Monday, 23 July 2007

3 days on the road.

You have probably heard the announcement that tells you YOUR UNATTENDED LUGGAGE WILL BE TAKEN AWAY AND DESTROYED. The picture above was taken at Heathrow airport on our arrival back from our Germany trip at the weekend.
I think the chronology of events leading up to and after our appearance at the Burg Herzberg Festival might be of some interest.
Monday we get a call from our road manager to say he cannot come to Germany because his partner’s father has passed away. We call another guy we know and think we have solved that problem but later we learn we cannot transfer the airline ticket etc, etc.
Friday 11.30 set off to arrive at Heathrow Airport in the middle of torrential rain to catch a 3.30 flight. On the way the water in the road was as high or higher than curb of the pavements. The passing of traffic washed this water into gardens and even doorways as the down pour let rip. On the Cromwell road we saw tarmac lifted by the pressure of running rainwater. There were no pedestrians anywhere.
Get to the airport to find the tunnel flooded. Two fire engines were pumping it out. After twenty minutes we were able to drive in to the airport. Flights were being cancelled every few minutes. Apparently eleven planes were struck by lightening during the thunderstorm. We met up with two of our mates from Man who had been into the departure lounge twice only to have to check in for a new flight due to cancellations.
Chris Farlowe who had been there since nine had got himself on a 4.45 flight. That was cancelled. In the end he and his guys set off to catch the Euro Star Train from Waterloo.
Bob and George from Man have to drive back to Swansea because they are supposed to be on stage at 1am and won’t be able to get there. The promoter can’t re schedule so that’s the end of their gig. Josh from Man has already driven their gear from Swansea to Frankfurt and he is already there with Martin his dad, the bass player.
All flights to Frankfurt are cancelled.
We all drive back to London.
5.45 get up to get back to airport for 11.30 flight to Dusseldorf.
Arrive at airport to find chaos. We “experience” an accident with a luggage trolley.
On this I will make no further comment. A stroppy policeman interviews two of the guys.
We get on our plane and set off for Dusseldorf where we arrive on time. The drive from there to the festival is roughly equivalent to London to Manchester. A guy called Dietmar who turns out to be a diamond meets us.
Some time down the road Dietmar gets a call from the promoter telling him we have to go straight to the festival. The message back is “ we are going to the hotel first”. The promoter eventually speaks with Steve who explains what has happened and that we will be available by 5.30 may be 6. We were originally scheduled for 5pm. Promoter says, “we’ll have to shorten set list”. We say, “Can’t be done”. The rain still pours down. We are depressed. We decide having come this far we’ll go straight to festival site. Promoter says, “If we are not there by 4.15 he’ll pull our show. We are fuming now.
Rain is bad and looks like getting worse. The drive is horrendous.We eventually arrive at the festival at 4.45pm. Decide to give it our best. It is agreed we will go on stage at 6.45. The skies look ominous and brooding.
Meet up with Barry who is our onstage road manger for the day. He gets stuck in. Between us we manage to get things working and just have time to get stage clothes on and get tuned up before we start. One of my hired Marshall amps refuses to co-operate. I switch it off. The crowd is warm and friendly. Their greeting is up lifting.
We start with Evening over rooftops. The sun nods then disappears. The sunset green and black was the light to play some songs by. A steady drizzle comes again. We play on. The on stage mixer is almost engulfed in a sheet of water running off the plastic sheets protecting the onstage mixing guy. He exchanges a relieved look with Steve. We play on. The on stage sound is awful and Steve can’t hear much at all. I listen for the bass drum as we drive through the set. We all make odd little mistakes which don’t spoil things much though the break between Moth and Why can’t somebody love me is bizarre jazz but we get through. The rain pours heavily. The crowd stands and we try to deliver. Our German tour manager finally signals to Steve – One more song. We thrash through Out Demons Out and say goodbye to the lovely people. Tony from Lincolnshire has stood through it all in the rain in the front row. We don’t get to see him after which was a shame.
We hang out after the show meeting old friends and making new ones. Chris Farlowe goes on with the John Hiseman’s guys in the driving rain and thunder. We all begin to feel for Uriah Heep who are on last.
The storm worsens. I manage to get out into the field to buy some bits and pieces from a lovely Hippy mom and her little boy. The mud deepens. Sonny, Steve and Moni’s lad, is loving every bit of it. He wants to see it all. That is probably because he is getting to be a decent guitarist and drummer AND the EBB is the best band in the world.
After a long time socialising and talking business it is decided by all it is time to go to the hotel which we do. When I finally drag my guitars and bag to room 201 I find the room is as the last occupant left it. I go back down stairs to get new keys and I change rooms. Later the guys sitting around a table in the deserted dining room look shell shocked. We have some teas, brandy and coffee then we retire.
In the morning we all set off at 11 to get to Frankfurt airport.
On the motorway Dietmar notices a scrape down the side of the hired vehicle. We have no recollection of this so we assume it happened when we were not around.
We arrive at the airport. We stop where we can to unload but have our front wheels over a line so we get a parking ticket.
At the British Airways check in there is only one person dealing with every one. People are jumping the line we are in. It takes forever.
Eventually we check in. There are two ways our luggage is going to the plane. The fragile equipment goes on a trolley and the luggage down a chute. To Luke’s and my horror the woman sends our two rack mounted samplers down the chute. There is a loud bang. Luke protests and she says, “ It doesn’t matter”. We are incredulous. She doesn’t even know what is in it. We haven’t worked up courage to check the samplers yet.
We go through a security check. That is long but o.k.
We walk a half-mile to our plane and – go through an identical security check.
Moni drops a lighter, which explodes making the entire security team flinch.
After ages of waiting around on a hot bus listening to Farlowe’s (nice man) very amusing stories about his old mom, we finally get on our plane followed by the Farlowe guys and the Heep (nice to see you guys after all these years).
When we arrive back at Heathrow the backlog of passengers has it’s own area out side and the baggage is piled, unattended everywhere.
We go through UK control. Dave almost starts an alert by pointing his camera at the guy checking passports. He’s often got a camera in his hand and it looked like he was taking a photo of the security guy. Aaaaaaaaargh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We have to pay an extra chunk of cash to get our vehicles back because we left the long stay car park to come back again the following day (Saturday).
We all say our fond farewells and split up. The family picks up Art. Moni, Steve and Sonny head off home in the car. Luke is met by his girl friend and Dave and I head back to the place where we store our gear.
We arrive after being stuck in traffic to find the place has had water flood in. It’s wet T-shirt time. Dave and I get the gear stowed and go home.
During the weekend a relatives flat was flooded, a colleague has had her flat destroyed when lightening hit the block she lives in.
Our flat had a leak in the roof.
I sit up late catching up with the very enthralling 2007 Tour De France. Wonderful!
This morning I go, under darkening skies, to meet my new line manager in the centre where I will be working with young people. During my induction she shows me the building, gives me keys etc and starts to show me the alarm system. She lowers the security shutters. They won’t go back up – we are locked out in the pouring rain and ………

Is it all worth it? OF COURSE IT IS !

Copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007


Anonymous said...

HI Rob, fantastic to see you all at Herzberg, just got back myself will post a full report once ive got got rid of the mud and had some sleep ive got some great photos too (loved your shoes!!)
ha porcelain loo's what a superb invention
good luck with your new assignment i know you will do your best for the young people

Anonymous said...

Hi Rob,
Blimey, what a trip! Sounds like 'trains, planes and automobiles' without the laughs. Did you get to play 'Apache Dropout'? I can just imagine Tony stood out in the rain taking photos.Perhaps a nice quiet trip 'up north' is in order ?
Paul in the Dales

Anonymous said...

Hey Edgar
great show in the rain. Sorry about your travelling bummers. You guys give us the hoping for future with people making a stand.
Peace and love

shoreham_steve said...

I knew it - you're the same as all the rest after all - only doing it for the glamour !! LOL !

Just back from hols in sunny (yeh, really) Cornwall and catching up with the blogs from the last two weeks.
Good to hear M is safe and well.
Keep ramblin', Ramblinmad, it's what you're good at and keeps us entertained and on our toes.
Still trying to get my head around those 22 foot catfish. Imagine the size of the chips you'd need......

edgar broughton said...

Thanks for the photos Tony - glad you got back safely.

We did play Apache Drop Out Paul.

Thanks H. What a weekend!

The longest catfish was caught on the Danube in Romania Steve. 9'9"

Anonymous said...

o well, shit happens ;o) at least you all got home safe and sound and played your set, well done! me and ramblinmad were in the heart of the Gloucester deluge on Friday, what larks!

angela said...

Gosh - sounds like you had some weekend. Glad to see you think it is all worth while. I am sure it is and remember we can't always see the virtues of battling on at the time but later we often do. Great snap shot of " don't do as I do but as I say". Security - what security? I came back from Madrid yesterday - chaos every where and great holes in the security net for all to see.
Take care.

George Jones said...

Edgar me friend, what a weekend that was and me n' Bob didn't even make it out!

Hope to see you soon,

God Bless,

George Jones.

edgar broughton said...

Thanks Angela

Hi George
It was nuts ..... hope to see you all soon. Love to all the guys and a kiss for your dad.