Newcastle/Sheffield – The weekend that kept on giving! :)
Well we have all just about recovered from a great weekend of gigs, we met so many great new friends and my word were they loud! Events did seem to try and ruin our weekend though and I will give you more of an insight….
Saturday started with me, Graham my stage manager and Nathan our merch guy and roadie leaving Liverpool in the van loaded up with all the gear at 9am. We actually had a really easy trip up the M6 and across the A69 and into Newcastle. When we got to the venue aparently parking is a nightmare, but James Bay was on there Sunday and the council had coned off parking areas next to the venue for this a day early so… BONUS!!!
We got into the O2 and it was a stunning looking venue, a huge stage and a great sized room with top facilities and really helpful crew there which always make it easier.
Now I’d naturally booked a hotel for the guys and figured as we were in Sheffield the next day and Newcastle playing Chelsea, that rooms might be thin on the ground so I’d booked us into a B&B an hour South near Hartlepool via Booking.com with three months notice. I’ve been getting all the updates from their website and all the obligatory offers for other deals, and with a week to go I called the hotel to confirm the booking and the fact we would be arriving early hours. The telephone number diverted me to the agency that manages the hotel and she assured me that on the day I would be sent an SMS Text message with the access code to get into the building. Well after setting up and being so busy, I was literally putting my ‘Rael’ costume and makeup on 20 minutes before show and realised I’d been sent nothing! I rang Booking.com and after 15 minutes waiting explained that we’d had nothing and the hotel number was going to answerphone! They assured me that they would get hold of them and worst case they would find us alternate accomodation.
So we went on, did the gig and had a fantastic time! The Newcastle audience were up for it from the word GO and we left the stage on a total high! Then, I checked my phone and still….NOTHING! I again called the hotel and got answerphone and waited the usual 15 minutes to speak to Booking.coms advisor who told me she has tried the whole of the North East and everywhere was booked so ‘Can you try and find somewhere?’ , yes that’s right, a company that finds and supplies Hotel Accomodation asking ME to find a hotel that THEY can’t find!
So we’re stuck in the dressing room at 11.30pm Googling to our best ability and calling all the usual websites and companies and in the end after an hour I suggested we just drive towards Sheffield and see if there’s accomodation at a Services on the way. It was the same story there sadly and after two hours of driving round we had to make the decision at 1.30am to drive home to Liverpool and Manchester. We were all exhausted but in good spirits and made our way down the A1 to find it closed at Scotch Corner which forced us across the A66 up and down and round country lanes at 2-3am in the morning (albeit under a beautiful bright moon lol) and to the M6 at Carlisle. We got home at 4.30am and collapsed!
Sunday we had to set off for Sheffield O2 at 11am, and we barely woke up in time but got back in our trusty van and headed across the M62 which seemed pointlessly slowed down for most of the way for an endless line of traffic cones and no workers! Upon getting to Sheffield it just got better! There was a Fun Run in the City and the whole City Centre was closed (with the venue bang in the middle) After driving round for another hour we managed to get within sight of the venue but weren’t allowed to drive to it for at least another 40 minutes taking us close to 3pm now.
Sheffield O2 is another stunning venue, but the architects didn’t think it through for touring bands as we could only get around 100 yards from the venue due to bollards, and then had to wheel all our equipment up a 30 degree ramp to get it in. You just HAVE to laugh in these circumstances.
Anyway, we got in and again the staff were great and the venue looked fantastic, although the presales were quite low we opted to keep it in the big room as we want our show and production to be seen this way and the Genesis fans that did turn up again gave us a fantastic night!
All in all, it was one of those weekends where you could cry and scream at the time, but in hindsight is bloody hilarious! We all survived and are looking forward to seeing you all at our next show in Cannock Prince of Wales theatre.