I have to admit that this week is a bit of an anti-climax. After all the preparations for the reunion gig I was telling you about, it’s come and gone and we’re no further forward in deciding where we go from here.

The final rehearsal was reassuring, not too many potential ‘crash and burn’ situations on the horizon, but Steve, the keyboard player inexplicably failed to turn up! (In the morning we found out that his battery had died on the first roundabout from home and he had had to get his car towed back!)

With a running order to hand, I sat down and wrote a script to help me remember to thank all the appropriate people and to link the songs with a touch of humour, some background information and fascinating facts on the songs themselves as well as a couple of stories concerning Ralph, our roadie whose sixty-fifth birthday celebration it was all in aid of. Alright, I admit it! There was an element of using the script to pad out the set so that we guaranteed it lasting for over an hour!

Ralph had about eighty friends & family arriving for his early ‘private’ party. He had also put up posters at the venue to get a few extra ‘bums on seats’ from Club members who were encouraged to walk up the stairs to the hall. I had already made sure my family were all going to be there on the night; the remaining band members were bringing wives and a few friends so we were fairly certain the place would be reasonably full. To be on the safe side I raised an ‘Event’ on facebook and invited around forty people, most of whom had bought my book and who were all pretty keen to discover whether we were anywhere near as good as I had always told them we were!

Saturday the 17th of November duly arrived and I arose, somewhat reluctantly after a night out at the pub, for a trip to town far earlier than I felt was decent! We had agreed to meet at 11.00am to unload the kit from Roger’s van and Dave, Paul and Steve’s cars and lug it up the stairs into the Cons Club. Forty years ago we had roadies (Chris and Ralph) who did most of the heavy lifting, so it came hard I can tell you. Particularly since the amount of kit each person had seemed to be FAR greater than we had all those years ago.

While I was helping Paul bring up his drum kit I asked what all this scaffolding and extra boxes was in aid of? ‘It’s the lights’ he replied. ‘I brought half a dozen for tonight. I’ve got another three dozen at home for when I do the lighting for other shows! The whole rig takes several days to assemble!’ No wonder he has so little time to fit in a practice session with us when his day job is so time consuming!

I recognised the basic shapes of guitar amps, keyboards and drums as they were positioned on the small stage, but the PA system and monitors at the side and front of the stage plus mikes for all the equipment, let alone for yours truly, meant there were towers of kit, plus bundles of wires and masking tape everywhere!

Three hours later we had managed to run through a couple of songs, fix the settings on the mixing desk and win the battle with the feedback, so that I could get off home and have a belated lunch. After the late finish the night before, I was starting to flag! I know, but you try doing it at sixty seven mate!

My daughter Kim and her husband Mal were staying over the weekend, to see us perform. Kim’s twin sister Louise and husband Rich were going to be there as were number one son Steve and his wife Jan. We all met up in the Cons Club, where Ralph’s party was already in full swing at about half past eight. Steve kept people entertained with some party favourites on his keyboard for the next hour or so, then having given me sufficient time to lubricate my throat (!) and meet up with a lot of old friends who were part of Ralph’s invited guests or people I’d asked to join us to get the numbers up, it was time for the band to take the stage.

If you’re wondering which numbers made the final cut, then I’m sorry but you should have come! Either that or you should sign the petition to get us to appear again sometime soon, so you can rectify your mistake. Suffice to say that Cream, Hendrix, Gallagher, Fleetwood Mac, Sabbath & Groundhogs featured heavily.

How was the set received? A quick visit to my facebook page will tell you all you need to know. Perhaps the comment from Susan Fido, whose late husband Nick was our saxophone player for several years, gives a pretty good flavour and is all the more poignant as the four of us in the last group I played with, met up for the first time in forty years on the very day Nick passed away:-

‘Thank you for a great night. You were brilliant. Nick used to boast how good you all were and not having actually heard you, I used to think – yeah right! But you ARE really good – carry on!’

The best wishes from my kids and their other halves meant an awful lot to me and after initially being very negative and thinking I was making a terrible mistake & should forget the idea and ‘grow old gracefully’, Lynne came up at the end and said she enjoyed it and we were much better than she had expected. Praise indeed!

So the question remains – where do we go from here? Let’s weigh up the pros and cons:- We have proved we can still do it; there’s an audience out there that likes the music we would play.

On the other hand, Dave and Steve are already in a duo with a smattering of gigs booked until New Year’s Eve 2013. Paul has his lighting business & still sits in on drums occasionally with other outfits he’s played with over the years. Roger has his recording studio & video suite which take up quite a bit of his time and he too plays bass now & then in other bands.

In order to put on a proper performance, say two one hour sets, we would need another 14 – 16 songs. That means a minimum of six practice sessions and based on our previous frequency we’d need three months possibly four months to get ready. We’re then talking about spring 2013 as a start point. Because of all the other commitments, we’re probably going to be available for 4 to 6 gigs before the year end. Would it be worth all the hassle?

The next step is to arrange a lunchtime out somewhere for all the interested parties to discuss it amicably over a few drinks and a good meal. If you come back again in December perhaps I’ll have some news? Bye for now!

Categories: The Long Hard Road