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Current page: Concert Diary 2007

Current page: Concert Diary 2007

Concert Diary 2007

The Mahogany Hall, Berne, Switzerland - 22nd May

Linda Simpson writes - The last gig was not on the calendar as it was a 'private' concert arranged by Roy Osborne.

Chris and Matt soaring with the angels

We met Roy when we were working for the British Council in Costa Rica and then Nicaragua. 'Hurricane Mitch' had only just happened and we had thought that our concerts would be cancelled. Strangely, it was decided that perhaps we would act as a diversion and so they went ahead.

Roy at that time was the British Ambassador living in Managua. He and his wife Viv', in fact all the family, were just so... I don't know really how best to describe them... but we have been friends ever since and, when we found out that Roy was in Berne, the rest was a foregone conclusion.

Roy had arranged a concert at 'The Mahogany Hall' but we could tell from the start that we were to play second fiddle to 'Rockin' Roy' - in fact we found that we had very quickly been relegated to the 'backing band'.

Roy was keen to tell us that it was never windy in Berne so, when after two days it had barely dropped below a force 8, we decided that the best name for us (as backing band) was 'The Windy City Boys'.

Roy thought his best performance would be achieved by singing 'Four in the Morning' (a Jerry Chesnut song) so we set about learning it. The key change from D to Eflat was a joy (not) but eventually we had something that would befit our hero's talent.

I have rarely laughed so much - with a maraca and hairbrush as microphones we practised until we got it right.

We had two wonderful days before the concert to relax, see something of the mountains, and catch up on some sleep (punctuated by renditions of 'Four in the Morning' whenever we had a spare moment).

We spent a little time looking for a bodrhan (bedpan according to my spell check). The local music shop was less than helpful, but the owner of the venue (Andreas) came up trumps on the day and I had the use of a really nice instrument.

Berne is a beautiful city, mediaeval and not ruined by the 'yob culture' that has infected many European cities in recent years. The main problem was graffiti - a gesture against society, which can be practiced without making the streets unsafe - very strange.

Anyway - the day of the gig arrived and we made our way to the venue. They could not have been nicer, there was coffee and something to eat, there was a bodrhan, help with the gear; in fact nothing was too much trouble.

We were very aware that this was the last concert (it will always be a strange feeling) and we wanted to enjoy it as much as possible.

Some of the folks from the Langenthal concert made it, including Fred (we all sang 'Happy Birthday' again - but drank beer rather than a 'couple' of tea). The place soon filled up with great people from the British Council, British Embassy and friends.

Linda and Roy

I don't care what anyone thinks of the British Embassy and Council - I think they do a fantastic job and anyone who wants to knock them should get out there and see them in action representing our interests abroad. We have seen them at work in many countries now and it's impressive. OK - just careful as I climb down off this soap-box... there we go.

We didn't have a lot of time for a sound check but René was on the case and we got there by trial and error. We are so used to having amplifiers that it's really strange to have only monitored sound but it's not too bad when you're in good hands. Everyone said afterwards that the sound was great so you did a good job René - thank you.

The evening started well - Matt and I set off with 'Who Knows Where the Time Goes' and I blamed my mistake on the fact that I was so excited about our 'Main Act'.

We were flying and having a ball and we made the most of it. The humour was flying in all directions.

Finally it was the moment that everyone had been waiting for... 'Rockin' Roy' took the stage; we donned cowboy hats and became 'The Windy City Boys'. All the rehearsals paid off - Roy was a man on fire and we were right there with him. 'Four in the Morning' was immortalised as never before.

Our reputation went up in stature and all was well with the world.

The rest of the gig was a breeze.

At the end of the night the manager very kindly said that we could come back any time - we might just take him up on that offer.

It was sad to finish the last number knowing that we'd be back home in a few days, but we have had a great time, seen some fabulous places and spent time with smashing people, it's not always the most secure existence but it has made us rich in many other ways.

We're now looking forward to getting some new material together for the next tour.

Our wonderful audience
Left Arrow Langenthal Nettlebed Right Arrow