Met up with Al Booth who is Bob Harris' producer and in we went. No support act and on came Jimmy. Bare foot T shirt and Bermuda shorts. I think he had run out of shoes as he did throw flip flops into the audience from time to time. Over the years I have seen musicians throw drum sticks, plectra, roses in the case of Al Green. Rod Stewart kicks footballs into the audience. I have seen countless Panto Dames throwing sweets into the audience. However footwear was a first.
The place was rammed and it was wild from beginning to end. It was a wonderfully mixed crowd all ages and walks of life. Sitting next to us were two Rastafarians who like nearly everyone in there knew all the words. Jimmy spent the whole time smiling he must have been well pleased with his reception. I have been to concerts where the act has received a rapturous reception however I have never seen this level of fan worship. It wasn't a gig it was a big party. It was really uplifting. When I told Tim Smith about it he was apoplectic that he had missed it. He is a huge admirer of the man. So much so I think he counts himself as a "Parrot head" as he fans describe themselves. More on Tim later.
Tuesday another day and another concert. Normally I try not to go to see things on consecutive nights However sometimes there is no choice if you want to see artists who rarely appear on these shores.
Ry Cooder was a case in point. I saw him back in the mid 70's when I was a student he was appearing at Birmingham Town Hall. Guitarist friend of mine was an uber fan and arranged front row tickets. The man was a revelation playing virtuoso and understated guitar. I remember when he finished a gentle solo during "Dark end of the street". There was only a smattering of polite applause. The loudest noise came from the front row where I was sat. It was a collective sigh. I then recognised craning to see his fingers every guitarist from all the local bands in the area.
This time Ry was appearing with Nick Lowe and they did a selection of old and new stuff of their own and from when they had collaborated in the past. Not sure how many of the audience were from local bands but glancing up to one of the boxes at the Lyceum in The Strand I espied Eric Clapton. I mentioned on the show that the gig was only about two thirds full which was a shame and someone quite rightly pointed out that the tickets were very expensive which was true. However I think their rarity value must have inflated the price to between £50 and £85. Reminding me of a point remark I made on the show about the ticket prices for Dolly Parton a few months back which as I recall were more than £100. Someone on that occasion pointed out that if you were a true fan it made little difference as you HAD to see the artist. This was the case with Ry and if he is only going to tour the UK every 30 years or so there is precious little chance of him coming back! So money well spent. Every song was a highlight through to the encores of "What's so fun about peace love and understanding" and "Little Sister".
As I have mentioned on the show and on the blog before. No American Adventure this year due to the state of the economy and the exchange rate. So no month off for me this time However I am taking a couple of weeks out from Monday and will be spending it here although I may pop over to France at some point to see friends although not decided for definite yet. Simon my producer has been wheezing and coughing all week poor chap but still soldiered on even though he was feeling and looking (sorry mate but you did look slightly peaky) awful. Also the fabulous weather we have been having has suddenly become somewhat changeable. So if the Gods don't smile upon me I could spend two weeks in bed with swine flu listening to the rain beat down on the roof. Wow I am such a catch!
I am back on the 27th so look forward to talking with you then. In the meantime Tim Smith will be keeping you entertained. He will also be popping up on the Steve Wright Show. He is going to need a holiday by the time I get back.