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Current page: Concert Diary 2006

Current page: Concert Diary 2006

Concert Diary 2006

De Boerderij, Geleen - 28th April

Linda Simpson writes - I was wondering just how honest I should be about this concert but the whole idea of this diary is for you to find out what it's like from our side, so I'm going to tell it like it is

I must point out at this stage that the promoter hired the venue and is not involved with the running of it. No blame is attached to the venue; the people that worked there were really good to us.

Our press officer, Harry, contacted the promoter and asked whether any assistance was needed for advertising and/or promotion. He was advised that it was going to be a private concert so there was no need for his services.

Two weeks before the concert that all changed and we were contacted, via e-mail, and told that there had been no advertising and something had to be done or there would be no audience. Harry, quite rightly told him that he had no one to blame but himself.

The nightmare begins. Anyone with any sense knows that advertising should start at least 6 to 4 weeks prior to an event. From a cold start it took a few days to find the right contacts and so everything was pushed up to the last minute. Chris spoke to a lovely man at the Limburger newspaper who said he could write an article but it could not go in until the Thursday, one day before the concert. Chris also spoke to the regional radio and managed to get some help there with airplay and advertising - that went on for about 5 days prior to the concert.

The promoter was advised of the progress. There was nothing more we could do - it was in the lap of the Gods.

We were lucky to get anything at all at that time and we were very unhappy about the whole situation. It doesn't matter that it's not our fault, it's how it looks to everyone else.

Sunday - five days to go and a new baby. Sunday being a free day we just had to go and visit Jos and Pernilla as they have a very new addition to the family, Daniel, who was just 2 weeks old. He's a little stunner, already has his own web site and we join with the rest of their friends to congratulate them. We know that a lot of 'The Friends of Magna Carta' also know them, so if you would like to see Daniel folks, visit his web site.

Monday - four days to go and Harvey's antics. We phoned Anne in Scotland to see how our dog Harvey is doing. He has enjoyed a good swim in Loch Lomond and seems to be behaving well except for one incident...

Anne takes him out for a walk at 7:30 am every day (that must be a bit of a culture shock given the time we normally get up) and this particular morning she was a little alarmed at the sight of an approaching drunk with his bottle of beer clutched in one hand.

Harvey, who, we have to admit, is a true musician's dog, obviously caught the smell of alcohol and followed the scent - towing a very apprehensive Anne along behind him.

Tail wagging he reached the rather smelly, intoxicated, but affable, individual with the obvious aim of making a new friend.

"He likes me" said the drunk, lurching dangerously.

"He certainly doesn't" said an indignant Anne, trying to wrestle Harvey away.

Harvey came down on the side of the drunk and continued with the tail wagging until he finally realised that he was making himself rather unpopular with the one who was going to feed him his breakfast.

Harvey capitulated, Anne scolded him and continued with the walk. The drunk spiralled away, happy to know that at least he had a canine friend

The Buddhist Monk made by Kaori

Tuesday - three days to go and a lovely present. Walter and Kaori come to the cabin in the woods. Kaori has made a wonderful Buddhist monk for me from clay. It is truly a lovely gift, and she is a very talented lady. See for yourself at her web site.

Walter tells us that his Mum and Dad live in Geleen and they would be pleased to offer us a place to stay after the concert. This is good news as Geleen is a four-hour drive from Soest and that's a long way to drive back in the early hours of the morning.

The promoter is quiet today...

Wednesday - two days to go - a house move, a new album and a bombshell. Further grumblings from Geleen - he hasn't seen anything in the newspaper. Chris tells him again that he left it too late but there will be an article in the paper on Thursday.

We have to go to the far north to pick up some albums so we call in on some other friends on the way. They have moved from Llangedijk to Heiloo after finding an older property with a lovely garden and lots of character. There's a lot of work to do and I have to admit it was nice to see someone else coping with renovations for a change. It is going to be lovely when it's finished.

On and upwards, over the huge dyke where we stopped halfway and had a tosti each - then out into the northern countryside to pick up the albums. We now have copies of the 'Paul Stewart album' - more about that later.

That evening Matt calls us and tells us that he has had a text message from the Geleen promoter - he wants to cancel the gig and he can't afford to pay us. That was all we needed.

It's not about the money - at this stage we are wondering what he is going to tell the people who have booked already, and we will also look pretty stupid ourselves for getting the article in the paper and the airplay.

We try to contact him but he is not answering his 'phone. We send him a text and e-mail telling him that he must get in touch but nothing happens (surprised?).

We decide that we will have to go to the venue, whatever happens, because we need to speak to this guy and we want to make sure that there are no misunderstandings - if you know what I mean?

Thursday - one day to go - a decision is made. It's amazing what a good sleep can do. Last night we were in a state of flux, but once refreshed we decided that, as we were intending to go to Geleen anyway, we might as well do the concert for the people who had already bought tickets - and any extra who might turn up due to the newspaper article.

I sent the promoter an e-mail telling him this and asking him to telephone us. He did. Doing it this way would ensure that no one was disappointed and it should also ensure that expenses are covered.

We asked what time we should be there and whether there would be technicians for the sound and lights. He assured us that that was no problem with anything and we should be there at 6pm. We even had a support act.

We then heard from Walter's parents that there was a nice article in the Limburger newspaper. That lifted our spirits a bit. Chris went off to play guitar for a friend and I worked on the computer, accounts, e-mail and such.

We had a relaxed evening, arranged for Matt to join us late morning the next day for a 2 pm set off

Friday - the day has arrived - it's all part of the job. Matt arrived on time; we loaded up the vehicle and set off down the road to play the gig of the century (not).

We arrived spot on 6pm and the gates swung open to let us in.

The first thing that struck us was that no renovations had taken place, alarm bells that were already ringing now increased in volume... We met the two lovely guys who were to start the evening and proceeded to set out the equipment while we waited for the sound technician to turn up. By 6:45 pm there was still no sign of anyone so we asked the promoter what was happening. He went off to phone them and came back with some story about them having to leave the place where they lived It was all a bit vague but the bottom line was - they're not coming! Rrrrrrrrrring Rrrrrrrrring went the alarm again.

There was nothing for it; we had to set about trying to get a sound out of the equipment that was there. It took us a good 20 minutes just to find how the electrics powered up and it soon became clear that we were not going to be able to use the main amps so we then turned out attention to a rather beat up looking desk to the left of the stage. We managed to get it working through two speakers only and we couldn't find a way of connecting the monitors but at least it was better than nothing.

The audience started to arrive and so we asked poor Matt to try and sort out a place for them to go while we finished getting some sort of a sound together. Luckily I had spare leads and microphones so, in the end, we did manage to get everything sorted out. We did a lightning check, and got out as fast as we could so that the audience could get in.

The promoter made himself scarce, a wise move at that point as we had eaten nothing since breakfast and were not in the best of moods.

The place was not full, but it was not massive and we did get more people than we expected, it didn't look terrible anyway, which was the main thing

Psycho got started and did the first 30 minutes. They were nice guys, both played guitar; one acoustic, the other electric. I'm not quite sure how I would describe what they did - it was instrumental, using delays, reverb and other effects to create what I can only describe as a sound wash with melody. If I had to describe it as a picture it would be impressionist - very interesting.

Then it was our turn. We were determined to pull out all the stops and make it a really good gig, partly for our own satisfaction but also for the poor audience who had been shuffled into a back room to start with and were obviously slightly bewildered by the whole situation. It was a good gig, we enjoyed it hugely and I'm pretty sure we gave a good account of ourselves. We even had comments on how good the sound was. Some of 'The Friends' there and we were glad that we had decided to go ahead - otherwise we would have missed them and we don't get to see them that often because they are so far south.

At the end of the night Chris went looking for the promoter whilst we put the instruments away, gathered our mics and leads together and put everything back in our vehicle.

I do have to tell you that the promoter is not a healthy man, he has apparently had a heart attack and he apologised for the fact that he had made a mess of things. The problem was that by now the line between fact and fiction was a little blurred and although we wouldn't wish anyone to be ill it was not possible to be sympathetic considering what he had put us through. I don't think I need to say anything more about the finances - I'm sure you can make an educated guess on that count.

As we were leaving I spotted some of our posters with company names listed beneath our logo - sponsors? We took a poster with us to check out later.

By the time we got out of the place we were drained and hungry. Unfortunately it was late and even McDonald's was closed, so we set off back to Walter's parents feeling pretty deflated.

But it's not all bad news. Walter's Mum and Dad welcome us with open arms, they have prepared a supper and we are given open-handed hospitality. The conversation covers many subjects and within about thirty minutes we feel almost part of the family. It's a gift to be able to do that and these people have a double helping. We laughed and cried and told stories until all eyes were drooping, then we made our way to bed and slept like babies.

After supper - photograph by Walter Goyen

The following morning was bright and a little bit chilly but we wandered around the garden admiring wonderful statues made by Walter's Mum and enjoyed the simple pleasure of breathing in the freshness of a new day.

Breakfast was delightful but all too soon it was time to make the trip back up Holland for the private concert we were doing that evening.

Thank you to Jan and Cory for looking after us and lifting our spirits again.

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