GAME ON BABY
BLUR' 2013 World Tour
I never really followed 'Blur' when I was growing up ( too busy trying to play like John Coltrane on the Trombone) however, on hearing these songs played with so much passion and commitment I'm now a big fan! These guys are the real deal, even in rehearsals and sound checks they ment every note and word that's in every song. Smart guys with a real history behind them.
The audiences were huge all over the world, ranging from 20,000 to 120,000 people. Amazing energy stood on stage with the crowd consistently 'Going Nuts!!'.
The Crew, the Band, the BV's and especially the other two horn's ( Dan Carpenter and Alisdair White) were ultimate professionals on stage and knew how to have a great time off.
What a year!
This is a video I found on the net, of what I class as ONE OF THE BEST GIGS OF MY LIFE.
That morning I walked into Hyde Park and bumped into Damon who was riding to soundcheck on his push bike ( of all things). That night we were going to be part of the closing ceremony to the 2012 Olympics. A HUGE gig. We played the set and when we reached 'Park Life', we went live to the rest of the world via satellite. Phil Daniels from 'Quadrophenia' who sang on the original 'Park Life' track came out shouting 'Oi Oi my little saveloy's', the comedian, Harry Enfield, came on dressed as a dinner lady (nobody knew he was doing this..) the crowd went CRAZY! It was SO funny. What a feeling.
I think you can buy the gig on iTunes but this is just one tune to try and show you a sneak peak into the vibe that we were all feeling.
Kylie X' World Tour 2008/2009
This was a fantastic couple of years of my life. As part of a 9 piece band I travelled all over the world ( Literally, I don't think there was a place that we didn't go). We were so involved in the show, writing horn lines and grooves, costume changes and dance routines as well as playing in the band each night... it was a full work out, I don't think I have ever been as fit.
Kylie is an amazing lady, she never took herself too seriously and got involved with everyone on the tour, she was part of the team. She danced and sang live every night ( which a lot of other pop stars cheat when the dancing gets too rough) so maximum respect.
'Kylie' backstage video
Graeme Flowers (Trp) and Graeme Blevins (sax) were the other 2 horn players. These guys are two of the most incredible musicians I have ever met. We were like brothers from another mother on that tour. Practical jokes, wearing bright colored clothes, working out, drinking, dancing and A LOT of sweating.
It was playing with these guys every night that inspired 'THE LONDON HORNS'.
The whole tour was an absolute BALL!! ( A Glittery One)
The opening Sequence of the Show...
I think this is AMAZING. This was the first thing the crowd's saw before Kylie walked on. I was busy back stage putting my outfits on and running through my 'choreography' one more time in my head.
The whole show was set on a giant television screen that was raked (so the audience could see the floor)
I'm glad we didn't have to wear some of the stuff that the dancers had to wear..the highest heels and a mask was a standard Kylie costume, pretty hazardous, especially for the boys... luckily we didn't have any accidents although when the screen was moving under your feet it felt like you were flying without moving.
ROISIN MURPHY 2005 European Tour
28 Concerts in 30 days
This was probably one of the most eccentric tours I've ever done and one of the coolest. Roisin was an amazing performer and her 'underground' fan base was huge because of the success of 'Moloko'.
It was a european tour in theatres, doing 28 gigs in 30 days on a SLEEPER BUS which ment in realistic terms.. we would do a gig, get drunk, get on the bus, sleep, wake up in another country, go and see the town square ( randomly), sound check, gig, get drunk and do it all again.
The band was one of the first band to use live sampling (playing something, recording it, then playing along to what you had just recorded). Eddie Stevens was the brains behind it in the control centre, surrounded by laptops and microphones. this way of performing ment that every show was completely different.
I think this video is the whole of one of the shows ( Bottom Right).
John Hoare and Sean Freeman were my horn playing comrades. Great fun on the road and musically fantastic.
I remember one night Sean ( who is now 'Level 42's' Sax player) was telling us about how we should all try chewing gum while we were playing. he could do it whereas John and I nearly clogged up our instruments. Sean played one of the best sax solos I've ever heard on that tour, somewhere at a venue on a beach at 2am.Whilst chewing gum. Brilliant.
MOLOKO 'SIng it Back'
JAMIE CULLUM 2003-2004 'Twenty Something' Tour
The thing that I like about Jamie is that not only is he 'one of the guys' but he had worked the music scene for years.. carrying his own keyboard and doing the cruise ships to earn an honest penny. Then once given the million pound investment from 'Universal' he just seemed to take the ball and run with it.
He is witty, knowledgeable, a great pianist and songwriter plus a brilliant, charismatic singer and he is only 3ft tall. Where does all the talent fit??!! ;)
It was such a pleasure to tour with him. The video ( Right) was one of the most memorable gigs that we did. Katie Melua was supporting us and the night was amazing.
John Hoare and Ben Castle were the other horn players on this tour. Off stage the pair of them were like 'Laurel and Hardy', joking around with smooth jazz phrases on the trumpet to tap dancing lessons from Ben between tunes. Very Funny times.
'STRICTLY COME DANCING' UK
Eleven Years and still going.
This is the UK equivalent of 'Dancing with the stars', I played in the TV show band for 5 years but then had to leave for other tours, however, I continue to do the live arena tour which has been touring around the UK every January and February for 11 years.
The singers on this show are some of the best you can get, singing any song that gets thrown at them on a weekly basis.
My personal favorite is Hayley Sanderson...
That's why I married her.
KID CREOLE AND THE COCONUTS'
'Kid Creole and the Coconuts' are very close to my heart. I have been in the band for 15 years now and I still absolutely LOVE IT!
I have pretty much toured all over the world with this band.'August Darnell' (aka, Kid Creole) is an amazing band leader and knows how to put on a show. Full Energy, loads of great horn lines, 'BIG TROMBONE' solo's and great music.
'STOOL PIGEON', 'ANNIE I'M NOT YOUR DADDY', I'M A WONDERFUL THING BABY', GINA GINA (He's just a ski instructor)(Love that title) and many more as still as fresh now as they were in 1983.
We recently got back from Australia, In all these years 'Kid' never made it out there, so this trip was extra special. We played Melbourne Festival to open the famous 'White Nights', then we flew over to Adelaide to open there annual Music festival. 20,000 australiain's all put a bit of FUNK on there barbecues.
Chris 'Storrando' Storr Trumpet and Edgar Jones Sax join me to make the infamous 'Pond Life Horns'.
There has always been rumours that the Jim Carrey film 'The Mask' was based on 'Kid Creole and the Coconuts'.
X-Factor Final 2013
'Michael Buble' has his own American Big Band that do most of the gigs, however a handful of times, Michael has been over to the UK without his band and hired a London one.
This was one of the concerts we performed, the 'X-Factor Final' 2013. A pressurized gig to have to feature on the Finale of a singing contest. He was cool as a cucumber and sang fantastic.
He is a lovely chap and talented artist. At the time of working with him..I was also touring with a Buble Tribute act ( That sounded more like Michael Buble than he did). I wrote and transcribed all of Buble's big band tracks in a reduced form ( 2 trp, sax and Trom) if anyone fancy a copy of these? let me know.
It was sure to say that I knew the music quite well after that tour.
A few years after leaving the 'Guildhall School of Music' I was called to do a tour with the 'Spice Girls' 10 nights at Wembley, whilst they were in the height of there fame, unfortunately I was away at the time so I had to let it go. Since then I have managed to do at least one gig with each of these ladies over the years, including a great UK tour with Mel C.
The last gig of the tour was supporting 'Beyonce' at Hyde Park, now that was a show!
POP IDOL BIG BAND
In my final year at 'Guildhall', I was called to an interview at '19 Management' in front of Simon Fuller. At the time, I had no idea who that was, which was probably a good thing to save my nerves, he was the mastermind behind Annie Lennox, The Spice Girls, S Club 7 and many more..
He had an idea that he wanted to start a Big Band featuring all the 'young hot shots' on the scene, to tour, to have a regular residency at a club in London and even to have a film made about a young Jazz musician.
I was hired to put together, basically, all my mates, to form a big band and go on the road. The launch of this band which was called 'THE BIG BLUE' was to appear on the then very new TV singing contest called 'POP IDOL'. Will Young, Gareth Gates, Zoe Birkett were among the contestants that did really well in the show. The Big band were featured and the audiences loved it.. we were hire to do an arena tour with the finalists of the show. We were paid, looked after, fed, watered for a month which was a massive deal when we were young. This was probably my first professional tour. Fond memories.