Monday, July 04, 2016

After the Deluge.

“This is from a time when if your phone rang you had to pick it up and ask to find out who was calling you”. Thus Shev introduces another song from A Hard Day’s Night at Ipswich Music Day 2016. The heads of disbelieving teenagers sway sorrowfully from side to side behind the crash barriers at this fresh import, their overloaded minds still reeling from the introduction of the concept of The Album B-Side. The Star Club are reconvened, rehearsed, refreshed and ready to go again, on the (rightfully) restored BBC Radio Suffolk Stage.

Flashback: Reado has set his drum kit up, assembled sidestage in full working configuration, ready to be moved swiftly on to the boards at the culmination of The Martells’ performance. Indeed, we are tapping out the hi-hat rhythm along with their performance of Smoke on the Water when I decide that putting my fingers unnecessarily close to a pair of cymbals probably isn’t the wisest thing I’ve ever done this close to going on stage (in fact it ranks right up there with eating a portion of coconut just before sound check) and I step back - at which point a gust of wind catches the stage canopy and deposits a good proportion of the overnight rain therefrom and onto a less-than impressed and now decidedly damp drummer. This, clearly, is in no way amusing to me at all. In fact, it’s only slightly less amusing than when, after he has managed to towel off the worst of it from his finely-tuned drums, I step forward to sympathise (“What are the chances..?” I begin) and the whole thing happens again. First as tragedy, then as farce, as they say.

My white shirt and tie are soaked. I am the Mop Top Mr. Darcy. Kilbey wonders if I am going to wear sunglasses on stage. He’s considering not wearing his specs, thereby making himself look even younger than - rather unfairly, all things considered - he already does. Reado is keeping his. “Without them” he explains “I can’t read the set list”.
And so, slightly damper than we would ideally have been if given the choice, we kick off with the traditional set-opening medley of A Hard Day’s Night, Ticket to Ride and Taxman - we figure that if we can’t pause for breath then the audience won’t be able to either. And what an audience! Stretching back as far as the eye can see (admittedly we’re in a park, and so there are trees in the way) there are familiar faces, family members, friends, and of course a whole bunch of people who don’t know who we are. “We have some people who’ve flown in from Newmarket to be here” announces Shev. There is the well-timed beat of the seasoned front man. “I’m sorry – my mistake – New Zealand!”

Most of our children are in the crowd – an average of two each (although Kilbey is batting slightly higher than the mean. “What can I say?” he shrugs, with a charming grin). Mine is perched on the barrier front and centre waving delightedly and giving me the double Macca thumbs-aloft. “Good to see so many kids singing along. Good parenting, people” says Shev as we pause to catch our breath. In front of my side of the stage there is a synchronised jive party going on. “Give me a ‘yeah’! Give me a ‘yeah, yeah’! Give me a ‘yeah, yeah, yeah!’” and we’re off into She Loves You. Just one more to go after this, two decades of twisting and shouting about to come to a frugtastic climax. You can meet and make a lot of people in twenty years. You can also lose a number. I’m not going to stop the party on their account, but a few of the names and faces get a couple of silent dedications, shades in the summer sun.

We’re packed up and ready to go, (fab) gear returned to sensible family saloon cars. “Keep an ear out” hints Reado. And I won’t have to pick up my phone to know it’s him!

Update - One Iain Blacklaw has put together a Flickr album from the gig. 
You can find it here;