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Mike Randle's

Countdown To A Decade:
Shows 81-84

Show #78-Sept. 2, 2002-Crewe, England-The LIMELIGHT

Everyone was telling us that Crewe was a really dull town and that all it was known for was railway stations and such. They said we’d have a hard time finding a good meal and that there was only one stretch of town where there was anything interesting. THEY WERE ALL RIGHT.

But, I will say this much for Crewe; the people came to rock and the club owner is a massive RUSH fan. he had pictures of RUSH everywhere, all throughout the club! My buddy, Steve Edmond, came to this show as well. He brought his mum along and told me he grew up not too far from Crewe. I told him I was sorry. (joking!… I didn’t tell him that!)

The show came off well but we couldn’t leave, or should I say the SINGER couldn’t leave, as all these fans surrounded the stage exit and demanded to meet him! Since I was feeling a little better, I was looking forward to a good meal…the food at the LIMELIGHT was complete shite…nice club…AWFUL food! We got back to the hotel around midnight. I was sharing a room with Ringo and it was a nice size room with a bathroom up some steps. We felt special. The other guys (Ringo included) decided to go Party in Glenn’s room…and may have ordered pizza…I don’t recall; I took my throat medicine and started counting sheep…

Show #79-Sept. 3, 2002-Bristol, England-The FLEECE & FIRKIN

We left Crewe early and drove to Bristol. The hotel was located in a business park, near a library and TGIF restaurant. Also, there was a huge “Heathrow-style” roundabout just outside the business park entrance. The club in Bristol was an old-style pub where I imagined groups like the Beatles or the Who or the Kinks might have played. The people who ran it were unbelievably nice folks. Next door was a small pub that served food and they told us to order whatever we wanted. Ok, now get this straight…I don’t make this “bad food” stuff up, ok? there are 5 people in the group, plus Glenn and Sasha. If 7 people come to the same conclusion, what’s that tell ya?

So, the show was majorly sold out, and guess who made an appearance but none other than the Diary’s sometime-substitute, Mel C.! The former Spice Girl had bussed it from Cardiff and was busily trying to roll a Spliff when I saw her. She went backstage to chat with the SINGER and then noted that someone had written on the wooden rail backstage, “ROCK IS A FOUR LETTER WORD…LIKE WANK!” I thought the crackhead in Detroit would have gotten a blast out of that! Well, as you may know from the Diaries, the show was sold out but people still watched the show thru the windows and listened from behind locked doors. The SINGER dedicated the last song to “those of you who didn’t get in” and we were off the stage.

As we pulled up to our hotel, Glenn got crazy behind the wheel and did the roundabout 7 OR 8 times BEFORE PULLING INTO THE HOTEL! Lucky for us, our hotel was located right next door to a TGIF. I don’t know what Brits think of this place (I know the prices are right thru the roof), but the food was a nice change…and I hope this does NOT cause a bunch of ENGLISH-FOOD-POSTS on the message board!

Show #80-Sept. 5, 2002-Athens, Greece-ELLINIKOS KOSMOS FESTIVAL

We flew into Athens on the 4th of Sept along with LONDON’s “Porcupine Tree.” We were met at the airport by a HUGE tour bus. And that was nice since the traffic in Athens is indescribable…I could write a book about it but this subject goes beyond the scope of these Countdowns…

So we check into our 5-star hotel and then the Greek promoters take us to an amazing restaurant…my god the food was spectacular…and I couldn’t have any wine! I would have to wait till the next day which was the day we played the festival…it had rained at Soundcheck… a good thing Porcupine Tree wasn’t there to see their gear get wet…CAUSE THERE WERE HOLES IN THE ROOF!…no joke…big friggin holes, little friggin holes…holes, holes, buckets and more holes…then it stopped raining and then it got hot and humid-all in 2 hours’ time!

By the time we got onstage, there were nearly 3,300 people there to check us out, plau another 3 or 400 who had to watch from the sides because they couldn’t get in. We played about a 90 min set and the Greeks loved it. I had no idea they knew ALL the words but people just had this look on their faces like they couldn’t believe it was really the SINGER. I remember seeing the same look on some MANCHESTER fans right before they threw a beer at us….

So, after that show, I went up to the roof of the hotel with some of the wacky Porcupine tree crew and band members and Glenn Povey. We drank a lot of wine and then called it a day. The next day, we said our goodbyes. All the UK guys went back to England, the SINGER, his LADY, and Chapple flew back to LA (via LONDON) and Rusty, Daddyo and I went to the Greek Island of AGISTRI for a 5-day holiday. I think you know the rest of the story…