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Life On The Open Road

Jess cohen - UK

Back around the UK summer gigs when we learnt the dudes were coming back to the UK in October, I made a decision that whatever the outcome I would only do gigs for this next UK tour with my long-term concert buddies coz I had had to abandon them after Hull to go to Stoke and I felt like I missed out without them.So here we were 4 months later with 4 gigs ahead of us. Because of illness, operations and work commitments we were only doing 2 standing and 2 sitting gigs and we were only able to gig seating together in Newcastle with our friends of many, many years Mandy and Janet. Anyway we had a great old time in Newcastle. There was my 2 Geordie mates, Cat, Fi and Kim and despite having to sit we certainly made ourselves known to the crowd. Did get asked if we were attending a hen night lol. Well we just like to make an effort

Certainly for us, Newcastle was more about catching up with old friends as we hadn't all done a gig together and been in 1 place at the same time since 1999! To the gig-well of course the dudes and especially Keith were in fine form. Was weird to be so far from the front row, but we were there in spirit-as a friend in the front row pointed out to me later, when they were looking up at us, it was like looking at the Blackpool illuminations! Well I always said I was a bright spark! After the gig we waited for a while to see if we could see the dudes leaving, but it soon became apparent that they weren't going to show and as the rain came down we decided to cut our losses and head back to the warm of Janet and Mandy's house.The next day we subduedly headed back to London by train, waving goodbye to our Geordie friends and hoping that it wouldn't be another 5 years before we could all gig together again!

Fast forward now to 29th October and the first Wembley date. Back when I first discovered that the new album was going to be called Room Service, it immediately hit me that for our next standing gig, we would have to go as maids. So here we are a few months later and I hand out our costumes for the night among much giggling.So we don on our hats, aprons, garters.Add the surgical gloves (don't ask) and the dusters and we're about ready to go! If nothing else we had at least amused the blue side queue at Wembley! Me and Fi made the barrier, by Keith's mic and we managed to squeeze Cat between us. Speedway came on and did their thing and we had a good old dance and sing-along to them. Really enjoyed them for the second time and think they were an inspired choice for support. Once they left it was time to get organised. Maids hats straight-check-banners at the ready-check-glowy things and wands-check. We're ready to go. 8.50pm and cue the boys. We donned on our gloves and held up our 'Did someone call for room service?' banner. The looks we got! I think Keith was amused! I think our crowning glory for the night came during Can't Stop. In a moment of inspiration (or possible madness) I had made the banner 'Need Anything Polishing Sir?' and so as Can't Stop began we grabbed the banner and our dusters and proceeded to wave them for the entire song. The wide grin on Keith's face and the bemused look on Bryan's (the omg my fans are crazy one) was the icing on the cake. We did settle down for a while (well as much as we could given our lack of sanity) and enjoyed the gig as we heard countless tracks from Reckless to mark the 20th anniversary. Awesome!Hit after hit was blasted out and we were having a great time. One of the funniest moments was when someone chucked a card on stage for Bryan and he opened it to find it said 'Dear Bryan. Will you please introduce me to Keith?' LMAO. Bryan didn't look too amused, but chucked the card to Keith who spent several minutes looking at it while Bryan impatiently shuffled his feet! Onto It's Only Love and one of the few moments in the gig where I just stood and watched. Ok there was a bit of screaming too. Keith as ever was magnificent. I am forever in awe at the greatness of Keith. I think every single pair of eyes in Wembley were on Keith he is so amazing to watch! We of course did our 'We're not worthy' bit after that one!

Back to the gig and after The Only Thing the dudes did their group bows and a few moments later were back for Cloud#9. Then Friday Night In London followed (very appropriate even if Bryan hadn't quite learnt the words!) and then we got a real treat-One Night Love Affair! Wow-loved it. Somebody followed and we took the opportunity to wave Cat's huge Canadian flag that travels around the gigs with her.No time for breath as Run To You starts. Best Of Me followed while Bryan enjoyed his daily grope and then it was time for the second group hug . Keith got a huge cheer as he came forward for his individual bow and you better believe that us 3 were making half the noise! So off the dudes went and Bryan reappeared for this 3 song acoustic set which was beautiful, and then he left the stage to huge applause.

Since we hadn't seen Keith or any of the dudes in Newcastle we decided to go wait a while round the back. We figured Keith must have gone, but decided to sit it out.Patience is a virtue and sure enough a few minutes later our came Keith. It was lovely to see him. He was so incredibly sweet to us, greeting us like old friends.

He was so lovely telling us how much he loved our outfits and banners. He had all the time in the world for us and listened patiently as we prattled on about useless stuff. Managed to give him a teddy bear we'd got for him in Newcastle and had to explain the logistics of Toon Army (Newcastle United football team). Anything's better than Man United Keith!

We had time for a photo, which came out very well and I'm chuffed with, despite looking rather more manic than normal Just had time to give Keith a garter-do with it what you think best Keith and then he signed a couple of autographs for 2 girls who had turned up, and then he was away.

What a great gig and what a great meet. Didn't think anything could top it, but I was wrong.

Saturday at Wembley was a slightly more low key affair. Since we were sitting, we didn't all meet up til the evening. Cat had to work, but came halfway through Speedways set. Now just because we were sitting, didn't mean we didn't still make a bit of an effort. So we've got head boppers, blow guitars, glowsticks etc and we're ready to rock. 8.50PM comes and Bryan comes on stage. We're on our feet of course. Dance around to Room Service.

During Open Road the lady behind Fi jabs her in the back and says 'Sit down'. Yer like that's gonna happen. A few minutes later the security woman came over to us and the bloke in front of me who was also standing and said we had to sit down. Bloke in front sat and we crouched for a minute, as it was Let's Make A Night. Next song and it's Can't Stop so we're all on our feet again. 30 seconds later big boss security bloke comes along and beckons us out. The people behind us actually cheered when we went our coz they thought we were getting booted out. So we go out with the bloke and he says that unless there is a general consensus among those in our block we have to sit! Next song is Kids and we can't help but get to our feet again and grab our guitars. Fortunately Bryan somehow sensing our plight comes over to our side of the stage and stone me if people in our block don't stand up! We didn't sit down again the whole evening though the majority of our block still stayed sitting. So the rest of the gig goes without a hitch and we of course scream and shout as much as we could.

We arrive in Brighton the next day in the early hours and spend the morning sleeping in front of the arena, occasionally disturbed by passers by singing 69 and shouting oh look they're queuing for Bryan Adams. No Keith Scott actually!

In the afternoon we check into our hotel. After a shower we decide we should check out the devil wigs that Kim had bought, before we go down to the arena. Several minutes of hysteria ensued as we modelled these wigs.For your own amusement I'll attach a photo of us modelling them in the hotel. The ones of us at the gig are far too scary!

e early hours and spend the morning sleeping in front of the arena, occasionally diqsturbed by passers by singing 69 and shouting oh look theyre queuing for Bryan Adams. No Keith Scott actually!

Head back to the queue and before we know it, it's time to go in. Bit of comedy as I get stuck in the very heavy revolving doors and Fi has to try and push me though from behind. Eventually get in and after taking a risk changing our position in the front row, we end up just slightly right of Bryans mic. As the venue is so small we're basically in front of Bryan, Norm and Keith. Oh what fun!

Once Speedway have done their stuff we start to get ready for the boys. First things first and we lit our glowsticks and attached the ghost/skeleton/rat shapes to it and tied them around our necks. Then we had to get our wigs out. Caused much commotion and amusement around us and we attempted to put them on. Some Italian girls who were by us thought we were insane, but insisted on taking our photos! Guys setting up on stage looked at us in disbelief, but we didn't care, we just wanted to have some fun.

Finally around 8.35pm the lights went down and out came the boys. We held up our 'We're feeling horny tonight boys so watch out!' banner and as the guys looked out and saw it and us, Bryan grinned at us and Keith laughed. We held it up the whole song and every now and then Keith and Bryan would look at us and grin. Open Road next and I got my banner I'd come up a few months ago with ready to show at the right moment. So Bryan thinks 'ah I've escaped' and then he puts his harmonica to his mouth and we hold up 'O To Be Your Harmonica'. Lol I'm surprised he kept playing you could see his eyes smiling. And when he finished, he flung his harmonica at us. It bounced off Cat's arm and fell to the floor. A roadie came and picked it up and there was a bit of a rumble for it, but he turned around and put it in Cat's hand. Haha! Lets Make A Night follows and we sway dramatically while waving our Halloween glowsticks. Think Bryan is close to rolling his eyes at us by this point. Can't Stop is next and Keith is just grinning away at us. Bryan looks and him to see what he thinks is so funny and Keith wanders over to him and nods in our direction and Bryan grins and makes that 'I know I know' face. This really just encouraged us more! Dance around crazy for Kids, Back To You and 69. We also get out our Trick or Treat Adams banner, but Bryan doesn't want to play. Then we look over at Keith and see he's mouthing something and we realise on the 4th go he's saying 'Treat' so Fi unhooks the handcuffs which we had bought up London on Saturday and flings them on stage. They fly past Keith and he just grins at us in disbelief! Everything I Do next and we try and control our giggles as we sway back and forth. The When You're Gone girl is called Jessica (good name) and she's a local girl. She was quite quick witted. Didn't do too badly with the singing either. So it was good my namesake didn't give us Jess's a bad name! When that's finished they launch into Not Romeo. Gets better all the time, and of course we get to see the Room Service guitar up close which is cool. Then he carries on into tempo Heaven. We do our fast waving during the song and get grinned at for our trouble. It's Only Love was next and Keith was in blinding form. Watching his fingers go at the speed of light is enough to bring any woman to her knees. Then it's time for The Only Thing. As always I get the Yous out and we wave and thrash them about in the dudes direction in crazy fashion. Time for group hugs but as Keith comes forward he picks up one part of our handcuffs which are now in pieces and holds it up. Bryan sees and say's I didn't know you were into that Keith!' LOL! The boys bow and head off stage. We decided to get the Trick or Treat banner out again and chuck some glow in the dark spiders on the stage. Fi and Cat's ones drop infront of Bryan and Keith and they both look down at the same time and look at each other and grin. Cat then the another one further over on the stage. I threw mine, but I true tradition it didn't quite hit the stage! She's Only Happy is next and it's awesome. Both Keith and Bryan shake their stuff and it was cool to watch Keith really dance away close up. The man can really move! Then they kick into Somebody. Brilliant. We grab Cat's Canadian flag and we wave it furiously in time to the music. Bryan and Keith watch us thinking' the loons are in the house'! Then it was time for Best Of Me. They brought up this stepladder to the stage which they had also brought up to help s Only Happy is next and its awesome. the WYG girl get up. Halfway through the first verse Bryan edges towards the ladder which is a walk down the sides of the ladder instead of the main steps, then looks at us and grins as he realises he can't do that so has to shift his body round. Stops infront of us, looks at us then makes a 'naw' face and runs to our left. So we just dance and sing along and look at Keith and the dudes on stage while people go mad trying to get to Bryan. He runs back past us but stops a bit further up, but we weren't too bothered. He climbs back on stage as the song ends. So the boys come and do their individual bows. Norm does a small one and Bryan makes him go back do it again so he does this huge leap towards us lol. Then it's a group hug and away the boys go. Acoustic set by Bryan follows, and of course he leaves the stage to huge cheers.

Afterwards we rush round the back to see if we can spot the dudes to say thank you. Mickey and Gary rush off, but we still get a chance to say thank you.We spot a car pull up and figure it must be Keith's. Sure enough a few minutes later the doors opened and sure enough came Keith. Just to demonstrate that Keith has the patience of a saint, there's a bloke in front of us who is getting seven (yes that's right seven) things signed by Keith and Keith at no time complained. Yes there is only one Keith out there! Anyway Keith spots us and immediately starts chatting with us and tells us how much he loved our outfits and messages and thanks us for them and being so much fun. Geez shouldn't we be thanking Keith? Bless him. We chat for a good few minutes about all sorts, then we insist Keith models one of out wigs, and he plonks it on top of his hat. We get a group photo together.

As you will see, Keith looks very fetching despite not quite looking in the right direction! We chat a few minutes longer and then Keith has to go, so we leave him to sign a few autographs and then we head around to the front of the car to wave Keith off. Bryan had already left (possibly turns into a pumpkin after midnight?) so we headed back to our hotel and spent the next couple of hours reminiscing about such a great night and such a brilliant BA road trip.

Thank you to Keith, Bryan, Norm, Gary , Mickey, all those I queued with, all the baddies and troobies I met along the way, and especially to my good friends Cat, Fi, Kim, Mickey, Mandy and Janet, who I couldn't have had such a great time without. Love you all