Leaving home at 1pm should have left ample time to get to the venue for 4 o’clock but the mistake was to not factor in the bank holiday weekend traffic. Coming across London from the West was nothing short of miserable. Nigel and I travelled together and were significantly late for our 4:30 sound check. What we should have done was what Mark and the rest of the guys did, take the tube.
Once inside, the cavernous arena was predictably echoic but the in-ears came to our rescue once more; another half notch on the gain and we were in business. I came here a few months ago to see the Monty Python show and thought the sound was pretty good so had complete faith in DD for tonight’s show. We took to the stage slightly later than planned as everyone’s it seemed suffered from travel woes. There was also a slight issue with an element of my keyboard rig in the pre-show check Laurence undertakes. This took a few minutes to resolve as he re-loaded one of the Akai’s. Yes, I still use them. (For those who don’t know, I’d guess that’s most of you) the Akai is a sampler which was predominantly used by artists through the 80’s and 90’s, not used so much these days as computers tend to rule. That makes me a little old fashioned in that department but there is something to be said for the security of a hardware synth.
The giant screens utilised for the huge arena seemed to look pretty good and judging by the aftershow reports, were much loved. Part of the package was a camera mounted on a couple of Mark’s guitars which Mark likened to having a garden gnome stuck on the headstock! The production crew clearly did a great job.
London shows mean a substantial guest list as friends and family get a chance to come and see what we’re up to. It always adds the the slight nervousness any London show carries with it. The after show bar was so loud that after 30 minutes exposure, my ears were ringing, a first for this tour. This illustrates just how much protection our in-ear monitors offer on the stage. An hour was all I could take and so the party continued into the small hours in the residents bar at the glorious Beaumont Hotel. This is what I would call the first ‘proper’ hotel of the tour. By 3am I was done for, in all respects and a sumptuous Beaumont bed awaited.