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Current page: Concert Diary 2007

Current page: Concert Diary 2007

Concert Diary 2007

The Cavern, Liverpool - 19 August

Linda Simpson writes - I just want you to know that the day went off like a dream and we had a wonderful time.

Thank you to all those who gave gifts and to those who donated towards Chris' new camera. He didn't get to open it himself as Piers de Jong used it to shoot the first video - a record of a great day... we'll get some of it on the web as soon as we can - watch this space.

I would also like to give special thanks to Spencer Leigh for coming up with the idea and providing the excuse for getting Chris to Liverpool; to Ray Johnson who was a total star in helping me to organise it all, and who kept me calm when I was getting in a panic; to Cuddles for getting us there and being and a great minder for Chris; and finally, to Lee Abbott, Iain Stewart, and Matt Barnhoorn for joining us on stage.

I couldn't have done it without you.

Performing at the Cavern - photograph: Hans Veen

Chris Simpson writes - They say that all comes to he who waits, and somehow thanks to Linda, a little piece of history fell into place on Sunday 19th August 2007.

This is my sixty fifth year on the planet. Quite how I have survived this long I'll never know but in between writing songs and annoying people I have travelled the globe and walked out onto more stages than I can remember. In 1963 from the most unlikely place in the world,- a dank sweating cellar under Mathews Street in Liverpool, came a phenomenon that was to shake and change our world. Nobody expected it, least of all from a grimy seaport in the North West. Such things where only supposed to happen in London. I first heard "Love me do" by the Beatles in a nurse's bedsitter in London's Camberwell Green on a bitter, foggy winter's night. There was something ear catching about it but apart from that, I thought the name odd and figured that they were a one hit wonder. I was wrong of course and two years later an American Capitol Records executive was to point out, 'we do not think the Beatles pop group is a viable entity for America' wrong again. London 1963 and it was euphoric to watch them take over first the capital and then the world. I finished University and figured I would follow where the guitar would lead, but it was a line on the 'With the Beatles' LP that caught my eye, Apparently they wrote their own songs, so like so many I figured if they could, then so could I......

And here I stand now at yet another crossroads with sixty one countries and twenty nine albums behind me. I owe it to the fab four for without them who knows where the road might have gone. I love rock n' roll and before discovering my metier as being the acoustic guitar played cellars, dives and joints all over London. But I never played the Cavern. That almost mythical rock n' roll Valhalla in Liverpool.

Fast forward now to three weeks ago. Spencer Leigh, the author and BBC radio Merseyside producer had Linda and I over for a session a few years back. We kept in touch and he kindly wrote the forward to the 'Complete Works of Magna Carta.' I was pleased to hear from him again and he wanted a session in the new BBC studio. Fine. Matt was going to be here so it was booked for August 19th. I suspected nothing. Nothing at all. Our buddy and occasional roadie, Darrell Waring picked up Linda, Matt and I at 7.45. I dozed in the back of the van. With just one coffee stop I sensed we had arrived in the city. The back door opened and I blinked into the light. What? A sign read 'Cavern Club'. "Funny, I thought, BBC? Here?" Lee Abbott the Magna bass player went past along with Stewy, mouthharp. What where they doing here? Suddenly it dawned on me that there was something going on.

Stunned, Darrell lead me down the steps into the Cavern. All our gear was being set up. He took me off for half an hour and I came back to do a sound check, just numb and not feeling as if I could handle it at all. Sound check in that hallowed place then upstairs to blink in the light and wonder - 'what's next'? A big white coach with DAVID URQUHART on the side over the road. Funny, no one was on it- or so I thought. Darrell took me over and I climbed on board to find it packed with neighbours and friends, some from far points across the world. Champagne and then off on the Beatles tour. Ray, who later did our sound, gave a vital and highly enjoyable and informative commentary. I sat there in disbelief. Penny Lane; Strawberry Fields; Mendips; Woolton church hall where the Quarrymen were watched that fateful day by a young Paul McCartney, and then finally back to the Cavern where we played a set that apparently everyone loved. I did say I did not deserve it. I'll still stick with that in the light of recent events, but I of all people, and for everyone connected in any way to that auspicious day, we owe it all to Linda. After the last noted died away Spencer led the crowd upstairs where I was presented with a brick holding the legend 'Magna Carta' for incorporation into The Cavern Wall of fame. It is full of the names of all the greats who have played there. Jonathon King's is coming out and ours goes in!

A brick in the wall... - photograph: Harry Pater

Linda organised all of it. Every last detail. She is quick to point out, however that there was a lot of help from Spencer Leigh. It all saw a year of planning. At times her heart was in her mouth as people were hidden and arrangements made almost in the dead of night. I was blissfully unaware tho' until the back door of the Transit opened that Sunday morning. I had a couple of hours in the pub after the ceremony and then home to a party in the cottage in Hebden. There is still a part of me wonders how I ever got through it but to see all the faces, so many of them so familiar was quite something. I want to thank one and all, known and unknown who was there that day. Thank you for your caring and your kindness and gifts too. But the heartfelt thanks of myself and everyone goes to Linda for one thoughtful, caring and magnificent effort. It will never be forgotten. 'Thank you' simply does not touch it at all. It was a very humbling experience. I hope the music goes on for that is why we were all there, and as I stood on the cavern stage that day my mind flew back to '63 and the four lads who shook the world and to Linda for building the bridge from then to now. Time and tide will be forever but as someone said in the Desiderata, 'we are as perennial as the grass....' Linda should be remembered forever for that day. I would just like to be remembered for my songs for in the very nature of things they will still be there long after I have gone and my bit of the stage is empty. Thank you all for your love, your caring and well, for being just you.

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