So I know we still have a few days left (that include the birthday of a dear friend for me) but May Mayhem (or was it Madness?) is over for me. I just have time to catch up on sleep, catch up with friends and watch lots of Apprentice before June graces us with it's presence.
But I have had the most fun.
We pick up with me in Stoke along with the usual suspects:
Being entertained by these three lovely fellows:
I'm not gonna lie, we'd built Stoke up to be the big one and it let us down. Big time. Frank, Franz and Ben all did an amazing job, but the crowd were shit. And it hurt. We hadn't been able to go to the Manchester show, so this felt like the closest we had to a hometown show. Alas.
Still, the man himself did make an appearance afterwards, so that was cool:
(God, doesn't Nick look tiny?!)
Then, only 12 hours later, we were in Wales, where the scenery was beautiful but the weather was disgusting. Still, it was a lovely couple of days hanging out with Nick's family and gaining a short education on Real Ale (apparently they all fall into one of four categories: earwax, chocolate, burnt toast and citrus-y). Plus I got to go on this:
We headed back home on Monday, tired and dishevelled, only to leave almost immediately for happy cider-and-dessert-times-in-Kro-Bar and the Rural Alberta Advantage gig at the charming Deaf Institute. Rural Alberta were seriously good and, if it weren't for them being sandwiched in between Frank gigs, I'd be waxing lyrical about the evening. So I recommend them, go listen now!
The next morning, after very little sleep (seriously, I was crashing big time) we set off for Wiltshire, home of Jess and big white horses:
Then almost immediately to Bristol where I saw a Banksy!!! Well, we passed a few but this one just appeared as we were walking to the venue. So cool since I've always wanted to see one :) Bristol rocks!
So the girlies and I had a lovely night and I heard my favourite new Frank track of the three gigs: 'Redemption'. It literally moved me to tears. I love that feeling you get the first time you listen to a song and, as it unfolds, you realise it is one of the greatest songs you've ever heard. I'll never forget the first time I heard Redemption.
And oh yeah, the gig was in a church. A church and a library within two weeks. Mind-blowing stuff. (For anyone wondering, Frank did not play 'Glory Hallelujah' at Bristol, can't think why though...)
And to end our Frank stalkery jaunt, I met the lovely Mr Marwood who was a friendly, accomodating chap.
So yes, that was May Madness/Mayhem. The next time we see Frank again shall be Leeds Fest, which feels altogether too far away. I got a lovely nine whole hours of sleep last night and at three square meals at reasonable times of the day. Feeling on the road to recovery!
A few words about this tour for me. Following Frank, if only for three gigs, was everything I hoped it would be. Yes, there were lows, but the highs made up for it. The new material gives me serious musical goosebumps so I can therefore guarantee no one will be disappointed come June 6th.
And to my fellow Frank-ophiles, Skinny, Nick and Jess: you are awesome and made this past couple of weeks some of the most special of my life. I shall never forget them.