My third Travis gig and again brilliant. Paul and Barry were again with me. The whole show was great, the bigger venue suited the band and all the songs sounded great. What was also cool was when Fran got the kid to come down and play Gran Turismo on the big screen! We all just kept laughing when he kept crashing saying how much better we could have done! But knowing us in front of thousands of people we would have done much worse!
Groundhog day. The schedule of the second day in Glasgow remains pretty true to the first. The crew have a well earned lie in at least, due to no stage setup today. So everyone goes their separate ways to do shopping or lunch in town.
We reconvene at 4 for the second soundcheck, where Giles tweaks the levels with the experience of the night before still fresh in his ears. After the soundcheck Andy does an interview with Radio 4 and Dougie disappears to make some phone calls, the rest of Travis are nowhere to be seen.
I find Fran and Neil in the dressing room. Fran's laid up on the couch resting his painfully swollen knee, no permanent damage but it looks as though tonight's gig won't see the same level of jumping around, that much is for sure. Neil's doing some last minute ironing of his shirt for the gig, and The Doves can be heard playing their set in the main hall. Things seem somewhat calmer than the night before in this pre-show phase, some hangovers are being worked through from last night's aftershow, which in Glasgow is always a late one!
8.55pm and Pete appears to marshall the band to the stage, Fran's last to leave as he's sorting the little radio mic that enables him to talk with the monitor mixer, quietly and unobtrusively during the show. Around 15 minutes before this, the brave men who work the spotlights have ascended to 32 feet by the flimsy looking wire and metal ladder to the gantry above the stage. The crew takes their positions and, as the intro track rolls, we're off again.
The crowd are in fine voice again and the set remains practically unchanged from last nights apart from the inclusion of Indefinitely to replace I love You Anyways.Between The Fear and Side an outsize pair of white knickers is thrown onstage and Fran announces that they are going to get the sniffer dogs on it later, then changing his mind to sniffer Doug! Indefinitely has a projected backdrop of various clocks and watches with spinning hands as it's backdrop . Follow The Light shows Fran on the top of a car hurtling through a city at night whilst frantically clinging on. Originally shot against a blue screen with background added later.
Fran asks for the full singing support of the audience during Turn and get's it, and even with his injury manages a few kicks and jumps during the climax of the song. Flowers In The Window is dedicated to all the Mums ( well wouldn't you if yours was present?), followed by a great version of The Humpty Dumpty Love Song.
Before Slideshow Fran introduces the "curtain pullers" to the crowd, who hoist a screen in front of the band on which various photos are projected, of the band as youngsters, and other shots taken over the years. Blue Flashing Light closes the main show with howling feedback, then they're back for the encore. A cheer of recognition goes up for Dougies Rocket Man and it sounds even better tonight.
Lee gets plucked from the audience to do his Gran Turismo thang and put's in a sterling performance, leading most of the way, dropping to 6th then taking back the lead at the finishing line with a few inspired and not altogether orthodox moves. Happy once again closes the show it's time for a few drinksbefore heading off on the tourbus for an overnight drive to Cardiff.
The setup in Glasgow is dismantled and packed away within an hour and a half. Meanwhile Travis are saying their goodbyes to family and friends before boarding the tourbus for an overnight drive to Cardiff, which is noted in the tour schedule as 420 miles in around 8-9 hours. The appearance of Pete (tour manager) in the guest area, it's now nearly 12.45am, means it's time to go. Fran and I head back through the now eerily quiet SECC hall into another of the vast, hangar like spaces where three tourbuses are lined up and ready to go.
Travis have come along way from a white transit with a mattress in the back for comfort. This bus is a mobile home in every sense. two decks, fourteen bunks, kitchen with fridge, sink, and microwave. Bathroom, three seating areas with tv, video, dvd and playstation. And loads of storage space, all designed to maximise space and movement in the most efficient way.
Our driver is called Fish and if he had a personal mileometer it would be off the chart. He has travelled more miles than most people achieve in a lifetime. My only advice on tourbus ettiquette has been to sleep with your feet facing the direction of travel (to avoid a broken neck in the event of a crash) and a rule that must be chiseled into the Ten Commandments of Touring - NO SOLIDS ON THE BUS!
This is a reference to the dreaded chemical toilet housed on the bottom deck of the bus and is strictly observed with a penance of bad karma for those who fail to comply! Once Pete's sure everyone is accounted for and all our bags are on, we're off. And we have a party of our own, with a few beers from the fridge and a look at the video of the Glasgow gig, which has been taped that very night.
Travis don't usually follow their peformances so closely but there is much tweaking of the stage set and projections on this tour with new ideas of lighting, and projection being tested to get it just right for future nights.
After viewing the tape some modifications are discussed for Monday nights show and then we watch some comedy from the large selection of videos on the bus. Come 3 am people slowly start drifting off to their bunks and the bus is quiet but for the sound of the engine and the odd flash of car lights from passing traffic.
As I climb into my bunk I'm reminded of the Japanese capsule hotels in terms of space there is just enough and no more, a little reading light and slit window, I open the curtain and watch the speeding traffic pass on the motorway before drifting off into a fitful sleep. Sleeping and travelling can take a bit of getting used to and I drift in and out of sleep with the drone of the bus in the background.
Drifting back to consciouness later I notice that the bus has stopped, bleary eyed I pull back the curtain of my little slit window and see the recognisable shapes of the Marriot Hotel group's logo.
Cardiff, we have arrived.
Writing To Reach You
As You Are
Follow The Light
Flowers In The Window
The Humpty Dumpty Love Song
Why Does It Always Rain On Me?
Blue Flashing Light
All I Want To Do Is Rock