20 Years & Out - Thinny's Farewell Tour Blog Print E-mail

Thursday 2nd July, 16:47

It’s going to be one of those tours....

On the 5 and a half hour train journey to Glasgow my phone suddenly decides to die on me. Fortunately it came back to life a few hours later. I am now in Manchester sitting in my hotel room frantically trying to get my laptop to turn on. Nothing. It’s dead. No power, no lights, no nothing. Dead. Great....

Pen and paper it is then. Hopefully this tour diary will find you somehow...

Ok, so here we are at the beginning of the end. Where better to start than in Glasgow? And man, was it a hot one!! Even before the doors had opened it was insanely hot in the venue. Once it was full of people it was just unbearable. Still, the heat didn’t deter anyone from having a fantastic time and from the moment that the doors were opened there was a certain buzz in the air. Logan opened the show with a great set. I wasn’t familiar with their material at all, but a lot of the crowd seemed to be. They impressed me and I will certainly check them out again in Manchester.

So the time came when Thunder would take to the stage in Glasgow one last time. As soon as the opening bars of Thunderstruck were heard from the PA system, the crowd erupted. LOUD? You can say that again! I’m not sure I’ve never heard an audience so loud (but didn’t I say that last time we were in Glasgow as well!?). The rest of the shows have a lot to live up to already. The set consisted of a handful of greatest hits alongside band and fan favourites. Grown men were seen with tears in their eyes during ‘Like A Satellite’ and ‘A Better Man’ and I think the reality that it was almost all over for the Scottish fans really hit home during the intro to ‘Dirty Love’. Danny left the stage with a ‘Thanks for 20 amazing years, but we have to go now...’ and I think even he seemed a little overwhelmed by it all. And this is only the beginning....

The meet and greet was full of hot, wet sweaty bodies, which made for an interesting (?) aroma, but it didn’t matter. There was a hint of sadness, but everyone had had a great time judging by all the smiles on all the faces.

So we bid our farewell to Glasgow, got back on the bus and drove overnight to Manchester which is where we are now. Day off today so lots of shopping and/or relaxing for the band and crew and then out for a meal tonight. Tomorrow’s show at the Academy promises to be even hotter than Glasgow. Joy...

Glasgow Sound Check: Dirty Dream / Like A Satellite / Robert Johnson’s Tombstone / A Better Man
Glasgow Set List: Backstreet Symphony / Dirty Dream / Higher Ground / Low Life In High Places / Gimme Some Lovin’ / Robert Johnson’s Tombstone / The Devil Made Me Do It / Like A Satellite / On The Radio / You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down / Love Walked In / I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll Encore: A Better Man / River Of Pain / Dirty Love (Including ‘Billie Jean excerpt)

The Thin Too Hot For Clothes One...


Friday 3rd July, 14:14

Ok so we are now back stage at the Academy and thankfully things have cooled down, although it is all a bit miserable and wet. Be careful what you wish for I guess. We eventually gave up on trying to revive my poor laptop and I now have a brand spanking new one thanks to Danny, so we are back in business! So all is well...for now.....

Looking forward to tonight’s show....will probably next report back from Sheffield tomorrow! Have fun til then...

The Thin Back In The Saddle One...


Sunday 5th July, 13:33

Apologies for no diary update yesterday...things have been more than a little hectic here. Ok, so let’s rewind a couple of days....

Photographer Marty Moffatt has now joined the tour. This is his first experience touring on a bus with a band, so we’ve promised to ease him in gently! Haha, yeah right. Poor guy... ;)

Manchester was just a little hot again, although not quite as bad as Glasgow. The sold out crowd went completely mad from start to finish. I had a little goosebumps on the arms moment during ‘Low Life’ – that was the first Thunder song that I ever heard back in 1992 and started me off on the road that led to here. It’s always been a special song for me for that reason and tonight’s performance of it was probably one of the best I’ve ever seen. Poor old Scampi (our lighting god) is almost in tears every night during ‘A Better Man’...I think it’s safe to say he’ll be a blubbering mess by Hammersmith.  It was fantastic to hear some lesser played tracks tonight, such as ‘Englishman’, ‘Love Worth Dying For’ and one of my favourite ever Thunder songs ‘Just Another Suicide’. Changing the set list every night really makes everything so much more exciting for the multiple gig attendees, and I’m so glad that they decided to do it on this tour to make it that extra bit special. The meet and greet was very busy tonight and I met some old friends, made some new ones and almost had to escort my Dad out of the building for being drunk and disorderly. Tut tut I can’t take him anywhere...

Manchester Sound Check:
Love Worth Dying For (Instrumental) / Dirty Dream / Somebody Get Me A Spin Doctor (end) / Empty City (beginning) / Love Worth Dying For / Loser (beginning) / The Devil Made Me Do It (part) / Dirty Love (end) / A Better Man (beginning)
Manchester Set List: Loser / Dirty Dream / On The Radio / Low Life In High Places / Somebody Get Me A Spin Doctor / Empty City / The Devil Made Me Do It / Love Worth Dying For / River Of Pain / Just Another Suicide / Love Walked In / I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll Encore: A Better Man / An Englishman On Holiday / Dirty Love (Including ‘Billie Jean excerpt)

Click here to view Marty’s photos from the Manchester show

Ok, so an overnight bus ride all of 40 miles to Sheffield followed. The next morning was not pleasant...actually the afternoon wasn’t pleasant, I slept through the whole morning. I tried to start my tour diary but the hangover was a little too much so I decided I’d be better off leaving it until my head had cleared a little. Another sold out crowd. I’m always impressed with how enthusiastic they are here, for a seated venue. A band like Thunder are not really best suited to seats, but that never seems to matter in Sheffield. Last night was no exception...

As you will have heard by now the show is “pyrotastic” this time around and there was a bit of a scary moment when one of the Pyros set Ben’s monitor on fire. Some poor roadie managed to pat the decent sized fire out...with his bare hands....somebody give that guy a raise. Or only let him out with supervision. I’m not sure which. The pyros have been quite interesting so far actually. They set the fire alarms off 3 times during the Manchester show. Thank god the sprinkler system didn’t go off. Actually it might have cooled us all down a little.


Completely different set list again in Sheffield. I was particularly pleased to see the return on ‘Until My Dying Day’, ‘Fade Into The Sun’ and one of my favourite Thunder ballads ‘I’m Dreaming Again’. Sound check was an interesting one as it started with a jam to Michael Jackson’s beat it. The guys have been adding a few instrumental bars of Billie Jean into the middle of Dirty Love at some shows as well, which was kinda cool to hear. Before I forget I must say a bit thanks for Fiona for being my sound check archiver for this tour. There’s been a couple of times I’m been off busy doing something, so had to leave Fiona to write down all the soundcheck songs for me.

Meet and greet was once again fun...my Dad was there again, but Mum was there to keep him under control this time. A special mention goes out to Krazy Kat, just because she’s crazy (and to apologise for embarrassing her...sorry), the surprise appearance of a very pregnant McAnnie and to Abigail for being my new super fan. You are more than worthy, unlike your Aunty - she will bow down to me one day! I was supposed to be taking it easy today, but it didn’t happen, surprise surprise (thanks Gillian)....so here we are in Cambridge and yes, with another hangover. But the blog had to be done...hope it made some form of sense. See you at the show!

Sheffield Sound Check: Beat It (beginning - instrumental) / I’m Dreaming Again / Laughing On Judgement Day / Until My Dying Day / Backstreet Symphony (beginning) / The Devil Made Me Do It (part) / Dirty Love (end) / River Of Pain (instrumental) / Fade Into The Sun / A Better Man (beginning)
Sheffield Set List: Backstreet Symphony / River Of Pain / On The Radio / Until My Dying Day / Gimme Some Lovin’ / Empty City / The Devil Made Me Do It / I’m Dreaming Again / Laughing On Judgement Day / You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down / Love Walked In / I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll Encore: A Better Man / Fade Into The Sun / Dirty Love

Click here to view Marty’s photos from the Sheffield sound check
Click here to view Marty’s photos from the Sheffield show


The Thin Still Trying To Take It Easy One...


Tuesday 7th July, 14:15

Ok so today is Newcastle, but let’s rewind back to Cambridge first.

I think for me the Cambridge set list has been the best yet. It included 3 of my very favourite Thunder tracks ever (‘Moth To The Flame’, ‘Just Another Suicide’ and ‘Don’t Wait For Me’) but unfortunately the past few days all seemed to catch up with me and I was more than a little tired...still, I enjoyed the show and so did every one else by the looks of things. Apparently a certain member of the band got a little bit emotional during ‘Don’t Wait For Me’, but I won’t spill the beans by saying who...*cough*Chris*cough*... ;)

Cambridge Sound Check: Don’t Wait For Me / Welcome To The Party / Moth To The Flame / Stand Up / Loser (beginning) / The Devil Made Me Do It (part) / Dirty Love (end – twice due to pyro test failure) / Pinball Wizard (acoustic intro)
Cambridge Set List: Loser / Welcome To The Party / Higher Ground / Low Life In High Places / Gimme Some Lovin’ / Moth To The Flame / The Devil Made Me Do It / Love Walked In / Stand Up / You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down / Don’t Wait For Me / I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll Encore: A Better Man / Just Another Suicide / Dirty Love (Including ‘Billie Jean excerpt)

So, we spent our day off in Newcastle yesterday and I spent most of the day recharging my batteries (ie sleeping) until I checked my email and was told that we could confirm Sonisphere. This announcement has made a lot of people happy, but has also upset a few. I won’t go into it here, if you’re interested it’s all on the board. I’ve spent most of my time since then replying to posts and emails on the topic, but all is well, I’m glad that boys are ending things in the U.K. and Knebworth is such hallowed ground that I think it will be very fitting. Can’t wait!

So in the evening we all went out for a big band/crew meal which was very nice and very filling. After the last tour I came home with a much bigger waistline that I went with. I’ve only just managed to lose it in time to put it all back on again for this tour! Oh well, it is the last time!

Towards the end of the evening Danny came over to me and handed me a box stating that “this is for everything you’ve done for us for the past god knows how many years”. Inside was a lovely Victorinox Swiss Army watch. Someone must have noticed that I haven’t been wearing a watch for the last few months, since my last one died. I’m not the emotional sort, but I have to say I got a little choked up. I was lost for words, but I did manage a “Thanks guys”. I think it really hit me at that moment that this was now so close to the end. As I’m sure they know, it’s been an absolute pleasure, from beginning to end. From the moment I started working with the guys over 10 years ago they have made me feel like part of the team, like an equal, asking my opinions about things and actually listening to what I had to say and taking it into consideration. I know that whatever I go on to do in the future it will never compare to my time with Thunder. I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Danny, Luke, Harry, Ben and Chris for welcoming me into the fold with open arms and allowing me to experience things that I could only have dreamt about when I was 15 and had Thunder posters all over my bedroom wall. Being able to be a part of your favourite bands existence and to be able to call your childhood heroes your friends is something that not many people get the opportunity to do, so I cannot thank them enough for that...

*Sniff* right that’s enough of that...so, as I said, we are in Newcastle today, about an hour away from soundcheck. I will report back from Nottingham tomorrow! Have a good show, everyone that’s coming tonight! I need to go and get a couple of links taken out of my new watch...I only have Skinny wrists...I am Thinny after all...

The Thin Emotional One...


Wednesday 8th July, 14:12

Newcastle was an interesting show to say the least. The Quireboys opened up tonight and were fun as usual. Spike’s hometown crowd seemed to enjoy them. ‘Mona Lisa Smiled’ from their new record sounded great and was the set highlight for me.

Thunder’s performance was eventful right from the first number...the pyro’s at the beginning once again set one of the Monitors on fire, this time Danny’s. Thankfully Ben’s guitar tech Brian (who some of you may know as the bass player in Tygers Of Pan Tang) was on hand to douse the flames....with a towel (not his bare hands). That’s how to do it! Nice one Bri..

A few more suprises were in store tonight....one of my favourite Thunder tracks from one of my favourite Thunder albums ’Amy’s On The Run’ from ‘The Magnificent Seventh’ was back after a long absence and with a brand new ending, ‘Castles In The Sand’ returned (with a twist – this version was much more Piano led than the recorded and previous live versions) and I also had another one of those “goosebumps” moments during a fantastic rendition of the long lost ‘I’ll Be Waiting’. ‘Dirty Love’ got even more extended tonight with the addition of part of ‘Shakin’ All Over’ in the middle, before Danny went for a wander around the audience, which is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen Danny do in the 16 years that I have been coming to see them. It was a nice touch...

Newcastle Sound Check: Amy’s On The Run / Castles In The Sand / I’ll Be Waiting / Stand Up / Back Street Symphony (beginning) / The Devil Made Me Do It (part) / Dirty Love (end) / A Better Man (Beginning)
Newcastle Set List: Backstreet Symphony / Higher Ground / Amy’s On The Run / Castles In The Sand / River Of Pain / Until My Dying Day / The Devil Made Me Do It / I’ll Be Waiting / Stand Up / You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down / Love Walked In / I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll Encore: A Better Man / Fade Into The Sun / Dirty Love (Including ‘Billie Jean’ excerpt and ‘Shakin’ All Over’)

The meet and greet was a bit of an emotional one tonight as we said our final goodbyes to the Newcastle fans. There were tears! Poor young Emily almost got me going...

After the meet and greet we had a magician in the dressing room performing a bunch of tricks for us. He works in a local magic shop in Newcastle and was fantastic. Very clever stuff. After that it was off to bed for an overnight ride to Nottingham. I’m sat backstage at Rock City right now, where we apparently have no internet access (boo), as a result this update may have to wait until tomorrow to be uploaded. I’m off to the pub shortly, so I think tonight is going to be a messy one....

The Thin Refreshed And Ready To Go One...


Thursday 9th July, 15:51

See, now THAT’s why I love Rock City. A lot of people slag the place off for being a dive...yes it’s a hot, sweaty, sticky floored rock club, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve been to so many gigs here by so many bands over the years and I have so many great memories attached to the place. Band’s love playing here and always give it their all, the reason for that being that the crowd is always so very up for it! Absolutely mental! They always seem to know every word to every song and last night was no exception! The Quireboys once again got everyone in the mood and Thunder just enhanced that mood ten fold. The highlight for me was an odd one tonight. Now over the past few tours the one song that I’ve taken a toilet break during was ‘Love Walked In’ (Sacrilege I know). Not because I didn’t love the song, but because I’d heard it so much and seen the guys perform it so many times, that I needed a bit of a break from it. I took the time to stay and watch the whole thing tonight and I have to say I was blown away. Dunno what it was about the performance of it tonight, but it just really hit me and made me remember why this is on of the greatest rock ballads ever written! I’ll make sure that I catch it again for the remaining shows!

We had no pyro tonight but instead Scampi had arranged a little surprise for the guys. As ‘Dirty Love’ was about to end, snow began to fall from the ceiling, Santa Clause came out and confetti cannons blasted out into the crowd. Thunder had no idea this was going to happen, but it didn’t take them long to figure out who the culprit was! It was of course a homage to Christmas’ past where Rock City was home to the band’s annual xmas event. It also reminded us that they will sadly be no more!! Boo...

Nottingham Sound Check: That’s All (Genesis) / On The Radio / Laughing On Judgement Day / Castles In The Sand -> Gimme Some Loving (Segue) / Stuck In The Middle With You / Loser
Nottingham Set List: Loser / Welcome To The Party / On The Radio / Low Life In High Places / Gimme Some Lovin’ / Empty City / The Devil Made Me Do It / Laughing On Judgement Day / Castles In The Sand / You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down / Love Walked In / I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll Encore: A Better Man / An Englishman On Holiday / Dirty Love

Meet and greet was moved to the rig tonight but it was still rammed. It was great to see Thunder Channel’s very own Lynne Malkin (aka Matron) and Josephine here tonight. A few people got a bit emotional again. Rock City is a special venue for a lot of the fans and the last meet and greet here was a bit much for them. I can understand why...

I think it was pushing 5am when I made it into my bunk this time, but that’s ok, it’s a day off today so I get to relax and get ready to do it all again 2 more times....I’m off for some fresh air... 

The Thin Wandaring Wolverhampton One


Monday 13th July, 8:53pm

Well, I can’t believe the final tour is over already. It feels like just yesterday I got the phone calls in January telling me that the tour in July would be the band’s last...it seemed like such a long way away at the time...

The penultimate show was in Wolverhampton and was another solid performance that provoked another insane crowd response. ‘Everybody Wants Her’ was the big surprise, but it was also fun to hear ‘Just Another Suicide’, ‘Fade Into The Sun’ and ‘Until My Dying Day’ again. The Goosebump-o-meter went through the roof during both ‘Don’t Wait For Me’ and ‘A Better Man’ tonight. 

Wolverhampton Sound Check: Like A Satellite (Piano Intro + Jazz Version) / Greensleeves (Piano Intro) / Golden Brown (Piano Intro) / Kashmir (Intro – No Luke) / Enter Sandman (Instrumental – No Luke) / Dirty Dream / Everybody Wants Her / Castles In The Sand / Shakin’ All Over (part) / Don’t Wait For Me (Solo) / Love Walked In  (Intro) / Josie (Instrumental - Steely Dan) / I Only Have Eyes For You (Harry “vocals” – Part) / Enter Sandman (Instrumental - with Luke) / Backstreet Symphony (Intro) / The Devil Made Me Do It (Part) / Dirty Love (End)
Wolverhampton Set List: Backstreet Symphony / Dirty Dream / Everybody Wants Her / Castles In The Sand / Gimme Some Lovin’ / Until My Dying Day / The Devil Made Me Do It / Love Walked In / Stand Up / Just Another Suicide / Don’t Wait For Me / I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll Encore: A Better Man / Fade Into The Sun / Dirty Love

Special meet and greet mentions go out to all the fans from Japan that were there and Jersey Mike who flew all the way from, funnily enough, New Jersey.

So, an overnight drive and plenty of sleep on the way to London follows. We check in to our hotel before heading to the venue where it’s pretty much business as usual. Mark ‘Chopper’ Harris the tour manager is in DVD recording hell today so passes on a few Tour Managery type duties to me which pretty much keeps me busy til doors. After soundcheck there is a band/crew photo shoot on the stage, which is nice.

The queue outside started early today, everyone obviously very keen to get to the front and get on the cameras!! As the Thunderstruck intro played I got the goosebumps already…not a good sign…in fact I’ve just got them again just now thinking about it. As the band took to the stage launched into ‘Loser’ I couldn’t help but feel a pang of sadness…but I soon forgot that as Danny began to sing the wrong song. Sorry Danny, there was no hiding it - “Now I know you don’t Loooove me babieeeee….” is clearly the beginning of ‘Loser’ not the “Oh Baby Iiiiiiiiyiiiiyiiiyiiii……” from Dirty Love that we got…still. You could see Danny’s face as soon as he realised thinking “oh ****, not tonight of all nights”. Still I think in a funny sort of way it put everyone at ease a little, band and fans alike and raised a smile to a few faces…maybe that was Danny’s intention all along….

The crowd were determined to let the band know how much they will be missed and over 5000 Thunder fans did their all to make sure that they gave the band the send off that they deserved. All songs new and old received rapturous applause, particularly ‘Low Life’ ‘Like A Satellite’ and of course ‘Love Walked In’. Scampi outdid himself tonight with another fantastic light and Pyro show – the DVD is going to look fantastic! The band seemed to keep away from some of the big emotional ballads tonight, which I think was a good plan, however, ‘A Better Man’ was very moving. Even Luke seemed to be genuinely feeling it. But before we could all get too wrapped up in thoughts of the end ‘Backstreet Symphony’ came along to lift spirits. Tonight’s highlight for many was probably the next song. Danny introduced it as ‘The one that started it all for a lot of people’ and Luke kicked into the riff of ‘She’s So Fine’. Fantastic – I was really hoping they would pull this one out at some point during the tour and to hold it back for Hammersmith was just perfect! We knew it was the nearly end when ‘Dirty Love’ began. I went to watch this one up from behind Scampi’s desk and I’m glad I did. He was clearly loving it, but also clearly emotional, as were a bunch of the regular loonies that were positioned in front of the desk. I just stood there watching Scamp, the fans and of course the band, just letting it all sink in…smiling the whole time….I still have to pinch myself sometimes that the last 10 years have really happened and that was one of those moments. As the band finished and Scampi blew up the stage I reached over to him and asked if he was ok. “yes…” he said with a quivering lip and watery eyes “…how was it?” “****ing awesome” was all I could say, as we watched the band stand there in amazement as the crowd made more noise that I thought was possible and launched into a impromptu “here we go, here we go, here we go…”. It was just one of those moments that everyone there will remember forever….oh here come those goosebumps again….

London Sound Check: Like A Satellite (excerpts - beginning Keys, Keys and bass, Luke solo. plus Instrumental run through) / On the Radio / She's So Fine / Empty City / 7 O’Clock (Instrumental) / A Better Man (beginning - Haz acoustic only).
London Set List: Loser / On the Radio / Higher Ground / Low Life in High Places / The Devil Made Me Do It / Gimme Some Lovin' / Empty City / Like a Satellite / River of Pain / You Can't Keep a Good Man Down / Love Walked In / I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll Encore: A Better Man / Backstreet Symphony / She's So Fine / Dirty Love (Including ‘Billie Jean’ excerpt and ‘Shakin’ All Over’)

So I went down and said my final goodbye’s to a lot of the fans, which was when it all really started to hit me that this is never going to happen in this situation again. Sonisphere will be different. This is the last real Thunder show. I popped into the meet and greet for a bit and then headed over to the hotel for the big party…..free booze and food…whoo….! I left for my roon around 4am I think, by which point Luke and Danny were the only members of the band still up, but there were still a good number of friends and family around…

And that was it…the end of the final tour and the end of an era. The tour was something really special and something I will never ever forgot for so many reasons, only part of which you will have read about in this blog.  To the band, the fantastic crew, all the fans that came along and made the whole thing such an amazing experience, I thank you….this is The Thin One, over and out….

The Thin Thinking It’s All Over…It Almost Is Now One

 
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