Current page: Carré Concert Remembered
Current page: Carré Concert Remembered
This page is dedicated to Magna Carta's final concert in the Netherlands. Here you can read what Chris, Linda and Matt experienced in the days before and after the Carré concert and on the day of course.
Please note: All pictures on this page made by Harry Pater, unless otherwise stated.
Below you'll find links to photographs, videos, etc. All concerning the Carré concert.
Carré concert on YouTube
There are a quite a few audience recordings from the Carré concert to be found on YouTube.
Below is one, a splendid version of Paradise Row. Just look for the other recordings yourselves.
Chris Simpson at The Carré on May 11, 2009
I must confess that I still have not come down from that remarkable and wonderful night. You kind of figure that after two years of planning and so much hard work, something is just going to go belly upwards. Popularly known as 'Murphy's Law', it is a reference to the the unexpected which hits you from behind when you are looking the other way.
Suffice it to say it just did not happen and the concert rolled sweetly to the finale. Sure there was a screw up in 'Lord of the Ages' and that is where Murphy just managed to get a foot in the door, and was rather droll in retrospect, as it was the most prepared and rehearsed number. But... what a night.
In many ways I was looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time... 40 years is a long time and although I felt in my heart it IS time to move on and see where the muse takes me, I was somewhat apprehensive as to whether I could handle all the emotions swirling around inside. It was when we all sat down over the weekend in Soest and apart for the joy of seeing my old pals and buddies again: Tom, Dougie, Lee, Captain Snapper, Shirley and Jenny, Angela and Andrew and all, the music stitched so well together. Eddie Conard was great and, as always, very funny and Mike Roelofs on keyboards...wow. He rolled up note perfect and played like a man on fire.
Great to have Darrell (Nice Mr. Waring) and Wackford just oiling the wheels and making life so much easier. And Henny Barnhoorn! Rob Roy eat your heart out.
Linda worked non stop on the whole thing and not just the music, she did a lion's share of the organisation and gave her all. Totally committed and very professional.
There were of course strains and tensions. Something as big as that you are bound to hit squalls, but it was Linda who pointed out when I was getting edgy over certain things, that if I was not in the equation then there would never have been a Magna Carta and certainly no Carré.
Matt Barnhoorn turned up on Saturday afternoon and apparently engaged as well. He played a fine gig.
The Carré is a great place to work, for it has style and class and you feel around you the shades of talent that have graced it's stage. Wim Visser, the manager, is a lovely man and so were the staff.
Then of course, Simône. A production of that size would have been impossible without her. What she did was immeasurable. We disagreed over certain things but in the end they mattered not and after the show she joined us in the hotel and we had a great time at breakfast the following morning.
For me it was a wonderful musical and emotional journey down the years and I felt a surge of sheer joy as all those wonderful players kicked in around the sound of Simpson, Simpson and Barnhoorn.
The songs with Tom brought me very close to the edge and we will do some things together for the music kindled all the old flames again. Andrew gave it his brilliant touch of drama and so it went on emotions and feelings chasing one upon another like waves spending on the sand.
I was aware of the time running out too and never one to look back in regret, - you can't do that in this business-, anticipating the road ahead. Sure there are not a few things I would have done differently. There ARE regrets in terms of people I have hurt along the way and I have to live with the consequences, but when later I started to read all the messages from all over the world, - in Paul Culwick' case, he brought his message of love and regard for the music in person from Jo'burg, - that was when it really hit me. Just how many people the music had touched and in so many ways.
Just when I had reached a point in my life of thinking actually, just what have I done down 40 years, apart from meeting countless great and interesting people, I really spent much of the time surviving. A sort of 'what does it all mean?' kind of self imposition, then you learn amazing things.
I was reminded in Soest of how the music had touched and changed lives. One person after the concert said the music had given her something to live for. A south African lady told me pointedly that she had lost her virginity to 'Lord of the Ages'. I pointed out swiftly that I hoped she wasn't blaming me or, come to that, the Lord himself.
Suddenly it was all over and the hardest part was going up to the bar to meet everyone. I love good people and meeting people, but that was like trying snorkel through a roller coaster. At times like this you do not want to be rude and miss anyone out and I hope I didn't, but it also means you cannot give yourself to everyone. My priest friend Andy Raine from Holy Island (Lindisfarne) came with his wife for the concert and brought me a book. We could only manage 'see you when I can...'
I am now coasting through the aftermath and gearing up for the next stage along the road.
One last thing. My heartfelt "thank you's" to all who deserve them would last into next week. So for for my 98 year old Mum who got me into all this trouble in the first place on and onwards through Hans, Harry and Jan and the Friends holding especially in my heart the flatlands across the North Sea that took me and us to theirs, to the great musicians and friends who have enriched all I know and have known.
Love, It is all there is.
The Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam on May 11, 2009
Well that was it!
Two years in the planning and the first set lasted ten minutes … the second set was even shorter!!
There was so much involved that it’s impossible to know what to tell you and what to leave out.
Where do I start?
At the beginning?
Two years ago we decided that, despite personal problems, Magna Carta should celebrate the 40th anniversary in style… and then stop working together on a permanent basis.
At that time we had no idea whether it would be completely final – or whether things would have settled enough for us to continue in some way, so we said that it was time to ‘hang up the road shoes’ and left our options open to do some work together if we wanted to. Of course Chris owns the name Magna Carta and it is now up to him to decide what comes next.
So what was happening behind the scenes???
First we had to book the gig; so we went along to The Carré and arranged a date. The 11th of May was the closest we could get to the actual anniversary. It was a Monday, not a good day for a concert but, as there was little choice, we decided to go for it.
We met with Wim Visser to work out the contract, and the wheels were set in motion.
For a while it all seemed a little unreal … and so far away.
We started announcing the date at concerts, and had leaflets made to hand out. We asked for email addresses of anyone who might like to come, but apart from that we didn’t really do much as it was too early to start a media push.
Very aware of the fact that it would have to be special we started to work out who should join us on stage. George said yes, Lee didn’t want to miss it, Tom was happy to come along and Doug also said that he could make it. Davey Johnstone said he’d love to come but he might be on tour with Elton. Rick Wakeman also said he’d love to come if he could – but it would depend on how things worked out.
We needed percussion and so had no hesitation in asking Eddie C. We’ve worked with Eddie several times and he’s such a great personality – both on and off stage.
For keyboards we were of course hoping that Rick would join us, but when we found that he couldn’t Chris asked Mike Roelofs.
We met Mike in Barcelona last year. We had a double bill with Iain Matthews and Mike was playing keyboards for Iain. He was obviously very talented and my only reservation at that time was that he might be a little bit too jazz orientated for our style of music.
I needn’t have worried…what an amazingly versatile young man, passionate about his music and equally passionate about getting the right sound – preferably by having the right instrument – not a digital imitation.
Another big problem was what to play. How could we represent 40 years of music? Should we even try?
’Lord of the Ages’ was an absolute must, so could we do ‘Paradise Row’? Or ‘Fields of Eden’? We were aware that all three were long pieces, should we do two of them and leave one out? In the end we put all three on the short list.
The evening had to have a theme and it seemed that the obvious choice would probably be the best one… ‘Seasons’. Start with Spring and move around to winter with pictures, lighting and the right songs it would work… wouldn’t it?
By this time I had all sorts of pictures in my head as to how the finished production would be – but no clue how to achieve it… Enter Simône Le Roy.
On the 2nd of October 2008 we played De Meerpaal, Dronten, and there we met Simône the stage director. She has her own production company and, having seen her portfolio, we realised that she would be the right person for the job. We discussed the idea and agreed to meet up soon.
If it was going to be a proper production then we could leave all three of the long numbers in … great!
‘Seasons’ has a number of poems in it, ‘Fields of Eden’ had spoken parts and of course ‘Lord of the Ages’ required the royal treatment. Who was going to do it?
Andrew Jackson is a very busy man, he’s a GP, a dermatologist and he has his own theatre group Penny Plain (www.pennyplaintheatre.co.uk)… Could he spare the time to be with us? We were so pleased when he said yes – it meant that everyone would now see the face behind the voice that we had recorded for Fields of Eden… And it would not be a recording but a live performance.
The Autumn tour finished and we went off to celebrate Christmas – Matt celebrated in South Africa and made us all jealous! In the New Year, I spent January bringing accounts up to date and running off albums of the new songs on the Autumn tour for the friends. I also decided it was time to sell the cottage so I had it valued and sold it almost immediately. That felt very strange.
I knew it would be impossible to move out before the concert so we agreed on the 19th of May as the completion date… talk about cutting it fine!!
February – time to start getting everything set up and in motion so I went over to Holland, on my own this time, to meet up with Matt and Simône and work out how the show would be put together. It was a great meeting – we made a rough stage plan and worked through every song deciding on lighting, mood, props etc.
At that point I still had the idea that we could have a live choir on Lord of the Ages. We decided that the choir could perhaps hold candles to enhance the atmosphere on stage… it was this idea that later made me realise that we didn’t actually have to have a live choir – people holding candles didn’t have to sing.
That first meeting was about 7-8 hours and we went for a curry afterwards to celebrate that we now had the bare bones of the evening put together.
’Lord of the Ages’ was still sticking… I couldn’t find a choir and, as I don’t read music, I had no idea how I was going to ‘score’ the music that was in my head.
I had to put all that to one side for a while as I was of course selling the house – questions were being asked by the solicitor and I had the added problem of having to ask permission for some work that we had already done (oops). All this was rather time consuming – the paperwork for listed building consent is complicated and has to be completed in triplicate … it’s a nightmare that I never want to have to go through again!
There was also a question of where I was going to live – I had not yet found a narrow boat that was suitable and so on the 19th of Feb I went with a friend, who knows a lot about narrow boats, to the NEC where there was a boat and camping exhibition. If I had any doubts before, they all went out of the window as I talked to lovely people and walked through a lot of very stylish and comfortable boats.
It’s all about contacts – another friend had put me onto two places in Northwich one had lots of boats for sale – the other was a ‘new boat’ fitter. Northwich is close to some very good friends that we met in the middle east, so I called and asked if they could put up with me for a couple of days. The following Tuesday we went together and walked through a lot more boats before I realised I wasn’t going to get what I needed from a second hand boat, so by 4pm we had moved onto the 2nd place and I found myself putting in an order for a new boat.
Back at home Darrell was putting new joists in the bathroom (I had promised the new people we would do the structural stuff). It was great to see him again – he’s so busy that we see very little of him these days. Chris had turned up to give him a hand and we were very happy when he said that he would love to do The Carré with us. That was such a lovely surprise.
That same day a friend turned up from Holland to stay with me for a week – what a delightful mess to present anyone with – a house full of dust.
March arrived – my goodness – now The Carré was starting to feel a bit close. We had arranged a few dates in March so that we could fit in as much publicity as we could get. We set off on the 19th and did as much as we could between gigs, leaving again on the 31st. The next day we went to the solicitor and signed the papers for the house sale. How did April arrive so fast?
By this time I had realised that we were not going to use a live choir and, to be honest, I was starting to appreciate that a backing track would be a better idea – less to go wrong (famous last words).
I had contacted Vic Emerson; ex Sad Café and the producer of our ‘Seasons in the Tide’ album. He is now doing a lot of classical arrangements and I liked him very much so I thought he would be the best person to help me to put this thing together.
We did Wavendon on the 3rd of April and then I went back to Holland for a special party after which I booked to go to Paris to see Vic. He met me at the station (I’m glad he did or I would probably still be lost somewhere in Paris!) and we went back to his place to spent three days – working through ‘till the early hours. On the last day we didn’t get any sleep at all as I had to have the finished article to go home with.
It’s a long time since I have been that tired – it was hard to keep my eyes open on the way home – but I had my arrangement and that felt so good. I have to be honest and say that it was Vic’s arrangement – following the feel that I had wanted – so everyone was happy. My only regret was that I had been in Paris for 3 days and the closest I got to sightseeing was having fresh croissant for breakfast.
Now we had to record a choir; easier said than done.
It was the 11th of April, one month to go, we had done all we could as regards publicity and mail outs, now Walter was helping me to put together a brochure. I had booked all the flights and accommodation and was busy trying to get a photo and a quote from everyone… that was quite a marathon.
We had talked about a programme and decided that, as it was only one concert, we should make something that would be a free memento and that, if we made it like a CD booklet, people would be able to keep it with their CD collection. Walter was fantastic; we worked on it together but the glory is all his – what a beautiful result. I hope everyone noticed the intricacies of the design and the way everything blended, I was particularly impressed with the treatment of the photograph on the back… So clever!
By this time Simône had got most of the quotes for the lights, stairs and sound system and had almost finished the stage directions and lighting plan for the whole night. We were in touch on a regular basis checking that we hadn’t forgotten anything etc.
On the 17th Chris and I were on our way back to Holland for a radio/TV show, we almost didn’t make it on time. Matt was with us and we had been told that they particularly wanted him there to talk to but they never even asked him one question.
Chris and I were asked what it was like living and working together (I almost said I couldn’t remember, but thought better of it) … we did a couple of songs and then headed back to the UK.
By the 22nd the design for the brochure was finished and I was able to put in the order. 150 emails had passed between Walter and I and I guess another 100 or so had passed between me and everyone in it … not bad going.
Now the heat was really on. Rick Wakeman and Davey had both let us know that they could not be there – but both said they would let us have a film so that they could congratulate us on stage… but nothing had arrived yet.
On the 26th Andrew came for a rehearsal of ‘Lord of the Ages’ – he had to work to the backing track that I had made with Vic and that’s not easy as the band can’t go on a little longer if you haven’t finished speaking in time. He soon got the hang of it though and I recorded one run through for him to take with him.
I had been to Terry Logan to get some pictures for the backdrops, Chris had managed to find the mining photographs that he wanted and we were all ready to go. The films finally arrived on the 27th… on the 28th we were able to get to a firm in Harrogate to put the presentation together.
I wanted to do something for all the band members so I ordered up little medals for everyone as a keepsake. I particularly wanted to thank Simône so I ordered a beautiful wood carved statue from NOVICA.com. If you’re looking for something unusual as a gift – this is a great web site … it has connections with National Geographic and it brings art together from the remotest corners of the world.
The presentation was ‘ready’ on the 1st of May – but I couldn’t open it on my computer – the Dutch firm couldn’t open it either. We went back to Harrogate and the problem was ‘put right’ … but I still couldn’t open it – and neither could the Dutch firm that would be showing it on stage… this was getting a bit frightening.
Suddenly it was the 1st of May. I put on the dress that I had decided to wear for the gig – and decided I didn’t like it … time to go shopping!! I had booked to have some colour put in my hair for fun – so I set off early and started to look around the shops for a new outfit. I couldn’t find anything. After I’d been to the hairdresser I continued trailing round and in the end got fed up so I went to see my friend Joan who owns a clothes shop – she sells all sorts of ethnic clothes and a good selection of classics and new styles. I’d hardly got through the door when I saw exactly what I was looking for (www.ethnic-warehouse.com) I tried the skirt on and it was a perfect fit. I bought it and went home to work out what I would wear with it.
I know it was cutting it fine but the 2nd of May was choir day – off we went to a church near Burnley to get the recording done. Everything was set up ready to go and Brian (the engineer) had a good laugh at me as I tried to conduct everyone. We didn’t have a lot of time but we got a result and arrange to meet on the 5th to mix it.
The next couple of days were spent checking everything through – booking meals for everyone at The Carré – making sure we had enough transport and that everything and everyone was catered for, finding out what people did and didn’t like to eat, arranging a presentation of a bottle of champagne from Chris’ kids… you name it!
On the 5th we went back to Harrogate in the morning – the presentation still wasn’t playing on my computer so we went and checked it on the computer in the warehouse and took away disks – that did play on my computer … Phew.
Then to Barnsley to mix the choir. This proved to be a bit difficult as there seemed to be a little mistake in every section. We got the best possible version and then I spent the evening mixing different versions with some of Vic’s guide in there. I hoped that once everyone was singing on stage it would hide the mistakes and sound good. I think it worked.
The 6th of May… Time was running away fast. I went to Skipton to do the shopping for everyone (12 of us staying in self-catering cabins) – then I made the meal for the first night … a chicken and mushroom ‘thing’ for with pasta. Got a message from Holland that they still could not open the presentation … so we were going to have to go to Amsterdam as soon as we arrived – hell’s teeth – this thing had to work.
The 7th of May – time to go. Chris went back to Harrogate to pick up yet another set of disks and then came to Hebden. There was so much stuff to get into the vehicle that I had someone on standby to take me to Hull if we couldn’t get it all in!!
I took Harvey for his last ever walk in Hebden and then took him to a friend who would look after him until Chris picked him up the following Thursday. It was strange knowing that he would never come back to the cottage – but I didn’t want him to see it all being packed away and dismantled so Chris will have him now until I get my boat.
Darrell arrived, we did the packing job of the century and I was just able to squeeze into the back seat… off we went to get the ferry. It was a pleasant evening, dinner a few drinks and then a good night’s’ sleep.
The 8th of May… Arrived in Europort nice and early but it was a slow exit so we didn’t get to Soest until 11:30. We threw everything into the two cabins and then Darrell and I shot off to Amsterdam to sort out the presentation. I took in the disks and we tested them … it worked … Thank goodness for that!!
Back at the cabin Mike had already arrived and set up so it was straight into rehearsal mode. It was such a joy to work with Mike – he had gone through everything and made a lovely job of it all. We went through every song and at around 7pm Mike left us. Darrell went off to pick up Tom, Lee and Lee’s wife Shirley. It all took longer than expected so when George and his lady Jennie got to the airport it was quicker for them to get a train to Amersfoort. Eventually everyone was in – Matt arrived and we had the chicken pasta creation and sat up chatting far longer than we should have done.
The 9th of May… Darrell and I went out to get a bit of shopping for the evening meal (curry tonight) and got back to find that Mike was already there – the rehearsal went really well apart from ‘Wish it Was’ – we had been playing that wrong – with one ‘wish it was’ less than on the recording. We rehearsed it and got it right but I had the feeling that it wasn’t sticking. Everyone was in great spirits – it was sounding good. We all stayed up far too late – again!
The 10th of May …. We were all wondering what time Doug would turn up when he walked through the door at around 9:30. He had finished a gig in Germany the night before – and then driven all night to get to us. He was obviously shattered so we made him go straight to bed for a while.
Mike couldn’t rehearse today but Eddie C was joining us for the first time so we moved out of the house into the cantina. Chris went off to get some books so we started without him. He had just nicely got back when Simône came in to go through the ins and outs of the show. By then Andrew had arrived, and JP (sound), so we were rehearsing with the ‘Lord of the Ages’ backing track to get everyone familiar with it.
In the end we just ran out of time. Eddie had to go and we had to pack up ready for the next day… THE DAY… I wasn’t feeling quite so confident now.
Wacky came in this evening and picked up the hire car that was to help to get us to and from The Carré. Wacky has a long history of sound mixing with Magna Carta – his last jaunt was in the middle east with us but he offered to come and help out so I gratefully accepted as we did need another vehicle and driver.
So with Doug and Wacky to catch up with it was yet another late night.
THE 11th of MAY… it had arrived.
Matt was up and showered first – then he brought me a cup of tea at 7:30. We had a bit of breakfast and then loaded up the gear and left for The Carré. By the time we got there it was all happening, the lights were going in, the stairs were already in and being put together, it was completely mad!! Simône was there in the thick of it and seemed to be having a ball.
We unloaded the gear and Matt and I stayed behind while Big D (Darrell) went back to get the band. Matt went off to park the car in some distant corner of Amsterdam because we couldn’t park at The Carré.
We were still waiting for the merchandise to turn up so I was busy trying to trace that via the internet, eventually it arrived so I was able to go and sort out the dressing rooms for everyone. Big D came back with the rest of the guys as Matt’s dad Henny arrived. By this time there was some space at the back of the theatre so we decided to try and park there … of course it had to be on a chip so we Darrell and Henny spent ages sorting that one out – but eventually it was done (thank you guys).
I forgot to mention Henny because he did his rehearsing alone. We asked him some time ago if he would ‘pipe in’ the 2nd half of the show. He was happy to say yes – but then went and had a nasty fall and badly hurt his shoulder – even chipped a bit of bone – so it was in doubt whether he would actually make it or not. I was great to see that big smiling face and know that he would be sporting his kilt and we would have the bagpipes after all.
It seemed like forever – but eventually we were able to set up on stage and sound check – we did it two at a time to save the usual confusion of everything happening at once. Then we started the run thro’ but once again we ran out of time before having gone through all that we wanted to – so at this point there were still songs that we had not rehearsed at all except with Mike. At 5:30 prompt it was dinner time and I was glad to go and have something to eat as Matt and I had missed lunch with all that needed doing. It was a lovely dinner and after it we were just able to go back and do the Lord rehearsal one more time.
Leaving the stage I spotted that the brochures were still sitting there – Poor Big D – I practically threw them at him and asked him to sort it out so that they got handed out. Yes that was my fault – I just thought that they had gone out with the CDs – but these things happen – I just hope that whoever wanted one got one. If you didn’t I understand that Walter has a copy on his website.
I got to the dressing room with 15 minutes to get ready before going on. I had been singing ‘Spring Song’ all day – but now it seemed to have fallen out of my left ear or something. I put my skirt on to find that I seemed to have lost a bit of weight around my waist – now it didn’t fit snug but sagged a bit and made it look as if my belly was sticking out …. Ah well – no time to worry about it – they called the two minute warning and I was at the side of the stage ready to go.
I watched Andrew deliver his poem and I could see the audience through the curtain that was in front of the steps … I heard Mike play the notes and started to hum …. This was it.
For a fleeting moment I almost lost it – the notes stuck in my throat and threatened to stay there – but the moment passed and I kept on singing.
What I couldn’t tell was whether or not the curtain had gone so when the song had finished and I walked forward I wondered if I was going to walk into it and make everyone laugh …. Luckily it wasn’t there anymore so all was well.
After that it all went past in a blur. I remember that ‘Wish it Was’ was a bit shaky. Doug was great but I messed up the harmonies on Wind on the Water – it’s really hard when a song you know well is suddenly in a different key – sorry Doug.
Rick Wakeman had done a lovely film for us – I’m sure everyone will have enjoyed that.
George sounded good and seemed to more than enjoy ‘Cajun Cannonball’ – he’s enthusiastic that boy.
’Fields of Eden’ seemed to go well and Andrew was amazing on that.
The first half was over – we had only been on for 10 minutes – at the most!!
There was just time to arrange for some water on stage – have a quick drink and then we were back on again….. It was great to hear Henny start up and walk from the audience to the stage – what a star!
‘Greenhow Hill’, with Big D and George dressed as miners – that was fun – and did you like the photos – what a time that must have been.
Chris had forgotten what happened next, he couldn’t read his set list and so he asked me “What’s next?” I was already holding my guitar ready to hand over to Tom and thought he might pick up on the clue, but I whispered ‘”Tom” … “What ?” said Chris “TOM” said I ….. “Ah” said Chris …. Do you think it spoilt the surprise a little??
Tom was great – he’s a very funny man and was really enjoying being on that stage… I’m sure you could all see that…. Chris didn’t get anything past him that’s for sure.
I didn’t hear the Dylan song as I had to run back to the dressing room to sort out the things that were being presented but I thought ‘Took a Long Time’ was good – especially with the extra verse.
’Paradise Row’ – now that was great. Everyone blew a storm on the bit at the end and Eddie was absolutely fantastic!!! – that wasn’t rehearsed at all and he just went for it.
Davey’s film was lovely, very down-home, just like the man. The kids playing the percussion were his – that was nice too. He really did want to be with us but sadly it was not meant to be.
’Time for the Leaving’… the end seemed to be coming too fast.
’Shine’… Matt and I had decided that his Grandfather and my father would be there – laughing because they got in free. That was something that we very much shared as they passed away with a short time of each other… it was a hard time.
’Only Road Home’… my Mum was probably there too.
‘Lord of the Ages’ We had rehearsed this so many times and I knew it inside out but, if you want to know who messed it up, I have to confess it was me.
The sad thing was that there was no way to put it right. I realised straight away what I had done and stopped singing – but George was in full flight by then and carried on. I couldn’t do the talking myself and bring it back into line by missing a bit out because if I had started Andrew would have picked it up and then finished at the wrong time. I had arranged with JP that if it went wrong I would put my hands up and he was to fade out the track so that we could carry on live – but he didn’t see me – or had forgotten what we said … who knows? So that was it, and a whole verse went missing!!
Such is life.
After that I really messed up as we all took bows and I was bossing everyone around … that wasn’t supposed to happen … Well it was supposed to happen – but not then!
All musicians on stage
Wim had very kindly agreed to present Chris with his bottle of champagne from the kids and then the presentation from the fans – but he was expecting to do it after the next song … And suddenly this madwoman is dragging him onto the stage…
He took it all in good part and didn’t seem to mind too much… sorry Wim.
Then everything calmed down and Chris did ‘Mixed up Sensations’…. It was going to be ‘Two Old Friends’ but we decided to change it as ‘Mixed up Sensations’ had just had a fantastic review in MOJO and because it’s Walter’s favourite song… it’s our band and we can do what we want!!
’Airport Song’ one last time and it was all over. Strange feeling.
All that preparation for one night – but it was worth it.
Audience shot from stage right by Linda at Carre concert
Audience shot from stage left by Linda at Carre concert
Everyone rose to the occasion and made it a night to remember. Simône made it into the show that it was meant to be, everything ran like clockwork and she didn’t get stressed out when it wasn’t quite going to plan.
It has been said that working with musicians is like ‘herding cats’ and I did feel that working with theatre people would be a lot different and that maybe working with the band would have the poor woman freaked out – but she was a true pro’ – well done Simône.
As soon as the show was over we had to clear our personal stuff off the stage – guitars had to be put away and tucked around the back. Normally Big D would have done that for us but he had agreed to go up to the bar and make sure that everyone was OK there.
The stage felt strangely empty.
The bar upstairs was extremely full!!
How nice to see all the friends there – thank you everyone for coming to help us celebrate. It was great to have a chat with so many of you – I’m just sorry that there wasn’t time to talk to everyone – I’m sorry if I missed you – it was simply mayhem.
When everyone had gone, Matt, Big D and I put all the equipment in one of the dressing rooms. Wacky had already gone back with the first lot of people, Darrell took the others and that left Matt, Simône and me. We gathered up the last few bits and pieces, said goodbye to those who were left and then we took Simône to the hotel before heading back to Soest.
When we got back everyone was around the table having a drink – I simply had to do it – I drank too much gin and tonic and stayed up ‘till dawn… The only way to finish a night like that.
The following day Big D, Matt and I made the last trip to get the equipment, we had a coffee and a chat with Wim and a few others. Everyone agreed it had been quite an event. Matt had to leave us that afternoon. It was sad to say goodbye; but it’s not for long.
That same evening we joined up with the De Jong family and had a Chinese meal and a sing-song in the cantina – a nice relaxing finish to a manic few days.
Just for the record – I did manage to pack the house up and move out on time – and I’m now in Grassington staying with Andrew (Jackson) and his wife Angela; ready start the next chapter. See you somewhere – I’m sure of it.
Love and Hugs
Matt Barnhoorn at The Carré on May 11, 2009
What an ending that was in Carré! All those who were there will probably agree. It took all of us, Simône Le Roy (the artistic director) included, a monstrous amount of time and energy to put it all together. But I think the result paid off.
I must admit that I really enjoyed the time we’ve had together as a crew, being Chris, Linda, Lee, Tom, George, Doug, Darrell, Mark ‘Wackford’, Shirley, Jennie and myself.
The rehearsals were mostly to the point and making sense. After rehearsals we sat around the dining table for hours. It was great! The stories got funnier and funnier as time passed, we played songs to each other and all in all had a great time.
The day itself was a long one as you might have gathered from Linda’s write up.
After tuning up for the last time and going up into the dressing room to get changed, the nice buzzing feeling in my stomach started. You could feel that everybody was working his- or herself up to the show.
The first set seemed to last 5 minutes for me, It was gone in no-time, probably because I was concentrating so hard and forgot to enjoy it myself as well.
The second set got opened by my dad, something I was very proud of! I thought he did a great job playing his bagpipes, so did a lot of people I spoke to afterwards. My dad played the Carré with me!
From then on I gave myself more chance to also enjoy the show. The version of Paradise Row is definitely one of my favourite ones. I thought the addition of Mike Roelofs on piano / Fender Rhodes and Eddie C on percussion couldn’t have worked out nicer! They really know their stuff and are great guys to be around with too!
Then the final note died away and the Carré-audience got on their feet… We put our instruments away and went through to the foyer were we met so many people! Every now and then I saw glimpses of my fellow musicians. There were people from all over the world: Germany, Belgium, England, Portugal, Switzerland and of course South Africa – to name a few. Then (nearly) all the Friends! It was great to see them all, yet a pity there was so little time to spend together.
I think Linda, Simône and I left Carré at about two o’clock. We dropped Simône off at her hotel and headed for an after party at the Eekhoornnest in Soest. We partied into the early hours…
Now we’ve also done our final ‘final’ concert at the Canterbury Folk Festival, Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada. Again it was a lovely festival and, in my humble opinion, we couldn’t have wished for a nicer ‘last’ gig.
Strange feeling that, the last gig. It makes me think back to one of the nights after a rehearsal when Tom (Hoy) said: “… it’s funny when you think of the way Magna Carta has influenced the lives of everybody around this table. It’s quite something”.
It IS quite something! For Chris it has been his lifework, Linda has spent half a lifetime on MC, the way band members got to places, met people, perhaps even their life partners (me for one). That’s just looking at the personnel.
Think of you and what role Magna Carta has been in your life. Or those other millions of people who came to see or listened to Magna Carta over the years and the way it has influenced their lives.
Hopefully one day we can read about a fraction of the adventures of MC.
Speaking for myself it has definitely changed my life around: travelling the world by making music, seeing fantastic places, playing with fantastic talent, meeting thousands of people – one of which my fiancé, building up friendships all over the world.
And now, who knows where it all goes…
I truly hope you’ve enjoyed your share of Magna Carta and liked the way you’ve been part of it! Thanks for all your support, friendship and love!
Until we will meet again!