We arrived in Birmingham around midday. We are on the top floor of the hotel. Dougie and Andy went home today. It?s Andy?s birthday.
I didn?t get the chance to wish him happy birthday. I was asleep when they were dropped off at the train station.
Sometimes on a day off, I promise myself that I?m going to go out and explore the city, find out what makes it tick. Other days I just sit in the room and catch up on email, surf and play. That?s what I did today. Pretty boring, but actually it was exactly what I needed.
I moved rooms because the first room?s Internet connection was broken. The view from the first room was of the ?city?- the concrete side of Birmingham.
I spied the new Selfridges store in the Bullring centre, the BT tower, all gleaming and white (I preferred the old grey concrete BT tower) The view from the other side was more picturesque. It looked like the older part of the city, with its old buildings and canal barges.
The light in Birmingham reminds me of when I was younger. I spent a lot of time in Birmingham when I was wee. I was born in Stafford, which is nearby. My mum had a friend, my auntie Lynn. She and her husband, my uncle Martin, lived across the road from my mum and dad.
She and Auntie Lynn got pregnant at he same time and did the young mum thing together. When my folks split up, my mum and Lynn stayed in touch, so when I was young, mum would go down to where they had moved to, in Walsall.
I had some cool summers down here. I would hang out with my two cousins and all their mates, who were girls. So I was in my element.
The women of the midlands are the UK?s most attractive, in my opinion. They are so feminine and natural. The people of Birmingham and the surrounding area are among the softest and most pleasant in the whole of the UK.
The dialect of the Black Country is one of the most distinct of the Britain. I love it. Our bus driver, Dougie ( it gets confusing sometimes on the bus) has this accent.
So yes, I was room bound today. Got to bed very, very, very, very late and awoke?
?very late indeed. I won?t say because you would hold it against me?.hehe. Lets just say I was wiping the sleep from my eyes as we soundchecked.
We had some guests at soundcheck today. Hiromi and her friend from Japan who have been to every show on the current UK tour and will be there when we play Japan, and Wendy and Jules who were celebrating their 50th Travis concert today.
50 shows!! That?s a lot. Hardcore. Wendy and Jules have been coming to shows for ages. You rock, girls. Super hardcore. You will be honored very soon ?.
The show tonight was marred by technical snags. During the first 6 or 7 songs, Dougie's bass was acting up, splurting and switching itself off and on randomly. Our crew worked their bollocks off to get it working.
There is no show without the bass. The bottom end of a show is like its legs. The drums are the back bone, the voice is the voice, and the guitar is the jewels?de family jewels?hahaha.
Our manager, our A&R man from our record company, and our A&R man from our publishing company came tonight. Good to see them out of their offices.
After the show, I met Auntie Lynn and Uncle Martin. My cousins couldn?t make it. One was in Sydney and one was in with her sons (her sons!!!) with a tummy ache.
Another late night for me. We are going to Bridlington Spa tomorrow. Never been there before. It?s by the sea I hear.
This was the best night of my entire night!!
On the way there was some sort of accident in Birmingham which meant diversions and getting lost in the back streets somewhere. I was going crazy in the car, but fortunately we got there. Early in fact. We waited for quite a while and then the doors opened. We got right to the front, right at the barrier, it was amazing. Several more hours of standing around and then Keane played (they were great) finally Travis came on. Dougie was like THIS close, I couldnt believe it!!
The show was FANTASTIC, unbelievable. The atmosphere was incredible, everyone was so involved. The band didnt disappoint.
Flowers was played acoustic and dedicated to a fan. Absoultely beautiful. 20 was a nice surprise, infact I think someone requested it very loudly. All I wanna do is Rock was phenominal and Happy was such a rush that the gig simply couldnt end. Unfortunately it had to, but it will never be forgotten. It was my first Travis gig, infact it was my first all together, but it definatley wont be the last. Cant wait till the Wulfun on Thurday (7th Oct) only 4 days!! yay
My third Travis show, great as ever. Even though they didn't bother with all the technological wizardry this time, I'd say the show itself was probably better than the last time I saw them at the NIA.
Highlights: "Miss Douglas Payne" shaking his glockenspiel thang to Somewhere Else, complete with girly dancing, and yet still managing to look hot as hell. How does he do it? We may never know. One of life's great mysteries.
My friend Jon getting 20 played just for him, and Fran having to ask him for the words!
Lowlight: Nabbing a setlist and finding out Jon's 20 had replaced Know Nothing. My fave Travis song ever. The one I had been going on about all afternoon. The song I will most likely never hear live now. Our friendship was touch and go for a while, but in the end I decided after such an amazing gig I just couldn't complain.
A special gig for us, this one. We'd reached a milestone, our 50th Travis show, and were were determined to celebrate in style (while secretly hoping the band would remember!)
We arrived at the venue just as the bus was pulling up! Fab timing, and it got even better when Fran hopped out and invited us into the soundcheck:) Usually we sit quietly out of the way during soundchecks but this afternoon Fran insisted that we (the two of us plus Hiromi and her mate) came up to the barrier, to more or less treat it as our own private gig. Cool!
This was obviously a fantastic start! We were left thinking it couldn't get any better, and we still had the gig to come!
Fast forward a few hours or so and the band have taken to the stage, the first number has been played and they're launching into U16 Girls, our favourite. We're already going ape-shit, along with the rest of the audience but above all the noise we heard Fran dedicate the song to Jules and Wendy! YAY! F**king fantastic! We both thought we were going to explode as we pogo-ed our way through the song, giggling like two school girls. That was it, it couldn't get any better....could it? We all know fran is famous for his between song chats, but this time... hang on, he's talking about us again!!! Fran introduced us to the entire audience, telling them it was our 50th and getting the whole arena to applaude us. Thinking back, we were obviously both in complete shock as we totally didn't know what to do, and just stood there looking probably more than a little demented, and grinning from ear to ear. I can quite honestly say now though that it was probably one of the proudest moments of my life, one I'll never forget. To recieve a dedication like that from your favourite band, infront of an audience of thousands, was just the most incredible thing. Even as I type this now, eight months later, I've got a little smile on my face as I remember back to how I felt that night. Absolutly amazing.
The rest of the gig passed in a bit of a blur so this is a bit of a lame review really;) It does give me another opportunity though to thank the lads once again for everything. From our first gig in Cornwall in '98 to now, we've had an absolute blast. Cheers boys. Here's to the next 50!;)
Happy To Hang Around
Writing To Reach You
Love Will Come Through
The Beautiful Occupation
As You Are
All I Want To Do Is Rock
The Humpty Dumpty Love Song
Flowers In The Window
More Than Us
Why Does It Always Rain On Me?