Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Well we've had an amazing time since I last wrote anything here!

As previously mentioned Orynthia and I were working as part of the production team at big Oxfam / Tsunami benefit gig last weekend. Initially we thought that we were going to be working from Thursday onwards but a late change of plan meant that we weren't actually needed on site until the Friday morning. So at 9am on Friday the adventure began.

We just helped out in anyway that we could, a lot of our time on Friday was spent ensuring that everyone had enough to eat and drink, whilst the crew were setting up the stage and Massive Attack and Portishead went through initial sound checks. It was really quite odd to be hearing the bands going their stuff with only a handful of people around, on a couple of occasions I found it really difficult to stop myself from clapping! When the bands weren't in the main room everyone came into the impromptu dining area which we had set up, the atmosphere was really relaxed, everyone was chatty and friendly - no over pampered rock stars here.

Then at around Pam we had to dismantle everything as a different event was taking place at the venue that night. After a couple of quick drinks with John and Jane, we were back at home slumped in front of the TV beforeheading off to bed at around 11:30.

On Saturday we left the house at around 9am, to buy some additional nibbles for the day, before people assembled for a large group breakfast. Friday had been busy but Saturday was very busy indeed! As the day wore on more and artists arrived - Patrick and Alex, Fuzz against Junk, The Coral and surprise guest Damon Albarn from Blur. Also vast amounts of snacks and drinks had to be moved around for the dressing room area's later in the evening. By around 4 pm things were really hectic but everyone was still friendly yet focused. Eventually the dressing rooms and storage area's were stacked, all the bands had arrived and everything was falling into place.

It was time for the last servings of food before packing away all the catering stuff for the evening. I then had to give Damon Albarn and three of his friends a lift to a local hotel, in our VERY small car, which proved to be quite entertaining! By the time I got back the Oxfam people had started to arrive, a large group of them were trying to get audience members to donate more money and to get involved in the "end poverty" campaign. It was nice to catch up with a few old friends from Oxfam in the last few minutes before the doors opened and the public came flooding in.

The gig went like a dream, all the bands were brilliant, it was fantastic to be able to hear Liz Frazer and Beth Gibbons wonderful voices ringing out loud and clear on the same evening. What a treat! The audience reaction was fantastic, especially when they did the massed backing vocals for Damons solo version of "Tender". I was still doing a bit of dashing around to make sure that the performers had everything they needed, Including nipping out at around 10pm to buy some milk for Robert Plant and Ciggies for The Coral! Orynthia went one better on Sunday when she bought a kettle for Robert Plant, for use on his forthcoming tour. So if you go to see him, look out for his kettle on stage and think of Orynthia.

We were far to tired to hang around for the after show party, so it off home and into bed at around 2am. It had been a long but glorious day.

On Sunday we all gathered again at around 2:30 pm. Despite some serious hangovers, the mood was one of joy following the undoubted success of the previous evening. That time and atmosphere was one of my happiest memories from a weekend which was overflowing with them. After yet more sound checking the tempo slowed somewhat, everything was in place, for the second evening of entertainment. Orynthia went out on her shopping mission for Mr Plant whilst I listened to lots of men getting very excited about effects pedals!

Once all the food and tables had been cleared away and the dressing rooms prepared, we then said our goodbye to head off to see The Go! Team at The Fleece. Luckily we managed to find somewhere to sit down and rest our weary legs. 1st band up - Attack and Defend were amusing in an ironic art school sort of way. Next up were The Pipettes who provided retro kitsch of the highest order before we suffered a brief and hideous interlude from a crazed MC type. Then finally along came The Go! Team for their 35 minutes of punchy and energetic fun.

Then it was a quick journey across town just in time for the Massive Attack/ Portishead finale, which was suitably awesome.

The only disappointment of the weekend was that our good friend and founder member of Fuzz Against Junk Steve Dew missed out on this amazing event, due to previous commitments. It would have great to have seen him up their on stage in front of that packed crowd. I'm sure his time will come.

You can watch it all at Crisis in Asia

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