The Mavericks – April 2004
Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
Driving up to Coventry on a sunny Thursday afternoon I began to think I was mad. It was a two-hour drive, see the boys, back home in the early hours of Friday, work all day, then off to Oxford to see them again!
I was looking forward to meeting up with Hannah and seeing the famous scrapbook! Hannah and I had become on-line buddies through the then Mavericks fan site, the Mavhouse and although we had met very briefly at the Liverpool Pops last year, we had not had time to chat properly. Hannah had made a scrapbook for the Mavericks, a wonderful gift with reviews, reminiscences, stories and photos.
Coventry is a beautiful city and well – worth a visit to see its famous cathedral, damaged during the war and then magnificently rebuilt. The city is well sign-posted so I found my way to the University with no problems. Warwick University has a wonderful campus, attractive modern architecture, beautiful flowers and shrubs all in bloom, a lake… and all in glorious sun!
Hannah and I spent some time chatting and gossiping and I was given a preview of the scrapbook – it was amazing, the presentation, the organization, all the little touches – something to be treasured.
We wandered into the foyer of the arts centre and who should also wander in but Robert Reynolds! He was friendly and seemed pleased to see familiar faces and spent some time talking to us. He was astonished and delighted with the book, really impressed by it. Plenty of hugs for Hannah!! Eddie Perez arrived and he too was thrilled to see the scrapbook.
We drifted into the theatre and found our seats. There was an area in front of the stage for dancing and we went down and found an ideal place with a perfect view. David Mead sauntered onto stage with Paul Deakin on the vibes. I had seen a video of Paul playing, but seeing him perform live was electrifying. Robert and Jerry Dale McFadden joined them for a couple of numbers and the atmosphere was buzzing!
After the break we stayed on the floor, very near the stage, waiting for the boys. The lights dimmed and they all ambled out, picked up their instruments and it started!! It was just fantastic – you’ll have to check out the set-list elsewhere, I was too busy dancing and having a great time to make notes! Raul was really enjoying himself, he was relaxed and happier than when I saw him previously in Bristol and Cardiff. I remembered how awful the audience was in Cardiff, like a load of puddings, no cheering no dancing, not very inspiring for a performer. The Coventry crowd were very different, very responsive, very enthusiastic – no wonder Raul looked a happy boy!
The music was a mixture of old and new numbers, maybe more of the older ones, which perhaps suited more of the audience than the die-hard fans. Whatever, it was brilliant!
When it was over we hung around, chatting with other fans. Eddie reappeared, then Robert, then Paul. It was marvellous talking to them and we stayed in the hall until we were chased out by the management who had to de-rig. Outside it was a warm and pleasant evening but I really had to go with a long drive home and work the next day. Sadly I missed seeing Jerry Dale, fortunately for Hannah she managed to meet up with him. Apparently Raul came out much later, but even Hannah had gone home by then!!
The New Theatre, Oxford
The next day, after work, I set off for Oxford driving through a beautiful sunny afternoon. Another good journey, but what madness when I arrived in the city. It was utter chaos, signs led me down cul-de-sacs, pedestrian areas, bus lanes but not to any car parks; although I found the exits of several I never found the entrances. Eventually I found some on street parking and by chance it was on the road where the theatre was.
I had a good seat but the keyboard was completely out of my line of vision so no views of Jerry Dale doing his thing! David Mead was excellent again and in the interval I bought his CD “Mine and Yours” which I have played many times since. I’m really looking forward to the release of “Indiana” due to be released later this year (2004)
If I had thought the Mavs were on their best ever form the previous night I was wrong. They were just superb in Oxford. Raul was very funny and loquacious and there was the usual hilarious chit-chat flying between him and Robert. They had visited Warwick Castle during the day and had had a great time, and were particularly fascinated by the dungeons. There was a surreal moment as they discussed the instruments of torture before plunging in to more music
Again the set-list eludes me, but I was up in my seat and dancing!! By the time the concert finished I had to leave for another long drive home. Regretting that I couldn’t wait around to meet them, I set off deciding I hadn’t been mad after all!