Finally able to sit and sum up what has been an incredible week; a week which involved five days on tour with Levellers. When I was 15 years old, I was a big fan and I guess I never really thought I’d get to say that. We took in Cardiff, Brighton, Bristol, Norwich and Nottingham, all of which were either sold out or pretty much there.
When I arrived in Cardiff it’s safe to say I was just a little nervous but each and every member of the band and the crew (including main support Seán McGowan and his band) were so friendly and welcoming that any nervousness didn’t hang around.
The friendliness and welcomingness (totally made that word up but keeping it) wasn’t contained to the crew however. Levellers’ fans were just awesome. I was the opening acoustic act, so was on within an hour of doors opening. I thought that might mean me playing to a handful of folk who turned up early to get a good spot on the barrier. But no chance! Most nights there were already a couple hundred people in and the last night in Nottingham was 80% full by the time I took to the stage!
Not only that, people joined in. People sang. People clapped. People listened. People didn’t mind that they’d never seen ‘this chap’ before. Writing ‘people’ so many times just made me realise what a strange word it is. This was all followed by
people folk coming out to buy CDs and T-shirts and coming to say hello. Such an awesome week.
Nottingham was particularly enjoyable for me. I’d lost most of my voice the night before and was really worried about singing, but I was very fortunate in that the front few rows of lovely humans were already familiar with my music. They sang along throughout keeping me buoyant. My highlight – of probably the whole tour – was getting two halves of Rock City to duet ‘against’ each other, during which Leveller Simon came and joined me on harmonica.
My daughter Flo was able to join me in Cardiff and Bristol and my pal and band mate John Hare joined us in Bristol with his cornet and accordion. Both were awesome and again made to feel welcome by all.
Huge thanks to all those involved in the crew and to those of you who came out early to the gigs and made me feel at home.
Massive thanks also to Seán McGowan and his band, Brad, Dean and Jay, for late night bar and restaurant fun. We should totally do that again some time.