“WE’D LIKE TO OFFER YOU A WARM WELCOME” (DAVE, BASSIST IN BOWFINGER)
6am: The alarm goes off. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I HATE EARLY MORNINGS!!!! Now there is a very good reason why I’m getting up at the crack of dawn: I’m travelling to the Isle Of Wight today with Lindz Delirium & Shari Black Velvet today. Tomorrow we’ll be seeing the Manics again. It was exactly 11 months ago today that we were all travelling to Manchester, to see them headline the Move festival. Tomorrow they’ll be supporting The Who. For me, it’ll be weird seeing the Manics in a support situation, because I’ve always seen them headline. The last time they supported someone was last year, when they supported Moby at Glastonbury. Before that, it was back in ’98, when they supported The Verve at Slane Castle. Personally I can’t wait to see MSP again! I need to see & hear James again. When James spoke to some of the fans from the foreverdelayed forum a couple of weeks ago at the Hay On Wye festival, he said we can expect to hear “Yes” live (that’ll keep me & the “Holy Bible” “mentalists” happy), as well as 5 new songs. Mmmmmm..... I wonder what they’ll sound like.
7.15: I leave my house and set off for Lindz Delirium’s house. It should take me just under an hour. I’ll be beating most of the rush hour traffic with any luck. My soundtrack to the journey is “Up The Bracket” by The Libertines. Well I need something to wake me up at this ungodly hour and this’ll do the trick. *note to self* when you get to the “fuck ‘em” line on “I Get Along”, try not to yell too loud so that you frighten animals in a nearby field.
8.15: I reach Lindz’s house in Milton Keynes. Shari was getting herself ready (how she manages to look uber glam at this ungodly hour is beyond me). I must stop using the phrase “ungodly hour”.
9.00: We leave for Southampton, where we’ll be catching a ferry to take us to the Isle Of Wight. Lindz asks if I have any CD’s with me. Unfortunately I only have The Libertines. Lindz only has the Bowfinger CD on her, so Bowfinger it is. Shari has never heard Bowfinger, so we “introduce” her to them. With any luck we should see them on our ferry crossing, as they’re also going to the festival.
11.20: We arrive at Southampton. We decide to hit Waitrose and buy some food for tomorrow, seeing as we intend to be at the barrier until the Manics end their set.
12.15: We are now at the ferry terminal and are waiting to board our ferry. Lindz glances to her left. “Well look who it isn’t.” It was the Bowfinger lads - Lindz's mates from Luton - they are in fact the future of rock and roll!! Lindz tooted her horn and they made their way over. Good to see Barry in a Bowfinger shirt (talk about self promotion!). The lads had had a bit of a heavy night (they stayed overnight in Southampton) and were paying for it. Tut, tut, these rock star types ! They apparently went to some gay type club and this has inspired Dave to form a gay covers band. Well, Bowfinger’s cover of “Gay Bar” does seem to go down well, according to Dave. He’s also not happy that The Who didn’t ask him to replace John Entwhistle. “Entwhistle stole my act” claims Dave. Yeah right! During our ferry crossing, Dave decides to read the leaflet about the B&B Lindz, Shari & I are staying in, aloud. “We’d like to offer you a warm welcome” (er....you had to be there), he then added “with the Stereophonics” in a dodgy Welsh accent. We then slag off Kelly Jones et al. Barry attempts to slag off Bon Jovi until Lindz points out that Shari is a fairly big fan (she has seen them live 184 times). Barry wisely sticks to slagging off the Stereophonics.
2.00: The ferry arrives at East Cowes. Whilst we are waiting to drive off the ferry, we can hear the Bowfinger lads in their car. They’re 5-6 cars behind us. You can’t take them anywhere!
3.00: We arrive at our B&B, which is in Sandown. It is a really nice B&B. Who needs camping??
4.00: We decide to go out for a walk and take a look around Sandown. The weather has been kind to us, as the sun is shining and the temperature is blazing. Hope it’s not this hot tomorrow! When we reach the sea front Shari decides to opt for a portion of chips. After that she returns to the B&B, whilst Lindz & I head to a pub for a meal. “No chips for you” orders Lindz. “We need proper food if we’re going to last at the barrier tomorrow”. She’s right you know. When Lindz is at the bar she hears someone ask “are you Lindz Delirium? I’m Hannah, I post as 4real on the foreverdelayed forum”. Lindz confirms who she is & I introduce myself. Hannah is with her boyfriend Colin. We have a brief chat, swap mobile numbers, then Lindz & I leave. We head to the beach, where we see Amanda Graceywire, Snooky, Jan, Clover and some other members of the foreverdelayed forum. We had a brief natter, before Lindz & I headed off again. We made our way to a pub to meet one of Lindz’s work colleagues. He has a pair of weekend tickets and wishes to swap these for our day tickets, as he only wants to go to see The Who (we only have day tickets as we have come mainly to see the Manics). We manage to meet & swap tickets. The downside is that by the time we’ve done this, we’ve missed the Super Furry Animals. Damn! Nevermind. We then head to Newport, where the festival is being held. We plan to exchange our tickets for wristbands, so that we haven’t got to do this tomorrow when the gates open (that way we can get to the barrier quicker).
9.00: We arrive at the festival site. From far away you can hear the music from the site. As we make our way to the festival we can hear Groove Armada. Once we reach the site they have finished and the headliners are due to come on stage. Who is that? The Stereophonics. Lindz & I manage to get our wristbands, so we decide to take a look around the site. It’s being held in a park. There’s a mini funfair at the back of the site. There were quite a few people leaving the site as we arrived and I really can’t blame them. Well wouldn’t you?? I hit the merchandise stall and came away with a programme, event t-shirt and a Manics shirt. There were 2 MSP shirts on sale: short sleeved “Motorcycle Emptiness” shirt (has BABY I’M BORED on the back). I already have the long sleeve version of this, so I opted for the other shirt, which said ALL ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IS HOMOSEXUAL on the front. Lindz & I then made our way through the crowd, down to the front, so that we could see what the barrier was like, the stage set up etc. Whilst we couldn’t see the barrier, I could see the stage and noticed that it was quite high up. We then made our way out of the festival site. As we were doing so, the Stereophonics came on. The sound wasn’t very loud. We took a look at the screen and saw Kelly Jones. He was wearing a white hat, which resembled something Bob Dylan has worn. Kelly was also sporting a pair of sunglasses. We both remarked that he looked a complete twat. I’m so glad we were leaving, because I hate this band. Kelly’s voice does my head in (sorry to any Stereophonics fans who may be reading this).
10.45: We arrive back at the B&B and hit the sack. We’ve got a long day ahead of us tomorrow and need all the rest we can get. Lindz is already fretting that we won’t get to the barrier. She always does this and so far, she’s always been on the barrier. I really don’t know why she frets like she does.
11.10: Lindz’s mobile phone rings. I guess that it’s the Bowfinger lads” & I was right. What on earth did they want??? Eddie asks where we are so Lindz says that we’re back at the B&B. Eddie asked if we were asleep and apologises. Lindz asks what they were up to. They were watching the Stereophonics. Why? They have no idea. Probably because they were pissed. Why couldn’t the phone call have been from James Dean Bradfield or Nicky Wire?????
WE’RE OFF TO SEE THE MANICS!
6.30: The alarm goes off. Ugh! Bloody early mornings! Still we are seeing “our boys” today, so we need to be up early, because to get a spot on the barrier, we need to queue. Manics fans have a tendency of queueing. Will the Wire be wearing a skirt? Will someone in the crowd shout for “Sleepflower”? Will Lindz get a wave/smile from the Wire? Will I stop thinking of pointless questions?
8.20: We leave the B&B and make our way to Newport. Shari isn’t coming down til later on. She’s probably quite sensible. Nice to see that the sun is shining. Thankfully it isn’t too hot. If it stays like this all day, it’ll be perfect.
9.00: We arrive at the festival site. There’s already around 20 people queuing. We spot Amanda who met the Manics with us backstage at the Witnness festival last year. We also spot some more members from the foreverdelayed forum. Lindz is still fretting that we won’t get to the barrier. YES WE WILL!!!
10.50: For some reason the security people decide to open the gates. They’re not due to open for another 10 minutes, so I have no idea why they’re doing this.
11.00: After much huffing and puffing, Lindz & I make it to the barrier. See Lindz!! You and your fretting! As per usual we are on Nicky’s side of the stage and we have a perfect view. I’ll be able to see James clearly from where we’re stood, so I’m happy. Thankfully I won’t see his shiny new wedding ring (it’s not been officially confirmed, but he’s meant to have gotten married. I hope that James & Myleene are very happy...........bollocks to that!).
11.25: The first band take to the stage. I couldn’t catch their name. It must be extremely nerve wracking, opening up such a legendary festival. I wouldn’t want to do it. What we get is a band that easily outnumber the Polyphonic Spree in terms of band members. There’s around 30 people on stage & they’re either banging drums or percussion instruments. They play tribal music which lasts for ages. Rolf Harris would fit in easily here.
12.05: The next act comes on stage. It’s just one man and an acoustic guitar. He plays 4 songs, one of which is a cover of “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead. I can’t stand Radiohead, but this song sounds good. Could be because this singer doesn’t make the song sound as depressing as Thom Yorke does on the original. 12.45: The Leah Wood Band take to the stage. Music is in Leah’s blood, as her dad is Ron Wood (he’s the guitarist in some beat combo called the Rolling Stones. You’ve probably heard of them). I thought that Leah had a really good, strong voice and it’s nice to see that she’s inherited her musical talent from her dad, rather than his looks. The band end their set with a great cover of En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind”.
1.25: Proud Mary come on. They’re one of Noel Gallagher’s favourite bands. I don’t think that much of them to be honest. The crowd seem to like them. Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel are next. Lindz is looking forward to seeing them.
2.10: On come Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel. Steve takes his place on stage and this is the point when Lindz decides to sing “I think you are really fit, you’re fit and my god don’t you know it!” Seems like Lindz has a thing for Steve. You’re on your own there mate! The band launch into their cover of “Here Comes The Sun”, which is very appropriate seeing as the sun is shining. This is swiftly followed by “Mr Soft” and “Judy Teen”. “Sebastian” is also played. Four songs go by and the band pause. It’s at this point that look at my watch and notice that it’s near the end of their set, so I think to myself “they have to do it, they have to do it”. Sure enough Steve plays the first few notes of the next song. This causes the crowd to go spastic, as the song that’s being played is possibly Steve’s most well known song: “Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)”. The crowd sing along enthusiastically and so far, this has been the best act of the day. Steve extends the song so that the crowd can have a good ol’ singalong, before he finishes and then leaves the stage.
3.15: British Sea Power take to the stage. I’ve never heard any of their music before and I quite like what I hear. They have a lot of foilage on their amps, as well as an owl for some bizarre reason. During their last song, their percussionist walks along the front row, banging his drum. He then decides to go into the crowd and re-appears a few minutes later. Meanwhile, someone in a bear outfit is wrestling with the singer onstage. Make of that what you will. We notice that Shari has made her way to the site. She’s further along the barrier than us (almost near the end).
4.20: Electric Soft Parade are on. Bowfinger supported this lot once. They seem to have some fans in the crowd. One stupid girl asks Lindz if she could swap places and stand at the barrier. “No you can’t”. “But I like this band”. Lindz tells stupid girl that she should have queued like the rest of us. Note to anyone reading this: NEVER ask to take our places at the barrier before MSP are on at a festival. The answer will be no. If you want a place at the barrier, get off your arse and queue. Anyway back to the band. I was unfamiliar with their music and I liked what I heard. Tom seemed to be popular, as many people kept shouting out to him.
5.20: The Stands take to the stage. I’d seen their album advertised on MTV2 and I thought they sounded dull. Guess what?? They are incredibly dull. At one point I rested my head on the barrier, because I was so bored. This prompted a security lady to ask if I was ok and I said that the band were dull. She agreed.
6.40: On come Jet. Lindz & I were expecting the crowd to jump up & down, but they didn’t. I’ve been hearing “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” (their current single) on the radio a lot and this has been annoying me, so I expected not to like them live. To be perfectly honest, I quite liked Jet, as did the crowd. They all sang along to “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”.
7.30: The wait for the Manics begins. So far the bands have been on and off stage earlier than scheduled. MSP are due on at 8.20, according to the schedule. Lindz spots Deptford Andy & Deptford John setting up the band’s equipment, so we yell out for them. She also spots Steve Head (he’s the head of the band’s security). For some reason Nicky’s mic stand isn’t draped with the traditional feather boa. What’s going on there? There are screens at the side of the stage. During the wait for the Manics someone kept flashing the message “scream for the Manics!” After a while this got a bit tedious. This isn’t a bloody Westshite gig you know.
8.10: Eagle-eyed Lindz thinks she’s spotted Nicky waiting to go onstage. “It looks like he has short hair and he’s wearing something white” she observed. When it comes to the Wire, Lindz is extremely observant. Just wish they’d hurry up and grace us with their presence.
8.13: Finally! The band we’ve been waiting for arrive! Nicky takes his position on stage. What’s this???? He’s got a beard! Is he leaving his feminine side behind?? He’s also not wearing a skirt, so Lindz can’t get a glimpse of his thighs. They launch straight into “Elvis Impersonator:Blackpool Pier”, the opening track off the “Everything Must Go” album. Throughout this song I look at James and am pleased to see he’s looking quite fit. I then notice Sean tucked away behind his drumkit. Er.....what’s this???? He’s not wearing a cap, which is unusual for him. Instead he’s sporting a bob hairdo. The last time his hair was this long was 11 years ago. This’ll take some getting used to. That and Nicky having a beard. Once this song has finished Lindz resorts to her usual gig routine of shouting “Nicky you’re gorgeous”. I decide to sing “James you are really fit, you’re fit and my god don’t you know it”. The next song we’re treated to is “You Stole The Sun From My Heart”. Usually this gets the crowd jumping up & Down, but the crowd behind us decide not to. Whilst it was nice not being battered at the barrier, it didn’t seem right. Time for the next song. So James, what’s next then? “This is a song from The Holy Bible. This is called Yes”. Now we knew to expect this and it was good to hear it back in the live set, complete with the “for sale” quote from “The Holy Bible” album. James still can’t sing the “hurt myself to get pain out” line. Seeing as this is a reference to Richey and his self mutilation, you can’t blame him. The pain of missing Richey is obviously still there. James dedicates the next song to “anyone who’s ever been to see us live. This is Motorcycle Emptiness”. I often find that when this song is played live, the keyboards tend to drown this song. Tonight they don’t. I think this might be to do with the fact that the usual keyboardist, Nick Naysmyth, is on paternity leave (his wife had just given birth). His place has been taken by MSP’s former keyboardist/producer Dave Eringa. I much prefer him, as he doesn’t tend to drown out the songs with the keyboards (sorry Mr. Naysmyth!). “If this is shit, it’s because it’s a new one”, James tells us. We are treated to “Empty Souls”, a sneak preview of the forthcoming album. It’s hard to give an impression of a new song on a first hearing, especially in a live situation, but I have to say, that I like what I heard (biased, moi??). It could easily sit on either the “Everything Must Go” or “This Is My Truth....” albums. Wonder what the rest of the new album will sound like. “Ocean Spray” followed, minus the trumpet player, so James plays the trumpet solo on his guitar. This song was written as a tribute to his mother and it’s the 5th anniversary of her death soon. “Australia” was next. James introduced the next song as “Marlon Brando should introduce this one” (a reference to early versions of the “Generation Terrorists” album which did feature a sample of Marlon Brando). It was “Little Baby Nothing”, a song which brings a tear to the eyes, as James sings it so beautifully. Lindz also blubs. Next thing we hear is a familiar sounding quote. It’s John Hurt from the film of “1984”: “I hate purity, I hate goodness, I don’t want virtue to exist anyway”...yes it’s time for “Faster” and the electric version at that. This makes me a very happy bunny, as this is my favourite Manics song. As much as I loved the acoustic version on the December 2002 tour, it was so good to hear the electric version again. During the chorus, Lindz & I re-create James’ “dance” from their 1994 “Top Of The Pops” performance (don’t ask!). “From Despair To Where” was next, swiftly followed by another newie, which was called “Solitude Sometimes Is”. Again, it’s hard to form an impression on hearing it for the first time, but saying that, I did like this. Throughout the band’s set, Lindz had been constantly yelling at Nicky (even calling him an alcoholic at one point, as she saw him swigging from a pint of lager. Very unlike him). She’d not had any response from him (despite me yelling “Lindsey loves you” at one point), so it was time to resort to obscenities. “Nicky, take your clothes off” yells Lindz. This caused Nicky to turn around, look into the crowd, spot Lindz and give her a smile which makes Lindz’s day/night/week/century (Lindz, you delete as applicable). Thank god he noticed her, because I fear I wouldn’t hear the end of it! The next song is the great shout & point classic “You Love Us”. There’s nothing quite like yelling the chorus of this at a Manics gig. The pace is slowed down for “If You Tolerate This”..... and this is followed by “No Surface All Feeling”, which I’ve never heard live (cos this is my 8th MSP gig & they’ve never played it at the gigs I’ve been to). This is such a beautiful song and causes me to blub. Blame it on James. The man has such a beautiful voice! It’s hard not to blub. James introduces the band and it’s time for the last song, which is, as always, “Design For Life”. I blub again, as it’s the last song. That, and it sounds so emotional too. James wishes us all a good summer and with that, they’re off. Whilst the band played a great gig, the crowd were too darn mediocre. This could be because it has been quite warm today and the heat could’ve sapped the crowd’s energy. That, and there’s mostly Who fans behind us.
9.20: The Manics leave the stage and the wait begins for tonight’s headliners......The Who. Manics fans that have been stood at the barrier all day are being pulled out of the crowd by the security men. This causes many people to surge forward to take their place. It’s at this point that the people behind Lindz & I start surging forward and begin to squash us. This prompts us to leave the barrier. After 10 hours, it’d be good to move. One of my toes has gone dead! Colin & Hannah spot us and decide to join us. We find Shari and she also comes with us. We eventually end up at the back of the festival site and come across the folks from the foreverdelayed forum. Jan has recorded the Manics set. He tells Lindz that they managed to get 4th row and he knew she was on the barrier before he saw her. How?? Jan could hear Lindz (that wasn’t hard really). We discuss the 2 new songs and share opinions. Everybody seems to agree that the new songs sound great. We also discuss Nicky’s beard and Sean’s new hairdo. As yet no-one quite knows what to make of the beard. Snooky & I have our ongoing “who’s fitter: Carl Barat (Libertines) or James Dean Bradfield?” discussion. She still plumps for Carl. Me.....the jury’s still out on that one. Look, I just can’t decide!
9.50: I can hear music playing in the background. It sounds like The Who. I look at the screen and see that it is The Who. They are singing “I Can’t Explain”. To me it doesn’t sound very loud. “Substitute” is next. “Who Are You” follows and Pete Townsend decides to have a rant about the sound. He asks for the sound to be turned back up. Too right! The Who were in the Guinness Book of Records for being one of the loudest live bands. The next song we were treated to was “Behind Blue Eyes” and it was so nice to hear the original. Looking at the screens I notice that Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend don’t seem to have aged, unlike the Rolling Stones. Lindz & I left the foreverdelayed gang and made our way to where Eddie Bowfinger was standing. He’d lost Dave several hours ago, whilst Ian & Barry were “somewhere in the crowd”. Lindz had her lump in the throat moment with “Baba O’Reilly”. Eddie was absolutely knackered and to be honest, he looked it.
11.00: Eddie decided to go and find his tent, so we said our goodbyes. Lindz & I then made our way back to the foreverdelayed gang and said our goodbyes to them. Shari, Lindz & I then made our way back to the B&B, because by this time, we were knackered! As we left the site we could hear “You Better You Bet”. By the time we got back to the car, we could hear “My Generation”.
11.50: We arrive back at the B&B. It’s been a long day. Lindz decides to letch at her photos. She also reminisces about the times she’s met the Manics. I mention that James should do the gentlemanly thing and pop over to sing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. This gets a response of “you’re so full of shit. You wouldn’t just want that from Bradders”. Oh how well Lindz knows me! Not long after that it was time for some shut eye.
“NICKY’S GOT A BEARD”(LINDZ)
6.10: What on earth am I doing waking up at this hour???? Lindz is also awake. Her first words: “Nicky has a beard”. Even at this hour, she is very observant. Either that, or she is in shock. I take a look at the photos I took on my digicam. I suddenly get all excited and yell “I’ve got Sean!!!!” As I zoom in on a photo I took of Nicky, I notice that lurking in the background is Sean. I call this my “where’s Wally” shot.
8.30: Time for breakfast. Shari has beaten us to it and has almost finished. Lindz & I are left to chat about last night’s gig. Other guests in the B&B also went to the festival and say that we have too much energy. It’s what us MSP fans call “stamina”.
9.20: Whilst Shari is getting ready, Lindz & I decide to take a walk along the sea front. There are a few elderly people about and I’m getting a lot of funny looks. I don’t think it helps that I’m wearing a Manics t-shirt that says ALL ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IS HOMOSEXUAL. The temperature was quite hot already and there are a few people on the beach. I hope it’s not too unbearable for our journey home. Tonight David Bowie is headlining the final night of the festival. To say that I’m gutted that I’m missing him is the understatement of the century. Will I ever get to see the Thin White Duke???? The Libertines were supposed to play today, but they have cancelled because Pete is currently in rehab in Thailand (the rehab place is something to do with Dot Cotton from “Eastenders”). I’m so glad they cancellled, because I’d have been even more gutted that I’d be missing them. Whatd’yamean I’ve seen them before?!!??? Your point is??!!?? Before Bowie plays, the England v France Euro 2004 match will be shown on the screens. Looks like I’ll be home in time for that. Like I give a shit.
10.00 We leave the B&B and head for East Cowes, to catch our ferry home. The crossing won’t be the same without the Bowfinger lads.
11.00: We arrive in East Cowes and decide to pop over to West Cowes, as there is bugger all in East Cowes. Whilst we’re in West Cowes we pop into various shops. We get asked about the festival and if we’re going later on. I begin to lose count the number of times I say that I’m gutted that I’m missing David Bowie. By the end of the morning, D***d B***e have become swear words.
12.45: Time to board the ferry. By now he temperature is soaring! In a way I’m glad that I’m not at the festival today, as I’d probably get sunstroke. I’m sad to leave IOW, as I’ve had a really great time and I’ve met some really cool people. I think PMD (post Manic depression) is beginning to kick in. Also aching calves is beginning to kick in. I need a massage on my calves. Any offers? Thought not.
2.20: We arrive in Southampton. Now for the final part of our journey.
5.00: We arrive back in Milton Keynes. We drop Shari off at the train station so that she can get her train home. We then head to Lindz’s house, so that I can collect my car and drive home. When we reach Lindz’s house we see her husband Kev, who has been looking after their daughter Jude. She has the hump, because her mummy has been away. Bless! After briefly speaking to Kev about the festival, I make my way home.
6.20: I arrive home. Right, time to bore everyone about the festival........
Now for the boring part....the “thank you’s”:
The MSP fans I spoke to in IOW: You’re all such a cool bunch of people! MSP couldn’t ask for better fans. Hope to see you at future Manics gigs!
Kev: For looking after Jude whilst your wife swanned off to see the Manics for the umpteenth time.
Jude: For being such a good little girl. “Gay bar, gay bar, gay bar!” (don’t ask!)
The Bowfinger Lads: For being great company on the ferry.
Shari: For being a really great travelling companion. Here’s to the next gig (whenever that is)!
Lindz: For driving us all to IOW & back, for being a great travelling companion and for being an all round good egg! Here’s to the next MSP tour.......
To Sean Moore, Nicky Wire & James Dean Bradfield: You were the reason I travelled back and forth, endured loss of sleep and spent 10 hours on the barrier. It was great to see you live again. You will ALWAYS matter.
Richey Edwards: Wherever you are, your lyrics still speak volumes. We miss you.