Martyn Joseph is a performer like no other: Shades of Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews there may be - but he stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives delivering his "songs of lyrical intelligence" according to BBC Radio 2's Bob Harris.

November 30, 1999 5:41 pm

Customs House, South Shields. (Nigel)

We left Stamford not in convoy today. Martyn had a radio show to do so Mike and I headed on up the A1 to our destination.It was a very windy journey to South Shields(nothing to do with the Curry last night).We arrive at the venue to discover it is on the docks.Mike and I took in some of the scenery at the dock.I went inside Customs house and asked for the doors to be opened for us to load in the equipment.10 minutes later we are still waiting outside

Perhaps they don’t understand me because of my Welsh accent, perhaps they don’t understand me because I speak English or perhaps they’ve heard of the tale of the man with the Green robe and staff waiting beside the Reading services thumbing a lift and are scared to have the Martyn Joseph entourage inside the building to infect others with their insanity don’t know, but it was a long wait in the cold. Back to the gig.The tech guys are called Jeff(sound) and Paul(lights).They seem friendly enough.Good. I wouldn’t like them to upset big Mike

We soundcheck and go to eat next door. Tonight is Italian night for the crew. Gaynor ordered a spinach dish for starters. If it’s good enough for Popeye, it’s good enough for Gaynor. She is carrying some of the heavier equipment now. We start the show in the usual fashion and as we get further on down the set, I realize that the lighting man has taken tips from the lighting guy in Cambridge. I am spotlighted on stage like a criminal trying to escape the show.My eyes are watering with the intensity of the light. It’s got nothing to do with the fact that Martyn’s songs are sad and depressing.(OK). So the second spot we start with “Going Home”. The toll fee being 10p short again tonight provokes a response from the crowd who seem to have the same 7 second delay that We had with Neil Armstrong’s transmission.They throw the money stagewards as Martyn was about to continue onwards

The joke about that “Man in the Green Robe” is going down well.We finish in style in with “All this Time”. My attention turns towards a man standing before me on the stage, He beckons me over, I notice he has a friendly face and I have seen him before. We take a take a bow and head upstairs before I realize that this ritual at the end of the gig has become part of my life now. I think we’ve become a little touring family.Mom, Pop, Big Braver and little Braver and not forgetting the man who stays in our thoughts at all times, The Hitchhiker, but we never see him when we load in the equipment. You just can’t get the staff these days

Nigey Nige

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