All in all, I could have done without the two-and-a-half-hour drive in the afternoon (repeated on the Tuesday morning). But it was good to catch up with old mates Dick and Ann (and family) who very kindly offered me a bed for the night. Well, it was one of those fold-open settees which magically turns itself into a bed. Even better was the top class cottage pie which Ann assembled for tea (followed by a splendid cherry pie/fruit salad combo). Big ta, and respect. The local rag the Express And Star had seemingly overlooked the band who were in town that night, preferring to concentrate on local boys Chasetown's draw in the Cup at Port Vale. Later on, Nigel commented to the world how the draw for the Third Round was one of the most boring ever. Can't disagree with that.
Dick came along to the gig and took a few snaps which could be appearing on your favourite HMHB website any time soon. Some pretty good ones in there judging from what we looked at when we got home, even though he found it difficult to get good angles. Too much moshing, you see. Which in turn tells you what a decent crowd was there. The place was a lot fuller than when the band was last in Bilston, about eighteen months ago. And, I have it on good authority, there was only about 80 to see the Climax Blues Band when they appeared. One-nil to HMHB!
As is often the case these days, I opted for a spot safely at the back. This being Slade territory, there was a mini-homage to them, with a few photos on the wall, and a framed ticket from a show they headlined in the US.
On stage, things went as fine as ever. I'm no expert on these things - but I can't remember much better sound at any of the shows. And there was even a joke - the one about DNA standing for the National Dyslexic Association. Nigel also joined in the Muttiah Muralitharan debate. Does he / doesn't he throw? I thought all that had been sorted out, but you can never beat opening a can of worms. Particularly when there is a Test series at stake. Oh and my Barclays pen ran out of ink early on. I'll have to nip to my local branch to nick another. Good job I also brought my Pontefract Races number with me.
A Lilac Harry Quinn
(after which Ken had to pause for an age to tune up - serves him right, should play this more often)
Bottleneck At Capel Curig
Fuckin' 'Ell It's Fred Titmus
Bad Losers On Yahoo Chess
Running Order Squabble Fest
For What Is Chatteris
Outbreak Of Vitas Geralitis
Paintball's Coming Home
Bob Wilson Anchorman
Tending The Wrong Grave
Look Dad No Tunes
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Four Skinny Indie Kids
Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes
On The Roids
Shit Arm Bad Tattoo
The Best Things In Life
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
Monmore Hare's Running
Joy Division Oven Gloves
And the three in the encore were
We Built This Village On A Trad Arr Tune
I'm pretty sure that the title of the Yahoo Chess song is in the plural rather than the singular. We might have to wait for the new album to find out for sure. If it's causing you sleepless nights in the meantime, you will have to contact the band. That looks like the end of shows for another year. Highlights of the year? Well, it's all one big highlight really. Definitely looking forward to the trip to Ulverston. And Sheffield, of course.