's still raining and we arrive just before 4am and I'm tucked up in bed not much after.