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by Simon 'Engine Driver' Bell


When the Shortlist left the stage at Leicester to the strains of the forces sweetheart singing ‘We’ll Meet Again”; and the inebriated masses swaying and shouting, many thought that this was the end of the Steve Simpson era, indeed to most of those who were there on that cold, crazy night it was all over; the fat lady had sung.. There had been one last UK airing of ‘Kokomo’, ‘Downbound Train’, ’18 Wheels’ and even a valiant attempt at ‘Part Of The Load’ which had latched itself onto ‘Kokomo’ as it didn’t seem to be happening when played in it’s entirety; however but there was one more Shortlist gig to be played with the Simpson/Cregan line up; and that’s where the Shortlist 25th Anniversary really begins.


The trip back to London in my car was largely uneventful, Roger had not regained his voice from the previous nights exertions and communication was mainly by sign language and facial expression with the worst being reserved for my in car entertainment; my radio continually failing to find anything to Roger’s liking. I asked him if he had given any thought as to who was going to replace Steve in the band; the terse “Simon, I haven’t thought of anything else for the past two month’s” and the resigned sigh left me in no doubt that Roger Chapman and The Shortlist were standing at the crossroads with the musical destination suffering from ‘operating difficulties’. The only positive thing was that at least Steve and Jim Cregan were available for the festival in Friedrichshafen on January 16th and there would be no need for rehearsals, the other problems could wait until the spring of 2005.


The band and crew had flown out to Friedrichshafen the previous day in preparation for this headlining appearance at the SWR Radio ‘Oldie Nacht Festival’. Also on the bill were CCW Revival Band (sorry I missed them!), T-Rex (a bunch of impostors with a tenuous claim to the T-Rex name), Boney M (with one original Boney one) and The Searchers who despite not being my usual choice in music were impressive and played a great set. Roger and the chaps went onstage at 11.30pm and due to the strict curfew being in force were only able to play for about 70 minutes. It seemed to me to be ridiculous for the headline band to have so little time allocated but it’s just one of those things. There were the usual hassles over the equipment supplied not matching the technical rider, this affected Jim more than anybody else as the amp supplied was not one that he was familiar with and by the time he had mastered the peculiarities of this particular Marshall the gig was all but over, Steve played his heart out, if the Leicester gig had marked his passing into Shortlist folklore then Friedrichshafen was to be his swansong. The post-gig celebrations in the hotel bar went on far into the night with fans, friends and colleagues all mixing together to mark Steve’s departure. My trip back to England was quiet, as usual I was suffering from self inflicted ailments, the usual remedies had failed so it was peace and quiet for a couple of hours.

16.01.04 Fredrichshafen, (D), Festival

Set: Cat Called Kokomo/How How How, 18 Wheels And A Crowbar, Kiss My Soul, Downbound Train, Prisoner, X-Town, Moth To A Flame, Son Of Red Moon/Daddy Rollin’ Stone/These Boots’, Jesus And The Devil

Encore: No Encore ~ Strict Curfew In Force


Having not heard from Roger for the best part of two months and fearing that perhaps he had gone into retirement and was now spending his days cultivating his roses and reminiscing about the good times with the regulars in the ‘Fox & Ferret’, it came as a complete surprise to be invited down to London to attend the auditions for a new guitarist. Unfortunately due to train driving commitments I was unable to attend, however three budding guitar bandits were to audition for the Shortlist and they were (in audition order) Gary Sanford, Dave ‘Bucket’ Collwell and Robin Bibi. As a result of this audition Dave Collwell got the job and rehearsals were arranged for the 8th to 11th April in preparation for a UK warm-up gig at Ascot on the 13th April and a tour of Germany & Austria which was to commence on the 16th April.

With Dave Collwell getting the nod as guitarist it was obvious that the Shortlist were going to be a more rock based outfit, what I didn’t know was that Mickey Moody was also going to return; so having reached the crossroads Roger was going back to the two-gits attack. The Chappo fans grapevine was buzzing with ‘news’, what would they play, was ‘Weaver’ out of the set for good, what about the acoustic stuff, anticipation was running rife amongst the Chappo faithful.


I attended the final day of rehearsals, mainly to check out Dave Collwell’s set up as I was to be custodian of his gear, Peter Jones would be taking care of Mickey Moody’s stuff. It may seem hard to believe but despite his stints with various Bad Company reincarnations and a sort of a Humble Pie(ish) band I had never heard Dave Collwell play, he had never been on my musical radar, in fact if I had met him in the street I wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea who he was! Yet there I was in a London rehearsal room laughing and joking with this chap who in common with most other guitar players didn’t really know how his gear worked because somebody else usually set it up for him and it is a universally acknowledged fact that guitar technicians don’t like their employer to know how the gear works for fear of them rising up and dispensing with their services. However Dave fielded most of my questions with a shrug of the shoulders or a shake of the head and eventually we agreed on how the gear should be set up, which was considerably simpler than the arrangement he had been using for the past four days; the diagrams were drawn and leads were labelled.

It would be fair to say that Roger and the band worked extremely hard during these rehearsals in order to come up with a repertoire of songs that would do justice to the two-gits format. There were many songs listed for rehearsal that were either dispensed with at an early stage or were dropped due to a lack of time, but by the end of the day on the 11th April I knew that this line-up was going to be acclaimed as one of the best ever. Little did I know what was going to come later!


In preparation for the European dates and as gesture to the English fans who it was thought should hear the new line up first, a gig was booked for Ascot, Jagz Club on the 13th April, for the crew it should have been a leisurely warm up for the forthcoming rigours of Germany, but this was not to be the case. There was no problem with the van collection or the equipment pick-up from the rehearsal studio; in fact we were so far ahead of ourselves (according to the tour plan aka ‘the daily liar’) that we stopped for lunch. We arrived punctually at ‘Jagz’ and were met by the manager of the club, the usual pleasantries were exchanged and we enquired about the availability of local crew to give us a hand getting the gear in. There were none available and according to the manager that was not his department, and we would need to speak to the local promoter. Having been down this road so many times in the past and knowing that there was no chance of getting any assistance we resigned ourselves to another back breaking day. The access to the club was long and difficult with stairs, long narrow corridors and those little steps that you can’t see but somehow they still manage to trip you up. The dressing room situation was no better, there had been a break-in the previous night and the window was smashed and wide open, and there was a hole in the ceiling were the intruders had tried to gain access to the club, at least it wasn’t December. The builders were attending to the hole whilst the club staff were patching up the window. We also noticed that the only access to the dressing room was from the stage, so once the chaps were on stage the crew would not be able to enter the dressing room without crossing the stage. Rule number one; do not walk onto the stage whilst the artist is performing unless invited. It was agreed that Peter would remain in the dressing room whilst I would take care of things out the front, trust the Welshman to get the comfy chair, mental note next time the chair is mine. The final straw for the crew came when the owner of Jagz asked how many there were in the band? Without thinking the answer was given “Seven including Roger,” “Ah, so that’s seven for dinner then.” Peter reminded him that the hard working crew would also require a meal to which he replied “The crew don’t eat,” Peter hauled himself up from his seat (6’ 2” of pissed off Welshman) and looked him straight in the eye and with a calmness that belied his frustrations said, “I am crew and I eat!” For a few moments there was a tense stand off with tempers rising on both sides; however good sense prevailed and the crew got their meal as agreed and very nice it was too.

What of the gig itself, well I thought the guys acquitted themselves well in what was in all respects a paid rehearsal. The running order for the tour was not yet settled upon although in truth every night has subtle differences, so most of the rehearsed songs got an airing along with ’18 Wheels’ and ‘Spoonful’ which somehow found their way into an extended ‘Son Of Red Moon’. I was a little disappointed to read on the website guestbook that some contributors thought that the ‘bucket’ was a little rusty and were not impressed with his playing, for heavens sake it was the only the guy’s first gig and he like most of the chaps was still feeling his way. As they say the best is yet to come.

13.04.04 Ascot, (GB), Jagz Jazz Club

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier, Prisoner, Unknown Soldier, Blind Willie McTell, Son Of Red Moon/18 Wheels And A Crowbar/Spoonful, Habits Of A Lifetime, Who Pulled The Nite Down/Talkin’ bout You

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Toenail Draggin’, Jesus And The Devil


The drive to Abensberg (to the south of Munich) was long, boring and largely uneventful; it took two days with an overnight stop for food and rest; Peter had done this journey many times before and he decided that we should take our overnight stop on the outskirts of Aachen. We arrived late but managed to find a room at the local etap doss house (great for travelling on a budget) and then we went out for dinner, the restaurant was great, good food and plenty of it, only one drawback though, orchids! Great for making the place look nice but unfortunately I am allergic to them, by the time I had spotted them it was too late my eyes were closed up and I was sniffing like a hound, this reaction to pollen was going to plague me for many days and only a trip to the quack for some strong German drugs (prescribed ones) was going to clear it up. Peter had to complete the drive the next day as I couldn’t see properly.


After enjoying a pleasant evening in Abensberg on the 15th we were ready for business, my eyes were working reasonably well and I was confident of a good performance by band and crew that evening. Abensberg could best be described as a one horse town with a vacancy for a horse, it was all chocolate box houses and natural beauty and it came as no surprise to find that the venue was a sort of barn with farm implements and stuff hanging from the ceiling at peculiar angles. Anyway the natives were friendly, the PA was broadly speaking up to the task and the sun was shining. The band had arrived in Munich that afternoon and all members attended the soundcheck. They really got stuck into some of the shakier numbers from the Ascot set and rehearsed them again and again. For the crew there were few problems except for the house power tripping out twice, this was traced to a faulty UK to European adaptor which was soon on its way to the rubbish bin. Satisfied that their work was done the band went back to the hotel leaving the crew to do the last bits of tidying up, I decided to sit out in the sun and enjoy a beer, big mistake, within a few minutes the pollen had got to me again and my eyes were closed. The band returned for the show and I just about had one eye open again, Gary was first in the dressing room, “OK what’s happened now!”, “Jealous husband” was my repost as I squinted out of my one good eye. The offending eye was then examined from a distance by the boss who diagnosed it as conjunctivitis and I was put under strict orders not to touch anything for fear of spreading it. Peter had to attend to onstage matters that night whilst I dabbed around my eye trying to rid it of that damn pollen.

16.04.04 Abensberg, (D), Weisbierstadl

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier, Prisoner, Blind Willie McTell, Son Of Red Moon/ 18 Wheels And A Crowbar/Spoonful/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, Habits Of A Lifetime, Unknown Soldier

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Shortlist

Encore: Jesus And The Devil

17.04.04 Speyer, (D), Halle 101

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier, Prisoner, Blind Willie McTell, Son Of Red Moon/18 Wheels And A Crowbar/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, Habits Of A Lifetime, Who Pulled The Nite Down/Talkin’ Bout You

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank

Encore: Jesus And The Devil, Shortlist


Speyer is a beautiful town and The Shortlist had played there a couple of times before. The previous night’s show which had been held in a sort of warehouse/club on the local industrial estate was deemed to be a success and today was a day off/travel day. Speyer has many attractions most notably a huge Roman Catholic cathedral which Peter and I visited after the morning service; good Catholic boyo that he is, and we did the whole tourist thing of buying postcards and having your picture taken with the pigeons.

Speyer also has a technical museum and although I have been past it on many occasions I have never had a day off near enough to be able to visit it. The museum has an extensive collection of railway locomotives, aircraft and even a submarine; however the main attraction is an ex-Lufthansa jumbo jet which is displayed approx 100 feet in the air on a plinth, why put a jumbo jet on a plinth, because this is Germany and these folks don’t just display their exhibits, they really display them. Once in the jet everything is sectioned so that you can see how a 747 works and then you can walk out onto the wing, protected by a cage and have a panoramic view of Speyer. Brilliant! Access to the jet is by a steep staircase and egress is achieved helter skelter style on a coconut mat. All in all it was a great end to a great day.


The Munich gig was a particularly good one, the band were really into their stride and all the gremlins seemed to have been ironed out of the set with Roger more than willing to drift off the set list and ad-lib a few numbers, ‘Same Thing’, ‘Spoonful’ and ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, were being played with increasing regularity.

Initially there was some doubt as to whether this gig would take place as the local promoter was having ‘financial difficulties’, the venue was changed to the ‘New Backstage’ a real dump of a place, a jumble of welded together shipping containers situated on the outskirts of town and with the gig receiving little or no promotion it did not bode well for a successful evening. But the local guys were spot on (thanks Thomas), the PA was good with all our technical requirements fulfilled, the catering rider was adequate thanks to the efforts of Mike D at DMC. With the Ian Parker Band as support (I like ‘em, good guys) we could only wait and hope for a pleasant surprise.

Quite a few citizens of Munich braved the rain and supported the gig. They in turn were treated to one of the best shows on the tour. Roger’s voice was the best it had been for years. The band lumbered and lurched through the opening number ‘Higher Ground’ without it ever becoming sloppy, ‘Moth’ sounded as fresh as the day it rolled off the ‘Chappo’ production line, all light and shade, dynamism and restraint. ‘Frontier/Same Thing’ with Mickey Moody’s slide playing, Andy’s sax and Roger’s vocals brought the house down. There was to be no let up in the Shortlist’s assault upon the Munchen faithful; ‘Prisoner’ knocked them down and then ‘Soldier’ put the boot in, the only respite being ‘Blind Willie McTell’ but that was only temporary and is a prelude to the marathon that is ‘Son Of The Dark Side Of The Red Moon’, there was a barbed wire for strings solo from ‘bucket’, ably assisted by Mickey who was itching to get ‘Spoonful’ in on the act, Roger could resist it no longer and with a “You fuckin’ well started it, you can finish it” and finish it he did, on and on he went, slide riff upon riff until Roger called a halt to it and Ian dropped into the big chords for ‘These Boots’ with that distinctive Twigg bass underpinning another musical diversion, Roger is momentarily lost and calls to nobody in particular “I’ve no idea, what are you looking at me for, clues? Is this the right tempo?” Ian, John and Gary respond immediately and restore order. ‘Nite Down’ really rocks with the two-gits attack; although it is the subtlety of Mickey’s playing on this number that is it’s real highlight, it’s a shame that on most gigs this is lost in the general PA mix and onstage racket. The meanderings of ‘Talkin’ bout You’ with another blistering solo from the ‘bucket’ and impassioned vocals from the boss bring the show to an end, even the crew applauded the band as they left the stage, praise indeed.

19.04.04 Munchen, (D), New Backstage

with Ian Parker Band

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Prisoner, Unknown Soldier, Blind Willie McTell, Son Of Red Moon/Spoonful/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, Habits Of A Lifetime, Who Pulled The Nite Down/Talkin’ Bout You

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Toenail Draggin’

Encore: Jesus And The Devil


Flushed with the success of the Munchen show we had a celebratory night in the city confident that the tour was now firmly on track and looking forward to a great few days, how wrong can you be. The Tutlingen gig suffered from piss-poor promotion and a poor turnout, we worked bloody hard all day to resolve electricity supply problems at the gig which were creating alarmingly loud humming noises from both Dave Collwell and Mickey Moody’s gear, the problem was traced to the house stage lights and once these were isolated then the hum disappeared, however this took so long to trace that Roger had lost interest and left the venue leaving the band to complete the soundcheck, not an ideal situation but not insurmountable, it just means that the monitor guy has to be on top of his game in the first number which becomes Roger’s soundcheck. Hardly anybody attended the Tutlingen gig, the playing was bog standard with the only moment of merit being when Roger pulled the mic lead out of the microphone and then menacingly chased me round the back of the stage curtain with his hands in a throat gripping gesture, I wasn’t sure if he was joking or not and took flight, unfortunately I tripped over a lighting truss and landed sprawled out on the floor behind the curtain. No further mention was made of the incident so perhaps he was joking!

21.04.04 Tutlingen, (D), Alte Festhalle

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Habits Of A Lifetime, Blind Willie McTell, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Prisoner, Son Of Red Moon/18 Wheels, Moth To A Flame, Unknown Soldier

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Toenail Draggin

Encore: Shortlist

If Tutlingen was a mere disappointment then Weiz was a dispiriting disaster. We had two days in the town with the 23rd being the day of the local Town Council sponsored show. The Shortlist played to about 75 people in a 1000 capacity hall, with a big PA and production. It was not our best day. There are many things that I don’t understand about these town council sponsored gigs the main one being that the organisers spend the taxes of the people of the town (Weiz) which is in all fairness money that the citizens have already contributed and then they expect them to pay again to attend the show, now surely if you have already paid for the band, PA and production couldn’t you just give 1000 tickets to the people of Weiz and have a full house? Perhaps these are just socialist ramblings, perhaps there is some semblance of clear thinking, I don’t know, but what I do know is that we could have been somewhere else having a good time. Fortunately the following night in Kufstein was a 100% improvement. We played in a small club to a reasonably large and very appreciative audience with the band determined to erase the memories of the recent gig.

23.04.04 Weiz, (A), Stadthalle

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Prisoner, Unknown Soldier, Blind Willie McTell, Son Of Red Moon/18 Wheels And A Crowbar/These Boots

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank

Encore: Jesus And The Devil

24.04.04 Kufstein, (A), Kulturfabrik

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Prisoner, Unknown Soldier, Blind Willie McTell, Who Pulled The Nite Down/Talkin’ Bout You, Habits Of A Lifetime, Son Of Red Moon/Spoonful/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Toenail Draggin’

Encore: Jesus And The Devil, Shortlist/King Bee


Lorsch is one of the gigs that I look forward to on the tour itinerary, it’s a very small town but the locals and people from the surrounding area support the venue and most shows are sold out in advance as was the Shortlist gig on the 24th April. The band and crew spent the night in some local town (the name of which escapes me) and the owner of the Rex and some of her friends took us out for an excellent Italian meal the night before, the wine flowed and our spirits were high, there was more than one sore head in the morning. The venue has an upstairs dressing room with no access to the stage; this means the band have to make their way through the crowd to get onto the stage, not an ideal situation but at least once they are on the stage they stay on the stage. The two-day break appeared to have refreshed the chaps and they turned in a great show.

27.04.04 Lorsch, (D), Rex Musiktheater

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Prisoner, Unknown Soldier, Blind Willie McTell, Who Pulled The Nite Down/Talkin’ Bout You, Habits Of A Lifetime, Son Of Red Moon/Spoonful/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Encore: OhBrother, Shank


The Shortlist had never played at the Harmonie in Bonn before with most gigs normally being played at the Jazz Galerie, however the Harmonie was a pleasant surprise (for me) with the dressing rooms being located in the corner of a courtyard, separate from the main hall with the onstage access being from behind John’s kit, so it was another case of once they are on they are on there’s nothing you can do. Having lost the toss for the comfy chair at the Ascot gig it was deemed that I should sit outside in the beer garden and if the chaps wanted anything they would open the door and give me a call. They didn’t call me so it was an easy night. Peter on the other hand had a multitude of problems to deal with, the venue was packed to the rafters and boiling hot, the ice for the cold drinks melted instantly, guitars went in and out of tune at will and Roger managed to pour water onto an onstage light and things went fizz. But all this gently passed me by whilst I was on the beer garden patrol.

28.04.04 Bonn, (D), Harmonie

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Prisoner, Unknown Soldier, Blind Willie McTell, Who Pulled The Nite Down/Talkin’ Bout You

Encore: Habits Of A Lifetime, Son Of Red Moon/Spoonful/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Shortlist


Neil Sanderson and ‘Sheffield’ Billy flew into the East of Germany for the two gigs in Leipzig and Erfurt; accommodation was arranged in the bands hotel by the tour manager. The Leipzig gig was held in a large disused factory and was well attended. The band and sound crew struggled with the acoustics of the hall; it was a problem that remained unresolved for the whole evening. After the show the band, crew and assorted others descended on the hotel only to find that the bar was closed. The duty manager offered us the use of a conference room to relax in on the proviso that we would not disturb the other guests. After an incident involving Billy and a local football fan, (for once I was not involved having retired injured) he was back asking us to leave; isn’t that just typical the band and crew act with tact and diplomacy all tour and then Billy joins us and we are asked to leave.

The Erfurt gig which was held at the Gewerkshafthaus, a disused trade union headquarters and it was a real belter, big stage, excellent PA, East German catering!, and scene of the most searing heckle of all time. At the end of ‘Moth’ Roger was stomping around the stage and he accidentally caught one of Mickey Moody’s guitar leads with his foot and pulled it out of the socket, looking sheepish he held the lead and remarked to the audience “An electrician I am not”, with razor sharp timing a voice from the crowd yells “Premiership you’re not”. In all honesty the heckler who was none other than ‘Sir William of Sheffield’ was making mirth at the expense of Leicester City Football Club and their impending relegation from the premier league however Roger took this heckle completely differently and it blew his timing and concentration. The band started ‘Frontier’ Roger crooned a few lines and then dropped the mic to the floor and stormed over to me and with a face like thunder jabbed his fingers into my ribs and yelled, “Go and find that bastard!, get him thrown out!, he’s gone too far this time!”. Thankfully Bill is a tall chap and I could clearly see him in the crowd, I made my way over and had a quiet word, Billy just laughed, “No Bill he’s bleeding serious this time, you open your mouth and I get a jab in the ribs, shut the f*** up”. Thankfully Bill and Neil were staying in a different hotel so there was no ‘post-match analysis’.

01.05.04 Erfurt, (D), Gewerkshafthaus

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Blind Willie McTell, Who Pulled The Nite Down/How How How, Prisoner, Son Of Red Moon/Daddy Rolling Stone/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Encore: Habits Of A Lifetime, Unknown Soldier

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Toenail Draggin’


The Halle gig was probably the strangest one I have attended let alone worked on. We didn’t play the Halle just down the road from Erfurt; this one was in the Westphalia area, a bloody long drive from Erfurt on a Sunday morning to play an afternoon show (onstage at 18:00) in an indoor arena due to there being some Irish dancing ensemble playing next door in the Gerry Weber Stadium. For the band and crew it was literally drive, set up and play. Of the show itself I can honestly say that most of what was written on this website was correct, the band and crew were tired, some chaps were irritated by the early start and to be perfectly frank nobody shone at this gig. There was a strained atmosphere after the gig and I went for a long walk rather than sit around and be drawn into a pointless finger pointing exercise. It was just my luck that Halle/Westphalia on Sunday night is about as exciting as your local undertakers on a slack day, I walked around until my feet ached and my mood grew blacker, I arrived back at the hotel and went to bed, sweet dreams or so I thought, tomorrow is another day. We were awoken at six o’clock by the sound of the drilling of walls, cement mixers etc. Ian and Gary were already at the hotel reception voicing their complaints, but it was to no avail as the builders started early in this part of the world, there was nothing for it but to get up and leave. As I left the hotel I saw a notice gaffer taped onto the entrance doors ‘Today, inter-county drilling competition all comers welcome, come along and wake up all our guests’, a desperately tired Mickey Moody was near the end of his sleepless tether.

02.05.04 Halle, (D), Gary Weber Event Hall

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Blind Willie McTell, Who Pulled The Nite Down/Talkin’ Bout You, Prisoner, Son Of Red Moon/Spoonful/Mango Crazy/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Shortlist


After the frustrations of Halle we were due a break and the day off in Koblenz-Guls was most welcome although the hotel left a lot to be desired and came in for some criticism during the following nights show when Roger remarked during ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’, “Spend the night together, but not in the hotel were in it’s the worst hotel I have ever stayed in.” As luck would have it there was a wine festival taking place in Guls, it was the first tasting of that years vintage from the Rhine/Mosel area and I enjoyed several pints of this fine wine and slept like a baby.

The Koblenz-Guls show was the best of the tour it was obvious that everybody had benefited from a day of sleep, wine or peace and quiet. Dave Collwell delivered the performance that we (the crew) knew was in him, he was now thoroughly familiar with all the numbers, although some of Roger’s diversions could sometimes catch him out, but not tonight though he was on top form. The surprise inclusion of ‘Spend It’ came as a result of Roger wanting a storming number to end the show, ‘Spend It’ was John’s suggestion and it worked beautifully. When the crew arrived back at the hotel everybody else had gone to bed and not wishing to disturb the residents Pete and myself sat on the bank of the Mosel with a couple of bottles and watched the trains and barges wending their way to who knows where whilst discussing the events of recent days. The evening ended with a ceremonial piss in the river, ah it’ll be a good vintage next year.

04.05.04 Koblenz-Guls, (D), Café Hahn

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier/Same Thing/Mango Crazy, Who Pulled The Nite Down, Blind Willie McTell, Unknown Soldier, Prisoner, Son Of Red Moon/Daddy Rollin’ Stone/Spoonful/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Toenail Draggin’

Encore: Lets Spend The Night Together


Koblenz to Hamburg was the longest drive on the tour and an early start was necessary, and for once it didn’t matter because I felt that the band were on a roll and I was really looking forward to tonight’s show in Hamburg. Roger has played the Fabrik in Hamburg on many occasions, it is run by good people and they can be relied upon to be helpful and professional it’s always good to be in Hamburg. Roger didn’t fancy the long journey in the tour bus so he took the train unfortunately there were problems en-route and he didn’t get to Hamburg until 19:00 and he missed the soundcheck; but at least the band were able to start promptly at 21:00 there had been a worry that the showtime may have had to be put back; a definite no no in this country renowned for punctuality. Andy Hamilton and I were by now suffering curry withdrawal and went in search of something hot and spicy. The waiter was not sure about our order of “give us the hottest thing you’ve got, and throw in a couple of scouring pads and some jiff”, what we got was a mild dish resembling a Vesta boil in the bag curry, I suppose you can’t win them all.

05.05.04 Hamburg, (D), Fabrik

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Who Pulled The Nite Down/Talkin’ ‘bout You, Blind Willie McTell, Unknown Soldier, Prisoner, Son Of Red Moon/Daddy Rollin’ Stone/Spoonful/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Toenail Draggin’

Encore: Jesus And The Devil, Shortlist


Rural Kellinghusen is a gig that resembles the set-up at Wilbarston, its run by well meaning people who are bringing some music to this rural part of Germany. This was the second time Roger and the chaps have been to Kellinghusen so we knew (roughly) what to expect. What we didn’t anticipate was a monitor guy who seemed to have been brought in off the street and introduced to his gear about an hour ago. We spent all afternoon at a (Chappo-less) soundcheck, but it just wouldn’t come together, whether it was the acoustics of the hall, the plywood stage or his unfamiliarity with the stage set-up I just don’t know. As the band left to go back to the hotel there was a feeling of foreboding amongst the crew.

The gig got off to a bad start, I had used Roger’s carpet for John’s drums (to try and deaden the lively plywood stage) and substituted a small gymnastics mat for Roger, as Roger moved around the stage the mat became unstuck and moved around at will. I tried to retrieve it but Roger heaved it up into the air behind John’s drums, it got caught on some light fittings strung across the stage and pulled the fittings from the wall. The sound problems persisted throughout the show much to the annoyance of the band; the crowd however thought this bickering and frustration was hilarious believing it to be part of the show?

07.05.04 Kellinghusen, (D), Forum Der Ulmenhofshule

with John Campbelljohn Band

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Who Pulled The Nite Down/How How How, Blind Willie McTell, Prisoner, Son Of Red Moon/Daddy Rolling Stone/These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank/Toenail Draggin’

Encore: Unknown Soldier


It was only a short drive to Worpswede and when we arrived there our good friends Ted the hat and Christian Coenan were already enjoying an end of tour beer. As a special favour we let them empty the van whilst we grabbed a bite to eat. The Worpswede Music Hall is a great venue, it is run by a guy known as HD who is/was some sort of a scientist who has dropped out of the rat race, and he runs the Music Hall for the benefit of the local people and the musicians who play there. The catering is excellent, the PA is really good and he employs local chaps as front of house and monitor engineers although when I say ‘chaps’ they are probably no more than 17 or 18 years old such is his belief in youthful participation and it has to be said that overall they gave us one of the best sounds on this tour.

So the first part of the Silver Anniversary Tour ended on high point, all that was left was the drive back to England and the preparations for the European summer festivals.

08.05.04 Worpswede, (D), Music Hall

Set: Higher Ground, Kiss My Soul, X-Town/, Moth To A Flame, Wild Frontier/Same Thing, Who Pulled The Nite Down/Talkin’ Bout You, Blind Willie McTell, Unknown Soldier, Prisoner, Son Of Red Moon/Spoonful/These Boots Are Made For Walkin

Encore: Oh Brother, Shank

Encore: Lets Spend The Night Together

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