The long standing legacy of lethargy was broken today with a breezy, cloudy and cool march up and down Tyneside. The quay's loaded with a mix of pubs, shops, barge repairs, hotels, maritime lubricants and some curiously named eating establishments like Heartbreak Soup and The Slug and Lettuce. "Waiter! There's a slug in my lettuce!" "Not so loud sir, everybody will want one." I fell into one called The Pitcher & Piano for a cheap and cheerful breakfast of scrambled eggs on a toasted bagel and a couple of heart jolting espressos. Wired up and ready for action I continued the walk up river, not getting very far before it began raining with occasional gusts of umbrella folding wind, so it was back across the bridge and to the hotel. New, modern and everything works, with large rooms, no brown water, showers that don't flood the bathroom floor, great beds and quiet. I love old European hotels but every now and then it's really nice to stay in a mod American style hostelry.
Tonight we played the old City Hall, a sentimental fave of Mark's as he used to come and see bands here as a teen. It's the third time we've played the City Hall since 1996 and it's one our favourite gigs. The capacity is only about 1,900 and the balcony wraps around to the edges of the stage so you can just about reach up and touch somebody's outstretched hand. Last night's venue in Edinburgh was cramped but nothing compared to Newcastle City Hall, every bit of equipment had to be perfectly fit in like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I can't say it too many times, the people who make these shows happen are never given the spotlight or enough thanks. Here's to the best crew in the world.
They were a beautiful audience, there to see one of their own. Boom Like That was very interesting with MK accidentally leaving out a section and the band following along like nothing was out of the ordinary. If you didn't know, you'd have never found the seam. The sound was excellent, the show warm and relaxed. We brought back All That Matters, which we've not played in ages, to the middle section of the show. It's a tune that works so well in theatres and it got a big hand tonight. After the show there was reception at the bar in the City Hall with many of Mark's friends and family in attendance to say hello.