It’s not often I get to Offenbach, but…..
…this weekend saw CHRISTIE re-convene alongside The Manfreds and The Searchers at The Beat Beat Beat Festival in Offenbach, near Frankfurt.
My own journey began in Turre, Southern Spain, and involved negotiating an Autovia that had collapsed in two places due to the catastrophic floods of the previous week in order to get to Alicante airport, where I took a flight first to Palma, Majorca, and kicked my heels for a couple of hours before I was Frankfurt bound.
Upon arrival, I received a message from Jeff. “There’s a bad road accident that’s prevented your driver from picking you up – get a taxi!” almost without breaking stride, I swiped my bag from the carousel. slung my bass over my shoulder and walked outside to hail one.
I was soon heading out of Frankfurt towards Offenbach and the driver, with instructions to take me to the Stadthalle, turned and asked me what street it was on….I mean, it’s the Stadthalle! It’s big, there are signs! How hard could it be? Thankfully when we arrived in the town, he decided to ask a taxi-driver (go figure) and we arrived safely.
I’d already missed the sound check, Jeff, Fos and Simon having arrived from the UK on an earlier flight, and Jeff was already back at the hotel. But the fun didn’t stop there….Rolf, the promoter came rushing in to say that the opening act, Racey, apparently had ‘the wrong sort of keyboard’, and a search was underway to find one. Meanwhile, could Christie open the show, around an hour and twenty minutes ahead of schedule?
“Oooh…” I said, “You’ll have to ask Jeff about that. ” I dialled him up and handed my phone to Rolf. With masterful Germanic efficiency and directness he said “Hi Jeff, it’s Rolf, you have to go on now”
Cue action stations, and as Jeff was whisked back to the gig in short order, we got ready, the ink barely dry on my boarding card, and hit the stage. The crowd were superb, behind us from the first number, and we locked into a groove we’ve been honing together for nigh-on 25 years.
After the show, we were hustled out into the meet n greet where we were signing everything under the sun, Jeff’s new album ‘No Turn Unstoned’ and my solo CD, Blue Odyssey, and amazing books published by Christie fans, with fantastic articles, photos, and scans of record labels of the entire discography in them, true labours of love.
A nice dinner courtesy of backstage catering followed, where I was introduced to the delights of the ‘mini-cheeseburger’. Not sure what the idea behind that is, except perhaps that you can get a few in your mouth in one go. Then it was time to catch some of the Manfreds show from the side of the stage. What an amazing catalogue of hits they have to draw upon, and with not one but TWO original vocalists upfront, in the shape of Mike D’Abo and Paul Jones, the audience were treated to those classic songs as they were meant to sound. A word about Tom McGuiness, who should have been there but was injured in a fall the day before and couldn’t make it. Get well soon, Tom! If you also factor in Mike Hugg, and legendary Family drummer Rob Townsend, ably aided and abetted by Marcus Cliffe and Simon Currie, you have some talent up there on that stage. Rob in particular, has played on three of my favourite songs of all time:
“In my own Time”, “Burlesque”, and “My friend the Sun”. Days like this, you gotta love going to work!
We had a great time back at the hotel bar following the show, reminiscent of the multiple-bill shows we did back in the 90’s in Germany, and met up with some of our loyal fan base again as has become the custom on our German trips.
A leisurely Sunday breakfast followed, where Mike D’Abo shared his secret of black coffee with honey, though the search for the latter proved fruitless… I said my goodbyes to Jeff, Simon and Fos and headed home to Spain. That’s another one under the belt!