We drew the curtains this morning in Glasgow to a bona-fide Glasgow deluge and by the time we had checked out of our quirky Blytheswood Square hotel and were on the road to the airport, the rain seemed to get even harder. I forgot to mention something funny that happened last night as we were having a few beers in the lobby of the hotel as the music in the bar was unacceptably loud. Paul ordered a club sandwich and I said I’d have a few chips so he requested extra chips. It was around 11pm. 20 minutes later, the sandwich arrived and we were informed that chips were ‘unavailable’. Glasgow on a Friday night would surely represent a basic demand for chips. It’s just a switch on a fryer isn’t it? Makes you wonder.
At the airport, the security screening procedure was predictably thorough and Gunther and his Range Rover team were eventually permitted onto the tarmac to drive us to the steps of the aircraft. A very short flight time meant that Liz had to get her skates on to serve up plates of sushi. Sushi is the perfect pre-gig food. Fact. Just the right balance of protein and lightness. We didn’t realize it at this point but the catering team at the venue were laying on a special menu tonight. Mexican. Impossible to resist.
On the plane I sat opposite Nigel, to whom we proudly introduced the wonderful world of the magic carpet. With sunglasses on and amidst a flurry of activity we were soon tucking in to fresh Glasgow sushi. Not quite sure about the beef sushi, a first for me. Minutes later we were descending through the thick cloud base (probably only 1,000 ft) and in to Newcastle airfield. We deplaned directly into yet more Range Rovers and headed out just as the Sunderland football team were arriving for their trip down South for tomorrow’s big game at Tottenham.
Driver logistical changes meant the management were chauffeuring this afternoon…
At the venue we were met by production manager Kevin who informed us that they had had a similar deluge this morning. The Metro arena was cold and dark in stark contrast to what was to come this evening at what is of course Mark’s homecoming show.
Introducing some colour to the page…
Good Mexican food is notoriously absent in the UK which has always intrigued me as it’s not difficult to find the correct ingredients and make well. Tonight’s diner was sublime, with Beef Chipotle and black beans, Chimichangas, Fish Tacos, chips, homemade salsa and guacamole. It was ridiculous. Since we were not ‘running’ from the show this evening, I requested, that we have a small selection of treats after-show in the dressing room. It was a popular move.
Another early UK show time of 7:30 meant there was little time for digestion and the pre-show routine was on us once again. Vocal warm-ups were thorough and we readied ourselves for another show in front of the ‘home crowd’.
showpics Aidan Williamson
We always have a lot of fun up there on stage and I guess that comes across as by the end of the show the audience were all up on their feet, begging us for one more encore. The final inevitable tune being the now traditional Local Hero theme with Nigel Hitchcock exchanging riffs with Mark. We waved goodbye to another incredible audience and headed for our post-show feast, a drink and the after-show VIP party in which we chatted with many old friends and familiar faces including our dear friend Steve Phillips from the Notting Hillbillies days. It wasn’t long before we were slipping away to our hotel for the night, the Hotel du Vin on the bank of the Tyne. Once we found our rooms, a few of us went to the bar for a nightcap and I had every intention of doing the same but my legs weren’t having it and I was asleep on the bed in no time.