Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

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Thursday 28th February
What on earth would befall Uriah Heep if the word ‘ah’ was to be banished from the English language or, worse still, made illegal? In its many varieties, from those trademark clipped backing vocals (‘Ah, ah, ah!’) to the full-on ‘Ah-aaah-aaaaaaaaah’! employed in ‘July Morning’, also ‘Lady In Black’ which could simply not exist in a state of ‘ah’-lessness (er… okay I made up that term!), the group’s entire career has been based upon this simple, glorious and harmonious sound. I, for one, will never complain.
Last night at Islington’s Assembly Hall, Heep were on fire (metaphorically speaking) despite the temporary absence of bassist Trevor Bolder. John Jowitt of IQ/Arena/Frost* fame did a sterling job of filling in on bass, even helping out in the all-important vocal department. During a brilliant rendition of ‘Stealin’’ I found myself sharing air keyboards with Planet Rock Radio’s breakfast deejay Paul Anthony, who was standing nearby. Highlighting the group’s remarkable singing prowess, the unexpected inclusion of ‘All My Life’ from the ‘Demons And Wizards’ album was a masterstroke – a real highlight of the set. During an encore of ‘Free ‘N’ Easy’ the band invited some ladies up onto the stage to join them (and selected family members) for a good ol’ headbang. It’s unlikely that there will be many better gigs in 2013. Boy are they gonna surprise a few peeps at Download!! Get well soon Trev!
Here’s the set-list: ‘Against The Odds’, ‘Overload’, ‘Traveller In Time’, ‘Sunrise’, ‘All My Life’, ‘I’m Ready’, ‘Between Two Worlds’, ‘Stealin’’, ‘Nail On The Head’, ‘Into The Wild’, ‘Gypsy’, ‘Look At Yourself’, ‘July Morning’ and ‘Lady In Black’, followed by ‘Free ‘N’ Easy’ plus ‘Easy Livin’’.
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Wednesday 27th February
Fellow boogie-heads! Now on sale: My interview with Messrs Rossi, Parfitt, Lancaster and Coghlan. Ten pages of Classic Quo! I’m extremely proud of the story. It was lovely to have sat at a table with them as they rock ‘n’ rolled back the years. There was lots of laughter and some serious talk. Parfitt, especially, was in nostalgic mood. It’s pretty interesting that he would say something as profound as: “Perhaps after all these years we’ll finally get to know one another for the first time.”

Dave Ling Online

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Monday 25th February
I’m thoroughly enjoying Duff McKagan’s autobiography, It’s So Easy (And Other Lies), purchased a few days ago for just a quid (!) from Fopp Records. McKagan was certainly a hellraiser in his youth. I quote: “Downshifting [from cocaine] to wine was all well and good but the volume of wine quickly skyrocketed until I was drinking ten bottles a day.” Holy shit, no wonder his pancreas exploded!
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Monday 25th February
With UFO’s London show set to clash with Palace’s crucial home game against promotion rivals Hull, I opted to whizz down to Oxford instead. Along with my friends Mark Taylor and Andy Nathan we took the tube – a swift, regular and easy coach journey that leaves Victoria and drops us a street or two away from the Academy. It was funny to be told off by the driver for being too noisy, just like we were naughty school kids – and we hadn't even started drinking… Yet!
After a bottle of white wine, a lovely chicken vindaloo and mushroom pilau and a large complimentary brandy and Diet Coke at an excellent Indian restaurant called Malikas, we headed into the venue… just in time to grab a pint of cider before show-time.
It was great to see UFO in a fairly small hall, and the band played as well as ever. However, having had a chat with Phil Mogg before Christmas during which he assured me the band would be making changes to the set-list, their repertoire was virtually unaltered. Promoting ‘Lights Out’ to the start of the show and reinstating ‘Cherry’ (which has dropped in and out of favour in recent years) is hardly what I’d call freshening things up.
It’s frustrating. Unlike many of their peers the band still make excellent new music but if UFO are still around in 2020 will we still be hearing the same ‘Strangers In The Night’-based repertoire with a token sprinkling of new tunes?! Once UFO’s apprentices, Iron Maiden don’t play ‘The Trooper’ or ‘Run To The Hills’ on every tour – sometimes you’ve just to be a bit brutal for the sake of progression. Steve Harris and company make a point of rotating their classics – new songs will only become standards with familiarity. With UFO, is it down to a lack of confidence or laziness? Your guess is as good as mine. During the Oxford show an acoustic guitar previously used for ‘Love To Love’ had been returned to Vinnie Moore’s side of the stage. “Oh great,” I thought, “they’re gonna do something different.” Then some prat in the crowd shouted out for ‘Too Hot To Handle’ and Phil Mogg replied: “That’ll work, thanks for the good advice” – and to the rest of the band’s bemusement said tune – whatever it might’ve been - was mysteriously dropped.
I realise that I’m in the minority, also that I go to see UFO a good deal more frequently than most casual fans, but I couldn’t care less if I never heard them play ‘Lights Out’ or Doctor Doctor’ again. Seriously. Get rid of ‘Let It Roll’ and ‘Mother Mary’. Paul Raymond’s recent solo gig reminded us that ‘Take It Or Leave It’ and ‘Just Another Suicide’ are eminently deserving of inclusion. The band’s catalogue contains a wealth of untapped gold… something really has to change.
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Sunday 24th February
Back home in Catford and simply cannot believe that Palace, who dominated the second half, lost yesterday’s game at Hillsborough. What an utter travesty!! Oh well, at least England’s cricketers and rugby players acquitted themselves with far more distinction, and Eddie and I enjoyed some fine pre-match pub banter with Owls fans Paul Kettley and his missus, Laura…
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Saturday 23rd February
It’s 6am and I’m off to Sheffield with eldest lad Eddie for Palace’s game with Wednesday. Am hoping for nine points from three games. Will open the first of the Tesco wine pouches in a jiffy! I’ve got new ish of When Saturday Comes and Duff McKagan’s autobiography and enough black pudding sarnies to feed a (Red and Blue) army! Game on!!
[Edit: We just passed Chesterfield’s new stadium. Would be nice to get them in the cup; every other building seems to be a pub, nightclub or music venue, I’m sure that was the Winding Wheel – a name I’ve typed into the gig guide many times – back there on the right!]
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Friday 22nd February
I can’t quite work out how I ended up getting to bed at 2am after a gig that lasted less for than three songs…? Confused? So am I…
Anyway, my Thursday evening was spent at the Islington Academy for a show on The Union’s current tour for ‘The World Is Yours’. Managed to reach the venue in time for Toby Jepson’s Special Guest slot – 45 minutes with an acoustic guitar that pooled solo material (‘Unwind’, ‘Breakdown’ and ‘Rear View Mirror’) with Little Angels songs (‘Kicking Up Dust’, ‘Don’t Prey For Me’, ‘I Ain’t Gonna Cry’, ‘Forgiveness’, a medley of ‘Young Gods’ and ‘Backdoor Man’ and ‘Too Much Too Young’) and even a version of ‘Deliver Me’ from Fastway’s ridiculously named yet indisputably under-appreciated 2011 disc ‘Eat Dog Eat’. It was nice to hear ‘Forgiveness’ again. It really should have been included in LA’s live set… so much better than that pointless cover of ‘Kids Wanna Rock’.
Alas, the headliners curtailed their set after just 15 minutes. From the first moments of ‘Step Up To The Plate’ it was obvious that something was awry with Peter Shoulder’s usually immaculate voice. After struggling through the new album’s ‘You’re My Jesus’ Luke Morley explained that Shoulder was suffering from a terrible cold. Although they began ‘Tangled Up In You’ it was just no good… an audience vote decided the wisdom of rescheduling for another night. It was the first time in more than three decades of gig-going that I’d experienced the abandonment of a show. Hmmm… better go and drink some more beer! [The previous statement might explain how I tried to take short cut back to the bus stop and found myself wandering around, completely lost, down by the Embankment after the Tubes had stopped running! D’oh!].
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Thursday 21st February
What an unbelievable honour – my contribution to the Frantic Four tour programme has apparently been approved. I was to thrilled to be asked. The phone call from Bob Young, Quo’s former tour manager and harmonica player, was truly hilarious: “It would be nice to have you involved, seeing as I must’ve thrown you out of many, many backstage parties down the years.” Er… guilty as charged, M’Lud!
P.S. What utterly excellent news: W.E.T. are to make special appearance on the first night of the Firefest!! The addition of Messrs Soto, Mårtensson and Säll makes this year’s event even more of a no-brainer!
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Wednesday 20th February
Another fine victory took place last night at Selhurst Park, this time over the nauseating Brizzle Shitty – payback time for the play-offs, the ‘ghost goal’ and the barely human embarrassment known as Gary Johnson that used to be their manager! After notching the opener from a wondrous, quickly taken Mile Jedinak free kick, Glenn Murray is now the second highest goal scorer in the whole of European football... just behind somebody called Lionel Messi. Anyone heard of him??!! Respect! It was such a shame about the Keystone Cops injury time own goal from CPFC defender Jonathan Parr that pulled the score back to 2-1, but by then there was barely time to restart the game. I can’t wait till Saturday’s awayday at Sheff Wed!
Uriah Heep, Europe and Skin have been added to the Friday of the Download Festival... oh well, looks like I’m going to Donington Park for *two* days, then, instead of one! I last saw Heep on a Donington stage way back in 1982 on a bill completed by Status Quo, Gillan, Saxon, Hawkwind and Anvil. Hotel room has been booked for the additional night – bring it on!
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Tuesday 19th February
I was among an excitable and rather large crowd at London’s Electric Ballroom for last night’s gig from Tremonti, a group fronted by the Alter Bridge/Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti. Mark is an extremely capable lead singer and his band – featuring one Wolfgang Van Halen on bass – make a very loud noise indeed, particularly skinsman Garrett Whitlock. Their well received debut album, ‘All I Was’ (Fret 12 Records), had prepared me for something a little heavier than Alter Bridge have to offer but… wow… the likes of ‘All I Was’ and ‘So You’re Afraid’ were based upon almost thrash-metal-style riffs, with new single ‘Wish You Well’ inciting mini mosh-pits throughout the crowd – maybe the clue lay in Mr Tremonti’s rather splendid grey Mercyful Fate T-shirt?! With a solitary CD to their name plus a pair of non-album B-sides (‘All That I’ve Got’ and ‘Gone’) the band resisted the temptation to stray outside of the Tremonti domain – not even a choice cover version. I’d like to have heard much more than the 70 minutes of tunes they had to offer but given the response, also AB singer Myles Kennedy’s ever-growing commitments with Slash, it’s reasonable to assume they’ll be back again before too long. Here’s the set-list: ‘Leave It Alone’, ‘Giving Up’, ‘All I Was’, ‘Proof’, ‘So You’re Afraid’, ‘Doesn’t Matter’, ‘The Things I’ve Seen’, ‘All That I’ve Got’, ‘Wish You Well’, ‘You Waste Your Time’, ‘New Way Out’ and ‘Decay’, followed by ‘Gone’ and ‘Brains’.
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Sunday 17th February
Crystal Palace have climbed to fourth in the Championship after yesterday’s 4-1 demolition of play-off rivals Middlesboro. The Eagles were in command of the game almost from the off thanks to a divine piece of skill from Wilfried Zaha, whose jinking run and cross found Goal Machine Murray unmarked for a tap-in in the 8th minute. Zaha had his best game in red and blue stripes in many a long month, just as England boss Roy Hodgson paid a rare visit to Selhurst… hmmm, funny, that… Murray now has 27 goals this season and is the entire nation ’s leading marksman. Now wonder the cry of “Murray for England!” went up. Sorry, Roy… Glenn’s a Scot (though in such a rich vein of form right now he certainly plays like an Englishman…).
With eldest son Eddie having returned early to Ling Towers, all bets were off. Scrumpy o’clock!! I even bought a bottle of Sermillon Chardonnet for the train ride home, taking great delight in the roars of “South London’s number one you know it’s true were red ‘n’ blue” that were audible on Norwood Junction station from the Cherry Trees pub several hours after the final whistle had blown. That mob knows how to celebrate a win!!
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Saturday 16th February
I’ve been dying to take a look at the Swedish band Free Fall since a promo of their debut album, ‘Power & Volume’, clunked onto my desk a couple of weeks ago (see Diary, January 29). With news of a London show being confirmed, it didn’t take long for that opportunity to arrive. A few pre-show aperitifs were imbibed in the Crobar before heading North to Dingwalls in Camden, where the quartet were due to perform a short set as opening act for The Datsuns… ‘Short’ being the key word. Offering echoes of The Who, AC/DC and Zeppelin, their wonderfully channelled raw power was a joy to experience. Frustratingly, however, Kim Fransson’s vocals were submerged beneath Mattias Bärjed’s thrusting, jousting guitar and the apocalyptic, Entwistle/Moon-derived rhythms of bassist Jan Martens and drummer Ludwig Dahlberg as they surged through ‘Free Fall’, ‘Power & Volume’ and ‘Midnight Vulture’ – the latter of which saw Fransson sounding a little like Marc Storace as his contribution began to edge to the surface. Alas, there was only time for three further songs but ‘Damnation’, ‘Top Of The World’ and ‘World Domination’ – a powerhouse anthem in the vein of Judas Priest’s ‘Take On The World’ – closed things out with such ear-splitting, joyous intensity that I was forced to recover for a while at the bar in the company of my boozing buds Neil Jeffries and Harj Kallah… both of whom were equally flabbergasted by what they’d seen. Come back soon, guys… and next time bring a decent sound engineer!!
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Friday 15th February
Oh well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone and it looks like I’m single again. Sara H and I ended up cooling things down after returning home from Skegness and haven’t set eyes on one another during the ensuing three weeks… The experience certainly taught me a few important lessons about myself and the plan is to remain friends, so as the old saying goes: ‘Least said, soonest mended’, etc etc. I wish her all the best and will make a point of buying the first round when next we meet.
Luckily, I’ve plenty of work with which to occupy my time, including yesterday evening’s phone interviews with Tesla men Jeff Keith and Dave Rude in advance of the Hard Rock Hell AOR Festival on April 6/7.
Better news still: The long-awaited new FM album, ‘Rockville’, has just landed on my desk. Of its 11 songs, all but one are 10s or 9s (out of ten). Okay, I wasn’t quite so keen on the penultimate tune, ‘Goodbye Yesterday’, but even that one’s a solid seven. Frankly, ‘Rockville’ has blown me away.
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Thursday 14th February
It’s another of those all-hands-to-the-pump weeks. Most of yesterday’s daytime hours were spent transcribing an interview with Jimi Jamison, followed a couple of late-evening phoners with Troy Lucketta and Frank Hannon during which we touched upon Tesla (’natch!!), the Eric Martin Band and the late, great Ronnie Montrose, who Hannon had actually met again two weeks before RM surprised the rock world by taking his own life. Such a shame.
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Wednesday 13th February
I’m very proud of my eldest son, Eddie, who had a part in his school play – a version of We Will Rock You, the musical. Let’s not get into the merits or otherwise of Ben Elton’s bastardization of the Queen legacy (spit!); watching Eddie onstage last night his face was the very picture of astonishment when some pyro went off just a few feet away… especially as he was rocking out with some neat air guitar at the time!
Awesome… my guest list place is sorted for the launch party of FM’s new album, ‘Rockville’. Annoyingly, it takes place in London on the same day that the Frantic Four reunion kicks off in Manchester. Am now looking at Glasgow, Wolves or the second Manc date as my ‘out-of-towner’ on that trek.
There are some dynamite Van Halen revelations from David Lee Roth here. Diamond Dave’s support for Michael Anthony is most welcome and is really likely to open a can of worms with the Van Halen brothers. How EVH reacts will now surely determine the future of the band…
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Tuesday 12th February
Well f**k me, here's an unexpected date for the desk diary. Rick Springfield is to play a one-off UK gig at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire on June 4. I’m off to play his ‘Greatest Hits’ vinyl LP from 1989! If you’re not already a Springfield fan, check out these links pronto: here and here - and a recommendation from my friend Doogie White here. Then pick up the whole bloody catalogue! Rick’s most recent release, ‘Songs For The End Of The World’, was one of the best records of last year.
I’m not a fan of tribute albums but have just received an interesting package from a Belgian label called Music Avenue. It contained a trib CD to Lynyrd Skynyrd which includes contributions from The Outlaws, Artimus Pyle & Ed King, Canned Heat, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Black Oak Arkansas, Molly Hatchet with Charlie Daniels and, most interestingly, Blackfoot with Rickey Medlocke, a second disc honouring ZZ Top with most of the same suspects plus Walter Trout, Pat Travers, Fee Waybill of The Tubes. Both are rather good…
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Monday 11th February
As midnight approaches I’ve just turned final few pages of the Wilko Johnson book to which I alluded a few days ago. Since being diagnosed with inoperable terminal cancer Johnson has been incredibly dignified, but his book, published while fit and healthy in 2012, confirms a long-held and pragmatic approach to the brevity of human life. “For 13 billion years I was dead,” he writes towards its conclusion. “[And then] in 1947, I appeared. ‘Wow, yes!’ Now, very soon, I’m going back to that [original state]. I was dead for 13 billion years so what’s the problem?” If you’re a fan then Looking Back At Me is well worth investigation.
Next up is AC/DC: The Early Years With Bon Scott by Neil Daniels (Independent Music Press), which arrived a few days ago.
P.S. I forgot to say: Huuuuge congratulations to my mates The Treatment, who have landed the opening slot on the upcoming Frantic Four dates. Mere hours before the announcement Neil Jeffries and I had been discussing potential support acts when the Cambridge-based combo’s name came up among those that we deemed compatible… how spooky!
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Sunday 10th February
It’s been a bit of a Jeff Scott Soto / melodic rock weekend. Besides a set of the expanded Talisman re-issues (‘Talisman’, ‘Genesis’, ‘Live In Japan’ and ‘Humanimal’) the postie has delivered an album called ‘Revolutia’ by a Greek band Danger Angel that was produced by JSS. Ensuring that I took an extended lunch break in order to enjoy the rain-soaked Six Nations rugby game between Ireland and England (the result: 12-6 in England’s favour… yes!!!) I also began the transcription of an interview conducted with Mitch Malloy at last year’s Firefest. The chat took place in his hotel room on the morning after he had performed a well received set, and I really enjoyed the banter that flowed between us. So, it seems did Mitch, who later sent an email saying our interview was “one of the best that I’ve ever done.” Aw, that’s nice!
Footie-wise, Palace might’ve settled for a draw on Friday night but the results of our fellow promotion chasing teams caused great celebration here at Ling Towers. Against the odds, Leicester were thumped by lowly Peterboro, Boro lost 3-2 at home to Barnsley and… ulp!... I needed a hot shower and plenty of soap after cheering loudly as a late goal from Shiteon ensured that Hull City perpetuated the trend. The dream of an automatic spot lives on!!
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Saturday 9th February
Watford and Crystal Palace shared the points in last night’s game at Vicarage Road, the Eagles staging a remarkable second-half comeback after going two goals down inside 15 minutes. Such was Palace’s superiority after the break they could and should have won. Afterwards, boss Ian Holloway said that the team must start making those emphatic second half displays last for the entire 90 minutes… couldn’t have put it better myself…
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Friday 8th February
The last few days, thanks to a kindly donation by Virgil & The Accelerators’ manager Martin Lewis, have been spent in the process of reading Looking Back At Me, a tome on Wilko Johnson written by the former Doctor Feelgood/Ian Dury & The Blockheads guitarist with the help of Zöe Howe. It’s not exactly an autobiography, more of a coffee table book, containing some great anecdotes, gig tickets, old press cuttings, Wilko’s illustrations and personal photographs – a lovely documentary of this fascinating man’s life and times. The guitarist certainly doesn’t pull any punches. The book’s refreshing honesty made me feel quite sad that I never got to see Johnson as a member of the Feelgoods.
Anyway, residents of Leatherhead beware: I couldn’t get a ticket for tonite’s Twatford-Crystal Palace promotion clash so am heading to Surrey to watch the game on an HD telly at the home of my CPFC-mad buds Neil and Louise Pudney – followed by a boozy sleepover. Lock up yer off licences!! Surrey… you have been warned!
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Thursday 7th February
Unlike this country’s media I shall not be getting too carried away by England’s victory over Brazil since March 1990 – yes, it really was 23 years since the Three Lions last got the better of the Samba Men. However, the performance during last night’s friendly at Wembley Stadium certainly offered room for cautious optimism. Okay, Ronaldinho missed a pen (or rather Hart saved it brilliantly), also wasting various other opportunities, but Hodgson’s men were good value for the 2-1 score-line.
It’s awesome news that The Almighty are recording new material to mark their 25th anniversary, though sadly there will be no live shows. I, for one, will be keen to find out what Ricky, Pete, Floyd and Stumpy might serve up in 2013. Here’s a great pic of myself interviewing the band poolside on the roof of the Hyatt Hotel, Sunset Boulevard, back in 1990 (gosh, it’s a tough life sometimes...). Gotta love those lycra cycling shorts! Er, haven't ya...?? I must also dig out the shot in which Stumpy threw me into the pool. Captured by snapper Tony Woolliscroft, I somehow managed to avoid spilling my beer... a hand holding it aloft Excalibur-like whilst returning to the surface! Great times!!

Dave Ling Online

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Wednesday 6th February
Last night was spent at the Borderline in London as I checked out a headline set from one of the finest prospects that this country has to offer. Last December I’d been blown away by a support slot from The Temperance Movement at Shepherd’s Bush Empire as the Anglo-Scottish retro rockers performed a half-hour warm-up for Skin and Little Angels. Now it was time to see what the quintet *really* have to offer.
And the answer to that question? Though they’re not yet the finished article there’s plenty with which to work. The proud owner of a wonderful set of bluesy pipes, Phil Campbell (no relation to Motörhead’s ‘Wizzo’, obviously) is their proverbial ace-in-the-pack. The band’s organic sound is comparable to the Crowes, Little Feat, early Thunder, with the occasional nod to the country-rock of The Eagles and a soupçon of Blind Melon… oh, you get the drift. Can’t remember when I last saw the Borderline so rammed, and the crowd ate up every last morsel of the group’s hour-long set, during which they played four of the tunes from their EP called ‘Pride’ (everything except ‘Lover & Fighters’ to be precise). Personally, I dug them the most when the tempos and volume were allowed to dip to a whisper during ‘Pride’, ‘Serenity’ and the beautiful ‘Smouldering’. It was such a shame that the selfish ignoramuses around me chose those exact moments to begin babbling on to their mates about something completely pointless. Here’s the set-list: ‘Ain’t No Telling’, ‘Be Lucky’, ‘Midnight Black’, ‘Know For Sure’, ‘Pride’, ‘Only Friend’, ‘Morning Riders’, ‘Take It Back’ and ‘Serenity’ pls encores of ‘Smouldering’ and ‘Don’t Call It’.
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Tuesday 5th February
What a lovely evening was spent at the Komedia, sipping red wine and laughing at a barrel-load of terrible jokes from Thunder’s Danny Bowes and Ben Matthews. My Classic Rock colleague Neil Jeffries and I had sped down to the South Coast in Neil’s car, the strains of Free Fall’s self-titled debut causing its windows to rattle. The Komedia was full with quite a few familiar faces including my Firefest boozing partners Ivan Gunn and Andy Middleton, with ex-Terraplane bassist Nick Linden waving to say ‘hi!’ as he wandered past. Luckily for Neil and I, my friend Wendy Campling and her best bud Karen had saved a table for four people. Oh, how we roared at Bowes and Matthews’ anecdotes about the flying dwarf tour manager, the Take That at Top Of The Pops incident, Gary ‘Harry’ James and the 55-minute tambourine solo and, of course, the side-splitting lounge jazz version of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ that used to drive their former bass player Mikael Höglund to the point of insanity.
Musically speaking things were slightly different to the last tour, containing more Thunder songs and fewer covers. This time they kicked off with Free’s ‘Get Where I Belong’ and a bit of Elvis Presley-recorded nonsense called ‘One Night’ (sorry, if ever there was an overrated artist…), later running through the evergreen ‘Unchain My Heart’. Mostly, though, it was a selection of crowd favourites such as ‘Back Street Symphony’, ‘She’s So Fine’, ‘An Englishman On Holiday’, ‘Stand Up’, ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’ and ‘A Better Man’… even the rarity ‘See My Baby Walking’ from the ‘Joy Of Six’ EP. As the night drew on cellist Jo Quail joined the proceedings for a wonderful arrangement of ‘Don’t Wait For Me’. I found myself musing upon how they could possibly follow its majesty. The answer came during a well deserved encore when Quail and her cello reappeared as Dan and Ben regaled us with a rendition of Don McLean’s 1971 hit ‘Vincent’ that caused goosebumps to arise. The consummate end to a near-perfect night.
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Monday 4th February
My, what a great phone interview with Skin from Skunk Anansie – truly an interesting character. I hadn’t paid much attention to the band, who reunited back in 2009 after almost a decade away, for quite a few years though I’d been a big fan of their first two LPs, ‘Paranoid And Sunburnt’ and ‘Stoosh’. Just been listening to the current one, ‘Black Traffic’, for the first time as I prepared for our chat, and it has some really great moments. The ballad ‘I Hope You Get To Meet Your Heroes’, which features a string section, proves that their sound has matured without losing that all-important fiery edge.
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Sunday 3rd February
The Mighty Crystal Palace 2 Charlton scum 1. Number One in South London! Thanks for the six points, Clowns, and who the f##k is laughing now?! Oh, and I hereby eat my words about the acquisition of Kevin Phillips – he still has gasoline in the tank and his second half introduction changed the game. That’s six points off the Clowns, three from Br***ton (with a rematch at the Samesex Stadium to go) and a possible four from Scumwall. I make that a pretty good season! And with England having trounced the Sweaty Socks with the oval ball on the first day of the Six Nations, I’m smiling as I settle down at the PC for a long day’s work…
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Saturday 2nd February
“King for a day – back to the day job tomorrow”, grinned Paul Raymond from the stage of the Borderline during last night’s gig by the Paul Raymond Project. UFO’s likable keysman/rhythm guitarist had assembled an interesting band to back him for the one-off date, including Stampede’s Reuben Archer on vocals. There was some nice banter between Paul and Reuben, especially when they got onto bus passes and pension books, and a brief technical problem enabled Archer to fulfil a lifetime’s dream by announcing: “There’s a problem with the mics, can I fill in?!” The set-list, which kicked off with ‘Just Another Suicide’ from 1977’s ‘Lights Out’ and included another unexpected gem – the delicate ballad ‘Take It Or Leave It’, from 1980’s ‘No Place To Run’ – was just what the doctor (doctor) ordered, and I was impressed by the playing of guitarist Rob Wolverson, also on loan from Stampede. Wielding a mean Thunderbird bass, Mark Coles filled the Pete Way role with ease and if Reuben’s voice was a bit gruffer than he or anyone else expected due to a bad cold, it really didn’t matter too much. As yet I’ve not heard the PRP’s new album, ‘Terms And Conditions Apply’ (my own fault for failing to check out the weblink), though thanks to the quality of toons such as ‘Born & Raised On Rock ‘N’ Roll’, ‘C-List Celebrity’ and ‘Terms And Conditions’, this sorry situation will be rectified soon.

Dave Ling Online

On the way home from the Borderline I received a text from eldest son Eddie, who’d been out watching a band featuring one of his schoolmates – his first real experience of live music except the open-air gigs attended when Clan Ling still dared to masquerade as a family. I quote: “Gig was great, ears hurt, feet hurt and mum’s just picked me up.” Attaboy, Ed!
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Friday 1st February
Thanks to a Herculean effort from my accountant those pesky end-of-year accounts were filed just in time for yesterday’s deadline… phew! That’s a friggin’ weight off my mind.
For those that might care, here are the monthly updates of the Playlist and YouTube pages.