Well, last night (and today…) will go down as the most eventful gig we’re ever likely to play.
The day started out well enough. We were all excited to play Manchester for the first time (as this band) and at a venue that had played host to some great bands over the years.
We arrived at the studio early (for once…) and had the van loaded up and ready. We were awaiting the arrival of our guitarist Rob (“Mike”) and we were “good to go” when events took a strange turn…
My phone starting ringing, and it was Rob trying to call.
Rob: “Hello, Kev (his voice cracking with emotion)… erm, I’m sorry — I’ve been in a serious car crash…”
Without relaying the entire conversation, in short, a motorbike driving at an estimated 60/65mph in a 30mph zone drove into the back of Rob’s car, completely writing off the car and bike in the process whilst launching the driver over the top of the car and into a tree.
We quickly set off to see Rob and make sure he was ok. Playing the gig at this point, seemed highly unlikely and being honest, it was the furthest thing from our minds.
Arriving at the scene and explaining who we were (the road was cordoned off), my exchange with the first police officer went something like this:
Me: “Hi, I’m here to see if my friend Rob is ok. We’re in a band together and were meant to be in Manchester an hour ago”
Police: “What band?”
Me: “Oh, just a tribute to a band called Pearl Jam. I’m sure you’ve never heard of them…”
Police: “I’ve heard of Pearl Jam. I’m quite into Punk too. Did you play at Revolver Venue (Wirral) a few months ago?”
Me: “Erm, yeah…”
Police: “Ah, yes – my Daughter went to see you play. I’m coming with her in October to watch you too…”
With that, he let us through and after waiting a further 45 minutes, we finally got to see and talk with Rob. We were surprised when he said he wanted to play the gig.
We were told by another police officer at the incident that we “probably won’t be making it to Manchester tonight” so we called the promoter and said “I don’t think we’ll be playing…” – the gig was off.
After a further wait of around 30-40 minutes, the news came through that Rob was free to go and with that, the gig was back on!
It seems the driver of the bike only broke both ankles and wrists, whilst skinning one of his legs to the bone…
Not to be callous, but doing 60-65mph in a residential area with a limit of 30mph, I think he got off lightly. But there you go.
So, we arrived at Manchester over 2 hours later than intended and proceeded to set up and sound check in record time (mainly thanks to our engineer/wizard “Ben”).
After sound check, we stepped outside the venue and by chance two Transport Police decided they were going to do a “stop and search”. For drugs. On Rob. His day was becoming almost comical…
The gig itself was, like the ones before it — as good as it gets. In what is now becoming “the norm” (and something that we in no way take for granted), people sang every word, danced, jumped and generally helped us create that “Pearl Jam in a club” vibe that everyone (maybe even the band themselves?) pines for.
We played a “Ten” set for the first part, before a “greatest hits” set for the second.
It’s so hard choosing from the 50 or so songs what to play at the best of times, but even harder still when the first 3/4 are already chosen for you. But, that again shows just how great a band they are.
As always, a pleasure and a privilege.
Next up, Newcastle!
p.s The morning after the gig, my girlfriend was also involved in a car accident when a car failed to stop at the lights and drove into the back of her. Strange end to a strange weekend.