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Hey everyone. Its all starting to sink in now that its over. So much to discuss concerning the last week but I need a couple of days to enjoy home and friends and Christmas and then in the following days, weeks, whatevs there will not only be more posts but tons and I mean TONS of pictures, videos, etc. You all deserve it for being so great to us during the last couple of months… Have a wonderful Christmas and I will be putting tons of gifts up here soon!

I played Wembley Arena today… Are you kidding me??!! Wembley?! This Streetsville boy opened for Status Quo at Wembley fuckin arena… Wow, just incredible…

 

We rolled into Wembley yesterday morning and checked into the Plaza Hotel. Our room had a beautiful view of the arena and stadium. It filled the entire window frame and later on as night fell, it seemed to throb under the florescent light that paints its walls in a multitude of colours. I thought it was calling us out, and why not? Who were we to have this honour laid before us? Well it wasn’t like we weren’t going to take full advantage.

 

I hung back at the hotel while the others took a trip back to Camden. Since being there to see Jaye, everyone had looked forward to going back, and a day off in Wembley seemed like the perfect opportunity. I chose to stay behind, get a little more shut-eye and make our next video installment. The sleep was great, the video creating?… not so much. Our computer is acting up and not allowing me to cut enough clips together. Super shitty deal considering I just stayed back from the trek to Camden… Oh well, I managed to cut that clip from Bristol with T2 getting the shit scared out of him at least (if you haven’t checked it, its on YouTube now. The link’s below in an older entry).

 

We had a chance to catch Bloc Party and The Cribs in London Friday night, but we never really pressed on it hard enough and, in the end, a night of lounging, some sauna time and leisure activities felt like the better choice for the eve of our date with Wembley.

 

This morning I woke up honestly nervous. I enjoy a little nervousness on a big day. It always ends up turning positive in the end. I ate some hotel breakfast action and then the bus took us the whole 5 minutes from the hotel to the arena. Pulled in and on the surface it felt no different. Just another arena. But deep down my gut reminded me it was more. This is London. If you come all the way to the UK, ace 31 shows and fuck up London, how good can the tour possibly have gone? Mind you having done the other 20 some-odd dates on the tour so far, we completely know better than this, but pretty much no one else does. Well nothing left to do but lay it all on the line the same way we have all tour.

 

We were helped a tiny bit by having some new friends in our corner. B’s cousin Deborah and her sis Layla flew in from Dublin and Bill started his week with us, as well. Anyone who hasn’t seen us since we were back home, I am just DYING to have see us play. Extra incentive to push it to another level.

 

I ate some grub and headed to The Greyhound with OT in tow. The whole band came, but OT and I hung around to experience State of Quo. The whole vibe in that place was something to behold. I wish there was a party like that every day of the tour. It was amazing to just sit back and watch a great  bunch of people smile like nothing else in the world mattered. It would be like watching Quo at The Cock and Pheasant back home. It’s not REALLY Quo, but considering the packed, pub environment, I couldn’t see the band anyways, so it wasn’t hard to imagine it was. A true testament to the Quo diehard fan; being able to pack in 4 more hours of live Quo, before even heading to the arena for the real deal. Tom and I wished we could have stayed ‘til the end but soundcheck was nearing so we headed back just after 3.

The whole tour we’ve been warned again and again about how shitty the sound would be. Wembley Arena originally housed an Olympic sized pool, which turned out to be 3 inches shorter than Olympic standards and thus (I’m assuming) fairly useless (much like a certain Olympic building in Montreal)… When it came time to do some renovations a few years back, they were not allowed to touch the pool due to historical restrictions placed on the building… so its still there. In Wembley you basically play over a near-Olympic sized cavernous hole in the ground. This in turn makes anything low-end sound ridiculous.

 

Regardless of how everything appeared to sound during ‘check, we all knew that A) once people were in there, it would get better and B) who cares, its Wembley and its got to be good no matter the sound.

 

The rest of our time leading up to the set was spent doing some photo shoots and the usual kickin it in our green room. Because it was London, said green room was more happenin’, with more of our friends and Francis’ kids around to be with us. It was the perfect way to spend the final moments before the big performance; listening to music, playing cards and catching up.

 

The show itself is a blur. I know it went well. I could actually feel the energy of the crowd and for an arena, this was good. I think the trip to The Greyhound helped a lot with that, since the front rows were filled with the people we had just spent the afternoon there with. Quo’s sound crew was even impressed with it and that means loads, especially in a place that is notorious for its shitty audio.

 

So here I am, fresh off the stage and maybe only now does it feel like its sinking in (as you can tell by the beginning paragraph of this piece). Not much time to reflect though because there’s another biggie tomorrow in Glasgow. I’m so looking forward to FINALLY playing in Scotland. We better step it up again. No more disappointments allowed from here on in!

Brighton

Brighton was an amazing day. It’s a gorgeous seaside town and the arena looks out over the water. Definitely cool. Inside the walls were adorned with beautiful photos from past shows there. Bands like Thin Lizzy, Queen and of course 1982’s Quo lineup, stare back at you while you carry on with your pre-show activities. My favorite was a quiet room attached to ours with Springsteen on the one wall and bearded Clapton on another. Bearded Clapton has always been my personal fave of the many Clapton looks…

 

My buddy Scott arrived just before our soundcheck and was certainly an asset to our pre-show. When you’ve been on the road with the same people for this long, simply adding some new blood to the mix makes all the difference. Someone who has some fresh tales to tell, and suddenly all the old jokes we’ve been reusing for so long become funny again for one night.

 

The show was nothing really to talk about. The sound in the arena was pretty bad and when the lights dimmed for our set to begin, you could hear a pin drop… It was silent. I’m sure it did have a lot to do with the fact that we went on at 7:30 and the doors only opened at 7, but we just did our thing and slowly the crowd warmed. I wouldn’t call it an off night really, but it was definitely uneventful. Well aside that B made several references to her wearing (or not wearing) of “pants” (trousers) which we later realized that, to the Brighton crowd, would have sounded like she was talking about her panties.

 

Who knows, maybe we were just all looking past this one, with Wembley on the horizon. Hard to slight us for that. Regardless of what we’ve done over here, we’re still only a bunch of young musicians, about to play in one of the most legendary venues in the world, supporting one of the most legendary bands in the world, and it doesn’t get any crazier than that! On to London…

I’m writing the entry for Bristol a few days after so some of the details have now slipped from memory, but there’s enough to get it down.

 

We rolled into Bristol with lots of optimism. Having just played a string of arenas, I for sure couldn’t wait to get back into a hall and see the faces of the fans up close again. In addition, Colston Hall was standing (big plus), AND had hosted pretty much every band I could ever dream of sharing a stage with. From Hendrix- ‘Zeppelin, Gun’s and Roses- The Who. At some point (many years ago) they’d done the same thing I was about to do for 2 nights here… put on the best show we can… Actually, Andy (Quo’s Sound guy) even pointed out to me that he saw a certain Canadian band called RUSH play there back in like 1980…

 

Our stop in Bristol began with a day off. The hotel was on the quay and overlooked a river which must, at some point near by, either feed into the ocean or draw from it. I never made the trek to find out for sure, but I also didn’t feel like this was a huge assumption.

 

Anyways, I spent the night off enjoying the hilarity of the Adam Sandler classic, ‘Happy Gilmour’ and then being the night of Led Zeppelin’s mighty reunion, we were graced with a Madison Square Garden performance from 1973. Now I was REALLY pumped to play.

 

The shows both nights were maybe the most fun of the tour. I thought we played better on the first night (only marginally) but the crowd was on fire on the second. I’m sure many of them had been there both nights, and if that is true they must have been really into what we were doing, to come and see us the second night, and be even more into it than they were on the first. On the second night we added ‘The One I Want’ to our set and having not played it live for nearly 2 months, it just didn’t feel right. Don’t get me wrong. We played it well and the fans seemed to dig it, but I thought it messed with our flow since we had been charging along to the same set for some time now.  

 

I will conclude this entry with a little side history about Colston Hall. Built by the family whose name still adorns it, during the days of the slave trade it was the location where the African slaves were “housed” before being sent off to their final destinations. We went down into the basement and it was one creepy-ass place. Apparently you can even go down one more level than where we got to AND we were also told that at one time there was a tunnel which ran from the basement to the aforementioned river, so the slaves could be brought in without anyone knowing… CREEPY. Several bands, including Bristol natives Massive Attack, still refuse to play there for these reasons… Oh, and speaking of Massive Attack, Bristol is also the home of Portishead and Roni Size, so I can only imagine how the scene there was during the early 90s.

 

PS We scared the shit out of T2 in the basement as well. I’ll have it on YouTube by the time you read this. During dinner, I mentioned that I wanted to get some video of the basement and OT took me aside and explained how there was this chest that he could hide in. So about 5 minutes before we went down, OT disappeared and the best part is that we really had no true intended target. Our only plan was for me to draw whoever came with me towards the chest and the cue was me saying, “Did you hear that?!” Only B and T2 came and OF COURSE it was T2 who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time… classic.

Just put up a new video from Colston Hall in Bristol for ‘Fading Fast’… Check it out because at the beginning I attached some video we shot in the creepy-ass basement there. Watch T2 get the shit scared out of him… So hilarious.

 More vids to come!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyAkEoSxdGc

Hello all,

This is Tom (OT) again. I was just browsing through the photos on my camera and realising how many cool pictures there are that just haven’t been posted. For the most part these pictures don’t really have to do with our shows or our blogs so they just haven’t been making the cut. These shots are more about the times inbetween. The times we’ve spent wondering around cities for the first time, exploring venues and experiencing things unknown to us in Canada. And most importantly us just having fun. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so here’s a few thousand….

1. Bernadette practising her racing skills in Llandudno

2. Myself enjoying a nap in the gardens of Buckingham Palace

3. Tom and I forming the band name “The North”

4. Bernadette getting in your face and showing off her food on the bus

5. A picture in the reflection of the mirrors in the London subway system

6. Myself having a prayer for the band in Oxford

7. Practising for the paparazzi in London

8. Greg and Shona being drawn by a portrait machine in Llandudno

9. Tom drinking too much at NEC in Birmingham

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Stayed tuned for more to come 🙂

Bye for now,

Tom

Fresh off a tremendous day in Birmingham where we played possibly our best set of the tour to roughly 7000 people, we were off to Nottingham. We’re into the meat of the schedule now, so we rarely have more than a day to see anywhere. We drive into town in the morning, set up, play, take down and move on. Thus I didn’t get to do too much in Birmingham, in addition to the fact that the arena was built a fair distance outside of the city.

Its interesting to think that at home every major city is virtually built around their old hockey arena, and the stadiums are usually built away from the downtown because the land is cheaper and there’s more room. Over here, it’s the opposite. Traditionally though, I really can’t think of any purpose an arena would have here. All the major British sports require a pitch (rugby, football, cricket). So I would have to assume that most of the arenas were built fairly recently and were therefore constructed outside of the downtown because A) there’s (by now) no room in the major part of any city and B) being the aforementioned cost issue.

Regardless, we’re in Nottingham now and the bus is about to get ugly because there is a day off tomorrow and after three consecutive nights trying to win over entire arena audiences, we’re gonna take advantage.

I never saw much of Nottingham either. The arena was nice. Our room was next to the laundry so I got that done. I’m thinking it may be the last time I have to worry about that. Fuck, home is coming soon. Back to reality once our bus turns back into a pumpkin again.

The show tonite was decent. Not our best, but certainly nowhere near the worst either. I think when you cut your audience in half, everything loses a little luster. They seem quieter even though they’re not and being the third in a row, I think we may have been looking ahead to Bristol cause we’re back in a hall again. I miss playing the halls. I think I may have even took them for granted. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought of ever playing an arena so for me, I don’t feel like its really happening still when I’m on that stage. In the halls, the people are right there. You can feel their warmth and even the people at the back feel like part of the show. In the simplest of terms, I CAN SEE EVERYBODY… Haha… At least there is still the after show, meet and greets. The one time I do get to see the people we just hopefully entertained. The people we met in Nottingham were gracious. We had this guy we called leather-vest who helped us sell CDs and he possibly outperformed us. Some of the lines this guy threw down were hilarious… “It could be 12 pounds or 11 pounds, but tonite people, for you, its only 10!” or “Purchase the musical experience of a lifetime AND meet the band who made it!” were a couple I can remember, but he had a bunch that he was throwin at people.

At some point tonite, we’ll be off to Bristol for a day off and then two nights back in a hall. After being schooled on arena-rock, I can’t wait to take it back to an intimate setting… ha did I just call 2000 people intimate?!?! Fuck, I really don’t want to go home… 

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(L-R) Birmingham NEC, The streets of Nottingham.