Way back on December 14th (it seems like forever ago now), Ross and I took a road trip over to Great Bardfield, Essex to ‘The best small music venue in the UK’, The High Barn. We were two of around 100 people off to see Peter Cox, frontman of the group ‘Go West’ as well as stand alone solo artist extraordinaire (yes, yes, I am biased but I don’t care!), perform songs from his new album.
As we wanted to try and avoid the traffic on the M25 (ha ha!) we decided to leave early and go via the cinema near the venue to see ‘The Hobbit’, then take a leisurely drive across for the concert afterwards. The M25 put the damper on this excellent plan and we got there over half an hour after the film started. Instead, we took a lovely Christmassy walk around the shopping centre and then went for dinner at a local Wetherspoons.
The drive to Highbarn was let’s say ’interesting’, and Ross and I joked that Peter was making us drive out into the wilds as a ‘test’ to see how much we wanted to see him. Of course, I was more than happy to take the challenge! Ross joked that he had the credit card numbers from the pledge, so he was going to round us up, get rid of us and then take our identities!
The Pledgers Concert tickets were bought back in September for me by Ross. It was a very exclusive gig for some of Peter Cox’s biggest fans - me included, with thanks to my lovely man. It was to showcase Peter’s latest solo album ’Riding the Blinds’ as well as some of his other material. This album was available to pledgers only back on 30th October, and I wrote a review about it here.
Upon arrival, we were given our pledgers VIP tags with Peter’s new logo (designed by Sally Jane Hurst), which I love. We were then left to mingle with other pledgers – a few of whom I recognised from the last time I met Peter and Richard, aka Go West, back in May 2010 at Denbies Vineyard, Dorking. (As a result, I have now connected with some of them on Facebook). After securing our spot near the front – with the ability to rest against a post! - we started chatting to other guests.
John Glover, Peter’s manager, took to the stage to request that the taller people move to the side of the room, whilst the vertically challenged stayed in the middle. This was to aid the cameras toward the back(as I type, the DVD of the concert is being edited and some lucky pledgers are in attendance). Unsurprisingly, he had a few witty retorts thrown at him which he took in his stride!
As Peter walked to the stage with his band, he walked right in front of me whereupon, when I said ‘Hi Peter’, he responded with a big smile and a warm ‘Hi, thanks for coming’. As always, so gracious to his fans.
As soon as they were set up and ready to go, Peter opened the show with the first track on his new album, ‘Missing You’. We were warned that there may be a number of takes, re-playing of a few songs and going over things again for the DVD that they were recording to ensure that they had the right material for the edit. Who was I – or any of us – to complain about this?! It just meant more time and the ability to listen to Peter sing some more
He played songs old and new; these included ‘Change’ and ’Shame the Devil’, ‘Glow’ and ‘One Last Kiss’. He also performed cover versions of ‘Broken Strings’ by James Morrison, ‘When You Were Young’ by the Killers and ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’ by Marvin Gaye. He joked about how the last one possibly didn’t suit his voice – I can safely say they all very much did!
Amidst all of his songs, we were treated to something brand new and never heard before as Peter is recording yet another album. The song was called ‘Rainbow Weather’, I suspect destined to become one of my all-time favourites of his. When Ross and I were speaking to him afterwards he explained to me that a release date isn’t set yet as he needs to promote and do all the work relating to ’Riding the Blinds’ first.
With some re-takes mixed in – much to all the fans’ delight – he finished on the fantastic ‘Ain’t Gonna Cry Again’ (a song that got me through some VERY hard times 6 years ago). The perfect end to a perfect gig.
Afterwards we had a chat with some of the band including DeeRal, Peter’s amazing guitarist on both solo and Go West projects. Then we got to speak to the man himself. As ever, Peter was relaxed, chatty and accommodating. Ross and I expressed to him what a great venue The High Barn was, what a great set he performed and I told him how much I enjoyed the new song. Ross then suggested that he might like to include ‘Gay Bar’ by Electric Six in his covers set! Peter joked back that it was a thought but he didn’t feel he had the right vocal range for that song!
All in all, it was a fantastic evening. I was thrilled to be able to see Peter perform in such an intimate environment and it was a bonus that I was able to meet with and talk to him again.
On the way out they were selling the hard copy of ‘Riding the Blinds’ exclusively at the gig prior to its general release on 14th January 2013. I wanted to get it but decided best not as Ross had already got me the download version. Little did I know that Ross subtly slipped them the money, got the CD and hid it in his trousers on the way out. There it was, in amongst the presents I unwrapped on Christmas Day!
I’m looking forward to the next item on the list – the DVD of the gig
For more details on ‘Riding the Blinds’ or any other details on Peter Cox then please visit his official website, or why not follow him on Twitter – @peterjohncox
‘Riding the Blinds is available for general release from Monday 14th January 2013.