G Live at Guildford
Going out for the encore at G Live
If you don't tell anyone, I wont either......I turned up a day early for this gig! I had it in my mind that it was on thursday, not friday and so I only found out after having kissed my wife and daughter goodbye, climbed into the car, driven three hours and then only clocked it when I got to hotel reception.....it was the wrong day!
We are on a three date tour around the South of England, starting at Guildford, which we've played many times before. It was here in 2013, that I last saw my dad alive, this is not any kind of dramatic literary flourish, but a fact.
I often drive round the M25 (London orbital motorway) and his house was about 20 minutes south. During that summer when I found out we were playing in Guildford, I invited him along, got him a comp and we drove together to the soundcheck. He came backstage and said hello to everyone, saw the show, heard us get a standing ovation and then we went back to the family home, where he pulled out a bottle of port and we talked long into the night. I stayed over, got up the next day and left.......
A few weeks later he died in his sleep, in so far as you can have one, he had a good death. Aged 87, he'd led a full life, still had all his faculties and had a diary packed full of events when he got the tap on the shoulder from the Reaper. So my last memory of him is a good one, it gladdens me that he'd lived long enough to see his layabout son come good (after 20 years of dead end jobs). He'd seen us play at the Royal Albert Hall, read our Carnegie Hall review in the New York Times and bought a pile of UOGB DVD's to send to all his friends, so I knew he was proud.
This man makes us sound good!
The band are back to our full compliment (Jonty didn't do the Blackheath show) and so we are playing the setlist from Finland. I am always surprised by the amount of love there is out there for the band. Talking to the theatre manager, he'd said that the previous nights show hadn't sold so well.... "But we'll make it up with you guys" and indeed, our show was sold out and we got a big cheer at the end.
One interesting thing happened during the show: we usually play the song "The Model" - by the 70's german synth pioneers Kraftwerk. It is well known in Europe and we sing the english lyrics in England and german lyrics in Germany/Austria. Last night, for some reason, George asked the audience if they wanted to hear it in english or german and a large proportion of the audience shouted 'German" and so Richie sang it in German, maybe there's some hope for this country after all.
Finnish Set List/English Venue
While we were signing CD's, a man in the queue asked to see my fingers (I fingerpick my ukulele) but my nails don't have strong growth, so I just use the tips of the fingers. Will, who was sitting next to me has a mans 'mega creepy' long nailed right hand with which he can really thwack his uke. Apparently a lot of guitar players now go to nail bars to get false fibre nails stuck on.......you learn something every day.
And finally, so you don't think its all glamour, here's the fine view of municipal offices from my hotel room in Guildford, we're in Worthing tomorrow, I'll see you there.