So after a couple weeks indulging my West End fangirl, I figured it was time to let the rock chick out, and last night I had the perfect opportunity: a fourth gig from my favourite band Duff Mckagan’s Loaded 😀 😀
Now, as in previous experiences with these wonderfully talented and geniunely lovely gents, the fun can start way before the gig. Last night was no exception. We got to the venue about an hour and half early which proved a wise move as we got a pretty decent place in the queue, positioned just so to hear the soundcheck at brilliant proximity! The guys rattled through their respective sets (Riot: Noise, Dear Superstar & Loaded) and the latter could even be heard rockin’ out to another ol’ Guns N’ Roses favourite, Dust N’ Bones. It was freezing cold outside but the excitement kept me relatively warm, as did the next thing that happened 😉 Having been to 3 of their gigs prior to this, I am now almost part of their furniture to these guys, and they all know me and dad by now. Jeff ambled out a little while before doors opening, and I caught his eye and smiled, just pleased to have seen him and not expecting him to come over as he looked like a man on a mission, but he beamed and wandered straight over, drawing me into one of his trademark cuddles with a ‘Hello Beautiful!’ before flopping down on his knees to chat with me for a while: ‘You made it! :)’ He was slightly panicked, telling me he was having technical problems and was off to sort them out and I managed to keep him calm and restore the smile. Ever considerate, he hoped I wasn’t too cold and assured me it wouldn’t be too long before they let us in. It was so funny, people were looking as Jeff and I spoke as if to say: ‘Jammy cow, the band know her!’ 😀
Sure enough, doors soon opened. I zoomed straight to the front and had the best view in the house! My dad looked sceptically at me and the speakers: ‘Do You REALLY want to sit here?’
‘Yup. I’m parking here and not moving for No-one.’ He just grinned and stood back a little to me.
First up were local lads Riot: Noise. I love these guys and have seen ’em five times now so like the Loaded guys, we are on pretty familiar terms. Being up front and so close to Ashley(Guitar) and Freddie (Bass) caused my ears to ring slightly, but I didn’t mind, ’twas epic fun as usual and I got so into it I hurt my neck headbanging so much. That’s just how I roll 🙂
I will happily admit that by the end of their set they almost converted me, but when they first stepped on stage I was a bit sceptical of Dear Superstar. I think it was to do with all the eyeliner and long hair, but they had some great riffs and lyrics and the lead singer really got their followers buzzing, which certainly helped my enthusiasm 🙂 I’d happily go watch them again when I get a chance, after checking out their music further!
When Loaded finally graced the stage, we were well and truly pumped, and I was so excited to have such a fantastic view. Unlike last time I was on Jeff’s side of the stage, which produced some great little moments as I’ll explain in a sec, him and Mike swapped briefly at one point, which was nice, I was often hurting my neck trying to see him or Duff got in the way, bless him. Set list was as follows:
Executioner’s Song, We Win, Dead Skin, Sleaze Factory, Dark Days, Seattlehead, So Fine, Wrap my Arms, Sick, Good News, Cocaine, Your Name, Lords of Abbadon, acoustic versions of You Can’t Put Your Arms A Memory (which included a lovely jam of the end of Patience), and Wasted Heart, Attitude and It’s So Easy 😀 😀
Jeff and I had a lot of fun: he kept grinning hugely whenever he caught my eye cause I was singing every word back at them, and kindly passed me one of his picks when the show ended 🙂 I even got a ‘hell yeah!’ nod on a couple of occasions.
As you know if you’ve seen Loaded, Duff likes to get up close with the crowd. The stage at the Fleece is slightly smaller as it’s a ‘pub with a stage’ kinda thing, which I thought would’ve troubled Duff in his endeavours, but oh how wrong I was. He leaned out as far as he was able and like Jeff, climbed the speakers a lot which the crowd lapped up. We had a few fantastic close encounters:
During We Win, he saw me and smiled widely and shouted ‘Hey!’ and like Jeff found my headbanging and singing back to every song extremely amusing. For me in my experience he also broke tradition and passed me a pick mid song which I proceeded to drop because he held it out to my right hand where the grip is slightly worse… but never fear! I found it down the right side of my seat. 😉 He also flung another one wildly in my direction (unintentionally I might add) which I caught first time and gave it to a lovely couple from Germany who had an epic summer full of Loaded gigs 🙂
My favourite one though was during So Fine. He sang the lines: ‘And I see the stars alright, I wanna reach right out and grab one for you’ and as he said you, he pointed at me and winked.
When Mike saw first saw me, he shot me a wicked smile and we spent a few glorious moments in full on ‘Rock out’ headbanger mode 😀
This tour also saw the addition of new drummer Burke, who was sadly obscured from my view all show (kudos to dad for the camera skills, he’ll pop up in a few of my photos), but he sounded amazing!
The guys loved our energy and enthusiasm and Duff hit the nail right on the head early on: ‘This is a mother**** rock club right here. AND THIS IS A MOTHER**** ROCK CROWD RIGHT HERE!!’ (queue wild applause from us and three ‘HELL YEAH”s from Duff)
After another incredible show, I managed to catch up with Julie again which was good fun as we were both a bit breathless from cheering and on the kind of high that comes only from a set of high voltage rock with these guys. We chatted as we headed up towards the Meet & Greet.
Jeff was first. He again did the whole ‘Greet, Hug, down on knees’ to my exclamation and beaming smile/joke: ‘Technical problems my backside! You sounded awesome!’ To which he laughed and thanked me, ‘luckily my awesome bass guy managed to fix me up eventually! We chattered happily away and he very kindly introduced me to Burke, who had been lurking rather sheepishly a few people down from us. He seemed painfully shy but very sweet: he shook my hand and his face lit up when I complimented his drumming. Jeff helped here by adding that he’d only been drumming with them for 3 weeks before he came out on tour, which I found very impressive. I told him so and I think he may have blushed, but smiled as he signed away. Dad chatted to him too and he seemed like he’ll get used to us, looking forward to the possibility of getting to know him a little more next time 🙂 As Burke and Dad spoke, Jeff signed my setlist that Julie was kind enough to grab for me: ‘ Oh hey! You got the list!’
‘Course Jeff, had to get the list. Cheers for the pick too!’ He smiled and patted me on the shoulder, whispering. ‘I better move down the line now, but I’ll be back!’
Mike’s introduction was by far the funniest I’ve had with him yet. There was a guy who wanted a picture taken in front of us and Mike asked if Dad would oblidge. Fan satisfied, he headed off towards Duff and left Mike with us, who turned around and was about to say ‘Thanks’ for taking aforementioned picture, but instead did a double take: ‘Oh hey! It’s you!! How you doin’?’ shaking my dad’s hand. He gave me a big hug and another warm smile.
‘Can you believe it? We’re in a bloody corridor!’
Dad and I just laughed: ‘Look at it this way Mike, it’s better than a car park…(where we were last time), we’re moving up in the world!’
Mike boomed a laugh too 🙂
‘So how you doin, keepin busy?’
‘Good thanks! Graduated since I saw you last’
‘Oh yeah, Lady of Leisure now?’ We both chuckled, ‘yeah, pretty much!’
He then proceeded to sign my setlist. Now, here I thought I’d do the kind thing and hold it for him so he could sign without it being too wobbly. Mike, however , thought he’d use my shoulder instead. I had to try and stifle the giggles to keep still as I soaked up the randomness 🙂
We eventually gave Squires some peace and Duff turned round and smiled as he shuffled towards me. He greeted me with a kiss and a ‘Hello Darlin’! Always nice to see you!’
I thanked him and said likewise. ‘Did you get the pick I threw you?’
‘Yeah thanks! I got the other one you threw in my direction too, by the way’. He laughed, ‘Awesome! I need to watch myself sometimes, I go a bit crazy up there!’ I just grinned. ‘Nah, you’re fine as you are Duff. I’ll cope’ 🙂
I then congratulated him on the release of his book and told him I was hoping to get it for christmas. He smiled and gave a knowing nod to my dad.
Chatting a while longer, he took my setlist and wrote the trademark Duff with the year. I must be making an impression every gig I go to though, because this time he also wrote: ‘Love Ya!’
As I left, I said goodbye to the guys in turn and Duff & Jeff did a most excellent job of being loudspeakers on my behalf: ‘Move it please people, she’s comin’ through!!’
Amazing times 😀 Bring on the next tour!