This was my first Travis gig and I remember pushing/running through the crowd after Greenday finished to get right to the front (second row right in the middle). I was only 15 and surrounded by older people, I also got separated from my friends but I didnt care, I just sang as loud as I could and got carried away by the songs I'd heard so often in my bedroom but never live. At the end Fran (with a big red moheccan!) jumped off the stage and everybody rushed forward. In the ensueing crush I managed to get my hand out and he shook it! I didn't come down from that high for a good few weeks!
This gig was very memorable to me coz it was the first time I had ever seen Travis and oh my was I excited. It was great to see them in a festival atmosphere and they rocked! I love Fran with a pink mohawk! Twas great. x
This gig I thought was fantastic because it was the first time I saw Travis. Me & my sister got separated during Green Day, and I got lifted over the fence, but I pushed my way back in to the crowd and amazingly enough found my sister again! We were in the front row and had such a good time. My sister wore a t-shirt saying "Marry me Fran" (no, we were not teenagers even though you might think so...) and we sang along to all the songs and it was fantastic.
24 hours before the band are due onstage, the lighting crew are unloading all of their equipment at the back of the main stage. By midnight, the lighting director has started programming the lights.
FRIDAY 24th AUGUST 2001. 08:00.
As the sun rises behind the main stage, the lighting crew are still programming the lights for this evenings performance.
The band's equipment is set up on the main stage, ready for a soundcheck.
Armed with my trusty digital camera, I arrive at the hotel where the band have spent the night after a day of rehersals. The location is beautiful - right next to the River Thames, about 10 miles to the west of Reading. Travis' tour manager, Peter Hillier is having some breakfast by the river when I arrive.
The band, one by one, come out of the front doors of the hotel to board the bus. First to arrive is Andy, armed with his mandola (a small, half-size guitar, perfect for practising in the bus). Close behind are Fran and Nora, Neil, and then Dougie and Kelly. Fran has dyed the infamous mohawk bright pink for the occassion. With Adam Buxton (from the Adam and Joe show) and Helen (the tour assistant) safely on board too, we set off through the quiet Berkshire roads towards Reading.
After a quick trip around the Reading one-way system, we pass through the Blue Gate and into the festival site. The bus parks behind the main stage, and we make the short walk into a boiling hot dressing room. It's a pretty basic portakabin, but it seems to have most of the essentials... beer, soft drinks, vodka, fruit juice, wine, tea, coffee, cigarettes, a bunch of flowers... but no water!! And with the temperature pushing 30C, it doesn't take Helen long to arrange for a big ice bucket full of lovely chilled water. Aaahhhh.
Albert Hammond Jr, the guitarist from "The Strokes", pops in to say hello - they're in the dressing room next door to Travis.
We make the short walk across the Guest Area to arrive at the BBC Radio 1 tent, where Jo Whiley is presenting her show.It is HOT, and the tent is pretty full, but everyone seems happy. With the briefest of introductions, the band launch straight into an acoustic performance of "Sing" which the audience in the tent seem to enjoy.
After a quick break, in which hot denim jackets are removed and more cold water consumed, "More Than Us" is played out live on the radio as well.
After the Radio 1 appearance, the band walk back across the Guest Area to the Press Interview area. Hundreds of fans wait for the band outside the Radio 1 tent, and a few minutes are spent signing programmes, autograph books and even t-shirts!
Leaving the fans (and the sunshine!) behind, it's straight into the Press Interview tent. Quite a luxurious affair - with a sofa, carpet, table football, dartboards and even a free bar. But again, it's very very hot, and the bright lighting isn't helping matters.
Whilst the band do interviews for the BBC, and the assembled press pack take photographs, the rest of us sit outside, enjoying the sunshine.
With the interviews finished, it's back to the dressing room, and then straight onto the tourbus. The bus is great - complete with bunkbeds, a kitchen, big seating area at the band, TV, DVDs, Minidiscs and CDs.The CD collection is pretty varied, and includes
"Beatles - Abbey Road",
"Buggles - Age of Plastic",
"Marvin Gaye - Every Great Mowtown Hit",
"Elliott Smith - Either/Or",
"REM - Automatic For The People",
"The Best Of The Jetset", "Beach Boys -Concert",
"David Bowie - Heroes" and
"Queen - A Night At The Opera"
However, the Beatles album is scratched, so in search of a replacement, and also some suitable intro music for the evening's show, we make a quick stop in the centre of Reading.
We drop into the Virgin Megastore, where a replacement copy of Abbey Road is purchased, along with greatest hits albums from Deep Purple and The Band. A hungry Fran makes a quick detour to Burger King, before jumping back on the bus back to the hotel.
We arrive back at the hotel, and everyone chills out. Some people retire to their rooms to get a bit more sleep, but most sit by the river and have some lunch. Very pleasant.Jeremy (Travis' keyboard player) and Ian (the band's manager) arrive, and very quickly get used to the relaxed pace of life by the river.
The band check-out of the hotel, and once again get back on the bus to the festival site.As soon as we arrive back at the dressing room, there are yet more interviews to be done - this time for MTV Brazil and a Swiss music programme.
Then, finally, the band have a chance to relax - Neil sits quietly reading his book, Nick (Andy's guitar tech) puts his feet up, and Fran amuses the children in the dressing room.
As showtime approaches, Dougie relaxes by playing football, Neil puts in a quick bit of practise, Helen makes herself presentable, and Jonny (Travis' backline tech) has a rare few minutes to himself. Fran puts his shoes on, and then the dressing room is cleared for the secret pre-show ritual. Green Day have finished their set (leaving the drum kit burning!) and everyone waits for the headliners.... Travis!
Showtime! The band bound out onto stage and with a quick bow to the audience, launch straight into "Sing".
The set sees the welcome return of "U16 Girls", which has the Reading crowd jumping. From my vantage point at the side of the stage, it's impossible to see where the crowd ends, and there are Scottish flags being waved all over the place.
There are lots of people watching from the wings of the stage. Steve Lamacq is standing on a flightcase to get a better view, and Noel Gallagher has "All I Wanna Do Is Rock" dedicated to him by Fran.
During the encore, Dougie takes to the mic to do his best Bowie impression as he sings "All The Young Dudes".The set closes with "Happy". Andy twirls his guitar by the strap, and Fran yells "Goodnight Reading!"
The band go back to the dressing room, where they're soon joined by friends and colleagues. Noel Gallagher pops back to say hello, and everyone sits around relaxing outside on such a warm evening.
It doesn't take long for the fridge to be emptied, or for Jonny to inadvertantly break the only bottle opener in the dressing room!
At the end of a long day, the crew start packing up the equipment, and everyone gets back on the bus to drive to Leeds, to do it all again less than 24 hours later.