Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
Rock And Roll On The Road
by Russell Turner - 16:08 on 15 June 2018
There might be little in common between City Limits and rock legends Yes/ARW, but when axe god Trevor Rabin hits a duff note the look he shares with Rick Wakeman is just the same as the one I share with Keith. In the end we’re all just musicians having fun; the difference in pay is incidental.
The good news was that Yes/ARW were as brilliant this year as last, with a modest set shake-up introducing a couple of different songs; the bad was that bassman Lee Pomeroy is only playing on the US section of the tour. Fortunately stand-in Iain Hornal ably filled his shoes.
The gig at Newcastle City Hall was a touch over-loud, which left the sound muddy in places, but not a thing was wrong at York’s Barbican – apart from the loud Brummie quartet behind me. At one point, I and the guy next to me turned simultaneously to shush one of the talkative foursome. His friend’s wife was little better: she exclaimed three times within the first five minutes of being seated about how close they were to the stage, then several times thereafter. As her ticket must have told her she was in Row G it shouldn’t have been too big a surprise, but there you are. Even some Yes fans can be prats.
However, most are great. Attending alone is no problem because, should you choose to converse, everyone’s in a good mood and ready to chat, whether they’re in a group or also flying solo, especially the eager Frenchman who’d come over to see a band whose roots were established before he was born. Not all the audience was bald, grey-haired on shuffling around on sticks (although a fair percentage was).
Next morning, at breakfast in Barbican House (very handy for the venue), more than half the tables were occupied by the previous night’s gig-goers. The establishment is run by two ex-Gurkhas who left nearby Imphal Barracks after 22 years to set up business. A natural progression. I don’t know how long they’ve been there but it’s fair to say that they’ve not yet made their mark, the little-old-lady interior presumably having been there when they bought it, but it’s a decent place and the breakfast twice as good as the one presented to me the morning before at the Jesmond Best Western.
It’s two months short of 24 years since I left York. A 60-minute perambulation around the city centre proved that apart from a few shops and pubs little has changed. I’m looking forward to returning in October with Matchgirl for t’ Yorkshire Marathon, although I suspect that the Barbican Guest House will not be on her list of approved accommodation.
The three-day road trip (accompanied by a Yes soundtrack on Grandson of Seat's stereo) covered just over 800 miles, including a detour to Wakefield, and cost an amount of money I’d rather not calculate, but was worth every penny. It’s fortunate that City Limits have a few lucrative gigs coming up. With luck I’ll be able to do it again next year when, all being well, Yes/ARW will tour to promote their forthcoming CD. I’ll start saving now.
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