Rolling All Over The World

Rolling All Over The World
Rolling All Over The World

Rolling With The Quo

Hello and Welcome to my little Blog,
What is it all about I hear you ask ? Well I am in a very privelidged possition, Thanks to my Bosses at Transam Trucking I am now the Back line tour driver for the Legends that are Status Quo.
I wont be telling you anything about band history, as I am pretty sure any Quo fan out there would be better informed about the band than me!
However I will share my life on the Road with these Legends of Rock, but more inportantly I would hope to introduce you to some of the people who work so tirelesly behind the sceans to make The Mighty Quo look and sound fantastic and give all of the fans a great experience every time these Legends of Rock walk out on to the stage confident that there crew behind the scenes have it all covered !!
I will say at this stage that all opinions and comments in this Blog are mine alone and do not represent opinions of any of the Managment or members of Status Quo.
This is just life on the Road from my perspective,I will tell you about gigs how it all went and some of the day to day dramas that me and the crew face before during and after the show.
This is not an official Status Quo Blog.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Cornbury Festival

So it the Cornbury festival !! an outdoor festival in the middle of a British summer, Wimbledon is still going on, what could possible go wrong !!

Well I am very happy to report that nothing went wrong in fact it was with out a doubt the best festival I have ever been to.

View from back stage
 The Cornbury Festival is this year in a new location in previous years this festival has been sited in Chaerlbury but for 2011 the festival will be in the grounds of Great Tew Estate nestled in a sprawling landscape in the heart of the Oxfordshire country side, I believe that this is to be the festivals eleventh year so it is very well established and to be honest a bit of a well kept secret and I know why people in the know keep it to themselves " its just great" with the riverside stage, cafe Nero image sound stage and Pleasant Vally stage being the main stage and a line up over the three days of the festival that just had something for everyone.

Friday James Blunt , Cyndi Lauper, Eliza Doolittle to name just a few Saturday some of the acts featuring where The Faces, Ray Davies, Deacon Blue and Sunday Status Quo, Olly Murs and The Straights but many many more great acts where featured over the three days of the festival.

Stage Right The Loading
 The stage I was concerned with was of course the main stage, the pleasant Vally stage this is where Status Quo would be head lining that evening, after a bit of a squeeze getting backed up on to the side of stage the load out got underway, even though there was only two crew in attendance at eight o'clock in the morning I think they had both had there shredded wheat as they got stuck in with great enthusiasm, knowing we had to be on wheels so that we could roll our set on and off stage in between acts I was keen to get as much done as possible, as the band and crew where still winging there way on the crew and band bus from Bremen where they had been head lining a massive corporate gig for Mercades Benz to launch a new SL Model Mercades the previous night.

So I need to get all of the front of house off of my truck so that the lighting engineers can get started.

Because of the amount of acts due on this stage during the day we where going to have to work in an alloted area back stage and try to get all set up there, this presents it own problems but the crew are well used to these situations and just get on with it, so me and my two local crew members managed to get the carpet down and get all the risers assembled in good time before the crew bus arrived from its over nighter from Germany. 

Jon Allen

So while we are still setting up our equipment the days entertainment gets under way, kicked off buy Alice Gold not the greatest voice I have ever heard but great legs, but a name to watch out for in the future I believe is Jon Allen who are a five piece and have a really great sound with good lyrics.
They where back for a second year by popular demand and I can see why, they where great.

Ride on Piano Different !!

Someone else back again was our very own Glen Smith Status Quo's Tour and Production Manager Glen had managed the Cornbury Festival for two consecutive years 2006 & 2007 so was well aware of what to expect from this festival.

As well as the weird and wonderful there is always a celebrity hiding around the corner Noel Edmond's, and Fern Cotton where both in attendance "not together " I hasten to add and I was Lucky enough to get to meet a true Rock legend Mr Bernie Marden formerly of White Snake who had come along to see the boys as he referred to them.
He also had a guitar that he wanted to show Rick and I must say what a bloody great bloke he was, he is reputedly the best British guitarist alive today and one of the most approachable men in the business something Olly Murs is yet to learn! judging buy the way he blanked the Two fans that had managed to get back stage to get an autograph.

Up up & Away
 That said the guy can sing I hope his career lasts long enough for us to hear something other than covers. 

10,000 getting the Quo treatment
 As some hot air balloons took to the sky The Mighty Quo took to the stage and well they just blew everyone away, seeing 10,000 fans all moving as one in time to the music is still a sight to behold and I don't think I will ever tire of seeing it live music its just the best experience there is. 
Next stop Zottejen Rock Festival Belgium.      

Meet the Crew Behind the Quo Part 3 Lloyd Gilbert & Patrick Marks

Lloyd Gilbert        Guitar Technician for Francis & Rick

Lloyd  Guitar Tech
 Lloyd Started in the business back in 1992 nineteen years ago doesn't look old enough, amazing what the correct lighting will do and no there has been no air brushing honest.

Lloyd is the guy who has to ensure that Francis and Ricks guitars are all tuned correctly and that their plectrums are positioned where they want them, all guitars need to be re-strung regularly so to reduce the chance of broken strings mid show.
And with Francis & Rick using an arsenal of seven guitars between them, its no mean feat and believe me Francis and Rick know what they want so there is no pressure !!

There are wireless guitar packs to be checked and double checked speakers, monitors and continuous tuning and re-tuning, I remember one particular sound check where Francis had brought a guitar from the dressing room on to the stage for the sound check and in the ten minutes or so it had been on the stage it had gone out of tune, even Francis was amazed, but a change of temperature will have that affect on a guitar due to the fact that most of the guitar is made of wood, so all day and during the show Lloyd is checking tuning and re-tuning right up until he hands the guitar to Rick or Francis so that the unmistakable sound of Status Quo is never compromised.

Lloyd started out in the business as a basic Rodie working folk music venues around Hertfordshire and Berkhampstead and its his love of guitar that lead him to where he is today, Lloyd has now been with the mighty Quo for the last six years but has in the past worked with the likes of The Manic Street Preacher, Annie Lenox, Ricky Martin, Terror Vision, Therapy and Placebo to name just a few.

Patrick Marks    Lighting Designer extraordinar

No Relation to Steptoe

Patrick Marks the man responsible for the lighting extravaganza that excites and enthrals all that look upon a live Status Quo gig, the lighting spectacular that Pat creates is only limited by the lighting rig that the local promoter provides,obviously there is a minimum requirement and sometimes the minimum is all he gets, that's when you find Pat a little despondent but then as they say the show must go on and go on it does and he always creates an amazing light show what ever he is given, but when he get his hands on a full lighting rig then he really comes in to his own and you get to see what thirty five years in the business has taught him.

Pat's first experience of working the lights was when he was at Kiel University and by his own admission he had ulterior motives as he had worked out that by offering to do the lights he could get in to every Party, Disco and Gig for free, Pats time at university was spent studying Performing Arts and Education and from university spent eight years as a teacher working with children with special needs, which has stood him in good stead to work in the Rock and Roll industry.

After a split with his wife at the time and the dividing up of house and contents he decided to strike out on his own and he purchased an old VW Van and some lights and PA equipment and honed his skills working Pubs and clubs around the Luton and Dunstible area until a friend who happened to be PR Man for Gary Newman offered Pat a chance to go large, he then found himself thrown in at the deep end and realised how little he had learnt but like a true professional he rose to the challenge and learnt on the job working with Gary Newman, Aswad, Aztec Camera, Saxon, Big Country travelling as far a field as North America and Australia.
He also dipped his toe in to the world of TV and Film working on Orchestra Wide , Big World Cafe, later working with M People , King , Sinead O'Connor and Nigel Kennedy he was then offered three weeks work with Status Quo that was in 1989 and he is still there working his magic creating his amazing light show. 



Meet the Crew Behind the Quo (Part 2) Andrew Tomkins & Tim Franklin

Andy Tomkins Big X
Andrew Tomkins Keys/Bass Technician

Andrew Tomkins, Andy to his mates or Ramp Man or sometimes !!! best not !!
As much as he looks like a jovial jolly chap he is in fact a very very serious Technician, ah that's Bollocks, because he is a funny, jolly, jovial,chap with the most fantastic sense of humour and the quickest wit.

That said he is very good at what he does and what does he do I hear you ask, well single handed he takes care of John "RHINO" Edwards Bass Guitars and all that in tails as well as looking after Andrew Bowens Key Boards and Guitars so once that truck is unloaded its full on for Mr Tomkins.

But this fine figure of a man has been doing this now for many many years, Andy started out in the business 25 years ago beginning just working as local crew so basically just getting shouted at to move this pull that put that here and this there, from that he worked Back line , Drums, Bass, keys,this guy is the all rounder of the team, but he is well settled now in his current roll which he has occupied now for the last two and a half years.

Before joining the Status Quo Crew Andy has worked with the likes of Van Morrison, The Manic Street Preachers, Pulp, Verve and Richard Ashcroft solo stuff, not to mention Transvision Vamp, Dogs D' Amour, Wild Hearts, JJ72, Green on Red,Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Skunk A Nancy to name a few and I am sure he is missed by them all as he really is a great guy to know and to work with like I say very very funny and rarely a day goes by when he does not have us all in stitch's.

Tim Franklin      Monitor Engineer Supremo
Captain of the Star Ship Enterprise

Well Tim Franklin may have the look of a serial killer but he is a really nice guy.
 Tim has now been working with the Mighty Quo for the last seventeen years, so in the seniority league amongst the crew Tim is way out in front, Tim is the Monitor Engineer for the Quo, before and during the show Tim is in radio contact with the Sound Engineer Andy May at Front of House and between them they keep the Quo sounding just right.

 Tim is positioned at stage left and quite often if you look closely you may see any one of the band just mouthing something to the side of stage, this is where Tim's ability to lip read comes in very useful.

 I have sat next to Tim on many occasion's and Francis or Rhino have mouthed something to me to tell Tim, if they where unable to catch his eye and I have never yet had a bloody clue what they are trying to say, but Tim he is on it he is sat there with a monitor desk which can only be described as the control deck of the Star Ship Enterprise, I have never seen so many buttons, switches, slides, onscreen displays and lights.
From here Tim can bring up the sound levels of every instrument on the stage individually so the audience gets to hear each one all in perfect harmony, but obviously different song different sound so come show time Tim is there leaned over his Monitor Desk his hands a blur sliding, switching and adjusting and ensuring that the sound that the audience hears is just perfect and the fact that he has now been doing this for Status Quo for 17 years would suggest he is bloody good at what he does.

Tim started out working with a small PA company twenty five years ago and worked his way to the top of the pile always working with sound and PA, Tim has in his time worked with Prince,Lionel Richie and the Cockto twins to name but a few. 


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Meet the Crew Behind The Quo (Part 1) Lance Miles & Andy May

LANCE MILES.... Drum Tech Extraordinaire.
Lance despite his appearance, is not a night club doorman he is in fact believe it or not a very talented and well respected Drum Tech so much so that at one time he had his very own column in Rhythm magazine (Lance's Tips)

Lance Strike a Pose !
 Lance has over the years designed drum kits for numerous people including Terry Bozzio, David Essex and  Mathew Letley,one particular kit called Gangee Scope was very notably displayed in the Tate, It was later used  by M People and was also used extensively by the Spice Girls.
But Lance did not start out as a drum tech 35 years ago !! What I hear you cry he doesn't look old enough,amazing what a soft focus can do.
No Lance started his life on the road as a rigger working for a PA company now to the uninitiated a rigger has to climb,crawl,drag ,lift and haul all the sound system up over and on to the stage hang it from the stage assemble in font of the stage and basically get it in to many different combination as dictated by the plans which they have to work to depending on the type of stage that is being used.

So the story goes that one day whilst hanging from the rigging filthy dirty and dripping with sweat he looks down and noticed a guy all nice and clean setting up the drum kit... a light bulb goes off in his head .. "That's for me" and it really was,Lance has in the past worked with Jeff Beck, Sting, Mark Knopfler, Frankie Miller, to name but a few,he has now been working with Status Quo for the past three years he is also the main man when it comes to the load out he has worked out a loading plan which is numeric and colour coded and makes life very easy for everyone he may also from time to time bark the odd request for this that or the other to Mr Tomkins (Keys / Bass Tech) "Andy why are they coming out of order where is the lighting desk" that sort of thing but he gets the job done safely and quickly and for that I salute him.

Andy May....... FOH Sound Engineer Supremo

Andy May  Sound as a Pound
 Started his illustrious carrier at school organising the sound and PA systems for the Drama club and then when some friends started a band he jumped at the chance to rattle up and down the country in there old van organising their PA, well in the last 31 years nothing much has change PA and sound is still Andy's weapon of choice only he has swapped an old van in favour of an air conditioned tour bus,and the best seat in the house come show time as the FOH (Front of House) the world that Andy occupies during the show is exactly what it Say's on the tin it is always located directly in front of the stage,so that he is best placed to hear how the band sounds and can adjust and tweak as and where necessary he is also in radio contact with Tim Franklin who is Monitor Engineer stage left and between these two they manage the sound of Status Quo if you need to know about verb ,re verb,pink noise,or anything else sound related Andy May is your man he has now been working with Status Quo for the last ten years but has worked with the likes of Robert Palmer,The Pretenders,Lionel Richie,Jeff Beck and the legendary Gary Moore.
Andy describes himself as a guitar enthusiast and plays a little "badly" his words but it is quite plain to see that PA / Sound is his first love.
He and Rhino also like to take a cycle ride around towns and city's which we visit as and when weather and time restraints allow.  

Rick Parfait

Rick Parfait: "Status Quo Interview by http://www.more-"

Monday, 4 July 2011

The Rockers are ready to Roll & Drama at the Sound Check !

OK so after two days parked in an Auto Hoff (German Services, nice home cooked food, showers and loos) I move to the venue in Munchen,Venue is probably not right ,location is better Konigsplatz is primarily a junction off of a large central square with a museum on the East & West side of the square,Western side Greek art Eastern side German art,at the Northern end of the square is a massive pillared triple arch way the southern end is where the road enters the central square the it is exited left or right of the central arch way.

But when Status Quo are in town the roads are shut off effectively cutting off the square allowing it to accommodate a huge stage with banks of PA and extensive lighting,Pat Marks lighting supremo for Status  Quo was like a child in a sweet shop, once he arrived on site unable to disguise his total excitement at the site that now greeted him.

 Me having arrived the day before I had not sat idol, I had been busy working until eleven 'o'clock the night before getting the carpet down and fitting spacers,brackets and wheels to our risers so the on gig day we can assemble Drums,keyboards and the bank of Marshall amplifiers, which have become a trade mark of The Status Quo's stage set. 
So once the other bands clear the stage we can simply roll all our equipment in to position,its then just a matter of locking it all off and connecting everything up to the monitor desk and front of house.
The work stations where the Drum tech and Guitar Tech keyboards and Bass work from, are all ready on wheels so will be rolled in to their world, as they like to refer to the area of stage that they occupy during the show, when they hand over guitars on change overs between songs, monitor,tune, tweak and be on hand ready to act in the event of any dramas.

But what a site for a concert, it was truly amazing and once the sun had set and Pats lights were then bouncing off, of marble colonnades pillars and frontage of the museum buildings either side of the square, it seemed to rise to a completely different level,the sight of 10,000 people all moving as one is also a sight to be seen, every one just enjoying that moment in time as one massive single throbbing entity, "Amazing" there really is nothing like a live open air Rock concert.

Andy May the master of the PA and the ruler of the front of house told me that they where only using a fraction of the wattage that was available to him "less is more you know " all I know is it was still deafening in a good way of course.
Pat Marks after having spent the day on his laptop tweaking the lighting plan, the video screen and  the visual lighting screens which filled the entire back drop "was I think the happiest I had ever seen him".
It was like a top chef being given any ingredients his heart desired and then told to "go create a master piece" and believe me create he did ..
The whole night had an incredible wow factor and every one connected to it was very happy with the end result,the fans.... well they absolutely loved it.

We then all move to ULM which was only ninety mile drive "nice" this was in a Messe or a big hall to you and me like an exhibition centre and the weather changed. It was for the first time bloody sweltering, I mean really hot in fact the next day in the UK was the hottest temperature ever recorded in the UK,so it was not just Europe that caught a mini heat wave.

So all was well. Loading although sweaty, went with out a hitch.
So its time for the sound check. Francis Rossi  is on stage strumming and tuning before any of the other members as he had had some problems with a wireless pack at the last gig.
Not enough for the fans to notice but Francis does not miss a thing, the offending pack which sends a wireless digital signal from his guitar to a monitor which in turn sends it to the amplifiers and speakers,occasionally would just drop of a minor inconvenience.

Rhino joins him on stage then Andrew, Matt and Rick, every one is laughing and joking and in general good spirits.
Rick Parfitt then put his ear piece into his ear only its not sitting right,so he extracts it and notices that the rubber grommet is missing from the ear piece.
This is not a problem and is soon replaced.
When Rick then pushes the ear piece back in he realises to late that the missing rubber grommet had come off in his ear and now he has pushed it right in, deep into his ear.

Rick attempts to remove the offending object himself much to the amusement of Francis and Rhino, then Francis giggling wanders over and takes a look.
Now the laughing stops as Francis exclaims "Fuck me you ain't half pushed that in deep,"a look of real concern now occupies his face Rick is pretty impassive at this point but is starting to get a bit concerned it must be bad as no one now is laughing and extracting the urine.

Lloyd Gilbert Guitar & Ear Tech

The cry goes up "WHO HAS GOT SOME TWEEZERS" Lloyd Gilbert replies "I have" and with the speed and agility of a young gazelle being chased down by a pack of starving lions, sprints to his work station,returning seconds later with a gleaming new set of tweezers,which he then sets about informing all assembled that he had brought them because, they are closed and you squeeze them to open so release and they grip ! "GET ON WITH IT "

So with Francis Rossi peering over one shoulder and Rhino peering over the other
(No Pressure)  Lloyd standing on tippie toe with Rick rooted to the spot, having been told "DON'T MOVE."
Lloyd proceeds to insert his gleaming set of self gripping tweezers in to Ricks ear !! After what seemed like an age, may be a minute a cheer nearly lifts the roof and Lloyd emerges with the offending rubber grommet in the palm of his hand.
He ask Rick "Do you want this?" holding forward said grommet, it may be in all the excitement Rick did not hear him but I think Lloyd could work out from the look on Ricks face, what he might do with the offending item.
"I must ask him what ever happened to the grommet" so drama over the sound check went off with out any further hitch, as did the show. 
Apart from the fact that it was very very hot for the band,and I mean very hot, but that said a great time was had by all,apart from Mr Andy Tompkins who has some pin problems with Lesley (to be continued ).... and poor Pat Marks who after the previous nights extravaganza was a little under whelmed with the lighting rig with which he had to work with.

Storm Euro Style
 So now I have the long drive back to the UK, after driving through the night and through the most amazing electrical storm I park near Rimes in France, but there will be no sleep for me today as the temperatures soar in to the 100+ and that's out side of my BLACK cab.

So four days at home then its The Cornbury Festival out side in the UK what could possible go wrong ?    

Forests Inlaws Woods & Squirels

So I am back home for a few days,then its a short drive down the road to Thetford Forrest out door gig in the UK cant be good ! And as its my local gig my wife her sister and the mother in law will be in attendance,you just know its gonna rain like mad.

The mother in law sixty years young, has loved Quo since the beginning and this is gonna be her first ever gig, holly shit its gonna rain in biblical proportions.
Well the Mighty Quo Rocked the branches of that Suffolk Forest and every one there was rocking all the way.
Mother in law loved it so Browny points for me with the missus. As for the rain well, it hardly came to anything at all,a great night was had by all.

OK so after rehearsal's at Shepperton working what, where and when, to fit in three new tracks off the new Quo album "QUID PRO QUO" (available in all good record shops and supermarkets especially Tesco) in to the set lineup, I am off to Gelsenkirchen Germany," I must just say at this point I think Two Way Traffic is possibly one of the best Quo songs I have ever heard and Lets Rock has grown on me to the point I believe this will become a Quo anthem.

Lost in Translation
 So I am driving in to Germany,saw this town name "Wankum" and would love to know what it means in German because in East London its something totally different.
I digress Gelsenkirchen nice venue set right on the side of a large canal,with even larger barges,its an out door amphitheatre as are many of the venues we visit on this German leg of the tour.

Guess what ? it rains not really hard not by Swiss standards but it was a wet gig, there where plenty of people who decided they where happy to hear the mighty quo from afar as the opposite bank of the canal was rammed with fans and there where gazebos on a near by bridge, shame as they are only getting a third of the experience at best,but still they came.

Whilst there I needed to get the Toll Collect box serviced, this is a box in the cab of the truck which electronically registers all road tolls incurred on German roads then your account is relieved of a few quid. I drop my trailer at the gig and bob tail to a local garage, on arrival I walk up to the first person I see apologise that my German is rubbish and ask if they speak English ? 
 I' lad said the Yorkshire man in front of me ! whats the chances.

Well I am now off to Dresden but the band and a certain merchandiser a Mr Grant Coleman they are off to the airport to get the Private Jet to Mallorca to appear on a show called Wetten Das the biggest show of its kind on Spanish TV and to make matters worse the poor loves have to share the sofa with Cameron Diaz & Jeniffer Lopez I don't know how they cope !!

So Dresden a Lovely German city in the North East of the country very near the Cezka Boarder.I was in Dresden last during the world cup touring with U2 and had the opportunity to have a good look around so was looking forward to a return visit, however the gig was on the outskirts of the city set in the grounds of a large imposing museum type building so I spent my day off in the woods,oh ! and it rained!! but I did meet a Red Headed bit of tail, totally Nutty though.

My Redhead total Nut's
Bit like the fans who braved the rain to be stood in the woods at eight am in the hope of catching a glimpse of their idols and stayed put until the gates opened.
The fans of "Status Quo" you have got to admire their tenacity and just total commitment to the band they love I really do take my hat of to them all.

The only other draw back to being parked in the woods for two days is ... well .... there are no loos.... I think we can leave that there.

The crew have asked me to try and get sixteen wheels fitted to our risers because we need to be able to roll all our set on and off stage, when we get to Munchen.
Well needless to say not a chance in the woods.
So the gig, well its was a wet show very wet indeed, but worse than that was the fact that the front of the stage had a large oval front to it,"this is a problem why I hear you ask",

Well status Quo know and love their fans, they recognise faces in the front and they love to get the reaction of the crowd up close, well with this large oval and then the barrier in front of the stage it meant that their fans where a good twelve meters away from the front of the stage,not the way the band like to work,but what can you do. 
Short of going at it with a JCB !!! so we just had to get on with it,not that the crowd seem bothered nothing dampened their spirits not even the rain and it was another great night.

Next stop Hamburg this time I have got another day off so I check with the local promoter "can I park at the gig" not a problem just park up next to the dumpster! he said, he never told me that the dumpster was on the side of a main road and it was not possible to park in the venue not even when it came to loading in,well another full day with no toilet !!
we have been there so I take myself off to the nearest Auto Hoff, so no site seeing got done and no wheels got fitted either !
Wet gig full house job done.

So I am off to MUNCHEN !! we need to roll last chance saloon,well while I am sweating about wheels the band and crew go to Bremerhaven and do a gig with the B.Rig which is basically a duplicate set to which I carry all the time, we use this when time restraints make it impossible to cover the distances involved in the time available.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Mad Geese Thatched Roofs & Mental Weather

So here we go Europe here I come, after collecting some of the equipment from a warehouse in South London that had been getting serviced, its straight down to Dover, Sweden here I come, not a bad journey and after a stop over at Nobie's Truck stop (The Netherlands)
 I arrive in good time Status Quo are doing a corporate gig its very hush hush as its going to be a surprise for all the guests, as to who the band will be,easy you would think only problem is all of our flight cases that carry the equipment has got Status Quo all over it, so its out with the black duck tape and cover any thing which may give away our identity !!! this was managed successfully as far as I know and every one had the most wonderful time.
OK so its Sunday night I am in Sweden and I have got four days to get to Denmark,now for those of you who paid attention to your Geography teacher " I cant include myself in that " you will know that Denmark is next door to Sweden "nearly" separated by a little bit of the Baltique which is very easily crossed by either the bridge at Malmo or the ferry from Helsingborg, as I was not pushed for time I take the bridge option and in two and a half hours I am parked up at the congress center in Odense, this is my home for the next four days, I wont bore you with my daily routine, of passing the time only to say I brought myself a Banjo which I am attempting to learn and not wishing to sound to smug I cant tell you that "Frere Jacquer" lets just say I own it !.... Old McDonald is proving a bit more tricky but watch this space.

Mad Goose !
 So its gig day at last and I move up to the venue site after having done a recce by bike the day before only to discover that the venue is ..well very unusual! Its actually a working museum and the most amazing place its a working farm all buildings have been relocated from all over Denmark and rebuilt on the site creating a complete village that you would have believed had been there for the last three hundred years complete with a Mad Goose.

Post card stuff

The gig was to take place in a grass lined Amphitheatre, to the rear of the ancient village and because it was an ancient village the access was never intended for 40ft articulated vehicles, therefore we had to cross load all of the equipment on to three small vans which ferried to and fro until all the equipment was deposited where it was needed,and the same on the load out .
The gig was great the weather was not the best but there was a lot worse weather to come but then ignorance is bliss as they say!
Even through the weather was not great the setting made up for it and as is normal with followers of the Quo no one seemed in the least bit bothered by the rain and there enthusiasm was full on from start to finish. 
So its off to Sonderborg only an hour and forty five min's away still in Denmark, which turned out to be a very wet and pretty muddy, mostly due to the building works, which where on going in and around the Amphitheatre, expanding the venue to accommodate more people.That said the gig went well even if it was a very wet one,but once again the fans where UN-perturbed and trudged in through the mud and rain straight to the Beer stall and then partied on as if it was the beach at Marbella, you got to love the tenacity of the Status Quo Fans they "ROCK ".
So now its off to the Netherlands and another four days to kill (Banjo Banjo) finally gig day  its the Daewpop Festival in Hellendorn not far from the German boarder at Rheine.
 And to cut a long story short.. well it was bloody marvelous the gig was big the crowd of about six thousand where brilliant as was the weather Andy May Pat Marks & Tim Franklin wielded there wands of sound and light tweaking and fading equalising and all the other amazing little expert touches that allow The Mighty Quo to look and sound even more amazing than ever,Brilliant.
Then I am off again, this time it Switzerland, I am heading for  the Stars of Sound, Aarberg festival.
Once again I arrive in the most unexpected venue, this time its the central market square, that has been turned over for the weekend to House a huge stage and the Legends which are Status Quo. Wow what a place very very pretty indeed and very Swiss as only Switzerland can be.
Back stage I am talking to Francis and Rick and they tell me that its, the last hour before the gig that's always the worst the fans, are here the place is buzzing, the nerves are building and all they want to do is get on that stage and do what they do best Rock out.
 Finally the moment arrives and they take the stage to rapturous applause, they are three songs in and mother nature reminds us all who is in charge.
The wind rises thunder claps lightning flashes and the RAIN, the RAIN comes down in a torrent, four thousand people with nowhere to hide, "do they care!" do they hell they sing louder, they clap louder, and they scream louder. Meanwhile on stage its drama time the strong wind lifts the back drop, its flying and flapping inches from Matthew Letley The Drummer's head, he like a true professional continues never missing a beat literally, while Glen Smith Myself and others leap on to the offending piece of scenery and hold it down, Glen being a very busy man has to go and take care of something for the local promoter, I then stretch myself out along the length of back drop that I am clinging to for dear life against the elements. By the end of the show I am soaked through to the skin literally, but the moment when Rick Parfitt moved from one side of the stage to the other, passing by me and looking down commenting with a cheeky grin " Drunk again Russ" made it all worth it. Glen later returned patted me on the back and said you took one for the band there mate. I did and it was bloody great I don't even think any of the crowed even noticed,Job done.   

Some Mid Summer Madness in May ??

OK so the call came I have got the job, so its a little run up to Lincoln showground for the first 1 truck gig and the fore runner to the tour of Europe.
Its Mid Summer Magic ? only problem with that is its May... not my idea of mid summer and the weather agreed with me,it was blowing a hoolie (very windy)
I thought that the stage may well get blown away,Lance Miles Drum Tech supremo told me how he had seen one of these stages take of in Majorca some years ago !! This did not fill me with confidence but no one else seemed all that worried and every one just went about there business even though it was like working in a wind tunnel.

Mr A Tomkins
(Working in wind tunnel)

Half way through the day whilst mooching about on stage trying to just lend a hand as and where I could, Andy Tomkins Keyboard & Bass Tech Extraordinaire is struggling with two guitars I offer to give him a hand,to which he agrees so its off to the dressing rooms we go, on entry there is Francis Rossi Strumming his Fender Telecaster Andrew Bown is also there Francis looks up from his guitar " Oh your back then " " Yep your stuck with me now" i reply, then Francis shouts to Andrew "Points" "Dan King" Andrew walks over, looks me up and down and reply's
 " Yes I will give you that one " Francis noticing my confused expression explains, that to help pass the time on the road they award points to each other, if they see someone who looks like someone else and are then in agreement, the person who made the observation in the first instance receives 10 points, so apparently I in some ways resemble a comedian from the sixty's called Dan King. Me personally I am so amazed that not only, am I in the presents of bloody Legends, but they are talking to me !! Me the truck driver,but that is the thing with these Legends of Rock they are normal so nice, chatty, Witty, funny and normal, I still pinch myself if I happen to wonder out of a door and Rick or Francis or Matt,Rhino,Andrew any one of these Legends are coming the other way and its "Hello Russ " as normal as you like, I still find it amazing.
But I digress back to the show the wind drops and the rain starts not really bad only a shower and the night and show slide by in a Haze of cheering fans and great music, sound and lights,then its all hands to the deck as the load out process begins.
Its during load out that a fan looking like a drunken extra out of Pirates of the Caribbean managed to get back stage, Glen Smith Tour Manager and Staus Quo's Right Hand Man asks the swashbuckler if he could help him and was he lost. "Oh no Francis Rossi asked me to meet him here" oh is that right said Glen " Yes said Pirate lookalike I am his brother in law" Oh really said Glen well he must have forgot as the band bus left about half an hour ago "Oh your kidding have you got his phone number so I can give him a call" Glen looks on in obvious bewilderment amazement and smiles,with this Pirate Pete said your not gonna give me his phone number are you... (No Shit Sherlock) Glen smiles sweetly and reply NO and I think you should get the right side of the stage before security catch you,with that our extra from the Pirates of the Caribbean disappeared in to the night.
Glen looked at me I looked a Glen and we both had a good old chuckle but like Glen said Francis Rossi's brother in law that's a first.
the rest of load out went with out incident and we are off to the next gig and that means Sweden Denmark The Nederland & Switzerland.