One thing I do know is that when we started this leg of the never ending 40 years anniversary tour, which having just seen next years itinerary is likely to merge seamlessly into the 50th (by the way, I can tell you we're definitely going to *******, *******, ******, ******, *********, *****, and the UK next year), I left the laptop at home. Never mind, I had such a good idea, which is to write a few notes about each evening's gig on the spare pages of my itinerary, so that I could relate some of the events/non-events of the day. Great idea eh? But I didn't manage to do it at all, so this will all be from memory, and I'm sure you all know how good mine isn't, anyway here goes...
Two of the Ipswich Gaumont for starters, had 'er behind the doors and my Maisie Mae with me, the worst backstage in the UK I think, good fun though. 3 new cheerleaders at the front on the 2nd night, who put on silver wigs and revealing white tops during TPAOY and twisted and frugged at the front, well good it was. I shan't be naming them, as I quite fancied one, but the beard will definitely have to go I'm afraid... Also saw Shona’s brother Scott, what a nice kid, dealing with something that sad must be so hard, but at least on the surface he’s coping quite well. Well done geeserxx.
Still messing with the set, I think we played the new medley, which was nice. I read some people don't like the fact that BFM is part of a medley, sorry but there just isn't enough time to play it in its entirety, so there you have it from the Rhino's mouith (posh for mouf) so to speak. I really enjoy the shows when there's no barrier between the billy and us, it's always fun to try and tread on people's hands before they can pull them away. Don't put them on the stage and no-one gets hurt, OK punks? I'm actually serious, put your cameras, hands, packed lunches, mobiles on stage and they're fair game. Don't say you haven't been warned. What I really like about this kind of venue is that you can have a great time up close and personal, and plunging necklines seen from above at a distance of a foot or 2 and can make 3 old men (Matt is too far away, poor sod) very happy indeed, yessiree Bob.. But hey, I’m not a lecher. Well not much of one. Oh f*** it I am.
Day off in Cambridge with Kath and Mae and me eldest Max who’s at Uni there, nice day, except I came over all queer, which was NOT nice, then blinked and missed my starring role in Coronation Street that night. I was feeling so grim I couldn’t even go and watch the mighty Motorhead in Ipswich, big Ah for me everybody. Come on!!! Aaaahh!!! Thank you.
Better crack on, as I’ll otherwise be here for about 6 weeks. Cambridge gig. Nice vibe all round (maan), we always seem to get a very noisy crowd there, this year no exception, blimey one gig then a day off, in Newcastle, TMFB and myself spent the evening with Martin and Karl from Morris. They’re such nice blokes, we introduced them to Jameson's whiskey and Theakston bitter after a curry, I mean they could do with a good bit of British tradition as they’re Germans, and what better than Indian food, Irish whiskey and beer made with imported hops ( I actually made that bit up, but I’m writing it so don’t care). Aren’t they about the best band we’ve been on tour with, at least since I joined? On top of that they’re such great guys, they’re coming back to play 1st on the bill at Bournemouth Wembley and Glasgow. If you haven’t seen them I strongly recommend you do. Right guys, that’s 75 quid for the plug. Really though they are dead good, why not hit their site www.morris.de and tell them Rhino sent you.
Newcastle City hall. Scene last year of Mr. Parfaits hangover from hell, this year one year older and (apparently) wiser we came saw, drank all the tea and buggered off, mind you, the chant of 'Who ate all the pies? Who ate all the pies? Ricky Parfitt Ricky Parfitt Who ate all the pies' was a tad on the rich side if you could see the not inconsiderable waistlines of the people singing it. In fact they had waste lines. For those who want to know, and I suspect there are those of you people that don’t have willies would want to, he’s either a 29 or 30 waist, and my gaad, the man is an Adonis when he’s nekkid. See, told ya you’d want to know.
On to Hull, in the beautiful city hall where I met up with Matthew and my nephew Phillip from the Toothpaste Factory. Don’t forget their CD, produced by me, featuring Andrew and on sale via firstname.lastname@example.org. Well I like it.
Pretty good gig, a reminder of what a Southern Jessie I am when I met up with Phil and Matthew (TPF bassist) for a drink before the gig and asked for a glass of Red wine "sorry we don’t have any" OK, white then "actually we don’t sell wine" Well that was a thrilling story wasn’t it boys and girls. Coat...
Francis was pretty very very good on this one I seem to recall. I have an abiding memory of my Phillip going absolutely mental on the balcony during the gig. Not a well boy that one.
Next stop Halifax, they really do have these lovely halls/theatres up North, super Bees lost 0-2 at home to Bournemouth, flags at half mast in Rhinoland. Found a pub with wine in it whenceupon I proceeded to imbibe a glass with me old mate Trevor, weird, grottiest pub I’ve been to in ages and serious wine list. Coat..
Backstage to rival Ipswich in naffness, wonder how they get Pantomime productions in there, must be very crowded, some of those changing rooms, especially the chorus ones. Lovely.
Bollocks. You won't believe it. Sitting in a, sorry an hotel in Plymouth. It must be a day off, as it's pissing with rain. However, that's not the point. I thought to myself I will hold digital court with a nice bottle of Faustino 1 Gran Reserva 1996. Shit life etc. I just tried to open it and the opener has broken in my hand, and I'm too scared to call reception for an opener in case they think I'm a cheapskate, which of course I am, but that's not the point. So I am in a not so good mood. This of course will in no way reflect in my gig reports. Ready?
Koblenz. Are you having a laugh?
Schijndel. Can't even spell that.
OK, 4 real maan... Southend. Never quite get off on this one, don't know why. The rake (angle) of the stage is quite severe, there's a mirror at the other end which is always off putting, I dunno, all there is to say really.
Went to Basel in Switzerland next for a kind of almost cabaret do, audience sitting round tables drinking, which I should like to be doing at this time, well it is 3.52 (I swear the bloke's face on the bottle of wine has a grin on it, which it didn't have before by the way) as part of a 3 week festival, of course as with all these kind of dos backstage and catering are fantastic. They took us to an Italian restaurant for lunch, one of those "this is the wine, here is the food, take it or leave it" but a very nice vibe to it. Amazing it was, I would recommend it, as I know many of you holiday in Basel as Switzerland is such a cheap holiday destination, but I forgot the name. (Bad grammar in that sentence there. As and as 8 words apart? tut tut) Chapeau...
Koblenz, what's to say? Another Cherman gig, saw the Morrises again, apparently Wayne Morris the singer is opening for Runrig in Germany at the moment with a solo acoustic set. Now that's bottle. On then to Holland, and a really weird gig. What is it with the Dutch and horseshit? Every gig we've played in Holland for the last year has stunk of horseshit, still as that's what I talk I'm bound to notice it more than most.
The tent we played in wasn't very high, so the lights were really close to us. It was mental. I watched the Ten Years Afters and our good buddies the Manfred Manns turning to puddles of sweat, and then it was our turn. We were amazing to get through that, especially Francis, his fitness level is really high and stands him in good stead in places like that, we all agreed afterwards it was probably the hottest gig Quo has ever played, except for the Glasgow Apollo gigs, where every last one of the 700,000 who say they were there remember it being at least 800 degrees Celsius during the 3 hour version of Roadhouse.
Only joking!!!! Got to fill the log up somehow. So we only played an hour and a half, sorry folks, sometimes life takes preference over encores.
Back for my by now legendary annual joke about a pair of Bristols and a right couple of rocking nights they were too, first a bit better than the second. Also renewed our acquaintance with Mr. Paul Camilleri and his band, Tom and Felix, who are with us until Llandudno We dropped TPAOY from Bristol I think ‘cos it wasn‘t very good. Shame, because I really like the song, but it wasn’t cutting it. Technical explanation another time. By the way, are Bristol City bottom of league 1 in the footy? I do believe they are. Shame... Gloating? MOI?
Bristol is such a great town. I just go off for a walk and end up wherever, and people watch, plus there's a brill music shop where I can molest instruments and recording gear. Talking of recording, which I now am, R***'* R***** is now available from our merch (that's apparently what people in the know call merchandising. As I'm not in the know merchandising it shall be) stall at the amazing price of 5 of your English pounds. There you go, stick with me, all your Chrissie pressie problems gone, especially for those people you don't like but have to give something: your conscience saved, my pockets lined. Blimey, I just used a colon!
That bastid wine bottle is laughing out loud now, so I'm off, digital kisses one and all xxx
PS. Always borrow money from a pessimist. They won't expect it back.
Again, Merry Xmas, and don't drink and drive.
PPS Big high 5 to Hayden, aged 7, who gave a me a Christmas card on stage at Nottingham. Merry Christmas. I like the way he spelt tour tore.
All Photography by Simon Cooper
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