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The Magic Highway

 

Here are excerpts from an excellent travel documentation of Christie's incredible show at Plauen, Germany, in October 2010, by band bass guitarist Kevin Moore. Kevin lives near Alicante, Spain, unlike the other three members, who reside in the UK. You can read more about Kevin's adventures here.


5 flights, 3 days, 2 cars, one dead bass player…

MY first flight was to take me West, to the Spanish capital, Madrid, where I would have a three-hour layover awaiting a connection, improbably, to Bilbao on the Northern coast. Kicking my heels in Madrid, I had my fingers crossed that the Bilbao flight would be on time, as I only had 45 minutes with which to connect with my final flight of the day to Frankfurt. Nobody can say our promoter doesn’t have a sense of humour.

Jeff hotel

Jeff discovers he gets a free drink on check-in

   Luckily, that plan seemed to come together, and I arrived in Frankfurt around 10 o’clock at night, with the other guys flying in from the UK around a half an hour later. Had we arrived at our destination? Well, not really. A three-hour drive awaited us, which rapidly turned into a four-hour drive due to autobahn closures. The hotel didnt have 24-hour reception, and luckily our driver had had the presence of mind to check in advance, and asked them to leave a key outside. It would have been amusing if it hadn’t been so late, as we stumbled about in the dark, once we’d enetered the hotel, trying to find the other keys, after having failed to find the light switch. My head hit the pillow around 2.30am – and left it again around 9 as we had to get up for breakfast and move to another, admittedly more opulent, hotel for the second night.
   Salvation was at hand in the form of a whirlpool and sauna in the basement, which the management kindly opened up for our exclusive use. Time that perhaps would have been more prudently spent running through the numbers was instead spent wallowing in the waters!
   Plauen had its share of interesting buildings and monuments, and I was glad I’d brought my camera along. 5 o’clock saw us heading for soundcheck. We were opening the show, and were therefore the last band to check, which was perfect, all the settings would remain as we left them! I was debuting my Dan Electro semi-acoustic bass with Christie, and was running it through my Hartke bass attack pedal, so I was reasonably confident of maintaining my signature sound.

Jeff guitar

Jeff's Stratocaster backstage

   So often, these multiple bills with hired backline prove to be more an exercise of battling against the odds than anything else, but tonight was a dream, crystal clear monitoring, a sweet bass sound, and a great onstage mix.
   The crowd must’ve sensed we were enjoying ourselves, too, as we really seemed to storm the show!
   After our performance, we relaxed backstage and had dinner, courtesy of some excellent catering, and swapped stories with our mates who were waiting to perform. Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, Sailor’s Grant, Henry, Phil and Nick, and Eric Faulkner of the Bay City Rollers. It was also quite funny to see Pete from my other band BC Sweet – he was standing in for Eric’s drummer, and did a great job, with no rehearsals! I’ll be seeing Pete again in a couple of weeks for a BC Sweet show in the UK.
   We were ferried back to the hotel following the show, with only The Dozys left onstage, and continued our conversations in the hotel bar. We were set to leave the hotel at 3 am, so sleep seemed a little pointless. I relaxed a little in the room and then had a shower to try and boost my energy!
   Heading off into the night along the autobahn to Frankfurt, we braced ourselves for a long drive. The other lads needed to fly at 8am. Although I was with them, my flight didn’t leave until midday, so I had the prospect of four hours alone in Frankfurt airport! It’s amazing how things change though ... 45 kilometers from Frankfurt, the hire car started to misbehave and our driver became a little restless. Eventually, with smoke pouring from the bonnet, we pulled over onto the hard shoulder as one of the con rods exploded through the side of the engine onto the ground. Our shiny new Renault had died. It would ‘va-va-va-voom’ no more.
   Standing in the freezing cold at the side of the autobahn at 7 in the morning, wearing a hi-vis jacket and erecting a little plastic triangle 50 metres up the road to stop a truck from ploughing into us, I pondered on the glamour of our profession ...

Jeff car

Jeff sees the funny side of things while Fos and Simon look on

|   Needless to say, the lads missed their flight. A breakdown truck came and dropped us at a nearby depot, from where a taxi charged us (well, our promoter) a small fortune to ferry us to the airport. As luck would have it, we’d all been booked with Lufthansa instead of one of these cheapie ‘we take no responsibility whatsover for yo’ ass’ airlines. As they have done in the past, Lufthansa came through with flying colours, and without question, bumped the lads up to the next flight to Manchester at midday. The promoter was happy, and we didn’t hesitate to point out what a good idea it is to fly Lufthansa for just such eventualities!

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Jeff rocks the crowd at Plauen

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Fos, Simon and Kevin

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Jeff on stage

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A triumphant show

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The band members meet fans Eric and Isabel Berwanger backstage