TV’s Sheffield Serenade (One For The Ladies)
Left work, in Huddersfield, for the start of my four-day Great Adverture. Arrived
at Leeds train station and guided TV to my car via our mobile phones! (Ahhh!!!
The world just got smaller again!)
Had a good trip down to Sheffield Boardwalk. Thanks to some quality navigating
by the Great Explorer and a great map from Ash we arrived on time. We walked
straight into the building and up a flight of stairs. We were both thinking
it was a strange venue and wondering why they had a giant scalextric track in
the corner. TV asked where the stage was and the bemused bloke, behind the counter,
pointed us next door to The Boardwalk….oops!!
Entering the real Boardwalk we could see it was a large music club and it was
clear that the gig was going to be very different to the last one at the small,
hot and cosy Portland Arms in Cambridge.
On the way down the M1, TV had been preparing me for the excitement of my first
sound check – I couldn’t wait! However, on this occasion it went really well.
TV burst into Atlantic Tunnel - a couple of minor tweaks and Bob’s your Uncle,
and Fanny’s your Aunt, that was that! Tim was really pleased with both the sound
system and the sound engineer and he was looking forward to getting in the spotlight.
We introduced ourselves to Buzbomb, the support band, who had been lugging
in their kit. Ash (bass) and Adele (vocals) sat down with us for a chat. Ash
(who helped me to arrange the gig – many thanks Ash) had persuaded the manager
to reduce the entrance fee to £3 so that he could get a lot more of his
mates to turn up. This ended up as a quite a nice surprise for the fans that
turned up expecting the advertised £5!
Ash and Adele got TV to autograph their tour poster and they gave us copies
of Buzbomb’s Viz style fanzine. Ash also showed us his TV Fans Top 15 Tracks
list (which was scribbled in the corner of his science homework). The Adverts
are Ash’s second favourite band, so there was a lot of Adverts tracks on his
list. This included, quite unusually, several tracks from Cast of Thousands.
One of the main reasons that I am running a TV Fans Top 15 Tracks Chart in
2001 is to help TV with his set list – it would be interesting to see if TV
played any of Ash’s top 15. Whist talking we watched a black haired girl
walk into the gents toilet…..more on the Toilet Woman later.
I decided to nip out for a quick burger and got directions from the sound engineer
Without the Great Explorer (who for some reason didn’t fancy a greasy burger)
I got lost. I asked a young couple if they knew were Burger King was. They replied
“you mean that shop directly over the road that sells burgers and has got Burger
King written in big letters over the door”. Suitably embarrassed I smiled, lowered
my head and walked sheepishly across the road. It reminded me of the crap
student joke of standing underneath the shadow of York Minster asking visitors
from Japan “excuse me can you tell me the way to the Minster please”.
Back to the Boardwalk. I counted the crowd at 40, not great, but not too bad.
Watched Buzbomb work their way through their sound check. “Good drummer” complemented
TV. When it was Adele’s turn, she decided on a quaint mix of spoken word and
loud raspberries (imitation bottom burp noises, for those who’ve never seen
The Two Ronnie’s). TV was suitably impressed, as he had never witnessed such
a unique sound check technique before.
I saw a mate of Ash’s with a video recorder. I had a chat with him and it turns
out that it is Adele’s last gig and he is going to record it for her and Ash.
I asked him if he could tape the TV Smith gig for me and gave Ash a fiver for
the cassette and postage (hope it comes out okay Ash – it should be a cracker!).
Buzbomb’s live set went down well despite the fact that Adele who, due to a
sore throat, had been hitting the whiskey (for medicinal purposes of course).
Buzbomb are a five-piece new wave type band with keyboards. Most of their material
was original, however, they did play a Something Better Change (Ash’s favourite
band is the Stranglers) and finished off with a punk version of…..BRITNEY SPEARS!!!
– TV was aghast!
I got talking to a couple of local lads that TV was trying to get interested
in making the trip to Leeds for the New Roscoe gig. The three of us made a dash
for the vacated front table. I noticed Toilet Woman on the next table with a
young punk (she had knocked back one or two by now and was talking rather loudly).
Enter TV and a Cast of Thousands. This is my favourite Adverts song. I first
asked Tim to play at the Tanner Hop bar in Northallerton in ’99. TV explained
that he couldn’t do the whole song on acoustic guitar only the first half. “Okay”
I replied, “why not have a crack at the Cast of 500!” Teev later found that
he could play it and he played it at Peterborough and Brighton earlier this
year. This time though it was definitely for Ash.
Then TV powered into more fan favourites; Flavour / 21 / Rich / Church and….
The Lords Prayer (excellent I hadn’t heard TV do this Cheap classic before).
“I ain’t coming save yourselves,” sang the front row in unison.
After religion is money and £1,000,000 and The Haves and the Have-not’s
(another new live one for me to savour). Sequencer time with Lion and Poor followed
by more explosive jokes and Tomahawk Cruise and the appropriate For Every Hit
There’s a Miss. And another new one…Teev is going for a real variety show tonight.
“And now here’s one by Britney Spears” joked TV breaking into “Oh TV stop depressing
me”. After I know What I Want came the turning point for the gig. Toilet Woman,
who had continued to talk through the live set, stood up and walked past TV.
“I saw you in 1977 in the Adverts - you sounded good then, but this system makes
you sound useless!” she grumbled and walked off into the Ladies toilet. TV looked
bewildered and many people shouted out “your talking rubbish” and “it sounds
bloody splendid”. TV scratched his head in wonder and proclaimed, “I’m going
to unplug and serenade her acoustically”. He yanked out the wires and walked
through into the ladies were he sang Atlantic Tunnel (it’s most unusual venue
of the UK tour). The crowd went into hysterics and I ran across to try and take
a photo, closely followed by the guy with the video. Sensing a front page pic
in the Daily Sport TV made a hasty toilet exit to the thunderous applause of
the crowd. The gig was alive from that moment on. She returned to her seat and
as she walked in front of TV I took a photograph of her looking perplexed. She
continued to carry on her loud conversations for the rest of the gig, but she
did stop the heckling).
The crowd awoke like a sleeping giant and the requests flooded in “Third Term,”
“Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay”. TV plays them back-to-back. Followed by some Punk requests
for Ash and friends: Gary Gilmore’s Eyes, Bored Teenagers and We Who Wait. Now’s
my chance “On The Roof” I roar. This time Tim hears me and plays it (I hadn’t
heard Roof or Wait live since ’77 and Can’t Pay was another first for me).
TV finished his set with Generation Y and Runaway Train Driver. I leapt on
to the stage ………..……….and helped sell some CD’s.
We arranged to see the two lads at the front at Leeds gig, said our farewells
to Ash, took his photo with TV, and set off back up the M1.
Called off at Leeds to get some video tapes on the way back and pointed out
my old Leeds abodes in Harehills and Oakwood. Arrived back in Clifford and hit
the booze. Proclaiming day one of the adventure a success.
Three to go – can’t wait!