Last night Richard Papps played his first solo live gig at the Tap & Spile. Thought I'd share my thoughts, memories, experience and embarrassing photographs with you all.
Things began, strangely, at 12:45 when I got a phone call from Dave (landlord and deputy boss of the Tap; Dave, we know Rose is in charge) saying that the PA had already arrived and would I have a word with the guy so that there wasn't the cock-up there was last time (don't ask me about last time!). So I spoke to the guy; I won't go into his short-comings in the politeness stakes at this point (ask me sometime) but, suffice to say, I think I specified all that was needed.
Now, here's a question for you: if I said I wanted two microphones for a gig, would you just leave two microphones; or would you, as I would, assume that also I wanted the leads to connect the microphones to the mixing desk and the stands to hold them up in front the performer. And, if you didn't immediately have them to hand, you'd let someone know they'd be there later.
It will not take a genius to guess that: (a) when I arrived to set up the PA, there were two microphones but no stands (and only one lead); (b) Richard and I (he had a mic stand in his car) improvised; (c) during the sound checks, someone turns up with mic stands and extra lead.
Anyway, Roger B and I got Richard set up and sound checked over a couple of beers and then went off to eat, wash, get changed or do whatever was needful for the evening ahead.
The Main Event
So, around 20:45, the evening begins to get going when "The Boys" (see left) arrive. Since both have been out since 16:00 (yes, Mark, I know you worked 54 hours in the last four days), they are in a "jolly mood". We natter (men natter; women gossip; this is an axiom and a joke) and catch up on the last few days. Mark mentions, once or twice, that he's worked 54 hours in the last four days (he is possibly not quite in control of his senses having worked 54 hours in the last four days; then again it could be drinking 54 pints of Stella Artois in the last four hours). Mark drinks more Stella (from a Stella glass), Ian drinks cider (from a Stella glass), I drink Deuchars' IPA (from a Deuchars' glass) and Mark mentions that he's worked 54 hours...
Richard kicks off in fine style, delivering a first set of great numbers on the guitar and keyboards (Days being extremely memorable). Gradually the gang arrives and we sit and talk nonsense and sing along. Hi Della, Angie, Rachel, Rob and Tina.
The thing about Richard's performances that grabs you is the sheer range of material he covers (from Bill Withers & Paul Simon, through the Kinks & Tom Lehrer to Joe Jackson). And he is such a consummate performer: he makes it all look so easy, as if there was no effort involved in punching out the songs.
Richard's second set is pure magic (Is She Really Going Out With Him? and Sweet Baby James stand out: the latter for Seany & Babs even more so) with the crowd dancing and singing along. This was a night I felt lucky to be at: the music was good and the company was good and the beer was good (and so were the wee drams of Talisker that Rob and I enjoyed). It was made even more enjoyable by the 10%-off "special" for the Tap & Spile's loyalty key-ring holders between 22:15 and 22:45 (if you haven't got one, get one now).
Richard finished the night with three (at least) encores. Everyone had a good time and I even managed to catch some pictures of the camera shy. One of the great things about gigs at the Tap is that it always feels like you're in a room full of mates who've managed to persuade a really great performer to pop round and do a couple of numbers. This is true even when you don't even know each other. By the end of the evening, you do.
So, Richard & I take down the PA and get it all packed away for collection on Saturday (there's some confusion about this; but John & Faith sort it all out - thanks guys). This doesn't take too long and is not too strenuous (or am I just relaxed from the beer?). Then there's the long debate about what to do next, where to go, who's coming..., etc.?
Eventually, Della, Rob, Mark, Ian, Tina & myself end up back at Mark's listening to Kings X, drinking tea and talking nonsense. And then playing a bit of guitar (very, very quietly) until the early ours of Saturday morning.
Now I'm looking forward to the Open Mic Night at the Carnival in Barton tonight and Rob Lowdon's (see, Rob, I remembered: Lowdon not Lowden) gig at the Tap next Friday (25th February).
[This posting is long because I wanted to make up for not posting anything yesterday and on Thursday I said I'd try and post something every day.]