Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Personal Milestone

It has become apparent that the group are on a bit of a run of form at present, and so we approach Sunday’s gig with light hearts. For a start, it’s the day before a Bank Holiday and so no-one has to work in the morning (the irony of announcing this later onstage is not lost on The Singer, who is currently resting between engagements, as it were). The pub is also a home game for us, being one of the first to embrace our current incarnation with offers of work and has a long and happy history of band / pub interaction. I am musing over this with barmaid Tink, who has taken the night off in order to properly appreciate the performance, and reminiscing fondly about previous theme nights, parties and post-festival raves we have enjoyed over the past few years. There was the World Cup night where we all played in football kits, the Beach Party night (the Bass Player very much enjoyed expressing his Beckhamesque side in a sarong that evening), the Pyjama Party night (you had to feel for the only audience member who joined in with that one) and, of course, the School Disco night, the motivation behind which may have had something to do with the bar staff’s enthusiastic participation in joining in with us in dressing up for all of the previous. Sadly, the pub is due a change of management and so this is our farewell performance for the current staff. They’re already down from 14 to five ales on the hand pumps…. With it being the nearest thing we have to a band local, and with the public holidays being what they are, we have a healthy brood of close friends, relatives and neighbours in attendance, all buoyed by their being-able-to-drink-until-they’re-sillyness, free from the rigours of having to get the kids ready for school in the morning or, in my case, fresh from a rather generous late lunch with the neighbours. All are in high spirits, not least the lady who is helping The Singer in with his gear when I arrive, and flips an enthusiastic finger in response to my playful car horn-bibbing upon my arrival. “Who is she?” I enquire. “No idea, but she’s very helpful….” responds the equally mystified vocalist. The set begins with the rousing big drum fill from Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight”, which is odd, because the first number on the set list is “Take It Easy” by The Eagles. We have agreed to set off in this fashion to please a couple of friends and because it seems like a good idea. This is indicative of both our relaxed state and the relaxing power of a couple of pints at lunchtime and a glass of red over dinner. At this stage I am unaware of the extent of this, but it’s not long before the solo is upon me and I find, very much as if I’ve taken a wrong turn whilst walking a route I know quite well – to the corner shop, say – in that although I know where I am, it’s going to take a bit of backtracking to get to where I actually want to be. This will occur with much more frequency over the course of the evening until by the time we’re closing with “Fat Bottomed Girls” (which has now expanded to include snatches of U2’s “Bullet The Blue Sky” – don’t worry it all makes sense at the time) I’m not entirely sure whether it’s the G before the A or the A between the C and the D in the middle eight. I’m guessing it all went okay in the end as I don’t remember any harsh glares, although all my gear did seem to be piled up in the middle of the stage long after everyone else had cleared up and out. There is a brief period of irony-free Slash / Keith Richards posing on my behalf during the encore before it occurs, even to me, that I’m probably looking slightly less like a rock legend and a bit like an overfed Dad whose self perceived cool and élan is being heartily betrayed by the squint caused by smoke from his racily-angled fag actually going in his eyes throughout the verse. So I stub it out on the carpet. Well, it’s not like it’s our mate Ady’s any more, is it? I must remember to call to see if I left my guitar stand there….

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