Amazing Venues, Difficult Get-in’s

We love a bit of a fanfare. Masters of ceremonies, trumpeters, honour guards and salutations – the works if you can provide that’d be lovely. However the best that we’ve managed so far is to have the Tower of London drawbridge raised for our benefit. On that occasion we were performing on the Dixie Queen, one of the few boats that manages to secure the raising of the bridge.

This time we were actually playing on the bridge itself. Well, on the walkways to be precise. If you’ve never really studied Tower Bridge that closely, you may have just glanced over the supporting cross brace structures at the top of the bridge. These are actually two corridors, closed off to the element, about 80m in length and 4m wide – and they’re available to hire!

Hats off to the marketing people, Some bright events co-ordinator, thought it a good idea to promote this venue for functions. It’s barely wide enough to fit a round table in with seating for about 8-10, yet fit tables in they do. A lot of them. You can hire the walkways for birthday parties, weddings, functions, etc and bizarrely it just about works. Of course the natural extension to this is to get some music and entertainment in the venue. This is where we come in.

As a flexible band we pride ourselves in being able to play most venues. Cramped, difficult access, out of the ordinary line-ups. This was something else. I guess that the venue works for acoustic musicians, jazz trios and smaller ensembles. However, a full 4 piece function band with PA, lighting equipment, drum kit, etc, etc. Well we gave it a go.

You’ve got about the same amount of space as a hospital corridor. So carefully setting up we managed to ensure at the least that punters were able to walk past the band. However we weren’t able to face our audience. Also, the dance floor was to the side of us. It’s a strange experience playing a gig to people who are watching you from the sidelines. Kind of like a rock stadium gig, but without the 50,000 fans in front. Anyway, play we did and dance they did – both of us filling our contractual obligations 😉 However at the end of the gig and ‘Sex On Fire’ we started to get worried about physics as the walkway was bouncing up and down too much from the crowd jumping.

Dave and Marcus were both a little peaky that night. Andee enjoyed the fact that she got to play the drums for Poker Face – such flexibility! We had to wait a very long time to go on so learnt a lot about amazing bridges from the world bridge exhibition.

The get-in however was really hard. Parked about 200 yards away from the south tower (no loading between 5-7 bizarrely, so also on the look out for parking wardens) we had to shift the PA from Van to tower. Then up the lift and over the walkway. Nightmare. Fortuntaely we had the foresight to bring a couple of helping hands. It cost us money from our fee, but we wouldn’t ever attempt this gig without employing a couple of porters. Just thought we’d warn other bands.

It’s a great experience and the views are incredible. Don’t underestimate the get-in!

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