Nov 23, 2015

Tiny Tour Plymouth and Swindon. And Wembley.

At last!! Alice comes back to the UK!! It's only been three years, duh....(excluding a brief appearance at Cropredy, which hardly counts, although it was a BLINDING show, and blew them folkie peeps away) but it seems like forever! I get  my tix as soon as it's announced and then wait with bated breath to see if something will actually happen on Halloween itself! Having had some rather vague insider info earlier in the year, I am really hopeful that there will be.

The 2 shows are on 29th and 30th October, so Steve and I plan to do VIP at the first one in Plymouth, as this will be his 100th show! And my 27th, hah. Got a way to go really, although 26 of those shows have been since 2010, so not doing too badly in catching up.
And then we discover lots of people were doing Swindon VIP, so we hum and haw, shall we shan't we...oh what the hell, why not - so we end up getting VIP for both of them.

We book a posh olde worlde sort of hotel opposite the venue and when we arrive there are already a few people outside the door - inc JY who texts me earlier saying he can't find the door!!
We find out that we are actually going to be let in early, so off we go to Wetherspoons to meet the gang and catch up. Then it's back to the hotel to get on the make up and get to the show, about an hour before the main doors open.

We're still not far from the door even then, and they let everybody in at about 7. There's another set of doors inside so we squeeze our way to the front, having got our VIP passes and get in 10 mins before everybody else, thank you, god of VIP.

Barrier, middle oh yeah. I spread out the poster I'd made for Steve, and some of the paps take a pic of it.

There is a support, Michael Munroe. I am sure I've heard the name somewhere.......
Dredging back in to the inner recesses of my mind, I drag up Hanoi Rocks, from who-knows-where, and we wait to be bored. But we're not!! He is brilliant, unbelievably active, jumping about all over the stage, giving his mike tech a real headache, chasing after the lead to make sure he doesn't hang himself, and he seems to be having the time of his life! He throws me a drumstick for no apparent reason, thank you Michael!.

Then mit's Alice time. Fab show, needless to say. Hello Hurray has gone in favour of Black Widow, and there are a few other changes too - the covers have been updated to include tracks of the Hollywood vamps CD, Five to One/Break On Thru, Manic Depression, Cold Turkey. Not neccessarily in that order, I forget stuff.

I know everybody hates the covers , but I have seen this show so many times, I know I will miss them when they're gone. Sheryl is back as the nurse, superb as always, and Alice tells me later that they play a game, where they each compete with the other to add tiny new things to the show each night.

Alice watches us, and I see him reading the poster, and  he chucks the cane to Steve! Sunila and I catch it too, but we let Steve have it.  Billion Dollar Babies, Steve prepares to throw Little Betty on - but finds he doesn't want to let her go. I have altered her a bit, added some blood, scars  and piercings - she really looks the part now! Mebbe tomorrow.

 I remember to get hold of some roses which I throw on stage during Poison. As luck would have it, they land on his metal riser at the front. He holds them up in the air, and then thwacks them to bits on his thigh.

The many faces of Ryan and Alice.


We meet up briefly with Andy after the show, and give him Little Betty to look after til tomorrow.
The VIP is great, there are only about 15 of us inc Steve Lewis and Brett. The 'Four things to sign 'bit becomes  a rigid enforcement, I have never taken any notice of it in the past, but Toby is absent, and his replacement is a little Hitler and threatens us with mutilation if we try to sneak in five. And we have to put our mobile phones in a box, so great is Alice's hatred of 'selfies'.

I take photos, Kyler takes photos, and Steve takes a video for me. I give Alice the tiny lego figure of himself, complete with cane. I actually came with a snake, but I have managed to lose that already , so I made the cane. I think they like it. Steve L gets him to sign something for me, and he says,'Oh me and Penny we go way back'.....Throwaway comment I know, but it makes me happy, saddo that I am. He signs five things for me (take THAT Mr Dave the Dictator), including a certificate of Insanity writing Penny Dreadful on it. He asks me if I've seen it yet, and I say, 'No', as usual. Keep meaning to watch it, even if it's just to say 'yes!' when he asks me next time.

We retire to our hotel across the road for drinks until the bar closes, and then everybody goes back to their respective beds, looking forward to Swindon tomorrow.

Steve, Sunila and I leave Plymouth in plenty of time and drive back to my house, expecting  to have lots of time to get ready - after all, Swindon is only 25 mins down the road from me. But there is horrendous traffic pretty much all of the way back, so when we got to my house, it's all change quick as poss, so we can make it to the pub where Janice has arranged a meet up.  I get my Jack Sparrow look together ASAP, and we race off to the pub, only to find no sign of Janice. So, we find Steve's 2 friends and carry on to the venue.
There is a short queue, but on going to reception, we are told that VIP's get in early - Hurrah! -, so we spend the ensuing time chatting with everyone in the queue - there are loads of people I haven't seen for ages, and it's great to catch up.
This is going to be John's first Alice gig, but of course he is late as usual, and eventually turns up just as we are going in - luckily he has a pass, so the security guy lets him through, so we get to go in together! He is very tall, so he stands behind me rather than on the barrier - I am very excited to have him come with me at last! Probably won't ever come again, but I know he will enjoy it. He ends up standing next to Claire who I haven't seen for ages.
We wait and wait as usual - and somebody called out 'Penny Dreadful!' and I get to meet up with Jakey, another fb friend!
I put Steve's 100th show banner up again -  having altered it to read 'Steve's 101st show', but I have to take it down after a while as it gets wrecked by all the moving around. I have some more roses for Poison, and actually manage to capture Alice on film (as it were)picking them up and trashing them.


Another brilliant VIP , loads of people there but we wait til the end. I have to go out to the loo at one point and, who should I meet on the way but Michael Munroe, who still looks shell shocked at his good luck! I have a quick chat, say how great the show was, and then get ushered away by security.

We have a good long while with Alice because we're last, and he insists that we have pics with him together. I give him a hug at the end and he hugs me back, he is such a sweetie.

So, having done VIP both nights, we miss meeting up with the band like we usually do. We go outside to the tour busses afterward, but most of them are inside already, so, there's no chance of seeing them. :(
But the crew bus was there too, and most of them are outside, drinking beer, so we join them, and see Andy. He has tied Betty up at the front of their tour bus, and promises he will look after her till the following Friday when we see him at Wembley, and we will get her back then.

Halloween arrives - and nothing happens. Some problem with getting a permit to make lots of noise late at night scuppers any chance of Alice doing a small intimate 100 club type gig for Halloween....:(

A week
And then Thurs night, Steve contacts me and says he's ill!! OhnononoNO, he can't make it to Wembley! I am completely gutted and decide not to go either - not that keen on seeing Motley Crue, even though I know I will meet up with some friends there.
But, I think about it, and eventually I decide I will do it, (cos the ticket cost me an arm and a leg) and so I set off after work at about 11, arriving at Wembley about 1ish. I spend bloody ages looking for somewhere sensible to park, and eventually I end up at a car park opposite the queue for the NE door, for the princely sum of £15. I brought a tiny fold up stool with me, not only for sitting on whilst q'ing, but also to stand on, as I feel sure I will get nowhere near the front and so will see Not Very Much. I meet up with Steve Lewis and Claire in the queue, and we pass a pleasant couple of hours with a bottle of wine kindly donated by Peter, who is having to queue at the other side of the building. We also meet up with new Alice friend Paul Jones, who came with Pete.

Quel surpreese, I actually make it to the barrier right in front of Tommy! Not a great place to be in for photographic purposes, the blinding white spotlight stage left seems to scupper all my best shots, but, hey, it has many other compensations - like lots of guitar pics from Mr H and Ms Strauss. And a bloody good view besides.
Bit of a short show, mainly the hits, which I find a bit sad, Alice is not really a support act, but he still wows the crowd, they absolutely love him! And why wouldn't they, hah.
Wonderful pic by Andy Michael

I decided to hang around for Motley, get a few pics and see what I think, but about about 4 songs in, I am thinking,'Enough already, what a bunch of posers..............the songs all sound the same, and my already tiny space seems to be getting smaller and smaller. And although I like fireworks, it's kinda OTT, as though they feel they need all the extra pzazz because they are not good enough... And, well........they aren't really. Vince looks like a dirty old man, Mick Mars like a...well, just an old man really, I know he has some crippling disease, poor bloke, and he looks like he's struggling. Nikki Sixx is a bit like a cartoon character with too much make up and silly bits of tape stuck all over his jacket and trousers.  All in all a bit Spinal Tap.

Peter has already retired to the bar, so Steve L and I go out to meet up with him.  I go back in later to see Tommy Lee on his roller coaster, which is a bit silly really - he keeps calling out to the crowd, but can't seem to speak without swearing every other word, which he seems to be doing for effect only. Just before that, Mick Mars does a 'guitar solo', which seems to consist largely of a lot of discordant noises and bad feedback - it's awful and it goes on for 20 mins at least, so I go and get another glass of water to get away from the racket.

 After the Crucifly and they do their final song from the middle of the auditorium.  I heard it on the radio a couple of days ago, it's called 'Home Sweet Home' and is actually not too bad, and that is their last song on UK soil. Thank goodness.

Claire and I hang around by the tour bus exit, she wants to meet up with Chas, and I want Andy to give me back Little Betty. He and Michael bring her out, and Michael says they will miss her, she fits right in with them. So I make them promise to look after her til next year and send me pics now and then, and they take her back to the bus and on tour with them! Guess we will have to get her a sister, lol. Ethyl?, Gail? Juju?

Claire kindly offers me a space in her hotel room, but I decide I really want to get home, so I drive off at about midnight, having been up since 4.30 that morning. Most of the journey is fine, but the last half hour is a struggle to keep awake, although I make it safely in the end and fall into bed around 2ish.

Claire later texts me and tells me about the 2 drunk women who think she is Nita and won't listen when she says she isn't!!  In the end she lets them take pics and they follow her back to her hotel. I think this is hilarious, I only wish I had stayed a bit longer and been there so we could've milked it for all it was worth!!

And that is it for Alice this year :( Not even a Christmas Pudding to agonise over going to or not. Still, we do have Beasto Blanco in Scotland in a coupla
 weeks, so all is not lost!

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