Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Nicki's manager Tracy posted this on Facebook this week "Nicki is sad to announce that her original bass player (Dave Clemo) has had to withdraw from the band as a result of health concerns. While Dave's many fans will be sad to not see him again this year, Nicki is pleased to announce that Lee Jackson (ex The Nice) will be joining her UK band this year on bass and backing vocals. " Dave writes: I saw the Nice a few times back in the 60s. I shall look forward to meeting Nicki and Tracy (and Frank Ifield!) when they get here in a few weeks. And I'll try and get along to at least one of the shows
Monday, 5 March 2012
Just a quick post. I'm not touring with Nicki this year because of my ongoing health problems, but her itinerary has just been published. Here it is:
Nicki Gillis UK TOUR 2012
May 31st Rehearsal, Northampton
June 1st RBL Club, Edlington, Nr Doncaster, Yorkshire
June 2nd Off
June 3rd The Railway Inn, Culham, Nr Abingdon, Oxon
June 6th Wingfield Miners Club, North Wingfield, Derbyshire
June 7th The Post Office Club,Stevenage, Hertfordshire
June 8th Village Hall,West Buckland, Nr Wellington, Somerset
June 9th Village Hall,Notgrove, Nr Bourton on the Water,
June 10th Driftaway CMC,RBL Club, Littlemore, Oxford, Oxon
June 11th United Services Club, Widnes, Cheshire
June 12th Solway Club, Immingham, Grimsby, Lincolnshire
June 13th Whitby S & S Club,Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
June 15th Lyons Robin Hood Holiday Park, Nr Prestatyn, N Wales
June 16th The Old Anchor Inn, Abingdon, Oxon
June 17th Athletic Club, Mexborough, South Yorkshire
June 19th Silver Dollar CMC,Bluebird SC, Longham, Nr Bournemouth,
June 20th The Plough Inn,Aberdare, South Wales
June 21st Village Hall, Notgrove, Nr Bourton on the Water,
June 22nd Lordswood Leisure Centre, Walderslade, Nr Chatham, Kent
June 23rd The Village Club, Dumbleton, Gloucestershire
June 24th Whiston Labour Club, Whiston, Nr Prescot, Merseyside
June 26th Stanway Rovers FC, Stanway, Nr Colchester, Essex
June 28th Hardwick Social Club, Stockton on Tees, Cleveland
June 29th Westcott S & S Club, Westcott, Buckinghamshire
June 30th The White Horse Inn, Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire
July 1st Heavy Transport S & S Club, St Austell, Cornwall
July 2nd Chertsey Social Club, Pycroft Road, Chertsey, Surrey
Saturday, 3 December 2011
I'd really struggled with my health during Nicki's tour. Eight shows in seven days was tough, although I wouldn't have changed it for the world.
Having said that, I could have done without the following two months.
Within a few days of the end of the tour I was ill. I had severe diarrhea and a throat infection. I couldn't eat and what food I could get down went straight through. I had to do something so I gatecrashed my Leukaemia specialist's clinic when I was at the hospital for another appointment. Within a few hours I had been admitted, had an X-ray and then a scan. I then had my appendix removed. I still had the other symptoms but had just avoided peritonitis as my appendix was about to burst.
I was in and out of hospital for the next week or so, and six weeks later had a sigmoidoscopy (a camera up the bum) to try and find out what was wrong. They still don't know, but I knew one thing-
This would have to be my final tour. My health had suffered too much. I'd had a month off work without pay and two months off sick. I think my body was saying- no more.
So that's it. I loved touring with Nicki. She's a lovely talented person and I'm proud to have known her. Maybe we will meet again when she next tours the UK. She and Tracy are welcome at our home anytime.
I'd like to leave you with this video. Nicki was staying at our house in between shows. It was a nice sunny day and she was in the garden playing guitar and trying a few songs out. One song she tried is now her new single "Always on my mind"
Nicki Gillis. The best I have worked with.
Sunday, 31 July 2011
I slept in until late morning, when Nicki and Tracy arrived from Milton Keynes. We had an appearance booked on Andy Coupland's radio show on Corby FM so we drove over and arrived in good time. Their photographer Joy was on hand to take some pictures and Tracy shot a few as well. The show was broadcast over the internet and it was a joy to know that Nicki's husband Lee was on-line, chatting with Andy and listening in. Bob Howe messaged Tracy to say he was listening, and Chris recorded the broadcast as well.
All I had to do was remember how to play the songs on guitar....
No problem. The show went really well and we returned to our house to prepare for the final night of the tour. Chris and I set off first because we had to collect Lee from Northampton. Jason was to come along to help us set up but he texted me to say that he'd arrive later as he wanted to watch the bands playing in the Market Place in Kettering.
My throat and glands were still very sore but Chris Lee and I unloaded the van and set everything up. It took longer than normal as we were one man down. Niki arrived and we ran through a few snippets of the set. We would have liked longer but that was all the time we had. Like Lee on the first night of the tour a lifetime ago, he would have to wing it.
Sue showed up with her friend Anita. Chris' girlfriend Heather came along with their friend Annette. Vince and Rachel brought Yana and Anne-Marie. My old bass player Andy and his wife brought a friend as well. Jason turned up with a friend but was a little the worse for wear to contribute to the proceedings.
Chris played really well and overall the show was a little rockier but still hugely enjoyable.
Nicki surprised at least one member of the audience with her performance of AC/DC's "You shook me all night long". This girl can really rock!
After twenty three shows Lee asked for a mike and joined in on some of the songs!
Finally it was over for another year. Nicki had taken on every kind of venue and won them over with her presence, her musicianship and her fabulous voice. She made countless appearances on radio stations up and down the country and even appeared on the Philmack Country Show on satellite TV
I had to drive the van after we'd loaded out. We dropped Lee back in Northampton and I just made it back home. I staggered into bed and didn't get up until lunchtime.
This was originally our to be our last show and I for one was glad that it was not too far away- although Nicki and Tracy had stayed the night in York, so it was a long drive for them down to their hotel (an executive box at MK Dons Stadium)
The venue was the former officer's mess at a WW2 airbase just outside Aylesbury and as we drove on to the site we could see many of the old buildings, mostly in an advanced state of dereliction
Not so the club itself. It was a lovely venue with a big dance floor and a huge stage. The evening was in aid of Help for Heroes and more than 100 people crowded in to the venue and enjoyed a great show by Nicki and the band. The dance floor was full for every song and Nicki and the band needed no encouragement to pull out the stops
Chris managed to shoot a few frames of video as well as taking notes (he was to play the final show the following night) and here's a short clip of the fun we had that night
The show over-ran but nobody was complaining. We loaded the van and said our goodbyes, drove back to Northampton (I slept the whole way there). We filled up with diesel and dropped Lee then Cozy off. Lee was to play the final date but Cozy was to fly to Switzerland and a five week tour.
My throat was still very painful but I'd found a bottle of mouthwash and regular gargling was helping. I fell into bed and was asleep within seconds
Chris rejoined the tour for the final three shows and drove us up the M1 to the venue in York. We had to wait while a dance exercise class finished and they very kindly made me a refreshing cup of tea. My sore throat and saliva glands were causing me a lot of pain and I sat in the van until we were ready to load in. The room was very hot (I wondered why there were so many electric fans in the room, also why the outside doors were thrown wide open when we arrived. You can have too much insulation..)
Chris spent the evening making notes of the song arrangements, so no photos.
It was a very enjoyable show. The large crowd warmed to Nicki and gave us a great ovation at the end.
It was almost 4.00 by the time we got back home. Both Chris and I were shattered. Ah well, just a couple of shows to go.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Monday found me tired and depressed. I was even grumpier than usual and so spent most of the day in bed asleep. It did mean that I felt rested when we set off for our next show in Stanway near Colchester. This first part of the journey involved driving cross-country to Bishops Stortford in order to avoid the motorways and seemed to take forever. That said, we arrived within fifteen minutes of our ETA and began loading in. The show was held in the clubhouse of the local football club and people were arriving even as we were loading in. They just kept on coming. It was a full house. I thought they were a bit reserved to begin with but Nicki soon had them warmed up.
When we play clubs in the north of the country we tend to play two sets, while those in the south ask for three sets from 8.00 until 11.00. It doesn't leave much time between sets, but Jason managed to sneak out during the first set and find a chippy, so I ate a portion of chips during the first interval which kept me going.
The crowd loved Nicki and gave her a standing ovation at the end. (All except one lady who took exception to Nicki, sat with her back to the stage and left early. Ah well, you can't please everyone)
We surprised the bar lady who was astonished at how quickly we were packed away and ready to leave. I did say we'd be quick if she made us some tea to take with us. It was a good bargain as we sped down the road to Birchanger Services where we found some half decent pasties in the Waitrose store. I found a microwave in the baby changing area so we had hot pasties before heading back to the M11- a journey involving a complete circuit of the Services thanks to Jason misreading the signs. I settled down in the back and was asleep when I was woken up by a strong vibration as if the van was driving over cobbles. It continued for several miles along the A14 and we pulled over to see if there was any mechanical defect or puncture causing it. We couldn't see anything so continued homeward. I dropped Jason off and parked the van on the drive, then went to bed.
I was woken up with the news that the rear nearside tyre was flat. Just as well there's no show tonight.