Tour Diaries

The Peoples' Acoustic Faith Tour, February / March 2002.

By Paul Roberts.

Hello People! Apologise for the slightly late tour diary; I'm afraid The Stranglers and a terrible cold have taken up a lot of my time. Not to mention the compilation of a live CD!
First I must thank Chris for his efforts, the use of his car and for the 3 months work he put in before it all kicked off. My total respect to him.
My equal thanks and respect go to the lovely Sarah, who puts up with all this!! Thanks for the lovely grub and warm beds. XXX.
Next I must send my thanks and a big kiss, XX, to Baz's partner Julie (always with a smile) who put up with me and Chris for a few days and nights. Thanks for the hospitality, the food and the wonderful attic!! (it's great).
Big HELLO to all the kids that's Rachel, Claire, Brett and Heidi, hope you enjoyed your Easter presents! XXX.
Next I want to express my delight on having Baz on board, he plays great and has a wicked voice to boot. We never had a dull moment. I'm sure you'll agree Baz's performances added an extra dimension to the shows. I love ya man!
My total respect goes out to all the promoters: Karen Parfitt, Esther Hatch, Coco Verrico, Mike Shewring, Scott and Heather Philp, Andy Swallow, Rob Pilling, Paul Templeman, Geoff Hampson, Barry Spooner, Andy Rotherham and Mark "Salty" Salter. You all did a fantastic job and I'm deeply sorry for anyone who thought we may be turning up late!!! These things happen and the last 8 days were particularly gruelling, with us doing 11 (eleven) shows.
I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and feel it is one of the best things I've done to date. It was flattering to see so many people turn up and special mention should go out to Ruth and Paul, who attended every single show, Cheryl Davies and Julian who came all the way over from Australia, and Maaike, Manja and Robbert who travelled over from Holland. Sorry if I've forgotten any other foreign visitors.
When you're running the show you shoulder more weight than if you only have to perform, so with that in mind you are always concerned about how it will be accepted, on top of organising stage set ups etc. However, everything went very well and Chris really excelled-especially in the driving department! The Loch Ness drive is now folklore and the tour diary alludes occasionally to Chris's navigational skills. The show very quickly established itself and I must say listening to the recordings that everyone seemed to have a really good time, all in all very, VERY rewarding. Also, I said before the tour that the idea is open-ended and we will definitely be back on the road before Christmas.
All the shows were excellent for different reasons be it sound, fans, laughs etc, so I won't pick a 'best'!

Swindon (15/02/02)
Arrived at gig and met Chris and lovely family. No problems first night and we're off... Always tricky-great sound in an unusual venue-but ideal really and a great way to begin the tour. Not bad for a first night!!! Great audience and excellent feedback-Karen Parfitt 10 out of 10!!

Barnstaple (16/02/02)
Long drive! Very warm welcome from staff and friends. Sat down to home made food made by the lovely Andrea, who was very kind and accommodating. Special mention to Mark. The place was crammed and Esther and Gavin made a pretty penny for charity on top of a very enjoyable night,.. long drive back to farm through very thick fog. SLEEEP!!!!!!!!!!!

Bournemouth (17/02/02)
Really nice drive to hotel for Mr Verrico's big night out. I managed to pick on the owner of the place to start the evenings frivolity-a very funny (ha ha) night and the show begins to develop. The sound at this show was excellent and the audience very studious and appreciative-a thoroughly enjoyable night-well done mate. Terribly awful drive back to farm-this is the shitty bit about touring like this, but, with a good gig under our belts we can do anything.
Then just as we were enjoying ourselves we have to stop... After a brief respite we're BACK!!!

Market harborough (22/02/02)
Bit of a weird one this-where to set up-eventually it wasn't too far from the bar!!! A very busy night and I thought we played excellently, the show's really coming together, we seem to be laughing as much as playing. A lot of new people at this gig. Met some old fans and went home very satisfied-fantastic night. Mike Shrewring-TOP MAN.

-and now a short break-

Sat 16th March
Leave London for Bazs. Arrive in time for footy with Baz and Brett - his lad. Down to the local with Mick Battle, top geeza, and back to Baz's for a scrumptious dinner cooked by the lovely Julie, Baz's partner. SLEEP!!!,,Coz we've got 5 hours of driving and a show ahead of us, then 10 more in 7 days!!, Should be a gas… I hope!!

Nairn (17/03/02)
We started the last leg in the Highlands of Scotland in a town called Nairn, where they make clouds. Baz and I drive to Livingston on Sunday lunchtime via a bacon sarnie stop-to meet Chris, Scott Philp and his partner Heather. Shortly after our arrival we depart for the Highlands-3 hours ETA. Fab drive. What a setting-backing onto the Firth of Moray- the wonderful couple Paul and Barbara that run the Invernairn Hotel made us completely welcome and fed us proud. We set up in the bay window of the bar overlooking the Firth and what followed was a night of hilarity and music-we really nailed the show and to top it off we'd been loaned a kilt each for our Scottish tour. Stayed up with small but vocal audience and were truly sorry to leave so soon. Go there for a holiday!!! Baz also played a special song for Paul the manager. Had a great trip to Loch Ness and appeared in a dutch Arthouse film! Our scene included stone-skimming and sinking a bottle. Went to Culloden, very weird but intriguing, you can almost see the corpses of the clans in their graves. Great day!

Aberdeen (18/03/02)
Arrived a bit late, just enough time to set up and do a gig! Andy Swallow did a sterling job and certainly never left his back door open!!! Kilts are going down a storm. It seems the show is now running itself, but sleep would be good!!! Stayed overnight in Aberdeen, hotel owner ends up being a Stranglers fan!!!

Livingston (19/03/02)
Up and out for the schlepp to Livingston, and back to Scott and Heathers for tea and rest. In the afternoon we entertained some local kids and adults too!! Neil McCann of Glasgow Rangers gives us a signed shirt for our auction-what an excellent bloke-thank you. The kids were great but they ate all our "glutinous bairns". After this matinee we set up in the golf club and tonight we are supported by the "Sawdust Caesars", a great little combo. After soundcheck its back to the house and Heather cooks an amazing dinner of Chicken stuffed with Haggis in a whiskey sauce-Scottish or what-even tartan serviettes!!! Another great audience and sound-really enjoyable gig- lots of laughs but its our last gig in Scotland. Scott and Heather were really kind to us and even gave us gifts. Chris got a Scotland 1 England 0 video, Baz some joke Durex!! and me a Scottish to English to Scottish language book-Excellent, two very kind, hardworking people- THANK YOU!!! Tonight we drive to Sunderland, capital of the north-east!! No sleep again.

Darlington (20/03/02)
2 gigs today-should be fun. The first gig is the weirdest I've ever done-in someone's basement-what can I say. We did find Baz's Dad's shop though-"Reg Warnes"-So we went in to claim his back dated pocket money. Saw Cheryl and Maaike. We played very well and I must say it was a lot of fun-nice one Rob. We had to navigate Chris out of the house however. Back to Baz's for tea.

Sunderland (20/03/02)
Drove to Ropery-lovely venue-set up and had dinner. Maaike joined us and Baz ended up with a whole shark for dinner-biggest cut of fish I'd ever seen! Gaz Davidson was our fine support and the place was crammed!!! I didn't know what to expect as the whole tour has had the Stranglers running through-inevitably-and one never knows what the fans expect to hear at FAITH gigs, but, apparently people were travelling from all over to see the show, it was very exciting and it was a fantastic night, the audience loved it-'Nuff said!! Saw Tony of the "Smalltowns"- excellent. Back to Baz's for tea!!! Cheryl and Maaike join us. Sleep-Excellent!!

Liverpool (21/03/02)
Another 2 gigs but the first with a difference. Eddie Lunden, of China Crisis whom I did a guest appearance for a few years ago, asks us to lecture at Paul Macartney's Institute of Performing Arts in Liverpool, LIPA. The lecture was "how to survive the music industry". It was a lot of fun, we told them not to go on "Popstars" etc… and played a few favourite songs. It was a very rewarding experience actually and Baz enjoyed it thoroughly too.

Widnes (21/03/02)
Drove out to Widnes and arrived at the gig greeted by "THE STRANGLERS (yes the real ones)". Chalked on a board-Not Good!. Anyway, Geoff Hampson is a lovely guy and the owner of the bar, Peter, has 7 nights of music every week-he's a top bloke!!. Lovely dinner and best M.C yet, what a voice-she'll make the album!!! This place was rammed too but very noisy and not easy to work in the respect of intimacy, so we just dig in and deliver. This was work, but that's ok it happens, we did play really well though but it wasn't the funniest night. Although the punters were very enthusiastic. Nice one Geoff!! And then drive to Morecambe to see the lovely Sarah.

Nottingham (22/03/02)
Sarah sends us off with a great breakfast. Beautiful drive through the Peak District. Beautifully late for the show!!! But, we only need our desk at the gig, Phew!!!. Set up in a nice little cove facing a packed house at the "Golden Fleece". Went across the road for a sit down in the "Nags Head", but it was karaoke night and it was the funniest thing I've seen for ages. Met a fan who was the only person who could sing, the rest were so funny we just had to leave. This gig was an absolute stormer, we changed the set a bit, but it really was a fabulous night. Barry Spooner - Respect to you and you lovely missus. Also a big shout for Steve Greatorex, who supports live music and collects for various worthy causes- TOP MAN!!
Very suddenly we only have 2 shows left. We definitely have a good show here and although I feel we have to think before we leap I know it works, so we'll have to do it again this year!! Down to London and SLEEP-found it yet Chris???

Aylesbury (23/03/02)
Now today is serious, we are A- playing in a police station and B- we have a ride in a squad car lined up-oh my God!!
After a pretty drive we arrive and Chris's driving hits new heights. With the police station Identified on our right, and a round-a-bout ahead Chris turns left!! Absolutely excellent.
Richard is showing up and the thought of he and Baz playing together is exciting, they're in the same band but have never met! We set up and then I decide we need a bigger rig, so all at once Baz and I and the excellent promoter, driver and all-round wicked geezer Andy Rotheram went to get them. I have never gone so far, so fast in any car. Leaving Richard alone for a brief rehearsal we returned for sound for Andy's kids. Tonight the brilliant Aziz Ibrahim supported us with his excellent guitar tricks. Steve Hogarth from Marillion showed up and did a couple of songs with Aziz and joined Me, Baz and Rich for the Faith bands version of "All Day....."!!!. it was wonderful to hear Rich and to see Bob(Rich's buddy, an amazing guitarist). It was an excellent night though at times hit and miss, but, I like that tension, something good always comes out of it, it's what you feed on and it keeps you from the comfort zone. Avery good and polite audience. Baz and Rich worked brilliantly together and I've got to get them back with each other for some more gigs soon!. Thanks Andy-FM-top driver!!. Back to London-slowly!!
Sleep??? What's that?

Ipswich (24/03/02)
Up to Ipswich for a BBC Suffolk live interview with my good buddy Steve Foster. I am Shattered!! We do interview after arriving-11am!!-a bit late. Did we go the wrong way?? Yes a bit!! We do "Walk on By" and "Chasing Rainbows". Nice one Steve and well done Mark Salter for getting it together. Mark is our 'nice guy' and promoter, (that's Good Cop-Bad Cop, ha!).We're whisked off to a lovely water-side restaurant for lunch. We meet up with good old Bob Christie and drive to Mark's for Sleep!!. We go down to soundcheck at 6 and say hello to my mate Debs Warren. Her band is supporting us tonight. No rig to set up-Excellent-we can relax for a while. Tonight Debs will guest with us on a version of "Dreams". We also have another special guest appearance in the shape of an incredibly nervous Chris Lammiman, who will perform Green Day's "Time of Your Life". Tonight was always going to be special and it was an excellent gig, Chris taking MASSIVE applause for his performance while Sarah listened via mobile phone. The place was packed with lots of familiar faces-all smiling-as were all of the faces we've seen on this tour. Me and Baz agree unanimously to "Do It" again, and the fans go home happy-again!! Baz Bob and to Sunderland, Me back to London, Chris back to Lancashire.
A Truly Great Adventure!!

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