2016 - Part 2
So, moving swiftly on... which I have done, in Glasgow now, doing the usual, waiting to play. Only 3 shows left, there's a lot of walking wounded here, as in Andrew and me both with voice problems, my knee giving me gyp and I'm just getting over the shits as we real men call them, possibly too much information there but I could go into detail, so it could have been worse. Much worse.
So, to continue...
We got back home from Turkey, both saddened and to be honest pissed off, with the what do we do now question. That soon answered itself when I had a call from Simon asking if Freddie would step in for the gig that weekend in Windemere. It was a charity show, a benefit for the victims of the recent floods in Cumbria, and (unintentional pun coming up) if we couldn't do it they'd probably go under financially. Freddie was on tour at the time with his band Flawes, but agreed to do it. The only problem was they were recording a BBC Yorkshire session in Sheffield that day. The radio station kindly agreed to bring their session forward by an hour, so as they finished he was picked up, taken to the airport and helicoptered to the local golf club, where daddy was waiting for him with a beer and a sandwich. Nice touch, the H for the landing area was made of golf balls.
Out swans Freddie, cool as you like, we get to the gig half an hour before show time, he goes on with no rehearsal, no soundcheck, playing a guitar of Rick's he's never even seen before and rocked it out without a cockup. What a guy, iced water in his veins that one, I'd have been shitting it but he, like all my children, never ceases to amaze me, mostly in a good way, but not always. I mean there's only room for one perfect person in every family, right?
Freddie was available for a while so we decided that the show must go on. I'm sure the naysayers would say we shouldn't have, but there you go, I've got my opinion as well you know. It's also my work, and if we stopped there'd have been a lot of fed up people who were looking forward to seeing Status Quo that summer, let alone all the people that work for us and the knock on effect that has. And, for the very very last time to a few people out there, and I mean a few, if you read this purely to criticise and be negative, then why are you reading it? The good thing for me is I have the metaphorical microphone, and you will only hurt your throats.
Anyway, enough of that, I'm a positive kind of guy.
Doctor Lee Hawkins is the man with the site, which I use if I don't remember our schedule so excuse me while I look it up, back in a mo...
The next few shows were in Scandinavia, starting with Norway, Freddie had never been to Scanda in the summer, and it was so beautiful, especially in Norway where it didn't get dark, great times. I don't know how word got around, but after a couple of shows I noticed there was always lots of good looking women of all ages standing in front of Freddie. I couldn't understand why...
My opinion only of course but Fred really started to grow in stature as the shows went on, he's not Rick, we all know that, but someone's got to do it and I'm so thrilled it was him. He learned guitar from Rossi and Parfitt when he was starting out, so it's not like he doesn't have a good perspective on how it should sound. We played Stockholm Tivoli, fantastic show, about 20 thousand I'd say, and he and Francis even did a spot of lick trading (that's not a sexual connotation by the way) in the encore, that was a first for me. By the way I haven't mentioned Ricardo as yet because there wasn't anything to tell at this time. We were all being kept in the loop, and it was a relief to hear the operation to fit his defibrillater had been a success, although he was still a way away from leaving hospital. In a way it was good to hear he was going stir crazy in there, a sure sign he was on the mend, patience is not his strongest suit.
Rochester castle, and all the family, including my 97 year old mum got to see the show, how cool is that? Other memorable shows, the Roman amphitheatre in Pula, Croatia, funnily enough the location of an earlier Rick warning, (mild heart attacks they're called) fantastic place. When they say "we've 'ad 'em all 'ere", at Rochester they 'ave; Christians, Romans, Emperors, Lions, slaughter, carnage, orgies and Quo. What more is there?
One disadvantage of being on the road with your kids is that they can mess up the bullshit quotient. We were on a luxury boat crossing a lake in Switzerland to the hotel drinking champagne and enjoying the perfect weather when Kathy rang to ask how I was. "Well darling, we're just going to the hotel for a chill before the gig, quite tired" etc. when suddenly she says, "Oh yes, hard work is it? Poor you, you bastard." Freddie had taken a photo of me on the boat and sent it to her while I'm talking, little shit, wait until you get home, there'll be trouble!
Actually he's 3 inches taller than me and strong as an ox so it's probably not a good idea. The gig, by the lake, was with Foreigner, who were very good but so quiet I couldn't believe it. Good time had by all though. Biberach in Germany, be-utiful day as they say in Wales, ate loads of leberkase, or liver cheese as it's known in Germany, looks like congealed spam but it's delicious, then it PISSED down during the gig. Steve our driver is the new calender model for the plastic macs they were giving out. Another Swiss show, with Marillion, (they're a nice bunch of people by the way) where their singer was, shall we say, overserved and was trying to hug everybody. Uh uh...
Anyway, we knew Freddie would have to go back to Flawes, as they're spending more and more time in LA writing, so I called Richie Mallone. That must have a been a weird one: Hi Richie it's Rhino. You OK? Yeah. Want to do some shows with Quo? OK. Right, learn the set, see you in Belgium. Actually there was a lot more to it than that, we went through a lot of it online, I knew he'd be really good, and after 2 days of rehearsal in Leuven it was back on yer 'eds, but more of that tomorrow. If I'm going to get this done by Friday I'd better get me digital finger out, hadn't I?
So on that bombshell bugger off, I'm bored.
As they say in Germany, a bientot, or see you soon x
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