Jeays Christmas Extravaganza

18:00 – Setting up. The sound man is very camp, very expansive and possibly drunk. He’s also one of the cooks. I’ve played here before on many occasions. It usually works, but it’s never what you’d call military precision. Actually today is a lot more organised than it has been previously – the piano works first time, the guitar and the bass work. Phil has to borrow one of my leads and my Tech 21 DI, while I use the Millenium one for the guitar and plug the bass straight into the stage box. It seems to work. At no point do we sound check a combination that we will actually use. This is’t really incompetance, but there’s not enough time to be too picky about that sort of thing. Anyway, the audience is already there.

Having set up, we wait. I introduce H to the band and Geoff, “tonight’s poet”, then we wait some more.

20:15 – The band kick off with a new one, then I do a set. The voice seems strong, but my right hand is wretched, which distracts me, as all my attention is going there. The Things You Get, Unison, The Secret Agent’s Dream and Iodine. Not a tremendous break from previous setlists. The audience are very attentive, though (previous times I’ve played here it could be a bit of bear pit). Not a resounding success, more of a 1-1 draw. As I say, I enjoyed the singing.

Geoff does his set – much more appropriate to the event, I think.

Short break – I put my nylon string away and take out my steel-string that I’ll use for the Jeays set proper. Two people come up and buy CDs from me, and I sell two sets. Hurrah!

We begin. We don’t really make a big entrance. The first song is a new one, which I play on bass. A very good time to discover that the bottom strings are a semitone flat, so I’m compensating. I tune up surreptitiously in the chat between the songs.

It’s a bit of a blur. We play nearly three hours altogether, coming off at 23:45. Epic stuff. It’s a real treat to play some of these songs again, and some interesting new arrangements appear. Some of them we’ve not done for such a long time that the arrangements just appear on stage, so occasional moments of real music, at least for me.

Phil has a terrific new one, which he plays by himself at the end, but we are upstairs recovering.

Very quick break-down with H’s assistance and then home