Sunday, February 27, 2011
Pauline Pulls It Off: and the Others Done Good
After a five-hour drive from London we pulled into the world's worst Travelodge (makes the desert seem luxuriant), collected our assorted thoughts and drove on to the Central Bar, a slice of Georgian cake that looms out of the assorted buildings and roads just South of the Tyne, inches into Gateshead.
We had had a good journey; there was plenty to talk about including the very sad news that Poly has cancer (love to you Poly and I wish you hope and strength).
There was a small crowd of women bar staff having a fag at the foot of the stairs as we lumbered up with our gear. 'It's the girls!', they said and gave way so we could lumber up the stairs.
Martin had made us a film stars' dressing room with flowers, chocolate, fruit and copies of the local daily and evening papers fanned out for us to look at; both the Newcastle Journal and the Evening Chronicle had pieces about the gig.
Pauline arrived, nervous but composed, and we sound-checked. Viv filmed an interview, Martin set up the door and bought us all dinner.
The punters started arriving, and every single one of them seemed to be in a good mood.
Pauline played first; any nervousness she may have felt at playing her first ever solo gig disappeared by the second line of the first song. She was in great voice, she looked fantastic and the crowd absolutely loved her. She played two of her own compositions, hitting the guitar like a pro, and in a stroke of genius, played a cover of 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head', ending on a high that made her a tough act to follow. The audience gave her a tumultuous round of applause, and we all know that this is just the beginning of a whole new phase for Pauline as a performer.
Aha! I had new Chelsea Boots and The Green Goddess, having been out of favour for a few gigs as it needs to go to the Guitar Doctors, decided to be a good Goddess, and sounded absolutely immaculate. I didn't make the usual quota of mistakes (although I did cock up the new song but the audience didn't seem to mind) and I had a fantastic time. I sang my favourite songs and it was a right larf! What an honour to share the stage with three such brilliant women!
Gina was on next; she stood next to her retro screen (borrowed at the last minute from Amber Films because she'd forgotten to pack a sheet to project on in the rush to get ready at half term: thank you Amber!) and thrashed the hell out of her guitar.
This was the best performance I have ever seen from Gina. She was funny, emotional and at the top of her game. the audience changed gear effortlessly: this was so different from Pauline and myself, but they lapped it up and gave her a fantastic reception. Her piece de resistance was the final song, a collage of Phil Spector's Tonight You're Mine complete with gunshots and black and white shots (ha ha) of starlets in murder scenes.
Then Viv was ready to go; change of mood again, audience up for it again. She took to the stage with her telecaster, dressed in a striking psychedelic shirt, and gave it her all. She is a mistress of the fretboard and I wished I had been close enough to indulge in the ancient guitarists' practice of stealing licks.
She commands the stage with confidence, taking a metaphorical chainsaw to the lies of love and romance, while simultaneously playing every part of a whole band, just on one guitar through a Fender twin reverb. The audience travelled on the journey with her, rapt and full of appreciation, and demanded and encore at the end, even though by then the room was a hot and steaming as a sauna.
It was a night to remember- thanks to Martin for having the idea in the first place; Viv, Gina and Pauline for agreeing to play (and to Polestar/Pauline for the loan of the twin reverb) and jumping in wholeheartedly; to Ian, the sound guy and to the DJ; to Amber Films for the screen; and don't forget the audience, for showing their appreciation to all four of us and sticking with us all the way through. You can't buy that for any amount of money!