So we’ve just come off of a 50+ date UK tour supporting Collabro on their ‘Road To The Royal Albert Hall’ tour (#RTTRAH) and I’m feeling a bit reminiscent. We had such a laugh travelling round the country, visiting places we’ve never even been to before, performing in amazing venues every night…it was great.
I wanna share some tour stories with you, however 50 odd gigs is a lot to write about. So I’ve narrowed it down to 10 gigs that stand out in my mind which I will write about in 10 separate blogs, so keep an eye out for those and comment or give the blog a share if it was a gig that you went to!
But before I do that I wanna share some of ‘My Favourite Things’ about our 70 days on the road…
THE PASSION WAGON
For 10 weeks we lived in our Roller Team Motorhome which we named “The Pussy Wagon”. This name choice had no sexual connotations at all, We went with this name purely because Crazy Marco sounds great saying this in his Italian accent. However we shall use the censored name which was “The Passion Wagon” – we’d use this name in the daytime or in front of younger audiences.
At the start of the tour me and the boys came up with superhero names for ourselves because we are absolute superheroes:
Martyn (Tour Manager and Sound Engineer): WINE BOY – because he is a wine enthusiast.
Marco (Saxophone): GLITTERBALLS – because he takes 3 billion showers a day.
Harry (Drums): CAPTAIN BEIGE – because he’s emotionally beige.
Me (Georgia…duh): BITCH FACE – because my resting bitch face could kill.
Living on a van for so long can be challenging. Pedestrians look at you like you’ve just shat in their shopping bag when you’re driving a motorhome through town. There were ups and downs when it came to living in such a confined space but we got through it with booze, several Just Eat Takeaways, and all 4 seasons of The O.C. (Crazy Marco was devastated when Marissa dies, H was pretty beige about the whole plot twist).
THE TOURING TEAM
Touring for 10 weeks is be exhausting, and staying positive the whole time is difficult. But we were surrounded by an amazing team.
We were touring with a phenomenal catering company called Food Factory, run by Mick Thornton and Kelly Munce. I would look forward to seeing Mick and Kelly everyday, just as much as I would look forward to the gig. They were lovely people and fed us good! A 3-course meal everyday, wowza. My personal favourite was the Tandoori Halloumi – that was a dishy dish.
I once caught Michael ordering two meals…
Collabro’s tech crew helped keep our spirits high. If you came to one of the shows and noticed me laughing in my final song ‘Told Me To Go Home’, that was because Matt and Max from Collabro’s crew would dance side of stage every night. They would top their performance every show. What started out as normal ‘Ska dancing’ soon turned into an acrobatic routine. They really made use of the space and props they were dealt with – by props I mean ladders, coffee cups, and sometimes the curtains…
My personal favourite was when they stuck fluorescent tape on their nipples…
And I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that I toured with Kerry Ellis.
I was first introduced to Kerry’s incredible career when I was cast as ‘Meat’ in a local production of ‘We Will Rock You’ about 10 years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since. Never did I think that one day I’d be touring with her. Hearing her sing every night for about 2 months was a privilege, so was getting to know her lovely and humble personality. Whether you like musical theatre or not you have to listen to the pipes on this lady, she can siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing.
OUR DAYS OFF
We would always have Sundays and Wednesdays off. We’d call them Sunday Fundays and Wonky Wednesdays. Sunday Fundays usually started with Bloody Mary’s or Alcoholic Milkshakes for breakfast and Wonky Wednesdays usually involved a lot of wine. Ah we had some cracking days off.
We went to several pubs, many with dart boards. Crazy Marco started the tour as a beginner, nearly taking someone’s eye out every time he threw a dart, and finished an expert.
I think we probably went to every Wetherspoons in the country, and as a consequence I now know the entire menu and strongly believe that they should sponsor our next tour – we gave them a hella lot of business.
We’ve parked up for the night at service stations, beaches, the driveways of friends and family, outside B&B’s without the B&B owners noticing, and of course many, many, many campsites. At each campsite Crazy Marco (Glitterballs) would give us a review of the showers, because when it comes to washing, he knows best.
I think my favourite Sunday Funday was when we went bowling…
Much like his progression with darts, Crazy Marco very quickly went from zero to hero with the bowling balls…
My favourite Wonky Wednesday would be the time we stayed in the van all day, drinking wine from 1pm, having a movie marathon (5 in total, including 2 Star Wars movies), and painting each others nails…
Captain Beige was having none of it.
When it was first announced on social media that we were going to be supporting Collabro, we received mixed reviews of course. Throughout the tour we met tonnes of people at our merch table, and I soon came to realise that there were 3 types of Collaborators:
THE ONES WHO HATED US:
Fortunately not many, but there were a few unhappy chappies.
Like the lady who went up to Harry one night, held up her ticket to him and said, “Who’s name is on this ticket?” H politely said, “Collabro.” The lady then gave Harry a bollocking, saying, “So why have I had to sit through a jazz band for half an hour (blah, blah, blah) that’s not what I paid to see”. The funniest part about this was that this lady decided to rant to our lovely, emotionally ‘beige’ Harry, who only cared enough to respond with, “There’s not much I can do about that now.”
Or the woman that shouted at our Martyn during one show because the sound wasn’t to her approval. She was so angry. So, so angry.
Or my personal favourite which was the time when two blokes walked in during the end of my set and made the whole row stand up to let them in to their seats, which caused a kerfuffle, and then tweeted me later that night with an essay about how rude I was for calling them out and saying, “Cor your row is gonna love you.” Lol.
THE ONES WE WON OVER:
There were a few who weren’t looking forward to sitting through our 30 minutes, but then came to meet us during the interval because we had changed their minds. This genuinely means a lot. The people that turned up at 7.30pm and gave us a chance, listened to our little set even though were unknown, and judged us based on our performance and our music as opposed to ruling us out completely just because we’re a support act. To all those people who bought a CD and said, “I didn’t know what to expect, but you won us over”…thank you. I’m glad we changed your minds.
THE ONES WHO HAD OUR BACKS TO THE END:
Over the tour I got to recognise many faces in the front row who would return night after night. These people were AMAZING. The people who would send us encouraging messages throughout the whole 10 weeks. The people who constantly came to the merch stand (even if they had all of our CD’s already) just to say ‘hi’ and to see how we were getting on. The people who gave us a cheer every time we walked on stage. The people who by the end of the tour knew all the words to my songs. During the final week of the tour I was given a gift from a Collabro fan called Abigayle who had made a book where every page was filled with messages from the fans. This book alone, made the entire tour worthwhile. Thank you to Abigayle and everybody who took the time to write a message. Thank you so much.
So that’s just a quick insight to our life on the road, and I’ve only just started.
Keep an eye out for my blogs about the 10 most memorable gigs of the tour, your town might just make the cut…
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