Thursday 3 January 2013

I hope you had a wonderful Festive Season, and I wish you all the best for 2013.


                                  Legends of Brocklehurst - Chapter 8


As previously stated the early days of the HYF tour are a blur. As much as I know some of you will want to know in depth, details of Rush during the tour, this is Neil and my story so the things that I still recall are more to do with the travelling between venues rather than the shows themselves. I really enjoyed the long night drives between gigs. All the miles we have travelled together over the years, Neil has never slept for one second.
After the shows Neil would either spend some time in the inner sanctum, if he had to see someone, or leave straight from the stage. When that was the case he would run directly to the car, and we would drive away before most people even realized he was no longer on the stage.
“Peart has left the building “
Having quickly changed into fresh clothes he would start to relax by drinking a small single malt whiskey, and smoking a cigarette. One of my jobs was to make sure there were always some of both in the BMW for this purpose. As I said, Neil never slept for a second during any of these long drives, often acting as navigator when required.
After the SEC ( now the SECC ) show in Glasgow, Neil had to run down an adjacent hall, around 200 yards, to reach the car. This hall was covered in carpet tiles ready for a trade show the next day, and no matter how hard I tried, or what financial inducement I offered, the supervisor wouldn’t allow me to drive the car over them. I even made the suggestion of removing one tile each side of the car making  tile free tracks all the way to the back, so I could reverse without doing any damage. I told the guy I would take up the tiles myself, and pay to have them replaced, after we left, with no joy. Having just finished a two hour set, and that sprint, Neil arrived at the car, and was hardly out of breath. I guess you have to be super fit to be rock drummer !
Before leaving Danny Betesh, the GB promoter had asked me how long it would take to drive the 400 plus miles to central London. I said if we got away as expected at eleven, we would be there around three thirty in the morning. Danny was very sceptical, and bet me a hundred pounds we wouldn’t make it. It was agreed when we reached the reception of the hotel I would call him at home. Danny would then ring the hotel to verify I was in fact there. Neil was very amused by the wager and, though I needed no encouragement, urged me to go for it. The traffic was light, and I booted that marvellous car all the way down the M74 ( partially the A74 in those days ), into England and down the M6. We took the M40 route to London, and as I was travelling along it at 120 mph plus, I saw a flashing blue light in my mirror.
I pulled over, and the policeman got out of his car, and approached us. Seeing the German plates he asked in broken English if I understood the speed limit. I replied that I was English, and the car was rented in Munich for my Canadian friend, and I, to tour Great Britain, and then the continent. Of course no mention was made of a rock band. I added I was driving on a Jersey, Channel Islands, driving license which I produced. ( I had kept it up to date from those years I lived there in the 70’s. ) Totally confused, and obviously not wanting all the paper work, he warned me to drive slower, and let us go. Before he was back in his car I was up to a 100mph. Well, we did have a dead line to meet. We arrived at the hotel in Grafton Street, Mayfair with minutes to spare. I made the call to Danny, and even though he rang back to confirm I was actually there, he never did pay the £100. Still it was great fun achieving the time schedule, and a very enjoyable drive.
Being a big football fan I had  been to Wembley Stadium to see football matches many times, so being so close to the twin towers at the Arena was a bit special. It was very strange to see those familiar walk ways bereft of people. My cousin’s son Matt was living in London and I got him, and some mates tickets for the second of the three shows. He wanted some pictures so with permission, I stood in with the professional photographers, right in front of the stage, and took my shots with Matt’s camera. The only difference was after the rest had to leave, three numbers later, I was allowed to remain. Though inexperienced with a camera I managed to get some good pictures, especially of Alex who deliberately came real close, and made all sorts of lunatic faces. Matt still treasures those old photos. I had also obtained some tickets for the night manager of the hotel, a big Rush fan. This was on the understanding that he looked after me, each evening, on my return to my room with a small buffet, and a half bottle of champagne. After the Friday show I took Matt, and a couple of his friends back, and there was a wonderful choice of drinks, and snacks waiting for us. I felt like I was a rock star. Marvellous what a couple of freebies can achieve. Needless to say Matt and company were well impressed.

The next part of the tour was on main land Europe where I hadn't driven for some years. I was looking forward to the challenge of driving on the " wrong side " of the road again.

No comments:

Post a Comment