Day One – 5th March – Manchester

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Aaah, back to the grindstone. Playing to 12000 in an arena with Fall Out Boy is a tough job but we didn’t have any other plans so we figured we may aswell. We could always Sky Plus Paris Hilton‘s British Best Friend anyway.

We rolled up to Manchester at about 3pm. Good start – we’re late. It’s a shame because we all broke our solemn vow to not stir before early evening for this. The journey wasn’t a total loss because we got to brush up on our ability to recite a note perfect rendition of Back To The Future.

Our dressing room was so big that we probably wouldn’t sell it out on a headline tour. They laid on a nice spread. We pinched ourselves for a bit, exchanged a few “fuck me’s” and shoved some pistachios into our heads. Easily pleased, huh? The implementation of a Pentagon approved level of security on this tour was a little unnerving to us at first. There were passport checks at makeshift checkpoints around the place and retina scans on dressing room doors.

The day fluctuated between defcon 2 and 3, but all threats on the day were neutralised without event. Not really. We just have these laminates that are shiny and posh. Better than the crayon drawings we use for AAA passes on our tour. Sellotaped on both sides to protect them from the elements as we plough our trade. Fall Out Boy‘s lamintes are posh. Fall Out Boy ones are George Jung approved.

Some kind soldier of our cause was kind enough to place a flyer for our album on every other seat in the venue. Seriously. That’s a lot of flyers on a lot of seats. Eventually it becomes a lot of flyers on a wide expanse of floor, but who are we to judge peoples’ poor judgement.

Soundcheck was a fiasco as per usual. All the inevitable first day issues are present. We were generally more excited about seeing our new backdrop banner in action than we were about hearing our ditties bouncing back at 18 billion decibels. It looked awesome and we sounded alright. Standard.

The details of the pre-match warm-up are scarce at this point. I vaguely remember eating something nice; meeting the bands (who are super nice); dressing like a Dickensian gent – undressing – redressing; slugging the Dutch courage and an eternal iTunes playlist that at one point had Norah Jones on it. This pattern of relative nothingness and calm lasted until 8pm, by which time we had to go and do our thing.

A lot of words come to mind when you walk in front of that many people who are making that much noise for relative strangers. ‘Citing! None of the words that come to mind are universally friendly and you wouldn’t say them in front of Mam and Dad. But gooodnesss me. Incredible. I managed to not fall over, which is a rare achievement in my world of troubled knees and inappropriate footwear. Sometimes, practicality just has to give way. It’s been a long time since we’ve played shows at this level, but luckily we haven’t totally forgotten how it all works and I think we just about pull it off. We pulled it off. I think.
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After our arena show, we returned to our 5000 capacity dressing room and did the only thing we know after amazing events. We drank away most of the finer details in celebration. Nice.

London next. Gulp.

Aled