Only the 2nd morning but I'd already got into a routine: Stare at the showers at one end of the field then stare at the toilets at the other end, leading down to the site and coffee and bacon. Any festival goer will tell you that first thing in the morning is the time to brave the toilets. So it was the wet wipe wash and go source coffee and bacon. This morning I added orange juice to that list. It's no exaggeration to say without the fresh OJ I wouldn't be here to write this now. OK it's a massive exaggeration but that's how it felt. Lifeblood coursing through my veins etc.
We'd had some rain in the night which had infiltrated Stars and Charlotte's tent. They had to move in with Ellen after that. It was with a sense of irony that Stars and Ross were booked to do an acoustic set in the Love Your Tent field. We trudged our way to the field. Trudged is the only word. We were all a tad fragile. I tried a beer. Fail.
A nice intimate little acoustic set with Stars' voice perfect as always. God knows where it comes from. Dodgiest photo yet but it kinda sums up how I felt:
The sun was breaking through, coffee number three kicked in and I was back on it. The band were due on The Hard Rock Cafe stage at 4.20. We wandered down to the Main Stage for Twin Atlantic. On the way down me and Sam discussed the Hard Rock set and though we'd played it down and concentrated on Saturday's Big Top performance we both agreed that this could be even bigger. You have to walk past Hard Rock to get to the Main Stage. Potential for a massive crowd. The worry was Starsie's voice. She'd felt it go towards the end of the acoustic set and wasn't allowed to speak till she was on stage again. It was bliss.
The Main Stage was awash with bubbles.
All very pretty and made up for me not showering but soon my pulled lamb baguette tasted of soap. Plus behind them somewhere Twin Atlantic were being just a bit good. Not a band I'm familiar with but after a blistering set I intend to rectify that.
Finally caught up with TV's Chris Walker. He wasn't camping with us. He'd gone all posh in what he'd call his dog kennel. A dog kennel with a comfy bed and electricity though. Chris agreed that Hard Rock could be bigger than yesterday.
Unfortunately there was no way of driving all the gear to the Hard Rock stage so it was back to the vehicles to grab amps, guitars, breakables etc and carry it across the site. I volunteered for Ross' amp. I'm the biggest, I used to do this for a living, piece of cake. I should have had a word with myself. One brief tour in 1986 does not qualifying as 'doing it for a living'. In 1986 I was 18. Thirty years of less than healthy living had took it's toll. Also on that one tour I didn't have to lug amps a mile through a crowded field with the sun beating down. (Apologies to mates who went to Download but the sun really was beating down).
I picked up said amp. Easy. Twenty yards later I was already defeated. Onwards though. It's for the band, man. Got to Hard Rock backstage and collapsed. Our artist liaison offered me water, I offered my hand in marriage. Had a chat with Jimmie Mac (he gets everywhere) who was down with Leeds band Apollo Junction and were on after BBR. Our dressing room was ready, another fridge full of beer. I was recovering nicely.
Show time. Loaded all the gear on stage and let Sam and Rich do their stuff. Don't ever let me mess with anything expensive. I'll carry it but don't risk any more. I'm still amazed Sine FM let me loose in a radio studio.
There should have been no worries over Starsie's voice. As soon as Revolver kicked in we knew all was well. There was already a sizeable crowd and whereas people walking past would normally stop for a couple of minutes they stayed. They all stayed. I don't know for definite but I would say this was the biggest crowd the band have ever played to. Certainly the biggest I'd seen. Whether it was the sun, the crowd, the lack of nerves or just the knowledge that what they were delivering was pure class, I don't know, but they were on fire. It was simply the best I've seen them play and that my friends is really saying something.
From Revolver right through to Invitation Stars had the crowd in the palm of her bejewelled hand.
There was a mosh pit, there was dancing, there was pure unadulterated joy. Whereas on the Saturday I cried throughout this time I had the broadest of grins. (OK I may have cried a little during The Bliss).
TV's Chris Walker is a massive Sheffield Wednesday fan, I'm Rovers till I die. I asked him if the greatest moment he'd seen with Wednesday compared to this. The answer is no. I agreed. The music won. Music always wins.
|Proud Father moment|
This was gonna be a 3 part blog but I've waffled on and I'm still to mention Paves, free cocktails, Ocean Colour Scene, me being an insufferable bore about Freddie Mercury, Feeder and, yes, me crashing and burning. We'll do that tomorrow shall we?