After our host for the previous night's show, Owen, took Joan and me on a trip through the town over to the Caernarfon castle, the oldest Norman castle, and probably biggest one in Wales, it was good to see the sights get a feel of the town. We love this place we love the whole area … It was a bit sad to say goodbye my old friend.... but we all got in the van and headed for our next venue toward the middle of England in a town called Leek in Staffordshire.
We have had mostly misty days… Some rain,, all clouds.. today was no different but with Tony at the wheel and John working the GPS we got there in 2 1/2 hours.
Our kind host for the night is a young singer-songwriter, named Adam. He was waiting for us as we arrived and helped us get the car parked and our luggage sorted in a sort of bed-and-breakfast that was clean and comfortable and adjacent to the place where we would play, The Foxlowe Arts Centre.
We had a good sound check with the soundman named Ivan at around 5 o’clock.. met the actual booker JR and his lovely wife Julie.. and their helper friend Dave... all just great people… salt of the earth… Nice to hang around and be around that spirit.
We were comfortable with our sound check at about 5:45 and headed to a local Indian restaurant that was highly recommended. Adam joined us there. The food was absolutely great and the conversation great as well ... by the time we finished dinner it was pretty much time for Adam to go on the stage and sing a few songs before we got up to do one long show.
Joan and I got there to see a little bit of Adam’s set and sat in the back clapping with other fans for his fine performance..
We got on stage promptly at nine.., right away we knew this was a crazy wonderful audience… it seemed like such comfortable fit, with equally crazy folks playing the music!
Göran Grini and John Platania were absolutely amazing tonight. Working their magic in and out of all the songs, leaving lots of breathing room in each one. Again, the hits and the up-tempo songs seem to feel loose and good and very well responded to by this great group ... we had good fun with the opening song, the Real Thing and “Track 224“ was over-the-top good tonight. Johnny Cash’s “Big River“was raw and great with amazing solos by John and Gøran.
Buts the songs that seemed to draw the most attention and get the most elongated applause again were the silent ones .. the beautiful silent ones.Among the absolute magic ones for the night were Whiskey Salesman, I Like Ridin’. Theme for an American Hero, What a Smile You Had, He’s a Good Guy as Well you Know, There’s Nothing Coming out of Me That I Like, I’ll Carry for You and of course the biggest crowd pleaser of all these days is always, “Fuck All the Perfect People“!
This audience was just really special.. An audience like this helps make the songs like “He’s a Good Guy” more than just songs being played … More like prayerful things being thought together and communicated and felt together. Some audiences do that for you .. and so far, the audiences we have been playing for have been exceptional in this regard. Tonight, you could hear a pin drop during the performance of the songs and you could hear all the little soulful nuances being played on stage by Goran and John.
This crazy, spontaneous audience brought out the best in us and them.. it was one of those nights!
After a wild Fuck All the Perfect People, with the audience singing the chorus loud and clear very early on in the song, we ended with I Wasn’t Born in Tennessee from the 1973 classic, Last Chance.
We left to a standing ovation and got a chance to say hello to some of these crazy beautiful people:
Hi Graham and Ron and Richard and Keith… Thank you all for the kind words and hi Beth and Marie.. so good to see you after the show.. Hi Paul.. thanks for the words and the whiskey.. see you at Parnell’s .. and maybe at Tomita’s in Brooklyn!
Hi Seamus and Sue... so nice talking to you both.. Seamus, as I said before, you seem like a stage performer….. Sue told me you were extremely good singer… All the best with those sort of endeavors!
Hi Vicky and Jane… Very nice to see you in the front room before the show… Thanks for all your help! .. and smiles!
A special hello to Beth and Marie from what was it, 10 years ago? When I first said hello to Ava and Anna with Carrie... thanks for the memories… and thanks for the kind words. Great to see you both!
Hi Sally-Anne .. so good to see you and Adam together at the end of the show… I have a vague / nice recollection of meeting you a couple of years ago
Nice to see Kelly and Duncan at the end.. good luck with your own singing and writing ...that was quite a little performance at the piano… As I mentioned Duncan, you remind me a little bit of a young Jerry Ragavoy.. And Kelly, I didn’t mention it to you but, as you know, you have quite an amazing voice… Good luck with all that stuff!
To wrap it up, another thanks to Adam and JR and Julie… By the way Julie, those were sweet comments at the end of the show… Thanks for that.
Long and short of it is… We loved playing in this town… As someone in the bar said… Is the perfect place for us to play… There are no perfect people here! I totally agree with that … John and Gøran and I are totally in that mix!!
Several more said hello but I didn’t quite get their names ...just know how much I appreciated all the support! This was a special night!
Hope to see you all soon.
PS. Thanks to our special friend Tony Pankhurst who is getting us from place to place and doing all the tough stuff… We all appreciate it Tony ....you’re the best!