Well it’s been some year for us Rod fans…. As old mate Bri, now lovingly and
forever more referred to as ‘where’s Wally’ pointed out last night, we are just
a week short of the anniversary of our infamous stage invading trip to Vegas,
and so much has happened since then. But what more fitting place to end our
year than Rod’s spiritual home.
I’ve done Glasgow only twice before. I’m terrible with years, (I do lyrics, Ian
does tracklists and years) but I think 2005 and 2009 and both were memorable.
2005 I fainted in the SECC and managed to get a picture of me with Rods hat –
missed the rest of him entirely even though he was wearing it at the time – and
the last time I remember walking for an hour and a half in the wrong direction
because Ian’s internal sat nav failed and he refused to admit it, and Helens
Purple Heather flag.
So this time I have a whole week in this wonderful city. Poor Ian is coming up
to join me later in the week, which despite what people think is not because he
is grounded after the Leeds debacle –( by the way Roberts, you failed to tell me
that it was a security guard’s chair that you fell through, or that you demolished
it in the process!) but owing to the fact that he has no annual leave left.
This is my holiday. Decided to go all out and spoil myself. I have considered the
fact that for what I have paid for this week, I could have been lying on a nice
beach somewhere hot sipping on an all inclusive cocktail, but hey, heard
the entertainment not so great there, and I would rather opt for the nightlife
here. Who needs a tan?
Flew into Glasgow latish on the Sunday night. Checked into a very nice hotel
for the week, and tried to find others of a similar ilk to say hello. Not as easy
as it sounds when all have been drinking to excess and no one is looking at
their phone, but finally caught up with a few RSFC desperado’s doing the usual
first night excesses.
Monday 30th September 2013
First night, new venue. Now although it’s all very exciting, it does cause us
professional barrier huggers some anxiety because we don’t know what we
are doing. I mean in terms of queuing. Usually we are well prepared in terms
of layout and timings ( and remember the SECC secret door, that ended up not
so secret ), but this was new to all of us. Lots of discussions about what time to
queue from, where to stand. And some were there all day. Kev Crossland had
organised a pre and post gig meet at the Crowne Plaza, which was the nearest
hotel to the venue, but pre is a bit dodgy at a standing gig, if you want to get
near the front. In the end I decided to forgo the pre meet and get to the queue
about 3 ish, and that was plenty of time to be fair, and even after than there
were enough of us to hold places while we went for drinks / food / toilets. And
in the end, as is so often the case, it didn’t matter because after all that, we then
got moved along to different doors, and people turning up at 6.30 were able to
walk straight in ( reminds me of Cork!)
At the internal doors there was a bit of argy bargy when the security girls who
really looked like they were just out of school and had no idea what they were
about to take on, tried to split us into two queues and then back into one again,
but at least we were right by the toilets which meant there was time for that
final wee before you were jammed against the barrier and committed to holding
it until the final curtain or lose your place.
Those last few minutes were really stressful. I was at door A along with Marion
and Simone and Kirsten from Germany, Julie Cartwright and Elaine Duncan,
and Gaz Jones. They were talking about wanting to stamp hands but they had
no stamper. We thought we could hear the other doors opening and we were
getting very fractious and then when the doors opened we just ran for it. Not quite
sure where I was running but realised I was right hand side of the stage and
headed for the barrier. Yusain Bolt eat your heart out. ( Ok more like a mum run,
but I got there, very glad I’d had that last wee though). So, getting breath back,
survey the position. Right of stage but not too shabby, not too shabby at all. Job
RSFC pals all around me. A couple of Glaswegian women behind me trying the
hand on barrier routine, but I’d come prepared this time and was wearing my
bingo wing protectors!
Impressive arena. Smaller stage than I’d expected. And all the seating way back
and very high. Slow bar service, but seemed to be enough toilets. That’s about all
the notice I took because my interest was on the stage.
RSFC flag along the barrier, and then we have to stand through they entire Moya
set. Usually we just get the last couple of songs, but we listened politely and
clapped where we were supposed to. The sound in this new arena was amazing
( more of that later ) but it still didn’t help me hear any of her lyrics. But thanks
to Elizabeth Klaus and her post gig renditions, I now have ‘ a little more love’ in
my head rather than a Rod song, which is certainly sacrilegious.
Ok and we are off. (Consult handy note pad ) Enter band ( girls in red )and the
Main man resplendent in shiny silver jacket. Looking very hot Mr Stewart. This
Old Heart. Oh, no change to start then. But immediately you can see he is up for
it. Huge energy, wide smile. Song nailed. “One Nil” he says. You wear it well is
next, and I’m thinking, oh well, no new set list for the new venue, but no time to
be disappointed. The crowd are singing their hearts out from the start. Nowhere
is louder than Glasgow. Sound is fantastic, really clear, and the RSFC flag
makes it to the big screen straight away.
“Hello Glasgow. We made it” he says “I’ve been looking forward to this” Twisting
is next and we are all dancing. Top tier remain mostly glued to their seats though,
but a standing gig means it’s rocking from the start. He sings “let me tell you bout
a place, somewhere down the Glasgow way” and the crowd roar their approval.
He tells us there are going to be 23 songs, and we launch into Tonight’s the Night.
Janna plays violin, silhouetted against the image of the full moon gliding across
the screen. Jimmy’s spine tingling sax solo as the Glasgow Choir raise the roof,
and it does feel like Tonight is going to be the night.
After the gig, Kev Crossland told me to be honest in my review and said he
thought it was no better than Leeds. I wasn’t at Leeds, but I can only write as I
felt and I know I do tend to wax lyrical, so forgive my gushing sentiment, but I
was blown away. Again. Few little niggles, but they were few. Anyway, where
were we? Oh yes, Sweet Little Rock n Roller. Bingo wing pincher behind me has
given up and is picking on Kirsten next to me trying to slime her way in to the
barrier but we are having none of it. Dancing with the elbows extended usually
does the trick.
“How’s it sounding? “ he asks. As we shout back in the affirmative he is clearly
relieved “ Good, cos I didn’t build it” Rhythm of my Heart is next, and the vocals
#are spot on. Jacket and tie are off, and during the end bit with the girls, he gives
the tie to Elma, captured on film by Ruth Hannuschka. How to make a fans day!
Kirsten and the bingo wing pincher are now trading blows, and security just smile
and let them get in with it!
Rod muses about how safe the building it. Says he has had a sleepless night
worrying about it. “ I mean, how do they test it? They can’t exactly fill it with
15,000 people can they?”
And then Rod introduces Ruby. She comes on to centre stage, picks up the wrong
mic, gets flustered. Says Dad is going backstage to ‘ fluff his hair’. Asks for the
lights to be put down because she is suddenly nervous. I think Ruby has a
fantastic voice but has struggled with her stage presence when I’ve seen her
before, so this wasn’t a great start. Well, I think this was her coming of age.
She sang her own song, One More Day, which I’ve heard once before but Oh
My Goodness she nailed it. I thought this was an outstanding performance and
she strode across that stage like she meant it, with really powerful, make the
hairs stand up vocals. The crowd initially quiet got louder and louder, cheering
her on and as she fell to her knees at the end pleading for just one more day,
she was totally believable and totally in control of every single one of the crowd.
I read a review that said attention waned when she was on. Not true, she was
captivating. And Dad stood at the side of the stage and beamed.
And then we have the duet of Forever Young, and Rod sings the lyrics to Ruby.
Drum solo in the middle ( or percussion bridge to be more specific -
that right Antonio?), and leopard skin outfits, yes we all know the drill, but
everyone enjoys the humour in it, and then out comes Rod in a bright orange
suit, stripy socks and leopard skin shoes. Only Rod can get away with that. And
he finishes the song, singing the lyrics to Ruby. And he certainly has served her
well, hasn’t he? “ I remember when she was this big” he says, making a cradling
And then he tells us how she had a panic attack backstage when she realised she
had forgotten her heels. I don’t think anyone worried.
Time for the sit down section of the show and he says ‘ I would say sit down but
you can’t can you? Are you alright? And we all show him we are more than
alright. First cut and he introduces Julia Thornton, and this was the first sound
cock up of the night, couldn’t hear the harp at all from where I was. Emerson
Swinford has become ‘ Razors’ when he is introduced to the crowd for some
reason. “ Keep your legs closed ladies, gentleman in the front with long lenses!”
If they are notorious for being a tad aggressive, the Glasgow crowd make up for
it with their enthusiasm and their decibels. That new roof struggled to stay
attached such was the response to I don’t wanna talk about it. Antonio, go
boil your head, this is Rod at his finest doing what he loves best. Fabulous song.
And then ‘Bring it in Ginger’( not sure who the reference was too) but he calls it the
‘ most song sung at weddings’ Have I told you Lately. If I have any criticism, it’s that
the Glasgow crowd don’t know when to be quiet so we can hear the vocals over the
singing, and Have I told you is such a song you need to listen and absorb. In my
humble opinion of course.
And then the superlative Brighton Beach. A huge favourite of mine and the crowd
were appreciative lots knowing the words which is encouraging. He dedicates it to
Sarah and he looks so happy. Actually he seemed so happy all the way through
this show, really happy to be there.
So the stage is cleared and we are off and running again. We have a little medley
of three songs off the new album together. Can’t stop me now is a total triumph.
He mentions his Dad, who was a Scotsman you know, and the place erupts to the
song. Fantastic that a new song has such an effect. Rod seems to pour every ounce
of his heart and soul into this song. We were leaping about and punching
the air, such was the jubilation in the song, and he was calling it out to his Dad.
Massive highlight of the show for me. Nailed it Rod.
I think Rod was physically and emotionally spent after Can’t stop me, and therefore
if that had been a total triumph, She makes me Happy which came
next was a total train wreck. No idea what he was singing but he got through it,
shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
Georgie was next. Wasn’t expecting it, but guessed that it meant no I Would
Rather Go Blind and I was right. Sang it well but stood mostly over the other side of
the stage, and it wasn’t anything like the performance of it at the 02 back in June,
when he lived the song. The crowd were word perfect. The girls took centre stage
for soul girl and then he comes back in a purple shirt and blue lary jacket. Again,
only Rod. It’s in my Heart next. Very little Celtic insignia, the drum logo
got on the screen once and the camera picked up Marion and Simones Celtic flag
but I noticed he was clearly not overly promoting Celtic. Guess it’s in the
contract? There was a guy behind me holding up a celtic jersey that had Jinky
Johnson on it, and he nodded to it, but made no attempt to pick it up when the very
large and determined guy behind me threw it on the stage.
Again such loud singing by the crowd. Rod tells us how humbling it is for him to be
up there and he wishes we could experience it. And he gives us Maggie. The top tier decide to see if their legs work. They do, and the whole arena is up pretty much.
Great spectacle. Then it’s Sailing, and the crowd think its ending, we could hear
some grumbles coming from behind us. Emerson shines in the guitar solo.
Then the videos that would be funny if we hadn’t been to a zillion shows, so that’s
our fault, and its Hot legs and balls time. Jinky Johnson guy behind me decides
he is entitled to a ball and basically barges me sideways, leaning on me so my
head is at a 90 degree angle. Attractive look. Whether Rod thought his behaviour
a tad too pushy or not, he didn’t get one and I was perversely pleased. Said guy
pushes his way out of the crowd in disgust. Hey ho win some lose some.
And we are building to the end of the show now, Sexy and Baby Jane, can’t
remember which order because I had dropped pen and it was all becoming a
blur. I remember that Sexy finished very quickly and I was holding my original
Blondes have more fun scarf which he noticed and smiled at. Little things keep a
And the very final encore, worst kept secret considering the practice runs,
Auld Lang Syne. Raising the roof, and it seemed that Rod was suddenly very tired
and emotional. Not tears like we had before but it was moving, and he seemed a
And that was it, first night over.
Overall I can’t agree with Kev, easily the best show I’ve seen this tour, although
June’s 02 was close. Easily the best crowd, but no contest with the standing.
Easily the best singing though, because it’s Glasgow and it always is.
Disappointed with the set list if I’m honest. Hoped for Joking and sad that Blind
was left out. But Rod was on top form. Band brilliant as always. Big spectacle,
lots to see, fabulous sound. Great arena. Three more to go.
Post gig we headed back to Crowne Plaza where we waited for an interminable time
to get served. Kev Crossland was anxious but he needn’t have been. Ended up great
fun, sat in a circle, singing our hearts out. Being instructed on the lyrics by Adriana.
( ...and I’m from Argentina!!) I’m so glad I came, brilliant start.
Got to bed around 2am, only to be woken at 6.30 by the fire alarm in the hotel
and had to be evacuated. Went back for the flag though…. Some things are just too important.
Wednesday 2nd October
So it's actually 2am on Thursday, and I'm a bit drunk. I know this because my
fingers won't work and I keep hitting the wrong keys. Anyway thought I should
writea little to catch up. Gig number 2 down and think it was probably better than Monday,even thought there were no what we now call signature songs, it was a
very basic set list. Was bloody loud though, in that Glaswegian kind of loudness
that Rod says is the best the world over. There's no crowd like a Glasgow crowd
he said and he meant it.
Fun day and night yesterday, Celtic match - yes they lost, and nobody mentioned
the17 flights of stairs we needed to climb to get there. I went with Adriana, and I think she learned more swear words in one evening than ever before. Walking back, the Germans, the Argentinian
and me, we suddenly found ourselves whilst dressed in Celtic Green in the middle of Rangers territory, so beat a hasty retreat to the train station. We then spent the eveing in a bar singing Rod and
negotiating rates to getlocal men to take their clothes off. As you do. Less Chippendales, more Chip n Dale!
Anyway back to tonight and the gig. More confusion re the queuing, but basically
they still dont dont what they are doing. Ended up at Barrier dead central which
would have been totally brilliant had I not had psycho glasgae chicks next to me.
We ended up having some quite heated discussions about why I didnt want to
become a cojoined twin at this stage of my life ( we were squashed so close
Safe setlist, no surprises from last night, just tracks missed out. We sang to Moya
'just a little more love' which is to become the theme song of the Glasgow trip I
believe. Ruby fab again, Rod top form and crowd even louder. No denying that
the set list was disappointing for us regular attendees. Some Guys in after Wear
it Well, She Makes Me Happy was dropped after last night's car crash, and far as I
could tell, not replaced. He told us again there would be 23 songs, but we only
But apart from that, how could you complain. Fabulous show. I watched as the
Psycho Glasgae ladies next to me lost all their aggression and joined us all
holding hands and singing our hearts out.
Funny moment when someone threw up a tartan bra, and Rod put it over Jimmy's
head just as he went into a sax solo, almost dislodging his earpiece. And the band
and Rod dodging the giant balloons.
I said earlier, it was so LOUD. In My Heart was louder than I've ever heard,
anywhere. Really fantastic. Rod clearly recognising familiar faces, and thumbs up
to the flag.
Ended with Auld Lang Syne again, no sign of Purple Heather yet. Not sure if we are
going to get it this time.
Afterwards we legged it back to the Crowne Plaza where we caused considerable mayhem, and I had a complete panic attack when I thought I'd lost The Flag. I'd
leftit on the bar and a lady had retrieved it. Luckily Mark G spotted it under her arm
andwe were reunited.
I'm really having a great week up here, whole week immersed in Rod. Blissful.
Ian on his way up here today, and party tonight, so I'd best get a wiggle on.
Short but im falling asleep. Lots to tell about ties and singing in the Crowne Plaza
and losing the flag, but I need to sleep.
Thursday 3rd October
That's better. 8 hours uninterrupted and much needed sleep. So now can write a
little bit more about last night. Having a little more knowledge of the venue and
where to stand meant that I managed to secure barrier central last night, and I
haven't been there for a very long time. Lot's of RSFC all along the barrier and
all the flags out, Great atmosphere again, Felt more like Glasgow as I
remembered it, as in drunken ladies pushing and trying to get past you to the
barrier. Not happening, no matter how hard you push me love.
Awoke feeling surprisingly ok considering the way my fingers wouldn’t work last
night. However my considerable smugness about this fact was to be my undoing. Thursday night was party night – a small affair organised by request and the
cause of some trepidation. Not too many of the party regulars were going to be
in Glasgow for this one, with a lot doing the Monday and / or Saturday gigs, but
we decided to press ahead so that anyone in town who perhaps would be at a
loose end would have a chance to catch up. Facebook was saying only about 25
attendees so we weren’t expecting this to be a riotous affair. Should have known
Ian was due to arrive by train mid afternoon, and I had to go set up the room in
the morning. Massive thanks to Ruth Hannushka, whom I dragged with me, and
who proved to be very proficient at locating the whereabouts of tartan napkins,
and the pinning up of Scotland flags. Between us we transformed a fairly dingy
looking room about a small pub into a party room. We surveyed the finished
result and felt confident about our endeavours. One small oversight. We both
failed to check that there was actually any music system there. Easy mistake to
make. Nice room, no tunes.
Anyway before we discovered this, we headed over to meet up for our ‘ ladies
lunch’ in Di Maggio’s which had been organised by Julie Cartwright, Elaine
Duncan and Gillian Kirk. Adriana from Argentina, Karen Chande from the US
and Elizabeth Klaus, the Scottish German and her husband Albert, ( an honorary
lady for the afternoon ) so it was a very international affair. Soon to be joined by
Ian straight from station, we had a very pleasant afternoon drinking very nice
wine, which when I look back on it, I realised was the start of an all dayer, which
accounts for my rapid deterioration in the evening.
So we get to the party to find Hobo and Harem already in the pub not realising
party is upstairs. Ian is well impressed with our efforts, less impressed by the
fact he had nothing to plug his ipod into. The mood was somewhat strained but I
have to say that the management of Dows bar pulled out the stops and managed
to sort us something out ( turns out that the duty manager who had promised us
there would be a sound system there was leaving prior to our event and really
didn’t give a monkeys if we turned up to find no music system)
So after an hour or so of chatting amongst ourselves and listening to Ian’s phone
in a pint glass ( try it if you are short of a ipod dock) we were underway. Have to
say that it turned into a typical RSFC bash with very enthusiastic singing and
Lovely to see our Helen Clowes finally getting out, after her accident, showing
off her plastered arm covered in band signatures, with her daughter Elaine,
Gillian and her Aunties, Lucie Petlova , and Mark Gaudiere accompanied
unexpectedly by Tom Mann who had been indulging in the free bar on the first
class carriage of his train up from London and therefore needed no warming up
so to speak. Mike Gregor and his very beautiful girlfriend coming in from LA.
Sure I’ve missed some people out, so apologies, but it was a small but very lively
group who did the love train through the very startled pub downstairs. Great set
list Mr Roberts ( despite the suddenly extended bar closing time ) and I think a
good time had by all. Seem to remember more late night Baileys consumption
in the hotel – we did drink them out of it over the course of the week – but I
certainly over did the falling down juice and paid for it heavily the next day.
Friday 4th October.
Took a very determined effort , and medication, to shake off the headache.
However it it it was gig day ( again ) and no time for feeling sorry for myself
( although I did whinge a bit to be fair ). Ian took me for lunch at Rogano’s so
I could have a nosyat where Rod and co visit on Match days. Nice vibe there,
I enjoyed it and especially enjoyed the fish soup! Then on for drinks in Merchant
square with Elizabeth and Albert, Ruth and a more sober Tom. Introducing Ian to
the now practiced art of queuing at the Hydro, consisted just as it did in
Amsterstam, of us finding a place, and then him disappearing to the bar.
Nice atmosphere every afternoon outside the Hydro, with old and new friends
greeting each other. Outsiders who turned up were amazed at the camaraderie
between us all. Time passed really quickly and then it was run for the inside
doors. Unfortunately for us Door B didn’t do very well and the barrier was pretty
crowded by the time we got inside and so we went right round to the right hand
side of the stage ( Jimmy side). Was a good spot with none of the pushing and
shoving I’d had on the Wednesday, and I was even ok to go out for a wee.
By now getting very familiar with Moya’s tunes, joining in on the last couple.
Apparently under the influence we had been discussing starting the Moya fan
club, but nah.
As ever we had the RSFC flag over the barrier and it got a big thumbs up from
Rod and he spent a lot of time over at our side of the stage. Friday was a huge
gig. No surprises in terms of set list, but possibly the best atmosphere of the
week, not sure, suppose it’s all very subjective. Certainly being on the side I
could take in more of my surroundings and perhaps absorb the whole
atmosphere better, rather than have all of my attention on Rod ( not that you
wouldn’t rather do that of course!)
The individual bit at the end of Rhythm of My Heart was a total cock up and he
sangthe girls bit! Funny how after writing so many times about the same show, I
now find myself writing about what goes wrong. What does that tell you? But Rod
was in playful mood and great voice. The voice has been on top form all week,
and he clearly loves being in what he calls his spiritual home. Couldn’t see anything
of the acoustic set due to being on the side so we watched on the
screen. Long delay after the end of the final encore before the lights came up
and we really thought that we were going to get Purple Heather but no. Not sure
about Auld Lang Syne as a closing song, it is big singalong, but most of the crowd
don’t know the words and it isn’t as triumphant as PH, but for sure the crossed
arms thing four nights in a week has done wonders for the bingo wings!
All piled back to the Crowne Plaza for our now regular meet place ( well done
Kev) only to find a couple sitting in the RSFC corner. They were sniggering at our
fan club tshirts etc, and the wife had her nose in the air and we took an instant
dislike. So we started the RSFC pincer movement, which was first practiced in
the Hard Rock in 2008. Elizabeth asked if it was ok to sit in a chair opposite them,
then someone sat next to them, and then one by one we invaded their space.
To be fair I did try to engage them in conversation but the guy pretty much blanked
me, so from then on it was gloves off. They stood their ground for well over an hour, even when Holga and Sonja and Kirsten were talking in German across them, and
evenwhen Karen Chande squeezed herself in so close to him she was practically
sat on the guys lap, but then we pulled our final move and ordered a table full of
chips! They threw in the towel and moved to cheers from us all. Very bad behaviour
guys – but they were horrid so completely justified!!
Saturday 5th October
And suddenly we are at the last day? What happened to the week? Had a feeling
of sadness that it was going to be the last one, and of course because Ian was
heading back to Manchester and would miss the last one. We met up with Adriana
for breakfast and then saw Ian off on the train. So time for champagne at Rogano’s
( just wrote that like it was an everyday occurence )and meet up with Gillian, and
Helen and Amanda who’d made the trip from Ardrossan and finally Helen was going
to a gig.
Helen had to pick her ticket up from Susanne Baker, and I had Amanda’s other
one, and because of the different doors, we decided to swap so that Amanda and
Helen could queue at the same doors. I mention this because it is important later,
in that Susanne and I ended up with the same batch of tickets.
Ok so for those who didn’t go to Glasgow at all, to explain, there are outside
doors and inside doors. The outside doors open at 6pm, half an hour before the
inside doors open at 6.30. You queue by the outside door nearest to the inside door because where you are at the inside door queue, determines where you
end up inside the auditorium. It’s quite nerve wracking waiting for those doors to
open, so imagine how I felt when being about third in queue, my ticket scan didn’t
work, it came up invalid ticket. Doorman tells me I have to go back to the ticket
office, and I refuse point blank. He scanned it again and it still didn’t work. He
tells me again to go back and I try to push past him, panic rising by the second. We
stand there shouting at each other and in the end , crazily I just try to run
He runs after me and catches me, I’m not that fast these days. And he’s a weedy
little oik, but speedy. Swings me round by my arm and calls for back up. In the
meantime people are happily running past him but he’s got me. I try a second
time to run away ( where I thought I was going to go I have no idea, because he
would have found me inside ) and at this point he tells me that because of my
behaviour I am refused entry and will not be allowed inside at all, regardless of
my ticket status. ( I think I did call him a jobsworth git – well I was upset). He
tells me that if I try again to get inside I will be arrested. By now I’m sobbing with frustration and then along comes Mike, head of security, who thankfully was calm
and trying to help. Tells me to stop crying and that he can sort it all out. I try to
explain that it’s no use, even if he gets me in, I’ve lost my place in the inside
queue. He tells me he's head of security and there is nothing he can’t fix! I stop
crying at this point and start to feel a bit stupid. He talks to me about how crazy us
Rod fans are and that they never expected the dash for the barrier from the Rod
fans, bearing in mind his age!
Anyway, it was pure chance that he was there to help at that time, and that he took
pity on me. I was more fortunate than poor Susanne who had another ticket that
didn’t work and unlike me didn’t make a pratt of herself, but trailed back to the
ticket office and therefore lost her front spot and although she made the barrier,
was well round the side.
So, within 5 minutes I go from total despair to total joy when I end up central
front barrier. Much easier time than the Wednesday, no pushing around me, and
it was a fabulous place to be for the final night. Look along the barrier both sides
of me and 90 percent of the faces I see are our members! Lovely to learn that
Maureen 112 gave up her barrier place for our Hels, so she was front too. The
Rod family all in one place at one time, the best place, waiting for our Man to
come out on that stage in front of us, for the last night in Glasgow. With apologies
to those who couldn’t make it, there was a feeling of finality and I’m not saying that
this was the last one, it felt to me like it was going to be the last one like this? Not
sure if that makes sense, but I had a lump in my throat before it started.
And the noise was deafening. . Yeah so he played it safe. Only change to the
setlist was It’s a Heartache. Really safe, one could say lazy, and that word was
used a lot in our post gig discussions, and we meant lazy in terms of preparation
and rehearsal to give something different. No one could ever accuse Rod of being
lazy in his performance. Heart and soul as always. Ruby again outstanding. Outsang her dad in Forever young, but I feel that was deliberate on Rods part. He was happy to stand back, let her take centre stage. Some voice that girl has. Funny story about the wardrobe girl getting her hair caught in his hairdryer…. Wonder if she goit out? And during Sweet Little Rock n Roller, out comes both Alistair andAiden,dressed in kilts. Crowd go wild, and it was cute, little Aiden bopping about. Penny is down in front of us taking pictures, and it’s all very nice. And they go off so we thought that was it, but it was far from it.
Maggie and Sailing were just phenomenal. Incredible arena with every single person
on their feet, waving flags and scarves. I know by the time I get to write this you
have all seen the video’s so it’s hard to find a way to get the atmosphere over to
you but it was overwhelming. And as I watched him perform I could see him in 78,
in 86, in all the years and all the times I’d watched this man do this, do what he does in the way that he does and I wondered how many more times I would get to be here,
and feel this. And if it would ever again be as good as this. And not for the first time
that night, my tears flowed.
So we were building to the finale, still hoping for Purple Heather which I know by
now you all know didn’t come. If I’m honest from where we were, the end of the
concert was a bit chaotic. The kids back on stage with two other children who I
believe are relatives of Penny, on stage, and it didn’t seem like Rod even knew
there were there, and all the balloons popping all around. In front of us was Penny
and more members of her family all taking pictures with security trying to protect
them from the balloons and any over zealous fans, all stood in front of us so it was
hard to see what was going on. I wanted to concentrate on Rod and mad as it
sounds, watching him go off stage for what you never know might be the last time,
but it was all a bit full on and confused. Afterwards there was lots of criticism for
that, but having watched a video back, from further back, I think it may have been
just from the part where we were, from further back didn’t seem so intense.
Anyway it was all over. Stood, feeling completely wrung out amongst the balloons
and paper cups on the floor. We were singing ‘ It’s over, It’s over’. Hugs and
tears across continents and we all went together.
Back in the Crowne Plaza they played hardly any Rod music so we sang it
anyway. No one wanting to go to bed, to give in to the fact that it’s late and real life
is waiting and we know we must go home.
The difference this time has been the international community. The growth of the
RSFC has meant we are now a worldwide community, and Glasgow had
representatives from so many countries. I was privileged to have spent the week
with so many fabulous people and I’m very thankful that my love of Rod has given
me such good friends, and such happy times.
We don’t know how long we are going to have this. But as long as we do, we’ll keep
on doing what we do. Thanks to each and every one of you who helped
make it what it was. Thanks to everyone involved in putting on this tour, but mostly
to Mr Stewart. He keeps on doing it which means we can keep on doing it.
Glasgow 2013. What a time it was, what a time to be alive.
Dortmund was originally going to be the last proper gig of the 2013 UK and European Tour. Of course that was before
the 02 gig was cancelled and then rescheduled for July 11th, and before the September gigs were finalised. So we booked the first and last gigs and that was going to be it, but of course, it never
is. Anyway, explanations aside, we were always planned to be going to Dortmund.
7am flight out of Luton with long term die hards Ruth Hannuska and Ina Bocking had us arriving at the hotel several hours too early for check in. But the very nice lady behind the desk said that she would get us in as early as possible so we went to have some breakfast….. and lo and behold strolling into the restaurant were band members in various stages of dishevelment. Please be sure that I am talking about the male members here as, the ladies always look radiant ( happy now Ian?)
Nice to be greeted so warmly, but we let them get on with breakfast and had arranged to have a catch up with Janna later, so retired to the room once ready to catch up on some Z’s and rest up for what was going to be a long day.
Had a bit of a drama with a hairdryer from which I emerged unscathed, but Ian wants me to stress the fact ( Antonio ) that he had a good ten minutes private time with his favourite fiddler before I joined them! Very soon we were joined by Maik from Austria who had just arrived and then Katja and the other Mr Roberts joined us and it became quite a little tea party.
Off they all went to rehearsals / sound check, and it was time to ditch the tea and head for the bar – where we stayed for several hours, sampling the local beer. Ash Senol from Australia whom we had first met in Manchester was also out to party, but he didn’t drink the local ale, no he was on the double vodka’s, not understanding that in Germany a vodka is already easily a double and therefore I believe he was drinking quadruple vodkas, which may account for the bill which was 17 euros a drink and the ‘day after the night before’ picture posted on facebook!
Nice atmosphere in the hotel, more band members came and went, Maik was getting his album signed by them all and he and Ash also had pics taken with Don Kirkpatrick and Dave Palmer. Don was very interested in the fact that Ian was wearing a Cregan and co T shirt!
German fans Marion and Simone arrived with Ruth and Ina, and slowly the hotel began to fill up with concert goers . Elizabeth Klaus joined us and soon enough it was time to head over to the venue ( after a couple of trips up in the lift when I went to go change into my RSFC shirt, but forgot the key, and then a minor panic attack when we thought we had lost the RSFC flag, but we hadn’t).
The last time I’d been to this arena in 2010, we’d got into the arena early and it was a standing gig. Tonight I hardly recognised it. It felt a bit like a large church hall, quite sparse with removable chairs, as if someone had just got them out of a cupboard somewhere. We were second row with Ash sat next to us at the end of the row.
I was amazed to see that the arena was only about half full. All the higher tiers were empty. Think there were around 6 thousand people
there only. Big gap between the front row and the barrier, but not for long. So as Loch Lomond starts we are all stood up right by the barrier, waving the flags as the security pleaded with us to sit
down but my German failed me at this point. Begins with Anne King walking out on her own doing a trumpet solo and then as soon as the band walk out we are all jammed up against the barrier, flags all
displayed in front , and as Rod walks out security are drowned out and we think we are set for the gig.
This Old Heart is the opening song, and we immediately know we are in for typical ‘ Euro’ set list ( as in, no BB, no Georgie) Security make a sterling effort to get us all to sit down but we are talking huge numbers all stood at the front and although initially they moved us back a few feet, we wouldn’t sit down, and eventually they gave it up and walked off in a line and we all got back to the barrier. Happy Daze, nowhere in the world I would rather be. When Rod sings ‘ Some Guys’ he is motioning to the security guy and basically is teasing him, so early signs for a bit of fun and frivolity were good. How wrong we were.
We were treated to an unexpected Handbags and Gladrags – especially for Dortmund he said. And I noticed there was none of the usual preamble to Rhythm of my Heart, guess the references to world wars would not have gone down so well in Germany.
So as you all know, the show sticks to routine, choreography and it seemed to be going along quite well, but I thought Rod looked tired, almost irritated at times. First real sign of it was at the beginning of the acoustic set. As the small orchestra made up of local musicians came on, he made it clear that he thought that they were not moving quickly enough ‘ never mind girls, you take your time, we got all night’ and then he explained to Jimmy Roberts, ‘ no point doing the joke ( the JR had a sausage shop etc ) ‘cos they aren’t going to understand it’
Then came the wardrobe malfunction. Well shoe malfunction to be accurate. After the girls did Soul Man, he came back in wearing the white Salvador Dali jacket, and launched into Maggie and suddenly he sat down, and is taking his shoe off. Seemed that either the tongue was doubled over, or there was something in the shoe, not sure but he couldn’t fix it and threw it down in irritation, and for a while was singing with one shoe on and one off. The wardrobe girl also couldn’t fix what was wrong, so brought some replacements and then we were treated to the crazy sight of Rod having his shoes laced whilst trying to sing Maggie. Normally this would be a source of huge amusement but although he was trying to smile and sing through it you could see that he was really peed off. It made for uncomfortable watching but we had no idea at this point what was to come.
Those who were there, and those who were not, will no doubt talk about Ballgate for many years to come. For me, the overwhelming
feeling was one of shock, real genuine shock. Just in case there is a Rod fan somewhere on the planet who hasn’t read about what happened, these are the facts.
During Hot legs, Rod began his usual ball kicking. There were no crowds in the upper tiers to kick to so he was booting them to the back of the hall. He was showing signs of irritation with the guy throwing the balls when they didn’t fall right for him to kick, and then he stopped the song because he had screwed up the words. He asked to start again from the top but they missed the intro and so he missed the first line and he was trying to get back into position and then the ball feeder yet again threw it in wrongly and he was raising his hands in exasperation. It may be little details but I’m just trying to describe that he seemed not on point. I mean he sounded fine, and the gig was going alright, but the interaction wasn’t the same and he just didn’t seem himself.
So halfway through the song, he was over to the left of stage, just to the left of me, about to kick a ball when suddenly without warning a ball came flying back to onto the stage hitting backing singer fairly hard on the legs. She wasn’t injured as such, she didn’t fall over, she exclaimed ‘owww’ but was able to carry on singing. But Rod saw it and saw who threw the ball. He stopped the music immediately and launched into a tirade against this guy.
Rod’s face was a mask of fury. He asked him why he did it, called him a f**kin prick twice, then a f**king fanny clearly on mic, and
then finally as he pulled the mic away he mouthed the words f**king c**t. There was silence. No one knew what to do, in fact I think the silence was the most shocking thing. We all stood there open
mouthed not believing what we had just seen. The silence was probably only a few seconds but it felt like an eternity. Rod asked Lucy if she was ok and she obviously was. As he walked across the
stage, the ball was still on the stage. Rod picked it up and volleyed it, in temper, hard against the big screen and it bounced back and off stage to the right. More silence. Rod spoke with Chuck and
then suddenly out of the silence there began the opening bars to Baby Jane.
So we suddenly realise we have a job to do, and we all in unison begin singing and clapping and trying, almost desperately , to lift the mood. There were shouts of ‘ Cmon Rod’ but it’s just not happening. Rod stays rooted to the spot and sings the words, expressionless except for the venomous glares still being directed towards the ball thrower.
The curtain comes down fast and immediately back up again and it’s Sexy. He was anything but. Again, no moving, no dancing, no adlibbing, definitely no smiling. He is still fuming and we know it. Basically he got through to the end of the song and he stalked off, curtain down and that was it.
We were all just incredulous. What the hell just happened? Some angry at Rod, most angry with the guy who threw the ball, but for sure it was one of those nights that no one who witnessed it will ever forget.
Back to the hotel, there was talk of little else. Such a shame because we should have been talking about a great gig. The band were loyal and philosophical. ‘These things happen, no one died, wasn’t a major issue’, but the impact was pretty huge.
Late and very alcoholic night, followed by a written off day of recovery, and despite having had two trips there in the past three years, I have still seen no more of Dortmund than the inside of a hotel, the venue and the airport. Oh well, sure it’s lovely.
Don’t want to finish on a downer, and there is a real danger of overreacting to what was a blip at the end of an incredible tour. Our guy is only human, and I’m sure he would have wanted to have dealt with that in a different way if he could do it all again, but for me, as a whole, I wouldn’t change a thing!
See you all in September
Well,the RSFC were right at home in such a buzzing city,and we did well to find a hotel slap bang in the middle of the Red Light District. Yep,had a feeling that this trip was probably not going to take in flower markets or diamond factories, and I can honestly say the only tulips I saw were wooden ones,but hey,we embraced the vibe of Amsterdam and certainly were entertained!
Flew out on the Monday night,RSFC party planned for Tuesday and the gig on Wednesday so there wasn’t a lot of time for sight seeing,but we did manage to take in a boat trip,Dam Square,The Basilica of St Nicholas and a sex museum (feels wrong even writing that in the same sentence). We tried a coffee shop, tried some special cake and chocolate,which wasn’t that special to be honest,and the rest of the time we drank and partied with our RSFC buddies and watched the greatest performer of our generation kill it in the Ziggo dome. So that’s the short version. Longer version….. Durty Nellies was indeed durty. Full of building dust. Jim the owner of said establishment had neglected to tell us of the renovations taking place and so when we went to check it out on the Monday evening,we were confronted by boarded up areas and toilets in the damp and smelly basement. But what it lacked in aesthetics,it made up for in atmosphere,and the fab staff who accommodated us all week – this became the drinking hole of choice and we propped up the bar every night.The party on Tuesday was just fab,started really slow (who’s idea was it to start it from 4pm Mr Roberts? ) but by 8pm was swinging and there is some fab video of us all singing our hearts out. I think the locals and the visiting stag parties were rather taken aback with our ability to party harder than they did. Highlights were definitely the balcony version of Forever Young and Gary Roberts doing an impression of a lookie lookie man with handbags around his neck dancing on the obligatory table. Finished at 1am and it was back to the hotel for more singing and harassment of the bar tender (“Ladies it is 2.30 am, I have to turn the music down, but unfortunately I have no control over how loud you sing”)
Wednesday, gig day. Some of our more stalwart members made it to the queue by 9.30 am (The three Sues and new recruit Maureen 118212) and were still holding the fort around 1pm when we made our way over there. Well,the RSFC were right at home in such a buzzing city,and we did well to find a hotel slap bang in the middle of the Red Light District. Yep,had a feeling that this trip was probably not going to take in flower markets or diamond factories, and I can honestly say the only tulips I saw were wooden ones,but hey,we embraced the vibe of Amsterdam and certainly were entertained! Flew out on the Monday night,RSFC party planned for Tuesday and the gig on Wednesday so there wasn’t a lot of time for sight seeing,but we did manage to take in a boat trip,Dam Square,The Basilica of St Nicholas and a sex museum (feels wrong even writing that in the same sentence). We tried a coffee shop, tried some special cake and chocolate,which wasn’t that special to be honest,and the rest of the time we drank and partied with our RSFC buddies and watched the greatest performer of our generation kill it in the Ziggo dome. So that’s the short version. Longer version….. Durty Nellies was indeed durty. Full of building dust. Jim the owner of said establishment had neglected to tell us of the renovations taking place and so when we went to check it out on the Monday evening,we were confronted by boarded up areas and toilets in the damp and smelly basement. But what it lacked in aesthetics,it made up for in atmosphere,and the fab staff who accommodated us all week – this became the drinking hole of choice and we propped up the bar every night.The party on Tuesday was just fab,started really slow (who’s idea was it to start it from 4pm Mr Roberts? ) but by 8pm was swinging and there is some fab video of us all singing our hearts out. I think the locals and the visiting stag parties were rather taken aback with our ability to party harder than they did. Highlights were definitely the balcony version of Forever Young and Gary Roberts doing an impression of a lookie lookie man with handbags around his neck dancing on the obligatory table. Finished at 1am and it was back to the hotel for more singing and harassment of the bar tender (“Ladies it is 2.30 am, I have to turn the music down, but unfortunately I have no control over how loud you sing”) Wednesday, gig day. Some of our more stalwart members made it to the queue by 9.30 am (The three Sues and new recruit Maureen 118212) and were still holding the fort around 1pm when we made our way over there.
Tiring but fun afternoon outside the Ziggo dome. Managed to buy cushions and towels to sit on, and some little camper chairs that we took turns in using to rest the back. We had some efforts at starting sing-alongs in the queue once it got busier. Amanda and Helen arrived and Amanda who swore she didn’t drink that much the night before, but was so ill she was literally green. Was fabulous to see Martin and Yolande for their first gig in a long time,and he managed to get to the barrier which we were all really happy about, great to see Manny & Jean from Canada and Adriana our Argentinian friend too.
Not so happy about the young man with the worst BO I have ever smelt sat on the floor in front of us, doing his chemistry homework (I kid you not) and the stroppy cow stood next to Gary who pulled out a pair of headphones and wore them all through the gig – and her husband had earplugs in?????? Being at the barrier with the crew was just fab. Because it was standing of course we had the whole of the Moya set to get through first, but the atmosphere was great in there,lots of interaction,and the man nailed it. One hour 45 minute set, but sadly only two songs from Time ….. no Brighton Beach here ( why???) Rod threw himself over every inch of that stage. OK no amps to jump on these days, but if there were, he would have. He’s so fit, and looking and sounding the best in years. Never in a million years would you believe his age. He lay on the floor, he rolled around,and sometimes he just stood and sang and we sang with him and lifted the roof. He was in a really hyper mood, laughing about the arenas name, calling us the Ziggo people….. that seemed to really amuse him. The band were messing about as well, during Hot legs, Conad and Lucy getting down and dirty - funny stuff. All too soon it was over, no Stay With Me tonight, and no bow or goodnight even though the set list specified it. We did see the band do the bow behind the curtain anyway!!! Fab gig, loved having the full standing experience, but in terms of the actual performance, Sundays Manchester was the best for me so far.Post gig was back at Durty Nellies, and then the hotel, we are nothing if not creatures of habit. Mr Roberts, being older than me, went to bed both nights earlier than me. I helped Big Al find his room because that was quite difficult apparently, and hit the sack about 3am again, completely exhausted. Apparently others stayed up all night and were still in the bar for breakfast the following morning, not mentioning anyone, Gillian or Julie…… There was one more day which involved more intaking of the falling down water (Sue) and fun times in the sex museum (broadminded lot us) So many of there, I can’t mention everyone, but thanks to everyone who came and made it such a great trip. Our excursions are becoming legendary, and I’m so grateful that at my age I get to have such fun with such great friends. The tour isn’t over and there are more good times ahead,but I feel like this week has been the hub of this tour and we await September for more shenanigins, Scottish style But none of it would happen without the man we have all been following for such a long time. On top form. Lets hope and pray he gives us more of the new stuff, and he keeps on doing what he is doing for a long long time to come.
One man in particular fills my heart with pride and he fires up my soul…. Thanks for the songs, thanks for the music, thanks for the times we share Thanks for the fun, thanks for the love and thanks for the RSFC...
In Manchester, Saturday and Sunday gigs and pre meets were planned in the Hard Rock Cafe which have been home to our more outrageous gatherings in the past. With apologies yet again to those who only did the Saturday, Sunday’s happenings were by far the more enjoyable, and that includes the concert. We had arranged with the management of Hard Rock to have Rod music played before and after the gig, but we were competing with Bon Jovi who were in concert at the Man City ground. Ian had spent considerable time putting together a set list that would please everyone (even you Mark), but unfortunately it was so rammed with people and so noisy they just couldn’t get the acoustics loud enough, so after the gig they just didn’t bother and we got about 4 songs only in two hours. Still it was good to see everyone. They made it up to us on the Sunday but if we get future Rod gigs in Manchester, possibly we will consider another venue as it was just too busy to let us do what we want to do…
I wrote copious notes about the Saturday gig and promptly lost them, but at risk of kicking off the forum v facebook row again, not only is the set list for every gig put up as it happens, virtually the whole concert is available on you tube immediately after the show, so a bit pointless going into details. But Saturday night we had seats on the side, overlooking the stage. Good view,but not like the atmosphere of being on the floor. It does give you the ability to see all around the venue though, and see the reaction of the crowd. And yes, before someone comments, we were seen having an ice cream whilst waiting for the show to start,what can I say, I was thirsty and had no water! Always a good atmosphere in the MEN, although the security are pretty much without exception, resemblant of male genitalia. Jobsworth not in it. It was funny watching the RSFC crew trying to sneak their way into the front just as the show started and nick any empty front row seats (yes you Brian, we know full well where Wally is, he’s in the front row and on the screen every ten seconds) Huge thumbs up from Rod when he spotted the RSFC flag…. Happy Daze…. Moya was the support artist and on both nights we caught just the last couple of songs. Didn’t make a huge impression to be fair, but not a bad voice. Noticed immediately that Rod had dropped It’s Over which didn’t bode well. I thought this had been a highlight of Nottingham, but if there had been any doubt about his recovery from the bronchial bug, we needn’t have worried, Rod sounded fab,and was really up for it. Set list remains disappointing, and over the three gigs got worse in terms of new material (only two songs from Time played at the Amsterdam gig). I really don’t understand why,this is a perfect opportunity to showcase the album, its doing well in the UK but nothing to stop him doing a 6 song section from the new album and still getting the main greatest hits in. However the sublime Georgie is still in the set and this quite probably the high point of the show for me, I absolutely love this song,and Rod sings it with passion and delivers it like the memorial to his friend he says it is. The gig is shorter by 15 minutes, but at 68 perhaps I should be more accepting of this fact.
I want to write more about Sundays gig,but first,Sunday pre gig.After the disappointment of the post gig events of the night before (in terms of music etc) we had thought about trying to change venue, but this would be very short notice and unfair on those we couldn’t contact,and so we decided to make the most of it. Before this though, some of us headed over to Sasha’s (which is a fairly divey hotel with a large bar and is populated with a clientele of mostly Jeremy Kyle cast members,but hey ho,the beer is cheaper than elsewhere, and it often has a good atmosphere. One of our crew (Happy Birthday Teresa) was celebrating a special day and so this started out with a handful of us having a quiet pre pre gig drink,and then the karaoke started! Lets just say it was hijacked by the massed choir of the RSFC, and later by a very exuberant Janet Walton who took it upon herself to remove the mic from anyone not up to standard. Funny times, topped off by a very rousing rendition of Dirty Old Town that almost took the roof off.
So we didn’t get to the Hard Rock until late,and following some quite heated conversation with the manager we resolved the music issue and we had all Rod all afternoon which made for a much more successful meet. Sunday night’s concert was in my top 5 of best concerts.We talked afterwards about what makes the difference. What was the difference between Saturday and Sunday, what makes a Twickenham? Obviously it’s about Rod, but it’s alsoabout the crowd, about the interaction. We were 10th row, tickets bought very late thanks to the tip off from Geordie Jan.Couldn’t say that he was in a great mood, he was quite arsy with some members of his staff who made mistakes (when you see enough shows, you get to notice it) but yet he was absolutely on fire on the Sunday night. Each performance delivered with a kind of passion and heart that made it stand out. Georgie actually made me cry,the tears were pouring down my face because when he sang it, it was 1978, there was no difference in it,he was on his knees, clenched fist, crying out those lyrics. Absolutely outstanding.Again no Its Over, and we are down to three songs from the new album (Finest Woman, Can’t Stop Me Now, and Brighton Beach), a really worrying trend…. Sexual Religion surely should be a cert for this show, it’s just waiting to be a smash hit, surely he has to showcase it? Some really funny moments – a renegade balloon had escaped from the ceiling net and it burst (or someone burst it) just as he was about to sing the last part of Rhythm Of My Heart (the bit he does with the girls) and he visibly jumped and said ‘Fuck me what was that? I was just getting into it then…’ and then a fiasco with his belt after a costume change, when he had to stop the show while the wardrobe girl (and eventually the sound engineer) ran on and redressed him and sorted out his microphone pack – I wouldn’t have wanted to be either of those two after the show, he wasn’t best pleased) yet he turned it into a funny event, and we even got an extra song out if it – Stay With Me the final encore.
Security were being particularly pernickety and keeping us out of the aisles and in our seats, but they lost it for the last three songs and we all charged down the front singing our hearts out, perfect end to a perfect gig.
And if we hadn’t had enough,back to the post gig party which was fantastic. Great atmosphere and much merriment and straining of vocal cords. Rod all night, and Ian even got to DJ the last half hour or so which meant that we were able to have the traditional finale of Purple Heather in a circle much to the bemusement of the Hard Rock staff. So the 3am finish was to be the first of many with a flight booked to Amsterdam the next day…… sensible not my middle name…