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Current page: Concert Diary 2007

Current page: Concert Diary 2007

Concert Diary 2007

Theater 't Pand, Gorinchem - 11th May

Linda Simpson writes - I was the first one up again, I headed for the shower and noticed that outside the door we no longer had a four-track but a bug on wheels!! It was a shiny bright blue bug - but a bug all the same. We wouldn't even be able to get three people in it - let alone a couple of guitars, a mandolin, a violin and assorted amplifiers!

It was now 11:45 and we were due to set off at 2pm in order to call in on a friend on the way to the gig in Gorinchem. It was starting to look very much like this wasn't going to happen quite the way we planned it! I had my shower, I checked my e-mail and at 12:45 I woke Chris to ask him what was happening.

Our audience

"Áaaargh", said Chris, "What time is it?"

I told him.

"Aaaargh", said Chris again, reaching for the phone.

They were still working on it and would call us when it was ready.

"Aaaargh", said I.

Matt had a shower and made a couple of calls, we had a tosti each (that's toastie for the English) and at 2:30 I was starting to get a little worried because we certainly needed to be off at 3pm to get to the gig at 5pm for the sound check.

Chris called the garage, it would be ready in ten minutes, a sigh of relief, then Chris climbed into the bug in order to get back to the garage. The bug was actually a 'Smart Car' it was an automatic, and it was left hand drive of course. By this time Danny De Jong had dropped by and we all stood waiting as Chris tried to start the car, it coughed, it spluttered, it bounced on the spot but it was obvious it did not want to move in any direction. There was quite a battle of wills going on between Chris and the bug but the bug was not for going back to the garage. Had it been mistreated there? Should we report it to the proper authorities? Did we need a social worker?

I'm sorry to say that despite our ever more desperate situation, there was more than a little mirth on the outside of the vehicle. In the end it was Danny to the rescue - he worked out where to tickle the bug to make it happy and Chris was on his way shortly after that - we think he may have done the whole trip at 5Km per hour - but he made it.

By the time Chris got back and we had loaded up it was 3:30pm. The trip to Gorinchem is about 1hr 15mins under normal circumstances but this was approaching rush hour on a Friday - not good.

Doris directed us onto the motorway where we almost immediately saw the alert - there was a 17Km queue ahead. We had to avoid it. Doris was silenced (she hates it when we take detours) and out came the trusty map. It was a very nice sunny afternoon; the route we took was considerably longer and more picturesque, than going via the motorway, we even had a little ferry trip along the way, but there was no avoiding the fact that we were going to be late. We made it through the door at 5:45 complete with excuses and apologies.

Luckily they know us well here and the stage was mostly set up so we didn't have to rush too much to get our own stuff in and checked.

We love this place; we first played it 15 years ago (I can't remember that far back but I have it on good authority that it's true), it holds about 70 people and it is always a wonderful night. It has an atmosphere of its own that can't be described very well but it's welcoming, and perfectly fits its purpose as a home to the performing arts. A lot of this is down to the people who nurtured it and saw it through from a semi derelict building into what it is now - Ferdinand is still there and, like Ab at the Café De Amer, he and his wife have created something really special for performers and audiences alike.

I digress - sorry.

So we were back with old friends, Hans Veen, Hede, Nanno, and Ferdinand were all there as we set up. Ferdinand's daughter was also there, all grown up and gorgeous, - how time flies!

The pizzas were ordered and we did our sound check, noticing from time to time, a cloud of artistic smoke coming from a smoke machine at the back of the stage. The way the equipment was set up made the smoke float in Matt's direction so that he appeared to be on fire. Chris and I thought this was very funny - we were looking forward to this gig.

It was a fabulous night, The Fields of Eden was particularly memorable as Hede started the recorded voice too soon and we were falling about laughing as he tried to stop it and it kept starting again, the smoke machine was working overtime and we had a hard job holding that one down. We did eventually get into it and it was non-the worse for the comic introduction.


You may have noticed the strange chap in the audience on the first gig? We brought him all the way from home because Rachel, at The Clarendon in Hebden, spotted him in a charity shop and thought he looked a lot like Chris. We had to agree and so he was christened Paul Stewart and has become part of the Magna Carta story. We promised all in Hebden that Paul would be on stage with us every night on this tour . We try to keep our promises - so here he is again in the audience - waving to his friends in Hebden.

We finished with Paradise Row and then invited Hans Veen on stage to do a couple of songs. The first thing he said was that he had never known a support act go on for so long (cheek). I handed over my guitar for him to play. Matt brought him a glass of water, Chris topped it up and we left him to it.

Hans is a big Don McLean fan and he did two lovely songs, 'Castles in the Air' and 'Vincent'. While he was playing we were searching the dressing room for something to take back on stage for him. Chris found a fake plant in a pot, Matt grabbed a fake tree and I searched in vain for a small telephone that I thought I'd seen but couldn't find it so I grabbed a pay phone, complete with metal box, that had obviously been in a public phone box at some point. - It was big and heavy but it was worth it.

Chris presented the plant, Matt gave him the tree and I presented him with the phone saying that his agent wanted a word with him. He didn't miss a beat - he took the phone, pretended to talk into it and then handed it back to me saying that it was Johnny Dep wanting to know if I'd like to join him after the gig. I pretended to have a conversation and then asked if we could hurry things up because I had a date.

There were some who thought we had rehearsed it all but I can assure you that it was all ad-lib.

We finished off with Airport song and then joined everyone in the bar - it had been another typical Het Pand evening, everyone had had a good time. All too soon it was time to go and, as always, it was hard to say goodbye.

The journey home was much faster and we got in at 3am. I had to check the Internet for some flight details but at 3:30 we all said goodnight and headed for 'The Land of Nod' - happy and contented little teddies.

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