During May I toured the UK with Thea Gilmore playing everywhere from Edinburgh to Brighton. Much of the time was spent traversing the pennines in the Gold Sprinter and a league table of service station facilities was gradually assembled. Waitrose was determined the overall winner for on-the-go food provisions.
In the band I played piano, violin, guitar and flute, shaky egg and sang harmonies! The first gig, Birmingham Town Hall, was one of the largest venues with full 9 piece band, including Robbie McIntosh, the famous guitarist who was, despite his accalades, a great laugh back stage. I was overwhelmed to witness the arrival of what would be my piano for the evening, a huge Steinway grand, which was so big, the stage had to part, allowing it to rise from the floor at a majestically slow pace. I did feel rather dwarfed sitting at it with all of my 5 feet and 2 inches.
Supporting Thea Gilmore on tour was Jo Rose whose lyrics were full of poetry. His girlfriend, the main writer behind joined him on several tour dates to harmonise on my personal favourite song.
As well as cramming lots of tour dates into 3 weeks, we also played several radio gigs. My first was on BBC Radio 2 on Terry Wogan's show. Whilst warming up on Elton John's piano, I was surprised to turn around to the sight of Terry himself, carrying a generous tray of donuts and other calorific enticements. Due to nerves and fears of potential mid gig refluxes we all politely declined. I was drinking an evian bottle filled with a medicinal concoction of brandy and water to the consistency of neat apple juice. This both calmed my nerves, gave me some vava voom and enabled me to hit the very high harmonies in 'Coming Back To You', Thea's Summer single which we performed live to millions of listeners, along with 'London.' During the show, Terry complimented me on my nail varnish which was, incidentally teal. The following week we played on Bob Harris's show on Radio 2, by which time I had reached an over familiar stage with Elton John's piano and upon tweeting Bob, even got a tweet in return. We played further sessions on Radio Manchester and Radio London as a three, myself Thea and Nigel where I met comedian Iain Lee with whom I had to shake pinkies upon greeting, as I had my hands full of violin accoutrements.
During the tour we performed in cities and towns across the UK. Cheltenham town hall was particularly beautiful. After 3 weeks on the road we were all a little tired, ill and a good half stone fatter thanks to the constant riders.