It’s a game of two halves, this festival malarkey, ain’t it? On Sunday the third of July - the day after The Maverick Festival I pulled up at the gates of Christchurch Park in Ipswich having dug out my Beatle boots (mouldy), my Epiphone Sheraton (still in tune) and a pair of black jeans to go with my white shirt and black tie (all quite tight) and was greeted with “You can’t drive that in here – it’s health and safety you see, you’ll have to carry your gear to the stage – mind you, all the trolleys are gone and the vehicles that are provided to move the equipment backstage have all gone to refuel. Is it portable?” Welcome to Ipswich Music Day - a celebration of everything great about the Suffolk scene, and a veritable "Where Are They Now?" of the Ipswich music business. Thankfully, everyone appearing on the BBC Radio Suffolk stage had decided to ignore the instructions given at the gate and driven around to the grassy expanse behind the stage anyway, and seemed to have managed not to plough through great hordes of pedestrians on their way. Having got to there in time for the opening act it turned out that there was no power and Buffalo Road, who’d reformed after ten years out of the game especially for the event, were literally twiddling their thumbs on stage for half an hour before they sorted it all out. Still, two years ago the whole actual stage didn't get delivered, so they were already a step ahead of the game, comparatively speaking. In the programme there was a photograph of the self-same band playing the 1992 Ipswich Music Day on, basically, three wooden pallets with a blanket thrown over them (the wooden pallets, not the band) which was a reminder of how far we'd come, to the point where forty five thousand people were estimated to have passed through the park on this gloriously sunny Sunday (all the bands played for free, I should point out). Once started they were as great as ever - all Sweetheart of the Rodeo Byrds and Sun Studios attitude. Lead singer Mike Summers (clearly, by the looks of him, with a portrait of David Crosby stashed in his attic) drolly introduced a number - "This is from our current album
The Star Club gig itself was a thing of wonder. From that tricky G/A/F/G/C/G opening chord (Hard Day's Night for you Beatlephones out there) to the closing Na-na-na-nas of Hey Jude it was difficult not to drift back over the fifteen years or so of pub gigs, van journeys, balls, halls, weddings, beddings. golf clubs, star clubs, barbecues and breakfasts that playing possibly the greatest pop catalogue in recorded history had brought us. Drummer Reado made an emotional little speech at the end, we linked arms, bowed for the last time, and left the stage.
(thanks to Mike Cooper for the upload)