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………

Selfie in Edinburgh

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

10 thoughts on “Lisa Stansfield European Tour 2013 – Episode 12: York to Edinburgh

  1. Love reading your blogs, watched you in York and coming again to Manchester, fantastic show, keep up the good work!

  2. Lovin’ the blog my old friend…. Keep it coming!!! Please give Lisa et al my love. Wishing the tour every success. I’m on the UK TOUR of Hairspray til the end of Sept… Xx

  3. Wow John, I’m overwhelmed and you’re too humble! You came in and played great with Buddy’s Band! It was our good fortune to have you join us, when our jazz trumpeter decided in the middle of the night to fly back to the U.S. to be with his family and even 2 bottles of Scotch weren’t enough to stop him from making that flight at 5 AM!

    • Tony, you’re WAY too kind. I learned so much from you about how to play the trumpet – and so much from Buddy about how to keep your
      head down and whatever you do, don’t make any mistakes!! 😉

  4. Great gig in Edinburgh – entire band sounding great. Last Lisa gig I saw was back in the 1990s, so it had been FAR too long…

    As for venues, my neighbour (Hi Colin) reminds me the final Buddy gigs in Scotland were Oct 1984:

    15th Glasgow
    16th Aberdeen
    17th Edinburgh

    and the Edinburgh gig was in the Usher Hall – a much larger concert hall, probably 3 or 4 times bigger than Queen’s hall.

    The somewhat flimsy provenance on which he makes this claim is that…he was there!

    Cheers, Chris

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