FLU SEASON

Fall seems to be early this year, and as a result, so is the flu.

On Friday, I woke up with a chesty cough, dry eyes and a feverish temperature. Not the kind I normally would stay home for, but with a show coming up the next day and a recording session planned next week, I couldn’t really risk getting any sicker. A day of resting on my couch - with my cat asleep on my lap whilst stretching herself to new lengths - did me good.

On Saturday, I woke up feeling quite all right, but I knew I had a tough day ahead. A good and interesting day, but with a lot of things to take care about. First of all, our old keyboard player Barney was with us (some of you may remember him from when we toured as WOW). Musically, I knew there would be no problems. But without having had a proper production rehearsal with him, I knew there might be cues in the show we forgot to tell him or properly run through with him. Our show is so full of little cues and details for everyone, it is hard to understand all of them without a proper run through the whole show.

A bigger issue was the fact that Jerney wasn’t with us, and her dep Arianne wasn’t available to fill in. The problem with Jerney is that she is really hard to replace, and she does a lot of things on a show day that keep me from going crazy! Luckily Barney isn’t shy to sing backing vocals, and he knows the songs well enough to cover a great deal of backing vocals. Another issue though was that Jerney moves around some of the props on stage and has a couple of acting parts that are much needed. And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that she is the one who normally irons all my costumes and helps me set up all the props. Luckily, we found my neighbour Simon willing to help out wherever he could. So we asked him to move some props around, play some additional percussion in a couple of songs, get shot in ‘The Wedding List’, play the violin teacher in ‘Violin’ and even to play Lily.

After a series of miscommunications over where and at what time we would all gather, we were on our way to Chesterfield. I was preparing for a more that full day. I had to run through the parts with Simon (we were meant to do that on Friday, but didn’t because of my not feeling well), we would have to run through some extra bits and pieces in the sound check for Barney, and I would have to do all the ironing myself. I don’t mind ironing by the way; back when we toured with WOW I always did my own ironing. It just takes up a lot of time, which I don’t really have on a show day.

I did my warm up and stretches during the sound check. I always have to go through some parts of the choreography on every stage, to feel how much space I have, feel the floor and to make sure I don’t fall off or bump into things (like Liam’s guitar pedals when I walk backward in ‘Running up that Hill’). By now I have managed the ability to sing any song and go through any of those particular routines without messing either the singing of the dance routine of them up. I’m not quite sure that’s healthy or sane by the way…

I can’t really recall when I managed to get everything done, but I know our sound check was finished just after 6:30. The guys went out to get food and had to arrange our merchandise stand and start hair and make-up. At 7:15, I was still eating and applying make-up. Not a good combination by the way…

At 7:31 (yes, one minute after our beginner’s call, we were in the wings waiting for clearance), Paul was staring intensely at his phone. We run a couple of tracks (like the rain and thunder) from an iPad, which apparently refused to work and Paul was trying to get his phone to play them. When we got on stage, I didn’t know if that would work.

It is always good to see people enjoying the show thoroughly. The room in the Winding Wheel is quite light, so I think I have seen every face in the audience. There were several children, which always makes me happy. I have seen many happy faces, and some moving on the rhythm of the music throughout the whole show.

I wasn’t as top fit as I usually am, and my concentration seemed to suffer a bit. And at the same time, I had to stay alert in case I had to help out Barney or Simon. Barney has to start a couple of songs on his own, and he nailed all of them, I just had to give a nod for the first one. By far my most stressful moment of the show was when I was lying ‘dead’ on the floor of the stage before ‘Hammer Horror’, peeked to see if everything was going right (control freak, I know) and I saw Simon taking away the chair I needed for my choreography! Luckily, he walked past me in the blackout and I was able to grab his leg, blurt out “chair!”, get the chair off him and slide it sort of into position from where I was lying on the floor. When you’re performing a show, some of the things you do are more like survival instinct than anything else; adrenaline makes you solve issues in an instinctive and practical way, there is no time to think or be polite. I think this whole thing took less than two seconds. I felt bad for the audience that I had said “chair!”, but later I learned that sound engineer always mutes my microphone for about four seconds when I’m lying dead on the floor, so most people wouldn’t have noticed…

Despite this issue, we had another standing ovation, for which we are always grateful! It makes up for all the stress during the day!

The crowd wasn’t massive, and most of them had gone by the time we came out to say hi, but I did speak to a couple of people. A couple of them had already seen me perform several times. I am so thankful and honoured people keep tracking me down and coming to see our show, it’s the biggest compliment a performer can get (besides a standing ovation of course)!

We weren’t home too late, especially compared to last week. I still think I need today to recover from the show and that lingering flu.



 

2 comments

  • Brian

    Brian Leeds

    It was such a shame that more people weren't at the Winding Wheel - their loss. My new found friend Nigel and I were a couple of the "several times" people, as always the show was great, even the chair wrestling. Got tickets for Liverpool so see you there.

    It was such a shame that more people weren't at the Winding Wheel - their loss. My new found friend Nigel and I were a couple of the "several times" people, as always the show was great, even the chair wrestling.
    Got tickets for Liverpool so see you there.

  • Colin Rolland

    Colin Rolland Derbyshire

    I was at the Chesterfield show, with my wife & daughter. It was really enjoyable, & we all had a great time! We were on the front row, & I saw the 'chair thing', but didn't hear anything at all. The band sounded really tight, & I wouldn't have guessed the keyboard guy wasn't your usual regular player as I thought he was excellent. Indeed the others were too! Your choreography & quick costume changes were amazing. We had driven up from near Derby, & left fairly quickly after the show to get home (fairly long walk, to an out of the way car park). Had we known you were all coming out to say hello, we would've hung back! Hope to see your show again. Colin x

    I was at the Chesterfield show, with my wife & daughter. It was really enjoyable, & we all had a great time! We were on the front row, & I saw the 'chair thing', but didn't hear anything at all. The band sounded really tight, & I wouldn't have guessed the keyboard guy wasn't your usual regular player as I thought he was excellent. Indeed the others were too! Your choreography & quick costume changes were amazing.

    We had driven up from near Derby, & left fairly quickly after the show to get home (fairly long walk, to an out of the way car park). Had we known you were all coming out to say hello, we would've hung back!

    Hope to see your show again. Colin x

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