Lisa Stansfield European Tour 2013 – Episode 16: Manchester to Birmingham

And so it was that after last night’s revelry we were off to Symphony Hall, Birmingham for the last show of the UK tour.

Before that though, there was the business of breakfast!

Andrea had stayed at the Lowry Hotel before and had been telling us for days how legendary the breakfast was there so we were all very much looking forward to this particular morning. It’s the little things…..

Oh, my word! How right she was, though. I can honestly say that was the best cooked breakfast I’ve ever had in my life – and I’ve had a few I can tell you……. (THANK YOU!)

Bacon, Sausage, Poached Eggs, Beans, Hash Browns, and my particular favourite……… Black Pudding!

What a way to start the day.

There was however, one notable absentee from this culinary event….

Fortunately I had had enough foresight to drink about a bath full of water before I went to bed so I was feeling fine. The same could not, however, be said for Mickey, who spent the morning in his room licking his wounds.

Manchester to Birmingham is only about a couple of hours so we left around 1.00pm by which time Mick looked almost human and so off we set for the sound check for the final time for a while.

Early check in at the Malmaison in Birmingham meant that Mickey had another hour or so of recovery time and I myself set about writing the blog post.

Symphony Hall is a beautiful new concert hall with all mod cons and amazing facilities but somehow it lacked the atmosphere of many of the other theatres we had played at on this leg. Perhaps it’s because it was pretty much designed for classical music – and indeed is the home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – I don’t know but, somehow it felt a little stiff from the outset. Not only at the soundcheck but, as it turned out, also at the show.

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Sound check at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

It’s another of those strange but seemingly immutable laws that the last date of a tour is often a disappointment and, unlike Milan on the Europe leg (see blog No.8), this was one of those slightly understated shows.

Don’t get me wrong. The audience clearly loved the show. We certainly loved it. We always do…

But somehow, it felt just a little stiff and not as effusive as usual. I can’t quite put my finger on why, though. Lisa was great as usual, everything went well with the band, sound was good and the audience were still screaming for more at the end. But somehow……..

Anyway, this seems an appropriate time to say a massive thank you to Allen & Heath for inventing what has to be the best thing I have come across in years!

I’ve explained in previous blogs the crucial importance of good on-stage monitoring – particularly for brass players and singers who don’t have a knob to turn up when they can’t hear themselves.

So, ordinarily we rely on the monitor engineer (Meado) to initially set us up with a good balance of the various instruments in our monitors and then, throughout the show to turn stuff up or down depending on how we are feeling, how loud the rest of the band get or a combination of the two.

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The monitor desk

However, you can’t always get a good line of sight to him and, in any case, he is largely focusing on Lisa’s sound as well as doing the same for everyone else. That’s why, during a gig, you will often see guys in a band gesticulating wildly to the side of the stage. They aren’t telling someone to clear off, you can’t park there – they are trying to catch the monitor guys attention because they can’t hear themselves.

So, along come the clever chaps at Allen & Heath and they only go and develop an iPad app for it!!

Yes folks, there truly is an app for everything and this little puppy is just about the most useful app I’ve got on my iPad.

Basically, as you can see below, I can connect to the monitor desk via wifi and control my own mix!

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My own personal monitor mixer!!!!  (NB: Dave’s keyboards RIGHT OFF! Ha ha , sorry Dave :-))

Now, I can actually smell the ambivalence of those of you who have never been a brass player on stage with a drummer and some amps, but those of you who have……

WHAT ABOUT THAT THEN? Is that not the best thing ever?

Allen & Heath – whoever came up with that idea, promote them……

and give them a pay rise……

and a company car……..

and a fortnight’s holiday……

and some champagne!

After the show Mickey headed straight back to Donnelly Mansions in Hartlepool (oh, yes!) and the rest of us went back to the Hotel for a last night drink and to celebrate the birthday of Lisa’s sister, the lovely Karen. I must say she’s looking great for 25!

To be honest though, it was a fairly sedate affair as many were still feeling the after effects of Manchester so, around 1.00am we decided to make the after show in Manchester the official end of UK Tour party…… and went to bed.

Next morning, a fairly brisk 10.00am leave for the tedious trip home via everyone’s house.

So, that’s the UK tour done. We were meant to be going to Istanbul tomorrow but, for obvious reasons that was postponed until September and so we now have a few weeks off until we restart in Italy in July.

As usual, it has been an absolute hoot and an complete validation of my decision to take a little time out from my business to get back on the road again. However, we’re all pretty tired now and ready for a rest and a dose of normality.

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I sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading my humble blogging efforts so far. I have certainly enjoyed writing them and I will absolutely continue when we restart the tour in July. In fact, I will be posting a few interim blogs over the coming weeks so, if you care, you might like to keep an eye out for those.

However, until then Lisa herself has asked me to conduct a poll amongst readers, the results of which will help her to plan the set for any new shows which may be happening later in the year.

So, if you want your say on how things roll, let’s have your votes ladies & gentlemen. They really are crucial to bringing you the very best in entertainment.

 

What??

Lisa Stansfield European Tour 2013 – Episode 15: London to Manchester

Saturday morning. The day after the night before and there is much to do before leaving for tonight’s show in Manchester. Namely, drop my youngest son off at cricket, the oldest at football and mow the lawn. It’s a tough life this rock star business ha ha 😉

The band bus was leaving London at 9.30am but luckily for me, Mickey had driven down to the London show and just happened to be passing through Buckinghamshire on his way back up to Manchester.

So he very kindly agreed to stop off at Thirkell Towers and pick me up. He’s not a bad lad really!

So it was an 11.30 leave for us and we arrived at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester by 3.00pm. That gave me enough time for an hour of my favourite pastime – a bath and a book (simultaneously)!

A couple of chapters of Alain de Botton’s stunning book “Religion for Atheists” and I was cleaner, wiser and ready for the soundcheck.

I remember the Lowry Theatre from the last set of dates we did with Lisa in (I think) 2010 or 2011 and it is a lovely, friendly place with happy memories. However, the surrounding area has changed hugely with the building of the enormous BBC Media village and it was hard to recognise the place from only a few years ago.

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Mickey arrives for the sound check

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Mickey demonstrates he’s mastered the art of joined up writing

Soundcheck was fairly standard. Lisa elected not to come – such is her confidence in the sound guys – so we cracked on had it done in about half an hour.

It has to be said, there was a little pre-match tension in the air as this was a home gig and everyone wanted to put on an extra special show, but we all got on with what we needed to do and, despite the little edge, got everything set up for the show.

At show time everyone was a little nervous but, as usual, once we got under way, that all disappeared and we had a great show! Given it was a home show, I think the guest list was pretty healthy and I heard someone in the crowd shouting “Go on Aunty Lisa” as we fired up so we knew it was a friendly crowd.

I must say that Lisa’s fans are certainly up for a good time and the place was rocking from the word go.

Lisa again pulled out all the stops and appeared in another stunning new outfit which was complimented by a very elegant feather fascinator. It didn’t, however, look quite so elegant when I wore it for the first tune of the encore.

It was irritating Lisa and I said, just as a joke, “Well, I’ll wear it then!”

Wrong……

Before I knew it it was on my head and we were heading back on stage. I must say that, after all these years as a musician, it’s great to be breaking new ground and this is definitely the first time I have played a gig wearing a feather headdress. (At least, I think it is?)

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Nice!

After the show there was a party in the theatre bar and it was great to see some old friends and to meet some new ones.

It seems that, incredibly, this blog seems to have caught on and I was congratulated by so many people who said they enjoyed reading it and looked forward to each new episode. Far more than those who said they enjoyed my playing incidentally!!!! 😉

It’s very gratifying to hear because, believe me, when you are knackered and a little hung over, it takes will power to make yourself do it and so, to hear it’s not totally in vain, makes me feel much better.

I did promise mentions for a number of people:

Karen Clark (Lisa’s Sister) whose birthday it is today (Happy 21st Karen 😉 ) See you later!!
Lee Howson – Northern Soul trumpet god
Fiona Howson, who supports Lee by not taking up the cornet again
Bev Nathan – fan extraordinaire and all round good egg
Heike Maas – Liepzig Lisa lover

After the after show party, some of the guys went off to the Band On The Wall in Manchester but I headed back to the Hotel for a relatively early night.

However, it was not meant to be as Robbie Williams’ band were also staying at the Lowry and so a bunch of us sat up talking, laughing and drinking until the early hours.

Big shout to Ben Edwards and Mark Brown (trumpet & sax respectively) for a great night of laughter and tomfoolery and especially Ben, who was far more gracious about my playing than I could possibly deserve.

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l to r: Ben Edwards, Moi, Mark Brown, Mickey

3.30am saw me chuck in the towel and go to bed but, with the leave not scheduled until 11.30 next morning and breakfast served until 11.00, it wasn’t too bad at all.

Tomorrow………… Birmingham and the last UK date.

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Togetherness: Dave, Andrea & Snowboy

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Ian’s guitars

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All ready to go

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Lisa wows them again

Lisa Stansfield European Tour 2013 – Episode 14: Newcastle to London

So, after the show in Newcastle I had stuff to do back in London on the day off so I stayed with my sister and caught an early train back. Everyone else stayed in the Malmaison in Newcastle and hit the road next morning.

I definitely lucked out because it apparently took them 9 and a half hours to get back. Pretty much their whole day off was spent sitting in the bus, in traffic, in a bad mood.

I, on the other hand arrived in London at 10.35am, did all my stuff and went home to spend the evening with the family.

Sorry guys………

So, Friday brought the day we had all been looking forward to. If, like me, you have even the remotest sense of history, you too would have been salivating at the prospect of playing in the courtyard of Hampton Court Palace. Literally treading in the footsteps of Henry VIII.

It’s particularly apposite for me as I have recently finished reading the two Hilary Mantel books – “Wolf Hall” & “Bring Up The Bodies” – two of the most beautifully written books it has been my pleasure to enjoy. There’s a very good reason why they both won the Booker prize!

These two books chart the progress of Henry’s cessation from the Catholic Church in order to divorce Katherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn, and his subsequent chopping off of Anne’s head to get off with Jane Seymour.

Sounds a bit dry the way I tell it, but Hilary Mantel is an infinitely better writer than I and I heartily recommend these books to you.

Anyway, on to the subject in hand. Lisa Stansfield live at Hampton Court Palace.

A truly amazing setting for a show but one which, for me did not get off to a particularly auspicious start. I’m afraid I got stuck in traffic and missed the sound check altogether. It seems, however, they managed just fine without me because it was barely mentioned. I wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or upset!!

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Soundcheck. Where’s the trumpet?

Luckily, as I have said on many occasions, Meado is a genius and my monitors were just fine for the show. He is, of course ably assisted by the amazing monitor desk which was provided for us by the lovely chaps at Allen & Heath. And it goes without saying that Walter worked his usual magic out front and between the two of them they could make a donkey sound good (I’m not saying a word Mick 😉

It was also a special night for me as my wife and two of my (four) kids were coming to see us. My two sons, at 15 and 13, have never ever seen me play as I pretty much retired from playing 15 years ago, so it was a big thing for me.

I wouldn’t say I was nervous about it. More curious to see how they would react. They are more used to seeing me shouting from the side of a rugby pitch than mincing around on stage.

I will never forget some years ago, my eldest daughter saying to me “If you ever tell any of my friends you are in Jamiroquai, I will never speak to you again!” so you can never really tell how they will feel about having a dad who isn’t normal (thank you…….)

Anyway, in the event the boys really enjoyed it and my wife said that they were very proud of of their old dad. Awwwwww……..

The show was an unforgettable experience in such an awesome setting and once again the crowd had come to party!!

All except one woman who accosted Mickey in his hotel after the show to complain that everyone had stood up to dance and she couldn’t see anything. When Mick suggested that perhaps the solution would have been to also stand up, she reminded him that she hadn’t paid to stand up.

Just shows you, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t please everyone.

Lisa looked absolutely stunning in a new frock, especially for the occasion and my wife was VERY much taken by it.

As well as looking amazing, she also sounded amazing and the whole experience was one for the memory banks.

It was a little tricky for Mickey & I as, being an outdoor gig, it was quite cold and every time we picked up our instruments they were freezing cold – which causes them to go flat (in pitch). However, we weren’t going to let that spoil the occasion so we just blew a bit harder and danced a bit faster 😉 You lucky people!!

I had to do the show without a drink as I was driving home afterwards but, in actual fact, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment or my energy levels one bit.

After the show we were all buzzing and, had we not all been driving home, it would have been a great after show party!!

Still, it’s Manchester tomorrow. A home gig for Lisa & Ian and there are sure to be a host of colourful characters from Rochdale there to set the party mood.

I’d better get an early night………..

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Where were you? Meado & Sean

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The Stage

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Ian, Walter & Meado doing important stuff

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Smile……….

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My sons – after seeing the old man dance………

Lisa Stansfield European Tour 2013 – Episode 13: Edinburgh to Newcastle

So, after yet another rip roaring show in Edinburgh last night, it was back on to the charabanc for the drive south to Newcastle and what is effectively a home gig for Mickey (he’s from Hartlepool – which explains a lot!)

It’s also a significant show for me as I was born in the North East and, although I left over 30 years ago, it still has a very special place in my heart.

On the drive down we got talking about my Buddy Rich blog post yesterday and one thing led to another which in turn led to us imagining what a Lisa Stansfield Big Band would look like.

Of course, we give it a crack from time to time when we do “Down In The Depths” as an encore but trying to replicate a full jazz big band with me, Mickey & Ian is stretching it a bit!

More Duke of Wellington than Duke Ellington

In the course of the conversation we got on to musicians with appropriate surnames (the drummer, Chad Wackerman for example) and before long we had compiled an entire big band full of appropriate, imaginary and, in some cases, very tasteless personnel.

So, here goes with the (fairly clean version) Lisa Stansfield Big Band – coming to a venue near you (if you’re not careful)

Trumpets: Eamonn Miss, Willy Maykit, Buster Bloodvessel, Terry Bull

Saxes: Al Tow, Chaz Licks, Kenny Reed, Kenny Hell, Barry Tone

Trombones: Oliver Guinness, Scott Novalves, Peter Out

Piano: Ron Chords

Bass: Paul de Strings

Drums: Phil Allgaps

Percussion: Owen Transport

Backing Vocals: Sheila Blydge & Norma Snockers

Band Manager: Manny Zinderpost
Oh, how we laughed!! It’s amazing what you will do to pass the time on a bus journey.

It’s either that or watch one of Snowboy’s films from the 1940s……..

Anyway, finally we arrived in Newcastle and Andrea and I were dropped off at the Malmaison Hotel whilst the others went straight to the theatre to set up their gear. Of course, we both feel terribly, terribly guilty about relaxing in a lovely hot bath in our rooms while all our friends are slaving away at the theatre. So much so that, in support of them all, I only ordered a light snack from room service and I kept my afternoon snooze down to just the one hour 🙂

Finally the call came to say that everything was set up and we were picked up from the hotel to go to the sound check.

Once again, the holy trinity of Walter, Meado and Sean (Cuzzy is also off with Johnny Rotten) made sure that the sound, both on stage and front of house was exemplary and we could all look forward to another storming gig.

Both Mickey and I, being originally local lads, had family at the show and so he met his better half Gill (MUCH better half, I must say….) and I met my sister Susan Curry (there you go Sis – name checked x) for a quick pre-show aperitif before climbing into our elaborate, hand made, designer show costumes to do it all again.

I have to say that, wherever we have gone, the crowds have been amazing and from the very first note last night they were up on their feet and ready to party.

And what a party we had! With the prospect of a night off tomorrow, we all went for it full on – especially with the dancing! Mine and Mickey’s feet were a blur at times!!

In fact, at the after show there was a great deal of excitement about the choreography on the brass riser, and we were swamped with begging requests to pass on some of our best moves.

But we held fast and kept secret those stellar steps handed down to us by Fred & Ginger. (Fred Elliott & Ginger Baker)

And so, dear reader, another barnstorming show draws to a close and we all wend our weary way back down to London for a day off in preparation for the show at Hampton Court Palace on Friday.

Until then, some pictures from the show (courtesy of Sharon RT)

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Lisa looking gorgeous as usual

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Johnny encouraging Mickey (as if he needs any encouragement!)

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Nice lighting Paddy!!

Lisa Stansfield European Tour 2013 – Episode 12: York to Edinburgh

Queens Hall Edinburgh. I knew I had played there before but I couldn’t for the life of me remember when and who with. I’d been racking my brain for days but just could not come up with it.

As a professional musician, when you have been doing it as long as I have, you will have played in most theatres in the country and my memory is usually pretty good when it comes to who, what, when, where and how.

But I just couldn’t get this one.

And then, as soon as I walked in the place, it came to me. The Buddy Rich Band in 1984!

No wonder I couldn’t remember. It was almost 30 years ago (I started very young…..;_)

I think perhaps the reason I couldn’t remember was that that day back in 84 went past in a bit of a blur.

I was a last minute replacement for one of the trumpet players (who was fired mid-tour) and I was thrown in at the deep end. There was no time for rehearsals so I had to go in on the first gig and sight read everything on the actual show. Of course if that weren’t bad enough, doing Buddy’s band is not like doing Lisa’s band where you rehearse a set and then pretty much do that same set every night.

The Buddy Rich band has a pad of music about 6 inches thick with hundreds of tunes in it – the vast majority of them fiendishly difficult. And every night we played a different set depending on the mood of both Buddy and the audience.

Up until that point I had never really encountered that level of micro accuracy, and about 8 bars in to the first tune I realised that this was sink or swim. I would really have to raise my game or get found out. And, believe me, you do NOT want to get found out by Buddy Rich!

Thankfully the other guys in the band were great and they really helped and supported me until I got up to speed.

So, if I remember correctly, that night back in 1984 was the second or third gig and I was still in full panic mode. I stood at the end of the four trumpets with Buddy to my right and to my left one of the finest trumpet players it has ever been my privilege to play with.

Tony Gorruso subsequently went on to become Frank Sinatra’s personal lead trumpet player and thankfully he took good care of me. We are still friends to this day – and I believe he actually follows this blog. (Hi, Tony)

Anyway, all these years later, my trip to the Queens Hall was much more relaxed and from the word go the crowd were totally up for it. We had barely gotten one bar into “Can’t Dance” and they were.

Dancing, that is.

That set the tone for the rest of the show and it was a right royal rip roaring affair, with the crowd piling to the front of the stage to get a closer look.

Big shout out by the way to the lady who, in the middle of the show, came to the front of the auditorium and lay down on the floor!! We’re not sure what it meant but it was certainly a topic of conversation in the dressing room afterwards. The general consensus was that it was probably a good thing?

After the show it was back to the Malmaison Hotel for the usual after show do, only to find that the bar shut at midnight! To be honest, it was probably just as well as I was still feeling a little delicate after my debacle in York.

Next morning, reasonably civilised trip to Newcastle for the next show and a chance to catch up with some of my family.

‘Till tomorrow………

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Selfie in Edinburgh

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The dressing room was temporarily renamed in honour of the 29th anniversary of my return

Lisa Stansfield European Tour 2013 – Episode 11: London to York

OK. First off. Let’s get this out of the way. I am writing today’s blog with a MASSIVE hangover. So you will have to excuse the fact that it won’t necessarily be as scintillating, witty or informative as usual (assuming you thought any of those things in the first place). However, please keep in mind that I am sitting in my room at the Malmaison Hotel in Edinburgh typing this, with the bed behind me just crying out for me to climb in, assume the foetal position and go to sleep for a couple of hours before the soundcheck.

Yes, I’m afraid I got hijacked by one of Mickey’s mates last night, which set me up for a monster night which unfortunately ended quite messily.

“Come over to the pub” said Mick……. “and meet my mate Big Ian”

Why not? I thought. In any event, I just had to go to a pub called Plonkers, if only out of curiosity. Only in York…..

Well, let me tell you. Big Ian is quite a character.

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Big Ian with yours truly and Mickey

To be fair to him and his wife, they weren’t really to blame but the break in my normal pre-show routine was to prove costly some hours later.

You see, I’m a creature of habit and I always observe pretty much the same routine before every show. Show clothes on at T minus 1 hour, toilet stops every 20 minutes, with the last one just before we go on etc etc.

Part of that routine involves the commencement of the drinking with pin point accuracy. You don’t want to start too soon or you won’t play your best. But, by the same token, you need to have had a little livener to put you in the showbiz mood.

Now, after all these years I’ve got it down to a fine art. One drink of the current favourite (Vodka and Red Bull is in the chair at the moment) and I’m raring to go.

And then Mickey says come and say hi to Big Ian.

Before the show was fine actually. OK, I had a couple more than I usually would but I’ve never, ever gone on stage tipsy in 30 years and I’m not about to start now.

It was after the show when it all went horribly wrong. Big Ian was such a nice lad that I went back over to Plonkers to meet him after the show and when Lisa & Ian and some of their friends joined us, we were set for the night.

When I finally got back to the hotel I had to wait for the bed to go around a good 5 or 6 times before I managed to jump on to it. And when I woke up this morning, someone had broken into my room, thrown my clothes all over the place, put the clocks forward an hour and taken all the money out of my wallet!

I’m NEVER drinking again!

As far as the show was concerned, we all had an amazing night. The Opera House is a beautiful little theatre with great acoustics and incredibly helpful and friendly staff. Oh, and they even serve Beechdean Ice Cream – the finest ice cream in the world!!

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Even after a break in the tour, everyone was on form and everything went according to plan. For those of you who are coming to any of the shows coming up, you are in for a treat as Lisa gets better and better as the tour goes on.

So, here we are in Edinburgh after driving up this morning and I’ve just got time to grab an hour’s sleep before the soundcheck in a desperate attempt to try to get myself feeling vaguely normal again.

Now, did I pack the Resolve?………..

Lisa Stansfield European Tour 2013 – Episode 10: Bonus Blog – Cast of Characters

With our post-european break almost over it’s time to start gearing up for the UK leg of the tour.

I shall, of course be blogging as usual throughout the tour and, as I invoke various members of the entourage throughout these blogs, I felt that perhaps I ought to provide a handy personnel guide for your reference. A sort of ‘who’s who’, or rather ‘who’s that’ of the Lisa Stansfield touring company.

It’s only a very brief guide as I am planning to release more in-depth profiles later on but, at the very least you will have some idea of who I’m talking about as I impart our sorry tale.

With that in mind, I had planned to give everyone in the band and crew the opportunity to positively influence their showing in this outline through bribery and corruption.

But I forgot…..

So, here goes with the totally unexpurgated, warts and all resumé of our little travelling circus.

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Dave Oliver – Keyboards/Musical Director: In charge of making sure we all start and finish pretty much together and that not too many people are injured in between. A keen gurner, Dave can always be found flagrantly ignoring the dress code (Black, Dave!)

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Snowboy – Percussion: The oldest serving member of the Lisa Stansfield Silver Prize Band, Mark (for that is his official name) has played on every commercial show that Lisa has ever done – whether he was asked or not! Snowboy’s hair is brought to you courtesy of Dax.

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Davide Mantovani – Bass Guitar: Recognised in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s tallest living bass player, Davide earns extra cash on the tour by polishing the ceiling of the tour bus with his head in between shows. Representing 50% of the Italian contingent, he spends much of his spare time looking for his volume pedal.

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Andrea Grant – Vocals: Shy and retiring Andrea is the only person on the tour brave enough to sleep in a bunk above Mick. On permanent loan from Strictly Come Dancing, when unable to remember the words she just sings any old shit!

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Davide Giovannini – Drums: Forming the other half of the Etruscan guard, Davide is the youngest member of the band. The 17 year old tub thumper attributes his rugged good looks to years of clobbering stuff and not smoking or drinking (much)

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Mick Donnelly – Sax & Flute: Former World ballroom dance champion of 1964, Mick is a teetotaller who has many friends, despite coming from Hartlepool. His lifelong ambition is to learn to play the saxophone.

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Johnny Thirkell – Trumpet & Flugelhorn: A former colonel in the SAS, when not racing Formula 1 cars, Johnny loves to unwind by polishing all the gold trophies he has won for all kinds of really clever stuff.

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Walter Jacquiss – Tour Manager/Front of House Sound Engineer: Walter quit his previous job stuffing eels into a jam jar in favour of the more challenging task of stuffing musicians into a tour bus. Doubling as knob-twiddler-in-chief, he recently signed a multi-million pound endorsement deal with L’Oreal.

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Colm Meade (Meadoe) – Monitor Engineer: the love child of Daniel O’Donnell and Bernie Nolan, Meadoe is a popular and well liked member of the family. Mainly because he will mess with our monitor mixes if we say otherwise. No, seriously…. he really is a great guy! One of the best…. My favourite, in fact….

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Stephen Curran (Cuzzy) – Stage Manager & Backline Tech: Errant son of the 12th Earl of Huddersfield, Cuzzy’s nickname comes from the fact that he is a close relation of Henry VIII. He is one of the world’s leading experts at pushing buttons whilst scratching his head and his hobbies include catching eagles for Burt Reynold’s tea.

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Cally Harris – Tour Assistant: A newcomer to the party, the European tour was Cally’s first foray with us. She really enjoyed the camaraderie and raucous good humour of touring with such a close knit family. So much so that she left and is now touring with Johnny Rotten (as if we weren’t rotten enough!)

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Ian Devaney – Keyboards, Guitar & Husband: Ex-Mayor of Weybridge, Ian likes nothing better than sipping a delicious glass of Pimms whilst punting up the Wey. It is a little known fact that Ian is the world’s leading exponent of the B flat Catastrophone.

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Lisa Stansfield – Turn, Boss & Vocals: A committed show-off, Lisa always manages to wangle her way to the front of the stage. She joined the band in 1989 as part of a Job Creation scheme organised by Rochdale County Council and is hoping to take up singing professionally.