My return from Liverpool on Wednesday after a rehearsal with my band AMSTERDAM was one of the scariest moments I’ve had in some years. As I hit Llandrindod Wells on the way home at 2.00a.m., A Police car stopped me, enquired my reason for travelling through the town at such an ungainly hour?.
“I am a Musician” I replied
“Then you wouldn’t mind stepping out of the car then” he said.
I was body searched and they asked me to remove my equipment from the car whilst they searched my car for something!. He searched everything in my car including under the steering wheel.Why do People assume if you are a musician, then you are connected with drugs.O.K. I’ve had a Sudafed addiction for some years now, but it only happens when I have a cold,. I like to sniff Vicks Synex sprays and I love the taste of Haliboranges, but real drugs………Do me a favour Guv,I can do without the the accusation
So how can today be a revelation after my ordeal.After 3 hours sleep I arise to pack my clothes and equipment neatly in the car. This is the last day of Martyn’s tour I will play on. It is a painful thought to think that 24 hours from now, I’ll no longer be part of the troop. I am in fine spirits and wide awake as I set off for a lunch date with Martyn and Mike before we head off for Exeter. The lunch was O.K. .The soup delivered to our tables is barely enough to warrant the use of a spoon. I could turn my bowl upside down over my head and I think I could get away without being drenched in Broccoli and Chicken Soup.Fortunately the Main course looked fit for a prince………….Here Prince………Come here……..There’s a good boy…….. It was at the table that Martyn and Mike presented me with something that is very unique and I will be proud to wear forever. A Cardiff Devils jersey with HOPKINS written across the back accompanied by my lucky number 3.I try and mask my feelings as I don’t want to sob in the soup(or lack of it).
So the usual journey takes place. Frantic swerving, accelerating, braking,ducking and a Diving,Weaving and a bobbing and that’s just to get to the car park from the pub.We arrive in Exeter in fine time despite the torrential rainfall.(“Martyn, If she could have walked between those raindrops, then she would have been very clever indeed, but probably very Wet).We meet the crew, Dave on Sound(Another Dave.Someone is breeding these Daves Everywhere.They always seem to be sound guys though, never lighting guys or managers or bus conductors, only sound guys), Tom on Lights and a few other nice friendly faces
Our Soundcheck is a breeze.It sounds good enough to eat. I feel the little heartstrings going now though.It’s getting closer to the kick off. I am aware that this is quite an Emotional and stressful period for any musician or performer.The last day of their tour together. Friends glued to one another for what seems like eternity, but TONIGHT, it won’t need to go to heaven to come apart, It is my final performance as the telepathic twin on the “Far from Silent” tour. We are onto the stage. A rousing rendition of “the Last American Novel” and we are in to Joseph territory.I am now looking at making my final gesture to these songs with the best performance I can possibly do. I love these songs. They are like utensils in my musical kitchen. I use them to create my own beauty.
Part two kicks off with “Please Sir” as requested by 6 year old Jamie. After we finish, in his little voice he shouts “Thank you”. It is a little glimpse of hope that the generation of today will grow up to respect each other and be courteous and polite. It’s what my dad wanted of me and what I want of my children.
The second set is up and running and I feel that as time waits for no man, this will be over very soon, so I savour every moment I spend with the man who has become my Siamese twin on stage. Inseparable musically and hopefully friendship. We get to “Hang the World” and they are singing with us. Fantastic. My heart is pounding with delight as the audience make my last gig one to remember for a very long time. They also sing along to “Dic Penderyn”.When it comes to ” A Good Man”, Martyn’s description of the song seems to be longer in speech, this I find difficult to keep my eyes free from tears as I understand the hurt this causes him. I watch him perform with probably the only time I’ve ever heard or seen a man perform with such emotion yet courage to see the song through to the end.I am now close to tears. My heart goes out to him on stage. We get towards the end of the show with “Cardiff Bay” again evoking those huge parental feelings inside me. Children are so precious.They are a gift that cannot be equalled
We finish off with “One of Us” and “Going Home”. It is the last time I’ll cross the Severn bridge on this tour and the thought is now killing me. I put everything into playing the Welsh National Anthem and as we depart to the dressing room before taking to stage for encores, I realise “This is It.It’s almost over.No more “Mayor of Candor”, no more “Liberal Backslider or “the Good in me is dead”, No more “Cardiff Bay”, No more……………………just…………… no more……
I put my Cardiff Devils shirt on and return to the stage for our final songs.”Walk between the raindrops” is the first to be played then Martyn dedicates “Dolphins” to Jonathan and we are into the final homestretch.”All this time” is my favourite track on “Far from Silent” and I can’t think of a better way to take us home other than this musical adventure.At the close we get a standing ovation . They have been fantastic.I look back through the evening’s events.The sound was superb. Tom who did the lights was brilliant. Very compassionate with his choice of colours, the staff were brilliant and It couldn’t have been a better end to my tour.
On the way home Martyn triggers off a speed camera.The lighting crew from Cambridge come to mind.As we approach the Toll bridge, Martyn tells me he will pay for me with his Irish £10 note he acquired in Belfast.After passing through I phone him up to ask if he had offered to get his guitar out for the toll man.Further on down the road, I wave my brothers goodbye and I am alone to face the open road.M4 to Swansea.
Flashing lights catch my eye. They are blue flashing lights…….this can only mean one thing………….
quick ………..I’ll put my foot down, speed up and hope it’s female traffic Police and I’ll get strip searched.
Nah!………they Zoom passed me Billy Bunter scoffing a cream cake…….I continue my journey down the last leg of my tour……..I’m going home………..to Swansea
I have learned allot on this tour. Martyn and his songs have helped me to understand myself a bit better.Mike has been a great companion and aid on our journeys.It was good to spend time with Gaynor on the tour as well.Tonight, I say a prayer to take care of my friends on the final leg of the tour in London and I pray that Martyn puts in the performance of the tour on Saturday.
But what about the journey back. Will they be stopping at Heston services……or waiting to go to……Reading Services.
Life has a way of playing cruel trick on peoples minds and especially when they’re tired.Only the other day I found myself looking for the elusive green robed man with the staff…..Anything to pass the time
I must leave you all in peace now.I have a tough weekend ahead, but before I do I will apologise for my rather dreary entry to the tour journal. I am saddened by the fact that I won’t be spending time around my buddies.Sometimes you have to face the facts that as you pass through life, certain people become close friends and some just come and go, but for Martyn and Mike, I hope they stay forever. To have been part of their Lives for the last month has been an honour and a pleasure. We’ve had some great laughs and some really top audiences. What more could we ask for………..I’ve met some beautiful people and I hope we get to do it again sometime.
If I had a chance to do it again………I wouldn’t hesitate…..
Same Team………..Same Crowds…………Same Venues………….
As this tour for me was sponsored by Roland UK who kindly lent me a keyboard, Next year is going to be sponsored by Kleenex and Beechams
Au Revoir mon amie,
I bid you farewell and goodnight.Sleep tight