All the latest from Dave, our professor of bass!
Hurrah I hear you cry! It’s the return of the Mama Tour Log! Well there has been so much going on I (Dave) thought I would bring you up to date.
We started the year still searching for a replacement for James, on the face of it an impossible task – how do you replace someone who is irreplaceable? But we finally found our man and Tim Rothwell, former drummer with SeYeS, is the chosen one. Following that decision we started rehearsals to get Tim ready for his first concert which is going to be on 1st April – yes we have a sense of humour!
Meanwhile our 2017 ‘Tour’ kicked off with a return to one of our favourite venues, The Forum Theatre in Chester, which was sold out – a great start. Considering all five of us had not been together since November, we played some excellent stuff.
Next up we returned to The Cavern. This was a special show for the band because for John W, John C and James it was their 100th show as Mama. It was a great night with over 300 in the crowd and once again we played really well.
Rehearsals with Tim continued and we played our third show at Oswestry, The Lion Quays. Another good show even though John W was struggling slightly with his voice. Yet again the feedback was very positive.
On to Bury and our first show at the rejuvenated Met. Once again we had a big crowd with well over 250 in the audience as we rocked our way through the set. The comments after the show were really pleasing and this was backed up by posts on our Facebook page, along with the usual video clips of our performance.
Which brings us to this weekend and two shows at New Brighton Floral Pavilion. This was our first visit to this venue and these two evenings gave us an opportunity to play both the prog set on the Friday night and the hits set on the Saturday. In addition this was the band’s five year anniversary as back in 2012 Mama played their first show at Pacific Road and now we returned to the Wirral to celebrate (ironically, after Pacific Road was closed down, they moved the house PA system to The Floral Pavilion and this was the very PA system we used again! Fate or what?!).
On Friday, our set up was delayed as each one of us was hindered by considerable traffic problems. In my case it took over 30 minutes to cross the bridge and this was not due to an accident but simply the road works and sheer volume of traffic. Once at the venue we discussed how soon it will be that one accident somewhere will have a knock on effect that grinds to a halt the whole traffic system across the country – we were in a philosophical mood!
The Sound Check was good so we head off to the dressing room while the crew headed out to the local fish and chips emporium. They returned with stories of how big the fish were!
Burning on stage!
We took to the stage and to be blunt, we were on fire and the audience reaction drove us on. The second half run of Squonk, The Lamb, Musical Box, Home by the Sea, In The Cage and Los Endos had everyone standing on their feet shouting for more. We returned to the stage and the crowd sang a rousing chorus of I Know What I Like and that’s it. The feedback was exceptional as one person after another told us just how good we were. Comments on Facebook were really pleasing and we headed for home with smiles on our faces.
Saturday night and the return of the giant hits set!
And so to Saturday which saw the return of Mark on the guitar. Darren has started to learn the hits set. We have included In The Air Tonight with him at our recent shows but there are a few songs still to conquer and so Mark is back! His return brought the usual question – where is the nearest coffee machine? We sound checked with Don’t Lose My Number and Steam – all is well – it’s like he’s never been away.
The record books show that this line up of Mama – John W, John C, James, Mark and myself have played the majority of the bands shows together over the five years so it is fitting that we were together for this anniversary performance and for James’s last show. We were up for this one and we took to the stage and kicked into Land Of Confusion. The first half was a blur as we drove our way through Big Time, Turn It On Again, Silent Running and Follow You, Follow Me.
Half time arrived and there is only one story; apparently Mark played the first half with his flies undone! In the dressing room we recounted stories of each member of the band in various incidents involving lack of clothing – I honestly cannot write these up!
Mark wants yet another cup of coffee!
The second half took off with John W and Mark playing a great acoustic version of Another Cup Of Coffee – it went down a storm. The band opened up with Colours and we motored through All I Need Is A Miracle, Easy Lover, Sledgehammer and Invisible Touch. The audience gave us a standing ovation and we returned for an emotional Take Me Home to bring the curtain down on what has been a great weekend. We will miss James but like Mark, he is ready to step in and help us out if we need him.
Our next show will be at Huntingdon Hall (Worcester), a converted church that is haunted – no really! The last time we played there JC’s keyboards packed in mid set, something that had never happened before and has never happened since. Plus we have been told similar things have happened to other bands that have played there. Yes, Tim is really looking forward to his debut. If you are thinking of going then maybe I will be playing my double neck guitar – fingers crossed it is ready to go.
Photo credits to Mark (the guitarist that is). You can find out more about his photo work (his real job) on his website here: www.mkcophotodesign.co.uk