Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Wasn't There - Days of Wonder

BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live used to have a slot titled ‘I was There’ featuring interviews with people who were at auspicious events, failed to recognise celebrities, had brushes with royalty and the like. My contribution to such a series would be more likely to reflect a number of notable occasions I missed:

In the 70s I was half the road crew of a rock band touring UK clubs and colleges promoting their first album 'High Street'. The band played a rocky-boogie style, in the Humble Pie vein and the audiences were mainly young men with long hair, trench coats and a propensity for head-banging.

Very macho, very geezer, very 70s
A 'novelty' single [Get Outa Me 'Ouse] strayed into the charts and led to a spate of TV appearances squeezed into a busy touring schedule. After one such recording in Birmingham (which may have been Lift Off with Ayesha Brough or some show involving the word 'Cue' with Mike Mansfield) we went to the hotel and retired to the bar for a beer or several. Our keyboard player, Kenny, doodled around on a baby grand piano in the corner of the bar to the general enjoyment of our fellow guests and a bit of a sing-song ensued. It looked like they were settling in for a session, so around 11pm, unable to keep eyelids apart, I sloped off for an early night. 

Kenny Daughters, one time truck designer and ivory tickler
At breakfast next morning amid the general hubbub of conversation I heard several references to a brilliant night, some great music and a wonderful performance. Bloody hell! I thought, these people must be really hard up for live music. After all, much as I liked the band and enjoyed their music, only their most ardent head-banging fans would pile such praise on the a few bar tunes from our keyboard player. It seems I was wrong.

It turns out that about half an hour after I had left the bar, the assembled multitude had been treated to an impromptu session on the bar's piano by another hotel guest, also in town for a TV show, Stevie Wonder.

1975? somewhere between top right and bottom left, I guess

Of course he wasn't the God-like legend he is today, just your ordinary run-of-the-mill international million-selling superstar who seldom played live - bugger!.

Keep an eye open for more tales of stuff wot I missed...

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