TRUE GYPSIES

Since Dreaming of Kate was a restart of an older project, initially we struggled a bit to get shows booked. Ideally, we go on tour for a couple of weeks or months non-stop, travelling from place to place. Right now, our shows are usually too far apart (in time) to do that. Nonetheless, we had only agreed to do a show in Ilfracombe (Devon, 5.5 hour drive) if it would be tied with another show. Which unfortunately didn’t happen. Since we’re musicians and we have to make a living, we had people in the band with gigs the night before our show in Ilfracombe, people with gigs the night after, and even someone who had to catch a plane at 7 in the morning for a gig in Holland. Which meant that the band had to travel back and forth on the day.

Luckily (for me), sound engineer Ben and lighting engineer Zak would travel the day before, and they had an extra seat. We decided I should travel with them, because dancing after 6 hours in a van is even worse than playing an instrument after 6 hours in a van. We left on a very sunny Thursday, around 3pm. Which of course meant we hit traffic around Birmingham during rush hour. But we weren’t in a hurry, and other than that traffic jam and a van that we have seen changing lanes (I kid you not) at least 50 times, everything went fine and this blog looked like it would become a boring one.

We spent the night at a Travelodge in Taunton, where I was starting to feel like I was on holiday. The weather was good, I had good travel company and I could relax in my hotel room on my own. But just as I started to doze off that night, it started to sound like people in the upstairs room were moving furniture around. The next morning, Ben would tell me that he had heard it too while he was outside smoking, and that it sounded like someone was trying to kill a prostitute. Whatever really happened in that room, I had a lot of nightmares that night about slaying people…

The next morning, the weather was still great and we headed to the theatre, only stopping for breakfast in the middle of nowhere somewhere in Devon. We wished we had surfboards and a barbecue in the back of the van, and that feeling only got stronger when we arrived in Ilfracombe. The Landmark Theatre is right by the sea, and the weather was still beautiful!

The rest of the band and driver for the day Keith arrived slightly late, but we didn’t have much stress over it. Showtime was 8, which still gave us 4 hours for sound check and preparations. 

The show went quite well, and the audience was an enthusiastic one. I have seen people dancing, I have seen people singing along, I have seen people pointing back at me and waving. And at the end of the show, I heard people chanting “Dank je wel! Dank je wel!” which is Dutch for “Thank you! Thank you!” We had to pack up and load in very quickly, so only me and Jerney could go and meet the audience after the show. I have done some of my Kate looks and poses for photos, signed some posters and tickets, and spoke to some lovely people, including former Cloudbusting singer Lisa Oliver. We had to hop in the van quickly, and we mixed up the seating arrangement. Guitarist Liam would drive back with Ben and Zak, and I would join the rest in the van driven by Keith. 

Keyboard player Louis was quite anxious, because he was the one who had to catch a plane at 7 in the morning. The fact that the fuel light in the van was burning when we got in didn’t help. We had to find a garage soon. There were two problems adding to the stress… 1: there were no 24 hour petrol stations anywhere near, and 2: our driver was good at missing turns and therefore going the wrong way. We tried to give him directions to the nearest 24 hour petrol station, but he snapped when too many people and satnavs got involved. The tension built up and Jerney and I tried to keep still and prayed there wouldn’t be a real fight. Paul decided to see where Ben was, and asked him to pull over at the first petrol station they could find, just in case…

We had managed to reach the motorway, and we knew there was a petrol station not much further up. I almost dared to breathe, but unfortunately, the van stopped. 

We pulled up on the hard shoulder and rang Ben to come and rescue us. After the initial swearing, we decided that we should cherish the fact this was quite a story and none of us had ever been in this situation. We were grateful for the fuel Ben and Zak brought, but unfortunately the van was a diesel, and still wouldn’t start without a proper injection. We had to ring AA, and suddenly desperately missed Taffy (read all about him here), who we were sure would have been able to get the engine running again by hitting it with his hammer. 

We decided to let Louis and Liam swap places, so Ben could drop off Louis at the airport and Liam would stay with us. Being British, both Liam and bass player Bobby hadn’t brought a coat, and since it was quite cold, Bobby decided to put on his shirt from the show. Liam was more creative and had decided to stuff a pillow in his jumper for isolation. It looked a bit ridiculous, but he was really happy with it. We started understanding why cows in a field tend to stand really close to each other, because we noticed it actually was warmer when we were standing close together. Paul asked where the hats and the drum carpet were (both in Bens van, which had just left). And then it hit us: we had all my costumes!

We dug into the suitcases with the show costumes. It started quite innocently: Liam had his pillow, Bobby had a jumper wrapped around his head, Jerney had her scarf pulled over her head, I had my top hat and drummer Paul had decided to copy Liams pillow idea and use a shirt as a scarf. But the more the wind was picking up, the more costumes were worn in ridiculous ways to keep us as warm as possible. In the end Bobby was wearing Jerneys trench coat (The Wedding List) and her cape (Lily). Paul was wearing the pillow, plus as many band shirts, vests and ties as he could find, and he was using a clothing bag to shield from the wind, while sitting on a suitcase. Jerney was wearing my blue skirt (Running up that hill) over her jeans, my tail coat (Strange phenomena) over her leather jacket, and our straitjacket (Violin) over her head. I was wearing my army boots and shirt (Army Dreamers), a black skirt (Hounds of love) over my jeans, another black skirt (Wow) as a scarf/cape, and was still wearing my battered top hat (Strange phenomena). Liam was mainly pissing himself laughing. We truly looked like we had just walked out of a Monty Python sketch.

It might have been because we had so much fun with the costumes, but AA didn’t take too long to arrive. We were slightly worried they would drive past when they saw us in our outfits, but luckily the guy only cautiously asked “Have you had a show tonight?”

We could continue our drive to Liverpool soon after, though we did stop at the nearest service station. Not only for fuel, but also for hot drinks. We were home at around 6:30. Tired, but at least we had had a good laugh…

Liam, Jerney, Paul and Bobby wearing some (but not all) of the costumes

3 comments

  • Peter Hall

    Peter Hall Torrington, Devon

    I'm so glad you did make it to Ilfracombe because I was at your show with my wife and it was utterly brilliant. I was hopeful it would be good from seeing your videos on YouTube but it exceeded our wildest expectations. Never have 2 hours passed so fast and I wanted to rewind and watch it all again. Please come back to Devon soon -next time we'll bring our family and friends. I'd also love to get a DVD of the show.

    I'm so glad you did make it to Ilfracombe because I was at your show with my wife and it was utterly brilliant. I was hopeful it would be good from seeing your videos on YouTube but it exceeded our wildest expectations. Never have 2 hours passed so fast and I wanted to rewind and watch it all again. Please come back to Devon soon -next time we'll bring our family and friends. I'd also love to get a DVD of the show.

  • Jennie Applebee

    Jennie Applebee Barnstaple (saw the show in Ilfracombe)

    The show was fantastic...thank you. I was lucky enough to be on the front row with my sisters and ... I got a wand!!! 😊. Thanks guys for a brilliant night x

    The show was fantastic...thank you. I was lucky enough to be on the front row with my sisters and ... I got a wand!!! 😊. Thanks guys for a brilliant night x

  • Dreaming Of Kate - Kate Bush Tribute

    Dreaming Of Kate - Kate Bush Tribute

    Hi Peter, we hope to be back soon! Thanks for the compliments! Hi Jennie, I remember you girls! The wand you have is the first wand I gave away (I used to give away flowers). I guess I've given the yoyo to your sister, I loved seeing her smile!

    Hi Peter, we hope to be back soon! Thanks for the compliments!

    Hi Jennie, I remember you girls! The wand you have is the first wand I gave away (I used to give away flowers). I guess I've given the yoyo to your sister, I loved seeing her smile!

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Kate Bush Tribute - Dreaming of Kate