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Madness in the Metropolis...
Preparations for my return to FM live worship began as soon as the ticket launch details were announced. That was way back sometime last year, old age precludes me remembering exactly when, but the first thing to do was check the work rota. Good, February 7, a day off. I'm down to work at Chelsea v Arsenal on the Saturday… quality. A plan was hatched. As my missus has had to put up with FM blaring out of the car speakers, the sound system at home, and from the digital radio by the bed for some years, I thought it was about time she experienced the boys in the flesh, so to speak… steady Juppy. So, all seemed set, but then an afterthought, what about taking the 15-year-old, now a dedicated Iron Maiden fan though. He, remarkably, said yes. However, as soon as the tickets went on sale, the problems began piling up in typical Dippa fashion. "If it can go wrong it will do" is one of my life sayings. Initially, things were not too bad. I, like the rest of the world it seemed, was sitting by my computer staring blankly at the FM page, fingers poised like bayonets, waiting for the seven o'clock deadline when the tickets went on sale. 'Wack' went the refresh button… nothing… 'wack again'… still nothing. Then a refresh page moment, and another and another, until finally Juppy gets word through that we've all crashed the website in our rush for tickets. Answer, take the fingers off the keyboard, open a tinnie, and wait. Fifteen minutes later, I had purchased two tickets. Yippee, we were going to the launch party. After discussing it further with the Maiden lover, I opted to get him a ticket and so went back a couple of weeks later and got a third. We were all going, it was destined to be our first 'family' gig... well that was the plan.
The first spanner in the works came, not from the boy changing his mind, not from my missus getting cold feet but from Sky TV... the buggers had switched the date of the Chelsea v Arsenal game to a live match… on Sunday, February 7. Shit! There was no way I could ask for time off from such a crucial top of the table clash and so the only thing left was to take the medicine and work around it. The next blow to the plans came from the FM boys when they eventually put up a notice that pointed out the gig's venue, the Roadhouse, had a strict over-18 policy!!!! No… double shit. I looked at Sam. I looked again. Could he pass for 18? Naaah. No chance. Thought about writing to Juppy via email to see if he could be made a special case, but thought against it in the end. But we couldn't take the risk of him going along and being turned away at the door. If he was, then, like responsible parents, we would have had to miss out too. That was unthinkable. So, the only option remaining was to look at hotels and get a baby-sitter. In the end, we opted for the latter.
I went off to cover the match as normal. The only problem was, I would be turning
up at the Roadhouse after the game with a bag including a laptop, tape recorder,
and all manner of electronic gizmos. All looked promising as I got to Stamford Bridge
early on Sunday afternoon until I switched on my laptop to find none of the keys
responding. Hence, I couldn't type in my password to get into the system. Crumbs.
This would have repercussions for later as phoning my copy over would have meant
me being even later at the Roadhouse. Eventually though, after the letter 'N' pinged
off the keyboard, it eventually sprang into life. Phew! Chelsea won 2-0 and with
the manager's press conference out of the way, I filed my last piece and went off
to meet Chris at Covent Garden.
Once there we walked to the Roadhouse and despite being searched on entry and having three tickets but only two bodies, we went into the venue, grabbed a well-earned beer and waited for the boys. I was, to put it mildly, knackered. However, while I drank another beer, I was immensely impressed by the Metropolis soundtrack being belted out over the PA. It sounded rocky but with the FM twist of the 80s, harmonies, choruses to die for, and great guitar and drum work. I said to she who must be obeyed that it was fantastic. My tiredness soon lifted completely when the boyz arrived on stage. Having first seen them at Peterborough in the 80s, and loads of times since, it was great to see them again.
Wildside got us in the mood straight away but I was left gobsmacked by the airing of Over You. This will become a firm favourite I reckon and how long will it be before we are all singing the chorus? Not long I bet. I couldn't get the song out of my head for days afterwards - release it as a single boys. We clapped our way through the set, my missus rocking along beside me, and it was fantastic. Flamingo Road was a cracker from the new album and while I liked Andy Barnett's guitar style, I love Jim's much better. He fits in perfectly with what FM are all about.
The end came all too soon but as a Slade fan with a soft spot for all things 70s, it's an age thing, it was great to see Mick Ralphs on stage with the boys. The end came all too quickly but all the planning, the upsets and the wait had been well worthwhile. We had a few more drinks, grabbed a t-shirt that fitted and ordered the album, but then had to rush to catch the last fast train back home. But then if it can go wrong it will do. The planned last train should have been 11.30pm but no, in true Dippa style, the last fast one had left at 22.10. It was the slow train home for us in FM dreamland. Well, that was dreamland in between my unsuccessful attempts to put the letter 'N' back on my keyboard, much to my wife's constant amusement.
Great night. Thanks chaps. We must do it again some time… only after the footie season
would be good. Here's to renewed success for you all!
Photo courtesy of Chris Hardstaff