THE GIRL WHO FELL OFF THE STAGE

I am a hazard when I’m on stage. Especially when I’m performing wireless, like I am with Dreaming of Kate. I blame adrenaline, mostly.

In 2010, I played at a festival in Belfast. It was my first performance in Ireland, and we were playing on a Friday afternoon, and with the weather not being great at the start of the show, all the food stands quite far away from the stage and there not being a huge crowd, there was a lot of space in front of the stage. Near the end of the set, I was sitting on the edge of the stage looking down and thinking it might be fun jumping off and walking through the audience. Whilst singing, I was thinking “If I can jump off a bar in heels (yes, another wireless Kate-gig), I can jump off this stage on the grass barefooted.” Now adrenaline makes it possible to think this, and to make snap decisions as to when exactly the best moment in the lyrics and music would be, to look where the speakers are to make sure you don’t land in front of one to avoid feedback, to double check the zipper on you dress in case it unzips itself (just like that it did that one time in that venue in the town with the weird name), to try and make eye contact with your sound engineer to warn him (because at times like these you think everyone around you is psychic and understand you’re about to jump off a stage when you only blink your eyes), and to wave at that girl in the audience who is doing the dance routine with you. Now what adrenaline also does is make you brain go fast enough to skip certain things you normally would want to take into consideration. Like: if it rains throughout half your set the grass gets wet, and wet grass is slippery. I jumped, I slipped, I fell (instantly got up and kept on singing by the way), I gave the audience a scare and months later I still got introduced to people in Belfast as “the girl who fell off our stage.”

I thought people would have forgotten five years later, but lately it’s been haunting me again, since one of the people who were at that festival now lives in Liverpool and knows the people at Total Control Sound, who do our sound and lights. 

As our sound engineer Ben wasn’t available for yesterday’s show in Derby, John was our sound engineer for the day. This was the second time he was with us, the first time being in the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool, where I nearly crashed into the audience due to a misbehaving chair. At some time in the afternoon, I took the time to rehearse with the chair, and nearly failed again. John, who was standing quite close by, shook his head and said “I can’t see that going right, you see.” And then he started telling guitarist Liam the story of how I fell off the stage, and how he knew that had been me, just from hearing the story.

The Guildhall Theatre is a lovely little theatre. We were trying to put all our flight cases away in the back, but the case for our double bass was just too big (we make a lot of jokes about putting band members in it), so it had to be stood at the side of the stage throughout the show. The staff at the venue was very kind to us, and so was the audience. I always love old theatres (this one has a gorgeous ceiling), and I could actually jump off the stage without injuring myself (or I could use the steps in the centre of the stage, if I was clever). The room was quite light. I can’t always see past the fourth row, but this time I could and I saw a lot of people mouthing the words and smiling. We were struggling a bit with the sound in our monitors in the first half, and we were afraid the feedback tone we were getting on stage would be audible in the audience (which wasn’t the case, thankfully). 

We got through the show without injuries or accidents and without any big mistakes, apart from me forgetting a whole song. I am so sorry! It happens to bands more often than you’d think by the way, even when all the band members have a set list written down in front of them… A wonderful standing ovation was the end of a rather smooth show. And then I ran off stage, like I normally do, accidentally stepped on some of my own clothes that were lying at the side of the stage, slipped, and fell off the stage…

Light engineer Zak carrying the double bass case

2 comments

  • M Snowden

    M Snowden Derbyshire

    We enjoyed an excellent tribute to Kate at Derby Guildhall - could tell an awful lot of work had gone into the show and it has paid off in a terrific experience.. Hope Maaike didn't hurt herself when she fell at the end. The costumes were gorgeous, by the way.

    We enjoyed an excellent tribute to Kate at Derby Guildhall - could tell an awful lot of work had gone into the show and it has paid off in a terrific experience.. Hope Maaike didn't hurt herself when she fell at the end. The costumes were gorgeous, by the way.

  • Keith Roberts

    Keith Roberts Derby

    Brilliant. If you get the chance go and see Maaike and her band a great show. A fitting tribute to Kate Bush, hope they come back to Derby in the future.

    Brilliant. If you get the chance go and see Maaike and her band a great show. A fitting tribute to Kate Bush, hope they come back to Derby in the future.

Add comment

Kate Bush Tribute - Dreaming of Kate