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Firefest 2007
Rock City - Nottingham

27 October 2007

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Well, wot can I say… words cannot describe really what an excellent gig we all had. Nine months' rehearsals and planning paid off!! It felt like it had only been a few weeks since we had last gigged together. The thing with any band is the chemistry between the players and with FM it doesn’t get any better in my book. I have done many things since we all last met, including acquiring the label of “the penguin pianist” with the SACK TRICK boys!! But I never lost touch with any of the lads, Merv was my best man for my wedding in Vegas!! So when he gave me the call in Jan it was a no-brainer. We all were unsure how it would all sound after 12 years but when we all met up in Acton’s School Lane rehearsal room and launched into Only the Strong we all had big grins on our faces!!

For me personally it meant I could bring out all my toys, all the keyboards I could fit on that stage and then some!! As we basically built the set around what the fans really wanted to hear it meant I had fun revisiting all those 80s sounds and was able to use my latest baby, the Nord C1 for all the Hammond duties. I had just acquired my remote Roland AX-1 which thanks to wireless Midi meant I could make a fool of myself out front with the boys on “Other Side of Midnight”.

Since we last met I have had fun teaching myself the Blues harp, mainly playing to my iPod in the van!! Dunno how this stands legally and I’ve had a few strange looks in traffic jams. I was pleased the boys let me work something out for the intro of “Burning my Heart Down”, although I went to play it in rehearsal the night before Firefest and blew the reeds out which meant it sounded more like a weasel than a harp!!!

I would like to say a massive thanks to my good friend and stage manager Steve Church who not only located a new flat harp that afternoon in Nottingham, but along with his lovely wife Ali and best mate Smudge did a fantastic job looking after us all and made our gig a breeze, thanks again guys. So after nine months of intermittent rehearsals, with all of our other gig commitments, holidays etc. the day had finally arrived. I don’t think I had played Rock City since UFO but as I walked in, it was bigger than I remembered, and all the in-house crew were excellent.

We had a Meet and Greet in the Hotel at 6.30pm which was great, seeing so many familiar faces, the warmth and loyalty of the FM fans is always a humbling experience, thanks to all you guys.

After poor ole Pete’s nightmare of pedals going missing, cymbals broken etc. we finally hit the stage and the roar from the crowd was breathtaking. As we launched into Breathe Fire it all came together and it felt like we had never been away. I enjoyed every minute, even the power cutting out didn’t matter and it was all over far too soon. To hear everybody in the crowd singing along to all the toons was awesome. I would also like to say a massive thanks to our soundman Richard who, by all we spoke to, did a cracking job, and also the main man Kieran and his team who put the whole show together!!!

But special thanks go to all who came and gave us all such a fantastic warm welcome and a good reason to see you all 2008!!!!

FM Diary: Firefest IV - Nottingham Rock City - 27 Oct 2007 - Jem Davis