Scotty's UK Tour 2004-Closeup Look

Well, we’re back home and this is Gail again, reporting about the tour. This will probably be long, as it was a long tour. Lots of what happened has been reported by the fans, but this is my view. I hope that the guys in the band will also send in their reports of their impressions of the trip.

Paul Ansell, David Briggs, Scotty, Liam Grundy, Peter Pritchard and Jimmy Russell 
Milton Duffy, Alan Hibbs and Gail Pollock - Manchester, UK Feb 28, 2004
Photo© courtesy Karen McBride

Scotty and I flew over a day early to let Scotty get the kinks out before he started the tour. We left here Feb. 23, got to London around noon on the 24th.  He went to bed.  Liam Grundy, our friend and Scotty’s keyboard player and second vocalist on the tour, and I went walking around the Richmond area of London, where we stayed.  We walked past Mick Jagger’s apartment building.  I spoke to Sherry Daly, the Stones’ office person in London, and she said he was not there, but I got to walk in the park where Mick walks his dogs…hope he cleaned up after them! The next day, Liam and I went to Hampton Court Palace for a tour. He knows what a history nut I am, and it was beautiful, peaceful, and a wonder to look at. It had been the home of Thomas Becket, Henry VIII, and William and Mary.  Each area was very different and very beautiful to see.

Scotty and Paul Ansell in Wolverhampton - Feb 26, 2004
Photo© courtesy Richard Harvey

The first show was in Wolverhampton, which was toward Manchester. It was a small club, but the crowd was great and Scotty was able to play again. He was limited, but at least he was back up there and knew that his fingers had not forgotten his strings!

The next show was near Birmingham in Birkenhead. It was in a beautiful Auditorium which actually had a trolley just behind the stage near the dressing rooms! I’m not sure why the trolley was there, but it was a real, working model on its tracks!  But since all that was open to the outdoors, it was very cold in the dressing rooms. I tried to keep Scotty’s door closed, but everyone who came in left it open and he nearly froze to death!

The crowd was great, there was a young man there who was a policeman whose son had brain surgery a few months ago. He sat with us in the dressing room and gave Scotty some encouraging information about the facts that his son also was vague and forgetful at first, but that his mind has returned. That made Scotty feel better…he’ll be glad when he gets there!

The next show was at Manchester at the University. The guys had played there the last tour, and of course our good friend Karen McBride was there and has sent some more killer pictures of the gig to the site. The people there are very supportive of Scotty and a lady was there who has been to other shows and she made a video of the show and brought us a copy at a later show on the tour. She, her husband, and her daughter are big fans and have been to other shows on other tours. Thanks!

Richmond Gate Hotel - London
photo courtesy Richmond Gate Hotel

On the fourth show, we were back near London, so we went back to the beautiful little Richmond Gate hotel again. We actually stayed there each time we came to London. It is a historic hotel that has been at the top of Richmond Hill since Victorian times, and it is both beautiful and the people there are very helpful and very nice. The show was at Brighton, not too far away, so we drove there for the show, then back to London that night. Again, the crowd was great. I talked to someone there who was another Policeman, he presented Scotty with some memorabilia on stage and Scotty gave him a thumb pick from his pocket. The fan was a guitar player but he was not familiar with a thumb pick…he only knew of flat ‘plectrums’ Good show! We were not there long enough for me to see the beautiful castle in downtown which looks like something from Arabian Nights!

The fifth show was at Swindon and our good friend Ron Garson came and visited.  He has already written up a nice review of that show which is on the site so I'll just direct you there.

The sixth show was at Leeds. I had not been there before…loved the town, wanted to go shopping, but did not have time. The theater he played in, City Varieties, is the oldest still active variety club in the world.  One of the people there gave me a tour and another member of the staff gave me a beautiful picture of the inside of the theatre. That’s going to be framed and be up in my house…again, the crowd was great. 

We ran out of the CD’s we were selling, and one man asked if I could get him one after the show. I found one in a briefcase backstage and told him from the stage when I made my little speech that I had it for him. He met me after the show and got it from me…very nice man!  Two other people came up to me while I was waiting for him and said they were the ones, but I told them they did not look like him.  One said, “What did he look like? I can look like that, too!”   That was the Western Union CD that Liam and Pete had made two years ago, and we sold quite a few of them on the tour. Scotty had played on some of it, and he had signed them along with Pete and Liam.

Scotty at the Jumpin' Hot Club @ The Playhouse, Newcastle
Photo© courtesy CJ Holley

The next show was with our old friends at Newcastle. We got to see all of the people we look forward to seeing there…Trevor and Lucas Lee Caijao, Gordon and Margaret Minto and beautiful Tammy, and Howard Cockburn. There was not as big a crowd as we had had at South Shields two years ago, but they were very enthusiastic and as always very supportive of Scotty. Margaret and Gordon very kindly came for me and we went and had lunch and a walk around a beautiful castle nearby…I won’t know its name till our extra package comes from UK.  We had so many books, CD’s and stuff that were picked up while we were there that Pete is mailing it to us. Thanks Gordon and Margaret!

The next show was at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen, Scotland. I had never driven up the coast of Scotland, and cannot tell you how beautiful it is. One of my ancestors was from Scotland, and I think it is about the most beautiful place I’ve seen…well, maybe in addition to Wales and Ireland! But definitely the neatest person I met on the tour was at the Lemon Tree.  Her name is Marj Mitchell and she is the manager at the Club. She was so unbelievably helpful that she even ran a load of dirty laundry for us!  We had been traveling so much that we had not had any time to get laundry done…most hotels pick up in the am and deliver the next day, but we were arriving at night, leaving the next morning, so we did not have time to get any done.  Marj actually ran a load of laundry at The Lemon Tree while Scotty and the band were doing the show. I told her that I wish we could be next-door neighbors…I love her!  

Also, our friends Joss and Sandra Esplin were at the show again. They first saw the group at the same club in 1999. Joss and Sandra are a guitar player and a dancer, and they are wonderful people. They came up for a minute and said hello to Scotty in the dressing room after the show while I wolfed down the dinner that Marj provided since I had missed dinner that evening. We stayed in a Holiday Inn in Aberdeen that night, and you don’t know how great that decadent soft bed felt…did you know that Americans love soft beds and the British apparently prefer hard ones?

Renfrew Ferry on the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland
Photo© courtesy Renfrew Ferry

The next show was in Glasgow at the Renfrew Ferry…the guys all said that this was a first for them…it was actually on a tied-down ferry!  We were rather nervous when the tide went out during sound check and the boat was at a definite left-side list! But when the tide came back in before the show, it leveled out again. This was one of the best audiences the guys saw, and there was a beautiful girl who started dancing right in front of the stage at the first note Scotty played and kept it up all the way through.  she also sent Scotty two roses after the show…he wanted to stay there!  Also our friend Paul Downey and his wife were there from the Glasgow Elvis fan club. We seem to see old friends at almost every stop we make in the UK…that’s such fun.

The next show was in Nottingham, the home of our good friend Alvin Lee.  I told the crowd that Alvin was touring to promote his new album recorded at Scotty’s studio last April. He will be all over the UK in April and May, and our own Pete Pritchard, who lives in London but flew to Nashville to be on the album last year, will be touring with him. They will be doing 32 shows in 40 days! And I thought Scotty’s 14 shows in 18 days was bad! But Alvin and Pete are much younger than Scotty and me!

The next show was back in London. The Queen Elizabeth Hall, no less!  Again, the crowd was great, and we had lots of friends there. Stella Pritchard, Pete’s wife and my dear friend, and Fiona Grundy, Liam’s wife and also my sweet girlfriend, were there, as well as Pete’s kids, Scott and Jolene and Scott’s girlfriend, Serena. They are so accustomed to seeing us around their house, I was surprised they came all the way downtown to see the show. But I was so glad to see them! I had already seen Stella and Fiona briefly when they and the guys came out to Richmond for dinner at Café Mamma with Scotty and me…Scotty, I promise, that walk was only two blocks! (Scotty doesn’t like to walk.  We got him to walk down to the restaurant, but he said he’d call a cab back…didn’t have to…Liam drove him back up).

From there, we went all the way across Wales to Aberystwyth on the Coast for the next show. Small crowd, it was snowing in the area, but very nice people who made us feel very welcome. I sat up in the bow window of my hotel room till after 1 am drinking wine and looking at the beautiful sea. Next morning I took cookies and left-over sandwiches down to the beach and fed the gulls…Scotty watched from the warm room!

Lliwedd and Glaslyn at Snowdon Mountain

The next day was an off-day and we drove most of it up to Holyhead to take the ferry to Ireland. That was some of the most breathtaking land I have ever seen…we were in and around a mountain named Snowden, and it was both snow-covered and gorgeous! Barely made the ferry at Holyhead…the snow slowed down the drive considerably. Made a very short stop to make pictures of the station sign at the town which has the longest name in the world*…don’t ask me to spell it or say it!

We had a very fast ferry to Ireland…barely had time to finish my fish and chips before we were there. Liam, whose parents are from Ireland, and I stood in the pointy part (bow) of the ferry and looked at my first view of Ireland. So beautiful I wanted to cry, even though I have no Irish ancestors that I know of and have no right to wear the green! The next day Pete and I took a tour bus around Dublin…it was open and we sat on top even though it was cold and a little rainy…neither of us melted.  Loved seeing the city but we did not have time to tour the Guinness plant (Pete’s spiritual home) because the lines were miles long.  We did get to go briefly into St. Patrick’s cathedral. Again, so beautiful! Last tourist part was a quick cup of tea with Liam, Fiona, (also Irish parents) who had come over for that show, and their friend Nuela.  I’m not sure if I spelled her name right, but Scotty sure liked her! She’s a beauty and she doesn’t talk much…not a bit like me!   She’s a doctor, and he’s thinking about moving his medical problems to London, where she lives and practices! 

The show there was probably the best on the tour, with a great crowd and the guys ready to get on to the last gig! We all had a great time, but Scotty did not want to go through the crowd to dinner, so we brought him back some Chinese takeout, and apparently the pork was bad.  He was sick all the next day and did not really get over it for about 4 more days. The day after Dublin, we drove most of the day on very rough roads down to Cork. Scotty had whoopee bags in the truck and used them 5 times!  After the show, he practically ran back to the dressing room for a 6th time.  Poor man!

Cork Opera House
Photo© courtesy R. Smith

The show was at the Cork Opera House…not the usual venue for a rock and roll band, but a beautiful theatre nonetheless. The hotel where we stayed was the Ambassador, up on Military Hill. We did not have a room, or even a suite, but more like a huge, beautiful apartment!  The windows looked out on the most beautiful view of Cork, and that is really a gorgeous city. They most graciously allowed Scotty to stay in his room till 2 (2 hours after checkout) because he was still sick. Since we were to catch a ferry at 8 pm, we all drove out to Blarney Castle in the afternoon.  Liam, Pete, and I all kissed the Blarney Stone…Liam was very naughty…he used tongue!

The ferry people called Liam at around 4:30 pm and said that the ferry would not be running that night because of bad weather. They said we could get another ferry about 3 hours up the coast.  Since the weather was not bad in Cork, and since the other ferry would be crossing the same water, we thought that maybe they just had not sold enough tickets on the ferry and were consolidating groups up the coast. So we left Cork at 5 pm and drove up the coast, got a ferry that left around 11 pm, got into Pembroke, Wales around 5 am but could not dock till 7 am when the fog cleared.  

Drove for several hours back to London, Scotty went back to the Richmond Gate Hotel and went right to bed…too weak to do anything else.  I went down the hill to the post office to change pounds and Euro (from Ireland) into dollars. It was very beautiful that day, I walked down to the Marks & Spencer, got a sandwich and drink and sat in the park across from Mick’s place and ate late lunch and drank in the view. First warm day we saw, and we had to leave the next am! We did not see much rain, but we saw snow and were VERY COLD for most of the trip. We seem to hit everywhere in Europe either during a cold snap with spring clothes or during a heat wave with warm clothes! 

Pete, Stella, and Liam all saw us off the next day from Heathrow and we had a last cup of coffee together there. We are hoping all of them can come back to Nashville this year and stay with me. Needless to say, once more I thoroughly enjoyed my trip and came back loving the UK even more than before. (Also Ireland…I forget it is not in UK). Scotty did better than any of us expected, did not really get down till the bad pork got him. He played better every night of the tour, and we are all so relieved that he was able to tour and play again! 

Thanks, Pete, Liam, Paul Ansell (our favorite vocalist and a real doll!), Dave Briggs (fantastic guitarist and all-round fine man), and Jimmy Russell. Can you believe that we found the same drummer beside the road and used him again on the tour? And he still sounds great!

Love to all, Gail
March 25, 2004

Scotty and Gail backstage - Manchester, UK Feb 28, 2004
Photo© courtesy Karen McBride

Touring with Scotty Moore

I always say that if you are a musician and you love rock'n'roll then there is no better gig on the planet than working with Scotty Moore.  Yes, because of his talent and his incredible contribution to popular music of course, but also because of the man.

Pete Pritchard - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London - March 10, 2004
Photo© courtesy Karen McBride

Not for Scotty, turning up in the limo ten minutes before show time and never talking to anybody. Scotty loves to be one of the guy's. He is the first one to appear in the lobby of the hotel, ready to board that tour bus and get on the road. Once at the venue, he takes charge of the sound check, and gets involved with all aspects of the show. This all creates a wonderful atmosphere of mutual respect between Scotty and the band which I'm sure the audiences can feel. People often say to me "wow, you guy's look like your having a ball up there". Well, WE ARE!!
And never underestimate Gail's involvement in all this. As well as tending to Scotty's every need, she also takes care of many things that we would simply never have time to do. So many people want interviews, photo's and cd's and Gail always gives her time and energy to make sure the audience know that Scotty and the band appreciate them being there so much.
Finally, I want to say a big thank you to Liam, Paul, Dave and Jimmy. It is always a privilege to work with you all. You love Scotty and his music, and play the songs with great skill and passion.
'Till next time.........

*Llanfair­pwllgwyn­gyllgo­gerychwyrn­drobwll­llanty­silio­gogogoch (58 letters), which in English means "Saint Mary's Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio near the red cave." The locals call it Llanfairpwll (pronounced thlan vire puth).


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