I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to make this brief - so maybe save it for when you’ve got a comfy seat and a cuppa!
The last four gigs of the tour were a resounding success albeit the last one with a few caveats!
I’m including the two Live At The Hemmy nights in the house-gig tour despite not being in a house! The room is so lovely and intimate it’s not dissimilar to someone’s front room and they were designed as the climax of the tour!
If you’ve been following my video diaries you’ll know that the most common words I’ve used are ‘lovely’, ‘fabulous’ and ‘intimate’ and the final two (legitimate) house-gigs (Islington & Oxford) were no different! Once again I met lots of lovely new people and had a wonderful time (and managed to encourage a few more to sign up to the mailing list! Please do it - there are increasing incentives!).
Saturday and Sunday took me to the Hemmy… my local, with a beautiful ‘boho’ chic upstairs room where I was joined by 30 others each night - which, if I am honest, I am well-relieved at - I really didn’t want to play to a half empty room.
Saturday was the stand out night… I don’t think it could’ve gone any better! For the first time on the tour I played the hour straight through - which gave me a new opportunity to build the atmosphere to an even greater degree. It was hot and sweaty but still the focus was total and by the end of the hour the connection in the room was really palpable. It was all finished off by an impromptu encore; I don’t plan for one so I repeated what was requested - Let Me Love You- or more commonly and affectionately known as ‘That Camel Song’! To which (you may have seen on socials) everyone promptly sang along… they even nearly all managed to do it sincerely (ha ha!) but there was much amusement and it ended the evening on a fabulous high! I never expected a spontaneous sing along at my first ticketed gig - lovely!
However, for what was ostensibly an exact replica gig, Sunday could not have been much more different! Aside from being another lovely evening, featuring the same ‘Phoenix Nights’ light show, it bore no resemblance to the first at all.It was lovely but I had to work for it!!
For starters I had a minor technical fault with my guitar cutting out in the first song - which precipitated me having to stop and change the cable… no biggy - a little bit of banter and a reminder of where I was in the song from my compadre in the audience to much amusement and on we went. Then gradually from downstairs came the loud low notes of… another live performance! A slight muddle with the diary meant the usual covers duo were in! I pressed on for a couple songs after having a chat with the audience about it; but it wasn’t gonna work… so we took a short unexpected break while I went and had a little chat downstairs. So the set came in two halves which I had not wanted to do despite the fact that that’s what I had been doing all tour!
The conversation with the act downstairs was difficult, uncomfortable, a little bit prickly and awkward - not ideal preparation for a vulnerable and emotionally engaged performance! But the second half recommenced - only for me to watch two friends leave one song in to go off to have a chat somewhere else. Now here’s the thing - they’re totally at liberty to do so .. but.. (and I’m slightly embarrassed to say this) I was furious - my inner dialogue went something like ‘ oh I’ll just arrange a nice social date/reunion for your calendar and you can fuck the music off - don’t worry about me!’ Now they may have had all sort of good reasons for leaving but it stung me! So add a little splash of rage to the inner melee!
So you’ll have to ask someone who was there wether it showed at all… judging by the lovely responses afterwards… it didn’t! Which to me is remarkable! It just goes to show doesn’t it!? How many times have we considered ourselves to be transparent and think we naused something up because ‘how could anyone fail to pick up on our agitated/nervous/insert-difficult-emotion-here while we’ve been delivering a presentation,a talk, a performance etc … note to self, they are none the wiser!
I mention this because it was an important victory for me and a valuable lesson! How to deliver something resembling a connecting and emotionally present performance even when there was a whole bunch of complicated and contradictory emotions and a myriad of thoughts whirling around inside - I even managed to remember all the words… which is more than I did on Saturday when nothing stressful at all was happening! Ha… life eh!?
Thanks to everyone who hosted a House-gig; those that came to all the house-gigs; and to those who spent their hard-earned on a ticket for the Hemmy. Thanks for the support and all the encouragement! Until next time!!
you can see highlights from the house-gigs here