"Tales of a Temporary Chauffeur" - By Kevin Fearn.

After turning down the opportunity to drive to Belgium (seriously), I was offered to visit the equally glamorous town of Rotherham, Yorkshire, (as Alan’s Chauffeur, and TWR photo guy) to attend the first UK gig of Steve Hackett’s latest tour.

After a couple of wrong turns (I hate the M60 ring road), and with the considerable help of an over-excited and cheerful local, we arrived at the venue for the show. Upon arrival we were greeted by John from Camino and a huge amount of cardboard boxes containing merchandising, which needed moving around to the front of the venue. Making my way into the venue I was somewhat surprised to find Steve Hackett sound checking!

Although I was the grateful user of an ‘access all areas’ pass, I soon earned it. This included helping John move the van out of a tight squeeze (you could get a double decker bus through that gap John!) we started to set up the merchandising.

Unfortunately my efforts were somewhat distracted by the sound check and I wandered over to watch. I was totally mesmerised as I listened to Steve, John and Roger run through a few numbers. However, the best was yet to come!

John and Roger left the stage and Steve continued right up until the doors opened at around 7pm. I was given a brief preview of the evenings highlights including ‘After The Ordeal’, Steve even strumming a small part of the refrain whilst he sat in the 2nd row.

After an ample pizza, thanks Alan, and taking a trip to the bar for Alan’s real ale pint, I took my seat for the show, front row of course. And what a fantastic show it was.
After the show, Steve, John and Roger appeared to talk to the fans. I finally got to speak to Steve, thanked him for the opportunity and for the excellent show, got my new DVD purchase signed and posed for some photos!

Click to enlarge
Photo: K Fearn/TWR

Coming back off my cloud the job of packing away the merchandising appeared. We all said our goodbyes and, whilst waiting for Alan, I stood patiently in the corridor.
Through the door opposite came John (Camino) and Roger. After saying goodbye they decided to leave for the back door via the stage. Roger, turned back and shouted "STEVE!", then he and John headed off. Looking somewhat startled by the loud shout out comes Steve, not knowing which way to go. I gladly point him in the right direction and off he goes. One minute later they all come marching back past me again! "They’ve locked the door, we’ll have to go around the front!" I am told sheepishly, and once again they shuffle past. Talk about Spinal Tap moments!

Alan, then appears, looking somewhat perplexed, (either caused by the real ale or the fact that I am creased up laughing at what I’ve just seen), I explain all and we make our way home.

Rock n’ Roll hey?

A big thank you must be made to Alan Hewitt for offering me the fantastic opportunity of taking part. It’s thanks to his hard work that other fans can enjoy the benefits, thanks Alan.