Wednesday March 12th found us hurtling up the M1 to Bradford. Great to be back on the road again.
St George’s Concert Hall is a grade II listed Victorian building, the oldest concert hall still in use in the UK and the third oldest in Europe. German Jewish wool merchants, who had moved to Bradford because of its textile industry, financed the building, which opened in August 1853. Located in the heart of town, the Hall is a two minute walk from our hotel, The Hilton, and plans are already afoot for a curry after the show.
One of the delights of this tour has been to share stage and dressing rooms with the ‘ghosts’ of the past and over the years this beautiful old venue has hosted many of the world’s top performers including Charles Dickens, the Halle Orchestra, Free, David Bowie and Genesis… it’s a wonderful thrill to step out and perform to packed houses as others have done before…
An early start on Thursday as we have a five hour drive to South Wales ahead of us, followed by a three hour trek home after the gig!
Over the misty moors on the M62, then south down the M6 and M5, we cut the corner via Ross on Wye and the M50. The mist has cleared, the sun shining as we roll down the Wye Valley, through Monmouth and on into South Wales.
Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion was opened in 1932. Well known for its octagonal dome and striking frontage, it was originally intended as a Palm Court for hosting Tea Dances and Balls. Recent performers have included Rob Brydon, Eddie Izzard, Cerys Matthews, Katherine Jenkins, Ralph McTell… Mike and the Mechanics and Sadie and the Hotheads!
Strolling along the seafront, pre-gig, it’s easy to believe that summer has really begun…
After a warm, Welsh welcome and a quick load out, we drop James at his hotel in Cardiff, then rattle back down the M4 to London.
Friday 14th, the penultimate gig of the tour, is possibly the strangest of all the venues. Part sports hall, part theatre, the 1000 seater main hall at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre feels like a mini stadium. The crew do a magnificent job of creating the right atmosphere and the crowd give us a rousing welcome as we step out of the shadows… Bison yelling encouragement from the wings…
Next up… our ‘hometown’ gig, Hammersmith Apollo!