Rolling out of London into the eye of a storm. In the ‘Splitter’, Ron driving, with James and Ian, Terl, Nick and Simon. Battered up through the Midlands we pick Dani up at Chester Station, then brave the last few miles out to Rhyl.
Situated on the north east coast of Wales at the mouth of the River Clwyd, Rhyl has long been a popular tourist destination for people all over Wales and North West England. Once an elegant Victorian resort, an influx of people from Liverpool and Manchester after WWII changed the face of the town forever.
Simon and I frequently came here with our parents from our home in Stafford, two small boys, suitcases packed with new summer clothes, excited by the prospect of a week at the beach, dreaming of ice-cream and rock. I have a photo of myself as a young boy wearing a cowboy hat and sitting on a donkey on Rhyl seafront, sometime in the 1950’s. Times were different then. Buddy Holly and The Everlys were in the charts and no-one, yet, had heard of The Beatles or Bob Dylan.
The area had declined dramatically by 1990 but has improved in recent times due to major investment and a series of regeneration projects.
Not that we had chance to see any of that as we backed up to the stage door in a howling gale. Down on the seafront it felt like this old world was finally coming to an end, the wind tearing at everything in its path....
In contrast, inside all was warmth and light. Mike, his Mechanics and fantastic crew were as friendly and helpful as one could wish for, management and promoters totally understanding of Elizabeth’s predicament, wishing us well for the gig and providing us with everything we needed, both on stage and off.
A quick soundcheck, a backstage curry and we stroll out to applause from a full house, count in to ‘Superficial’, all eyes on Dani as she tears it up front of stage...
‘All My Sins’, ‘Staying Alive’, ‘Everybody’s Got A Song’, ‘Use It Up’ and ‘Nothing New’ are all greeted enthusiastically by the packed auditorium and before we know it, it’s time to head off into the wings for a drop or two of rouge and a signing session at the World Vision stand.
The weather is so bad that we have to abandon our post-gig journey to Rochdale and stay at the Kinmel Manor Hotel in Abergele... bar open till 12. Yippee!
Thursday 13th. The storm has abated, for now, so we head over to the Norton Grange Hotel & Spa in Rochdale for a day off! Steam room, swimming pool, and tonight a celebration meal for Dani’s birthday!! Holmfirth tomorrow. Living the dream.