We'd been looking forward to this one for some time. World Turtle have played there for the last two years; in '97 supporting Arena on the Friday night and in '98 supporting John Wetton on the Sunday night (link to a couple of reviews). So when Dave & Pete Martin asked us back, we were delighted to be able to offer them the full Haze experience for the first time in the south of England since Xmas '87!
Nicola & I set off from Sheffield on Friday morning, picking up sound engineer Warren Jacques in Nottingham on the way. We arrived in Whitchurch at about 5.30pm to find Paul & Jane Chisnell already there, along with twins Kai & Callum, Old Pekuliar guitarist Chris Jellis & Hazel, Andy (Three Legged Cat guitarist), Fran & Bart the dog. We'd pitched camp & had a beer when Tim Stenton arrived with crew Sharon (lights) & Nick (roadie). Time to check out the bands, well, maybe after tea then...
So we managed to miss most of Grace, a few younger faces, but the sound remains the same. Next Martin Orford did a few jet lagged piano pieces, before being joined by Gary Chandler for a plugged in, unplugged type duet. My, isn't everyone doing it these days! Then ReGenesis. The sound was, frankly, shite, (we kept glaring at the sound engineer to no avail) but it's still good to hear those old work outs again. A convincing performance from the new Peter Gabriel (tho' did he miss a verse out of Apocalypse in 9/8? We think so), ending with 'Los Endos' & a faultless 'Fountain Of Salmacis'.
The weather was not on our side & a number of torrential downpours ensured some very soggy campers emerged the next morning. Our equipment get in was scheduled for 2pm & soundcheck 4pm, so we didn't get much chance to see what was happening in the smaller acoustic venue during the afternoon, though I caught a few moments of Janison's Edge which sounded promising. Paul arrived at 2pm, completing the Haze compliment, though IQ took longer to hit full strength as Pete Nicholls didn't appear until their soundcheck was nearly over at 4.30. We were done by 6, leaving only local band Gravity to set up & soundcheck before opening the doors. Time for tea...
Things were running late when we returned to an already full hall, and were delayed further when a girl who had appeared in the smaller hall in the afternoon did a quick 20 min set before ours. Keith Bell then managed to introduce us as a four piece(!) from Sheffield, and we were away, except the guitar channel didn't work... For a while anyway.
The set was:-
IQ hit the stage, time to hit the beer! Unfortunately Paul had been given some extra strong idiot brew, so when beer turned to whiskey when we headed back to the tents things took a turn for the worst. Put it like this, his duvet will never be the same again!
Next morning we're all looking the worse for wear midst torrential rain & hangovers. We're scheduled to start the acoustic Haze set at 1pm, so at 11am start getting the gear together. No sign of life from Paul.
By noon we're all set up & ready to run through a few things. Still no sign of Paul.
12.30 soundcheck done, the local folk club are ready to put a couple of acts on before our set. No sign of Paul.
1pm Stage time. A very hung over apparition staggers from the gents & hits the stage for faultless renditions of:-
Later in the afternoon Old Pekuliar (Paul Chisnell - vocals, Chris Jellis - guitar) played a set which included Gordon Walker on violin for a rendition of Sandy Denny's 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes'. Paul & The Chisnells headed for home after that, the rest of us stayed for the rather good Moody Marsden Band (with a rather subdued, dare I say bored-looking, Neil Murray on bass).
More rain greeted us, so it was a soggy looking bunch who finally left Whitchurch on Monday morning. The others heading for home, Nicola & I hit the Isle of Wight for a couple of days, before returning home via Cropredy Festival. But that's another story.
See you all next year!