XLIX UK Tour Wrap-up

Last night back home in the USA, was the first one in 35 nights when we didn’t have a ‘Do not Disturb’ sign on the door. It was also one, courtesy of jet lag, when we awoke at 3am. The world outside was dark and silent - absolute heaven.

My mind needs to be quiet also, but it is currently occupied by memories of the XLIX UK Tour. This was a tour difficult to forget. The last show in Holmfirth was incredible, with Félix Rabin joining the guys onstage during their encore.

I’d like to say the guys saved the best for last, but then there were great shows in Carlisle and London and Pontedawe and Inverness and, and, and ....... However, Carolyn Wright, aka Georgie Girl, would absolutely say Holmfirth was the best. Carolyn celebrated her 200th Wishbone Ash show that night. Congrats Carolyn. May you enjoy many more.

Carolyn of course is just one of many loyal fans who travel around the country to support the band. Ian and Doreen Barton win the award for the most shows attended on this tour, clocking up a dozen. Too many others to mention by name, but you know who you are. It is Thanksgiving week here in the US and there is no better time to say how thankful all of us are for all of you.

However, with daylight approaching, I’m sitting warming my hands on my first cup of coffee of the day and looking across the valley that shows the remains of the first snow storm of the winter. Winter snow in Connecticut is as inevitable as a tour of Germany in January is for Wishbone Ash. XLIX European style, will be here soon, as will the Blue Cruise which sets sail in February with many classic rock bands including WA , on board for some great performances and 5 days at sea.

XLIX itself proved to be hugely popular as a tour name. I couldn’t convince anyone it was my age, neither could I come up with a clever equation adding band ages, subtracting number of tour dates and multiplying by another relevant number that would arrive at 49, but we were all able to generate excitement about this being the penultimate year before the big 50th anniversary celebrations.

So what will next year bring? A reunion? 🤔A new album? 😀 New venues?😉 We will have to wait and see. However, Andy’s witty cousin Ed, has summed it all up perfectly -

It’s going to be one ‘L’ of a year. 👍👍

It’s going to be Andy’s year. He is the only member of Wishbone Ash who can truly claim to have been performing in the band for half a century. Back in 1969, we gave it 5 years before it would fizzle - how wrong we were.

The memories along the way have been many and the Harpenden show brought several together in one place. Friends and band members from the days of the Sugar Band, a band Andy was in as a teenager, turned up, as well as an old school friend, Gerry Whale, from Junior School. He and Gerry reminisced how as the school’s best artists, they’d designed and painted scenery for school plays.

Earlier in the day at soundcheck, the band were filmed by Charlie Cooper and Ella from Orange Amplification and Andy took part in an on-line interview. We’ll let you know where on social media those will be available. Orange gets hits in excess of a million, around Christmas, as a result of now being the world’s biggest supplier of band amplification, finally toppling the mighty Marshall company from that position.

It was also a pleasure, at Harpenden, to meet with Orange CEO Cliff Cooper and to catch up on the days when Wishbone first started to use his amps along with just two other bands at the time; Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Wonder. We then rushed off to have dinner with Ian Crockett from Snapper Records, who produced the recent Vintage Years boxed set and who have by the way, also been responsible for the new CD and vinyl we will be carrying in Europe - Live at Glasgow Apollo 1977. Ian by the way, also went to the same school as Andy and Gerry. Small world.

At the end of the tour there were already exciting offers coming in for 2019. Summer festivals, confirmation of South Africa and another special destination to be announced later. It doesn’t look as if my mind is going to be quiet for a while - and for that I am thankful.

All the best - Pauline

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