Back To The Roots Tour 2016.
So, who are we supporting?
Tarquin the Hairdresser on his UK Tour?
Alan Titchmarsh on his Gardening Tour?

No. It’s Udo F**king Dirkschneider on his ‘Goodbye to Accept Tour’ with Canadian metal heroes Anvil.

This is a genuine blast for all of us: we played with Anvil in London once before and found them to be very affable blokes; and Udo has been a musical hero since I first heard Accept all those years ago in New Zealand. This is the last time that he’s going to be playing Accept songs so what a gig for us to snag.

This is actually the end of our ‘Blacklist Tour’ which has taken us to eleven countries; sometimes in the most peculiar circumstances! Next time we head out it’ll be with new tracks and a new album on the way \m/

I bumbled up on the train to Burnley the day before the first show to sort out new skins and all that on my kit. The bastards that run London’s public transport services conspired in an attempt to make me miss my train by cancelling every moving vehicle in my vicinity – but I prevailed. You can’t stop I.C.O.N that easily Boris!
  
The first show was Manchester Club Academy. Nice little venue. I was supposed to play the Academy II years ago supporting Saxon (first gig of that tour in 2007) but they had been held up and ultimately we couldn’t play. As coincidence would have it, John Asten (Udo’s bus driver) had been driving Saxon on that tour too. First time I met him he told me to fuck off back to New Zealand. Ha ha ha! Excellent bloke and it was really good to catch up again after all that time. It’s weird because there are a few Saxon connections on this tour: Udo’s drummer Sven filled in for an incapacitated Nige a while back and also the first time I played alongside Anvil was at a gig at Birmingham NEC headlined by Saxon. Small world…

 
Anyway…the stage was pretty small in Manchester so I used Robb Reiner’s kit rather than complicate the issue. We are in the strange position of playing as soon as doors open on these dates (thank you UK for your stupid curfews) but by the time we had finished a good crowd was there who seemed to enjoy it. We’re only doing 30 minutes so it’s over in the blink of an eye. No real problems although Robb has his pedals very loose and soft while I like mine firm and hard (ooh-er missus!!) which made it a bit hard to get used to. Great to see some mates in Manchester as well 🙂

 

Scenery 🙂 A bridge…um…over a river…in Newcastle…near the venue…


 The second night was Newcastle and again I was on Robb’s kit (this time with my own pedals) which was very cool. The Riverside is a really nice venue and again the gig whistled by in no time. Mister Def Annton One came down to say hello which was nice too.
Because we were in the wilds of Geordieland for this show it was a night at a trusty Travelodge before the MAIN event the next morning: Morrison’s breakfast. Awesome as ever 🙂

Vital tour equipment we wanted to steal from The Riverside venue

Sheffield was next and a show at The Corporation. This time I was on my own kit tucked in the corner of the stage. With about 30 minutes to set up and soundcheck, it was the perfect moment for Scott’s amp to commit suicide. Marvellous. The local crew guys went above and beyond trying to fix it but to no avail (in fact all crew guys at all venues have been superb!) Lips offered the use of his gear and then Olli, Udo guitar tech, plugged Scott into one of their rigs and the day was saved with minutes to spare. The mighty Welsh Minister for Metal – Tosh from Siren FM – was present too and it’s always great to see that young chap. Again the gig whistled by, then load outside, pack up and relax.  

The Sledgehammer. Still using Cozy Powell’s snare stand. It’s a good talisman.

Fortunately I have now developed the dreaded ‘tour cold’. That’s awesome! I’m really pleased about that. After all it’d be too easy otherwise. We toured Europe twice over winter and the U.K. once and not even a throat tickle. Now it’s spring here in England and I’ve got a fucking lurgy. Oh well…paracetamol and medicinal rum should sort that out.
Onwards to Buckley! Over the border into the Land of Dragons…

Cheers!

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