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Published: October 11th 2009
The Girl With the Golden Bum
The huge build-up to "Goldeneye"
11th February '09:
Anybody who puts a tea break in the middle of a concert is a star in my book. There’s nothing worse than needing the loo an hour into a show, and having to stand there like a lemon, crossing your legs.. The first half closes with; 'we don’t need another hero..', and “pyro”, dangerous stuff mere mortals don’t understand. The pyrotechnic boys are clothed in mystery, emitting lethal-sounding bangs and producing propane flames on stage. The fire looks so impressive that I sometimes wonder if I forgot to turn off the iron backstage. Blimey, the bangs are noisy tonight; pyro was banned at our Austrian show for that reason.
The second half opens with some great footage of Tina with Jagger, Bowie, Phil Collins, Clapton etc. She’s done it all. And I’d forgotten she was in the Mad Max Thunderdome film. An upbeat version of 'I can't stand the rain' kicks off with some funky keyboard. The crowd roar when they realise which song it is. The tenor sax player, Euge Groove, goes off the stave with harmonics. Man, can he bite that reed.
While snow falls outside Antwerp's Sportpaleis Arena, the show inside is
rocking. The dancers are out again, more than rivalling Rod Stewart’s on-stage display a couple of years back. Is this tantric sex, I wonder? Staring for three weeks at dancers, then I spend the next month begging? Tina holds her own against them, though, with fantastic legs still. Now, there is a discrepancy over Tina's age, estimates ranging from 69 to 73. Assuming it was known accurately on the last tour, the older truck drivers are plumping toward the latter figure. Regardless, she is incredible. She must be; I've toured with dozens of stars, and this remains the only act that I've ever watched more than once.
The big finish is bopping in stilettos on an extending walkway, fifteen feet above the audience. This moving, hydraulic platform is about 45 feet long - it looks the length of a truck trailer - and only a few feet wide. As Tina belts out “Nut Roast” to an adoring crowd, the tour manager must be having heart palpitations. With spotlights in her eyes, it would be so easy to fall. It’s only rock n roll but I like it, I think..
I was so busy describing the
show yesterday that I forgot to mention that Namibian and I have been chucked off the tour! No, it is not because we have been naughty, or indeed for not being naughty enough; this is purely for logistical reasons - to avoid having too many subcontractors on a single tour. Don’t worry though, we’re simply moving onto another road trip for the next nine weeks: some lot called AC/DC. Just the name has me lurching for earplugs. So, no more tales of Mystic and his magic earplugs (photographed after he’d dropped one in his beef lasagne), or his fungal mug, with week-old tannin grime.
Another character that I shall now miss is Captain Birdseye, yesterday speaking of never visiting Namibia due to the threat of cannibalism, and telling me whites are called “longpigs” in Papua New Guinea, because we taste like pork. Well, all good things come to an end. Before we say goodbye, though, a familiar, yet anonymous face enters “Catering” - this is an area frequented by the entire Tina crew - wielding a fistful of pornographic films. Unable to recall who he’s borrowed them from, he ostentatiously holds them aloft, and asks: 'who do these belong
Mystic wearing earplugs in Catering
This is just after dropping one plug in his beef enchilada
to?' Feet are shuffled; shirt collars are hidden behind. Blushing and silent, nobody owns up.
Now that we've swapped tours, we had to move two miles away last night. The space was needed for the three trucks that replaced Namibian, me, and our mutual pal, Alice. Due to an absurd amount of drugs in his twenties, Mark was nicknamed “Alice” - after Alice in Wonderland. He's lovely. Nowadays, nobody even knows that his real name is Mark. Lucky that his name is in the tour programme, then? Nope, it's been misspelt as Mary! Just to be clear, he is a red-blooded male, hardly ever seen in a dress.
Famished this morning, I’m already missing catering which, fortunately, lies only two miles away, a mere pedal or two on the trusty bicycle. (Bicycles are a major part of touring). For us, there will be no more “beef enchilada’s” - Agh! Why do people add an erroneous apostrophe when they are simply pluralising a noun? - or loud thrash metal at nine o’clock in the morning. In short, for the next few days, we have no catering. Gulp! There's a huge social aspect to huddling over interminable cups of tea
All four dancers
in there, and now there is a gaping hole.
So, we’re swapping “Private Dancer” for “Highway to Hell” - talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire. But, although I’m technically off the tour now, not only am I watching the show this evening, but I'm eating as much as physically possible without throwing up, and entertaining complimentary guests. And I'm planning to have just one last, lingering perv at the dancers going up the stairs... Unforgivably, the best bit coincides with a backstage chat over a cup of tea, thus missing the eroticism completely.
The sassy hip-swaying in “Proud Mary” is also ruined, at least for me, by a prominent, middle-aged, bespectacled chap in a green cardigan near the front. He waves his arms, clapping, cueing the sax solo and singing wildly, looking like a human windmill in his own little world. I’d bet money that he sells insurance.
A whole new motley bunch of characters will be introduced shortly - and plenty of European cities - but, for now, it’s goodbye to Tina’s 50th Anniversary Tour. And it's farewell to the “Sexiest Granny on Earth”, according to a banner in the front row
Mystic and his mug
He was banned from entering the catering room with this
tonight. Tina, you're simply the best, better than all the rest...
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