Rock City..

..was the name of the venue we used to play at in what is my somewhat vague memory of Nottingham. This is not a town we’ve visited much over the years so I guess this show was long overdue. Recent UK surveys focusing on crime statistics revealed some unfortunate facts about gun crime etc.  In fact, the crime rates in Nottingham have fallen by 50% in the past 8 years helping to re-establish the image of the town as being a delightful place to live. These snippets of information stick in one’s mind and as we drove into town late last night, I found myself peering out of the darkened glass with squinted eyes, half-imagining evidence of crime. Of course none was forthcoming. Like all towns and cities across the globe, growth is very noticeable for anyone whose last memory is one from the late ’70’s. Nottingham is not what I expected it to be.

We were soon at the hotel, a cosy little place called Harts. My room was just big enough for me, my suitcase and a kettle (often the way in UK hotels) but it was quiet, had a comfy bed and a delightful view South across the town. It appears the hotel is sited atop one of the many hills in Nottingham.

Next morning, I discover that the raincloud that was over us in Manchester seems to have followed us down the M1 and is now depositing its gloom here. In a brief gap in the rain, I nip out to get some provisions, toothpaste, tea, water, etc. In a typically brilliant senile moment, I arrive back with only toothpaste having completely forgotten about all the other items I need in my life right now. Note to self – must make lists.

Pretty soon, it’s back on the bus and off to the venue and in very heavy rush-hour Nottingham traffic this takes a while. We finally get there to find another generic ice arena. Bob’s band are onstage, obviously working up some new arrangements, we hear what sounds distinctly like ‘Red sails In The Sunset’.

Dave Dixon (FOH – Front of House sound engineer), Jon Lewis (Monitors) and Mr. Saggers (MK GTR tech) pose whilst awaiting our turn.

Kevin Rowe line-checks Mike’s Cittern

We take to the stage 30 minutes later for our sound-check to find a stage that has remarkably different sonic qualities to  previous arenas, quite bass light…That’s a good thing.

Apologies to my hardened followers for the lack of decent photographs, I’m still keeping a low profile around the gigs with the camera until we all get to know each other more, especially in light of the BD camera policy. In actual fact, the sight of the camera strap over my shoulder could easily have explained Bob’s unwillingness to smile earlier. Fair play.

After the customary catering visit, we take to the stage at 7:30 prompt for another set which feels shorter than on previous nights, I guess we must be having fun. A short turnaround to change and we’re off on the bus again heading South-West for Cardiff and a day off by the seaside. Will it rain?

I think you can guess.