Aug 12, 2015

Cooperadventurascandinavia Part 1

Soooooo,  I set my alarm for Stoopid o'clock and we set off in plenty of time - actually got to the airport early for once!  But of course , there is always some delay, it took us an hour and a half to get one case booked in and get thru security, duh. And the bloody airport was heaving with the great unwashed. Bloody millions of people. Why don't some of you go to New Zealand? I hear it's nice and there's plenty of room.......

Anyway, after breakfast we checked in at the new Do-it-yourself Check in thingy - (you get to put your own stickers on the case, |woohoo! I guess it's probly so you can't blame them if your case ends up in Eritrea or somewhere), but the machine kept saying 'NO',  so we had to keep taking stuff out the Coop Case, thinking it was overweight....

 But in  the end we realised it was because we had been using the wrong boarding card number. However, we'd crammed so much gear into in the hand luggage by then, that as soon as the Computer said Yes, we just grabbed stuff and raced on to get into the mahoosive queue for hand luggage x ray. (I bet Alice don't have to put up with this shit.)
 After taking off my shoes, belt, jacket, jewellery, unpacking the tablet, phone, keys, money and everything liquid, including my precious jar of marmite, I still bleeped and had to be scanned. I think it was one of those body scanners where they get to ogle you naked. Good luck with that guys, you might be needing some eye bleach.

Eventually we got on the plane............and after a lightening quick flight, we arrived at Oslo airport, which turned out to be teeny weeny, and practically  empty. Picking up the car took 2 mins, and having eventually managed to turn on the satnav, (15 mins) we set off for Oslo. It was a bit further that I had envisiged but,  after about 40 mins we found our hotel and parking immediately outside! Handy, but it was £8 for 2 hours eeek. Thankfully it's free after 8pm.

Think Janice is here too somewhere but we haven't seen her yet. After dumping stuff in the room,  we decided to walk round to the venue. it was about 10 mins round the corner. I always try to find hotels this close, but they usually end up being miles away. But not this time! And we found tour bus parked out back, conveniently outside a small cafe, so we sat there, watching and waiting.
 Eventually Diane appeared, and told us all about the venue - pretty small, with a  tiny stage hardly room to spit, and she was worried about the smoke from the pyro gassing everybody inside....the management told her it would be ok cos they have air con! But she remained unconvinced.........
All the kit had to go  in via a gaping hole in the pavement, (note the huge metal panel in the pavement) with trapdoors - and very dodgy stairs. But they'd got it all in eventually. Pat also came out (for a fag) and we chatted in the warm afternoon sunshine, taking a selfie to send to Sunila, who sadly couldn't make it.

 Later on the band (and Kyler) appeared for a soundcheck, was so great to see them all again! Lots of hugs n kisses and Chuck says to me 'Hello beautiful, ' bless him......* swoons a little*....hahah!!
After a catch up chat, they all disappeared. Ryan mentioned that he would be doing a Gibson guitar thing in a nearby shop, but we weren't too sure where it was, so we decided to get back to the hotel and change. Takes me about 10 mins but Steve of course needs more time to put on the makeup and get him to a show.......

I picked up my VIP pass at the recep window and they sent me round to the side door for early entry - bloody hell I thought, this is too good to be true!!' And it was, kinda,  but more of that later. Had to leave poor old Steve out at the front to fend for himself - I guess he is used to it by now, this is his 97th show after all.....but I didn't like leaving him all the same...all those people clamouring for pics!! We need to start charging, we could make a fortune for The Solid Rock charity....

So, I go round to the side door - and there's Janice! Great to see her again, bin a while. Also met up with a guy called Dave and his wife - have seen him before at Alice shows but never made contact - he was in front of me at 100 club.
Soooooo, we waited..........and waited.....................we could see the people at the front door clamouring to get in - Janice and I were having kittens, FFS, are they gonna let us early or not??? At the very last minute, they opened the door for us - and then they wanted to take my camera off me!! Since all the trouble I had with my Canon, I got a small fixed lens camera, with which I have never had a problem until now!!! I thrust all the batteries at them, in the vain hope they would just give up and let me thru ( I got spares after all), and it worked! Didn't even want the batteries in the end. So, Janice and I raced to the front middle of the barrier, spread out a bit so Steve could get in, and settled down happily to wait. Steve came in soon after, so we were all lined up in our favourite spot, ready to rock. I love the few minutes before a show starts, when all that stress of getting to the front is over - especially when there isn't even a support! Just Alice. Perfect.

The Ballad
I've see the RTD show 16/17 times, but I still love it. And it changes every time - Lost in America was one of the new tracks, so brilliant to hear it. And Wicked Young Man is back! AND Steve and I caught a cane!!!!Alice spotted the famous red top hat obviously, hah.  And lots of bills, beads and guitar fact, we got loads of booty for my scrapbook. :)

l-r Janice , me, Steve, Truls

We met up with a guy called Truls, he was doing VIP too, and we all had a FAB time! I love a good singalong, specially when nobody can hear me......and it all went swimmingly until the encore, Schools Out, when a drunk Norwegian guy decided he would like my barrier spot, so he jumped on top of me......
He was a huge guy, but between Steve Janice and myself, we managed to get him off me....but he kept putting him arms over my head, resting on my shouolders. to take pics on his phone, (most of which I managed to ruin by putting my hands in front of it, lol) all the while yelling in my ear in Nordispeak. Everybody kicked him, I repeatedly tried to hit him but it was feeble, hah, but he carried on being a COMPLETE ARSE, for the duration of the song, which kinda spoilt it for me. But there were compensations later.

Soooooo, after the band had gone off, and Sigurd had fallen over the barrier and been carted off by security, we went to our alloted stageside space, and were taken upstairs and around the houses to meet Alice. Janice Truls and sat as far away as we could, and looked at each others stuff. Janice and I took pics of each oter, Toby was very chatty, (guess he wasn't as desperate as usual to get to his hotel )and told us lots of gig stories, none of which I can remember. One of the guys in front of us wanted a pic with Kyler, so he got Alice to take it....and I thought ' Yeah, gotta do that'......

Soon it was my turn, and as I approached Alice he said, 'Are you alright? I saw that guy jumping on you, he was really going for you wasn't he? Bit of a scrum going on there....I think he liked you and was trying to get with you'......and he and Kyler were laughing especially when I told then how he fell over the barrier. Thank you Alice for caring! Well, noticing anyway :)
He did the usual asked how to spell my name (cos he always forgets) and I said Penny Dreadful - he said do you watch that programme, but I don't......
He signed my new cane, about 8 LP covers, the free poster, also my denim jacket, and then I asked him to draw me a cartoon self portrait to put in my next scrapbook, which he also signed, and THEN I asked him about the Halloween gig - was there going to be one?........................and he said 'YES'!!
Kyler was like, 'Noooooooooooooooo, don't tell anyone, but it seems that the band, sans Alice, will be doing a gig in Edinburgh, but he might be doing a small gig just for fans in London, watch this space!! I was so ecstatic, that I accidentally kissed him , (so sorry Sheryl) but Kyler didn't catch it on camera so I had to do it again..... Kyler wouldn't let Alice take any more pics, so he did a couple of selfies with me, and then I let Janice have her turn.

At this point I realised that my laminate had fallen off its lanyard..OH THE FUCK NOOOO  ..........Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa........................
Luckily Bujie appeared right about then, so I asked her if she could get me another one - and she did, bless her. THANKS BUJIE xx

Back out in the theatre I spotted Andy (lighting) dispappearing through a side door, so I missed him unfortunately, but at least Steve saw him, and hopefully we can meet up inStockholm. He is hilariously funny and a really nice guy.
When I eventually got outside, it was still light (and warm) at 11.30pm! All the bars were still open, multitudes of people were out and about, and I thought, how fab to be daylight all summer - but it must be shite in the winter. I found Steve in a bar with Dave and his wife, so we sat and had chips with them before eventually deciding that it might be time to get back to the hotel - where we met up in the foyer with Janice, as we were all helping ourselves to the free tea and coffee. Eventually got to sleep, with my cane at my side lol.
Pic by Kyler

Jun 11, 2015

My 'local' Rock Pub

It isn't really local by UK standards, being 50 mins drive from my doorstep, but I suppose if you were American, it would be, ' I'm popping next door to the pub', seeing as they think nothing of driving 150 miles to go for a days shopping or sightseeing and that sort of thing.

I first discovered the Iron Road when Damon Johnson, late of the Alice Cooper band, and currently playing for Black Star Riders, AKA Thin Lizzy, announced he was coming to the Uk to play some acoustic gigs, in small venues around and about. Having seen him with Alice and with TL, I thought it was defo worth going, and I was not wrong, he is brilliant. I don't really do acoustic, really. But I loved it, such a treat for me I really enjoyed listening to him.

 I bought his album and it has become one of my favourite driving cds. Well, actually it's on my ipod, but I did listen to it exclusively for weeks after the gig.  Funny int it, how nobody really listens to whole albums any more, it's more a case of listening to playlists........................When I think of how it used to be, one LP on the turntable for 3 months, having to  pick off the needle to listen to the same track again and again, thereby rendering the vinyl scratchy, jumping and useless...............I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I'd be able to make a playlist of songs I wanted to hear, without having to listen to any of those tracks that were a waste of time, y'know what I mean.............


 brought along pal Ricky Warwick from Black Star Riders. It was flipping awesome to see these

Anyway, I am rambling. Since that first Iron Road visit, I have been back twice to see Gallus guys and it's a treat to see them in such a modest setting (it's a teeny weeny pub, with a stage the size of my dining table). And they are truly heroic in their efforts to pay homage to The Master, driving all the way down from Scotland with as many props as they can cram into their van - sadly the Iron Road is just too small for the gallows, but there are plenty of other things to make up for it, of course.  Alice's snake Veronica, straightjackets, whips, a manic nurse, canes, baby dolls, a noose hanging from the lightfitting and a multitude of awesome costumes for my friend Bill Crowe to wear (made by another friend Rachael!) - Cyclops, ('it smells in here' lol ) The Black Widow Spider),  Igor, and Frankenstein to mention but a few - and of course, they do all those songs you wish Alice would do. And I can't remember any of them atm, duh......

 Umm, wait, they did 'You Drive Me Nervous', which I love!! And it's a bloody good chance to yell your head off, singing along to all yer fave Alice songs. Seeing as the man himself has deserted us for the last 2 years.........................:(

So, back to Damon and tonight. It was clear from the beginning that Ricky was in charge.....and he is an awesomely powerful singer, they have an amazing chemistry, they know each other well and they play fantastically well together...............................And there were lots of TL hits, plus solo stuff, and some completely random and brilliant songs, like for instance. Ace of Spades! Bloody brilliant.

I saw Damon on his own last year, and I have to say, I preferred his slightly more laid back style, lots of rock tracks, sure, but also lots of his own ballads (oooh, did I say ballads??), so, I hope when he comes back, that he leaves Ricky behind.............. (oops, did I say that out loud??)

I did hear the bar owner asking Ricky if he would bring back some of his other band mates.....(eg Scott) but clearly that's not going to happen, it's a teeny pub.......even Ricky was saying, 'Well, he is Scott Gorham...',  and then, whilst waiting to speak to Damon, some chav pushed in front of me and shoved his girl inbetween DJ and Ricky, saying, 'Stand next to Scott and Ricky luv, for a pic'. I tried to tell him it was Damon, but he ignored me, and kept on calling him Scott. Damon was a gracious as ever, not correcting him, and letting him take silly amounts of photos.....grrrrrr.
But, what a fabulous night out, and not even an hour from my house, lol.

Ah well, bed is calling,  roll on the next gig......Foo Fighters at Wembley, omg, not excited, not at all,

Jun 4, 2015

Lechlade Music Festival

Wow, what a fab weekend I've had! Whole Lotta Led headlined Friday night , and Light Led were on the Shire stage Sunday afternoon. And, inbetween all that, I did the Tall Ships Fest at Gloucester Docks AND  the Prescott Hill Climb at, er....Prescott.


So,  Friday, I finished work at 1pm, rushed home and had a quick siesta (getting old y'know, I neeeeeed my sleep), then set off for the Lechlade Music Fest to see my good friends Whole Lotta Led, headlining on Friday night. Ann and I drove the cross country route, and got there about 8 ish - we drove into the vip parking area and met with the security guys - told them we were getting our passes at the BO., Good job Ann is so pretty, once she smiles they'll give us anything, lol.
We were on the guest list so we got the red wristbands, but apparently you need the purple one  for all access, luckily Geoff managed to get us those whilst we were hangin around backstage.  The guys had all their equipment there, but it was still gonna need setting up later.........

Lots of bands, on but the first one I saw was Bon Giovi, a great tribute band...saw Bon wandering around earlier and clocked him as the lead singer, but he didn't really look the part til he came on stage with his shades on - WOW, he was really good, what an AMAZING voice.


 Shame they got the timings mixed up, he did the encore Livin on a Prayer and then got told he had loads more, he did a few more songs, went down a storm :)

Eventually it was time for Led...........I know I' ve seen 'em 30+ times and may be a bit biased........but they are so brilliant.And I got to take pics from the front of the barrier and on the stage, my god, that was soooo much fun!

So, afterwards we went round to Geoff's for the 'after gig party' - coffee and a nitpick at their peformance -  and I finally got home at 2am, crawled into bed and waited for the alarm at 4.35am......
What a joyous morning at work I had on Sat......

Apr 25, 2015

It's been a long boring winter, and, although the New Year brought a few future gig opportunities - Foo Fighters, Robert Plant, - nothing was very immediate sadly.....except for Black Star Riders in Wolverhampton............... when I was so excited to be going out at last after all the illness and hibernation, that I drank a gallon of wine in about 10 mins (I exaggerate. Slightly)
 I had to go outside for fresh air and chips halfway though the show........(sorry Steve), what a flipping lightweight I, I never got to see them really, I'll have to go again sometime. But not while they are supporting Europe, I prefer the smaller venues when they are headlining.........couldn't get anywhere near the front, by the time we had finished meeting up with and chatting to mates Peter and Tibbsy - which, to be fair, was one of the more important aims of the night, lol. Was great to meet up with you guys!

Ah well ,such is life. At least I have lots of Led gigs lined up.......ah, except that I was ill (again) (gastric flu, yuck) so I missed a lot of the nearest ones ffs.........finally managed to catch up with them at Stroud in March.  Such a great gig, missed them so much!! And then this last weekend I caught them at the Bierkellar in Bristol, what a great venue, loads of space to dance, a decent sized dressing room to dump all my stuff in, great sound, thoroughly enjoyed myself! And, afterwards,  I followed fellow Led enthusiast and photographer Richard around Bristol's various road works to find a great kebab house for an after gig meal! Owing to the nefarious twists and turns of the Bristol roadworks, it wasn't actually the same kebab house that Richard ended up at, but hey, the lamb shish was awesome, so I'm not complaining.

And then Saturday night beckoned. A Light Zep acoustic charity do at a stone barn in the middle of nowhere/Oxfordshire.  Having got home at stoopid o'clock the night before, and had a number of exciting things (ironing, washing, Craft Fair) to do during the day on Saturday, I was feeling just a little jaded late pm, and reconsidering my decision to go fact, I had  totally abandoned my going out plans, and settled down to watch episode 7 of Vikings, when my gig buddy Ann, phoned and said 'leaving in 10 mins, are you coming??'

Well, what could I say? Apart from yep, I'll be ready in 5..? And I was. And we went. And it was great! Huge stone barn in middle of nowhere, lots of rugs and cushions to keep us warm, a pizza van outside, bar inside,.....SORTED :)



Spent most of Sunday asleep, lol, but what a great weekend, looking forward to the next one.

Am also looking forward to July, when I get to see Alice in Norway and Sweden!