Waking up after a very restless night due to the fear of a) moving, just in case the bunk fell and b) of falling off the darned thing, voices below me were chattering. Chris and Luke were in the process of snuggling up to each other for a photo – aww bless em – male bonding eh 🙂
Sonia Waterfield – End of tour – Birmingham
I wearily climbed down the metal ladder, slipping in my socks. It felt like it was never ending!
Once on terra firma, the boys gracefully decided that they would be gentlemen and would leave the room whilst I took my shower. How lovely of them, but then again, me in the shower first thing in the morning ain’t a pleasant sight 😉
With shower taken, I got my stuff together and packed up for one last time. A twinge of sadness tugged at me. The comradery and experiences are nothing like you have in everyday life. You have to do it to experience what I mean.
I went and sat in the glorious sunshine leaving the lads to go and shower and get packed up. Half an hour later, out they all trundled with bags in hand and on to the trusty black steed we jumped.
With Birmingham being only an hour away and with hardly any traffic on the road as it was a Sunday, the drive was pleasant, watching the rolling countryside flow past in the peace of the van.
You could tell I wasn’t the only one feeling the mixed emotions as the silence was permeated with the odd comment about looking forward to being home and reminiscing about prior events that had happened.
Soon enough, we were at the HMV Forum in Digbeth. The venue was still fresh in my mind as the boys had been there early December on the UFO support leg. The merch stall was in the corridor right next to the large double doors onto the main street where memories of hypothermia and pneumonic cold still burned into me and sent a shiver down my spine.
We loaded in to The Library, which having a simple sense of humour made me giggle at the irony – bands performing in a library? Good job there was no assistant there giving us gyp for the noise!
Load in and sound check was done, so with another three hours to kill before doors, we ventured into the Bullring to look for food. Wagamama’s was the overall choice, so off we went. Looking through the menu, nothing took my fancy so I went to purchase a sarnie and top up on the caffeine.
Once done, I made my way back to the venue where I met up with Chris who had also opted out of noodles for breakfast. I must say that Digbeth High Street isn’t the most appealing on the eye, but with an adult shop near the venue, Chris decided to investigate, leaving me to toddle off to the backyard of the Forum to eat. The sky was now starting to look bleak, threatening to rain.
Not long after, Eddie came to join me. We discussed the tour, the gig tonight and general life. The whole atmosphere not only from the Voodoo camp but all the bands was really quite sombre.
Fans were already gathering backstage to catch a glimpse or to get autographs from Mike.
With my stall set up and still another hour to go, I decided to get my head down in the van whilst the boys tuned up and got ready for the show.
Brriiinnnggg!!! The alarm went off with a deafening force. Violently waking up with the force due to the phone being glued to my ear, I got up and got out to the venue with only minutes for the doors.
The end of tour emotions were also felt at the merch desk, with us all thanking each other for what had been a genuinely great atmosphere at the stalls. My thanks go out to Steve Stevens for being a delight and joy to work with and Jules for her interesting tales and her creative genius with her tattoo art and knitting 😀
The fans walked in, closer to us, then directly past us as if we weren’t there. Even the waving of leaflets or shouting of “get your t-shirts here” couldn’t tempt them over.
They dribbled in from the dreary out doors, the wind chill funnelling down the corridor, down the stairs into the room below. I suppose that could be the descrition of the mood too, dreary.
The echo of the bands below and the fans applauding them wafted up the stairs, with only occassional people wandering past to have a cigarette or to the loo.
In a way, there was a silence hanging in the air. The buzz and the enjoyment had gone as the awareness of the finality was growing closer minute by minute.
I managed to get in to see the last part of the Monroe troupe during their encore, and was surprised to see Michael himself playing the drums and doing it quite well! Is there no end to this musician’s talent? Rocking vocals, saxophone and harmonica along with the drums and his energetic monkey like stage performances – he certainly offers a lot to the crowd who, during the whole of the tour loved every minute.
The lights came up as the Monroe left the stage for the last time and the Voodoo guys were already gathered around the merch stall awaiting fans for a ‘meet and greet’.
Most of the attendees walked past but a few took the time out to chat with the guys and the merch people. Due to it being a Sunday, we had to pack up early. Fans were moved out and we loaded the merchy stall up for the last time. It was sad to see the stuff packed away. You may laugh, but its not because they are great designs on the T-shirts (which they are), but because of the times they represented.
We all said our farewells to Steve and Jules, and as we made our way out of the venue, Steve Conte came over to wish us well. The poor guy had a bleeding lump on his forehead the size of a large hen egg. When asked about the incident it became apparent that Michael had accidentally clouted him with the mic stand. Sympathies and farewells expressed, we shook hands and thanked the crew who had been great all throughout the tour.
I had a lift home, so as my ride arrived, I thanked and hugged the lads who had been fantastic all the way. I can’t wait to hook up with them sometime soon!!!!
Sonia ‘Merchkin’ Waterfield