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Brixton Academy, London

21st November 2014 | Larry

Royal Albert Hall, London

19th November 2014 | Larry

Newcastle Academy

17th November 2014 | Larry

The Hydro, Glasgow

15th November 2014 | Larry

Echo Arena, Liverpool

14th November 2014 | Larry

Colston Hall, Bristol

12th November 2014 | Larry

Cambridge Corn Exchange

11th November 2014 | Larry

Super League Grand Final, Old Trafford

11th October 2014 | Larry

Feria del Hogar, Lima, Peru

5th August 2014 | Larry

Pills ’n’ Thrills and Bellyaches

5th August 2014 | Andy

For our final gig of the summer, just when we thought it was all over – we are sent on a journey half way around the world to play in Peru.

We played there once before, in 2011. By all accounts an amazing gig in an amazing place – I wasn’t there.

I had an operation on my foot which was in plaster and I was not allowed to fly without having it removed and then being pumped full of blood thinning drugs. Danger of deep vein thrombosis, the doctor said.

No such problems this time. There was a different concern – it was a schedule that was going to knock us all for six.

We had just come off stage at Umbria Rock and had to leave this beautiful region of Italy at 2am on a coach. It was a long drive to Rome airport, from where we flew to Amsterdam before making the 12-hour flight to Lima.

A 22-hour journey in total!

How were we going to do that? Apparently Matt, our tour manager, had recommended to some, that they have a word with their GP and get some heavy-duty sleeping pills.

Zopiclone seemed to be the drug prescribed. A ‘Z-drug’ thought to be less addictive and habit forming than benzodiazepines. Although daily or continuous use is not advised – it says on the packet.

The idea was to knock yourself out with one of these on the flight to Peru, in order to get 5 to 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I wasn’t convinced. Whenever I have had sleeping pills, they make me feel groggy and they knock me out, but it doesn’t feel like proper sleep. “These ones are different,” I was told.

I held out against them and went for the red wine option, which, along with a heavy article in New Scientist magazine on pigeons and quantum cosmic connections, should have me nodding off in minutes.

It did – but I spent the whole journey nodding off and waking up. I never got more than 40 minutes continuous sleep at a time.

The Zopiclone-poppers all reported a refreshed decent sleep. I was jealous. I was definitely going to try one on the way home.

We landed in Lima in what seemed like a hazy brown fog that engulfed everything. Was this pollution?

There was a small group of fans at the airport wanting photos and autographs. We got into minivans and were accompanied to the hotel by a Police escort complete with motorcycle outriders!

Wow, this felt like pop star stuff! Wasn’t it in Peru that the boys from One Direction were caught on video having a spliff and laughing at their Police escort?

We found out, however, that the escort wasn’t because of our imagined importance as international pop stars. It was to do with getting us through the rush hour traffic quickly. What could have taken 90 minutes ended up only taking 30 and the escort ended up accompanying us on all journeys during our visit.

The Police were ‘Policía de Tránsito’, a special transit police, whose job was to take rich important people through the traffic quickly. Maybe this is the future in western countries as our cities get stuck with traffic and we have a growing gap between the rich and poor. Actually – Let’s hope not!

The concert was part of a big, open air, civic cultural fair that is held annually over two weeks to bring ‘joy to families on Independence Day’.

The venue was engulfed in the same brown fog, that we now discovered was ocean mist. We were actually right beside the Pacific Ocean, which was just the other side of a large wall.

Chris, our lighting designer, tells us that the mist has got into the lighting rig and that there are loads of stage hands out there with hair dryers desperately trying to dry it out!

Jackets on for this gig. It is cold out there. This felt strange after all our hot summer gigs in the northern hemisphere. We were now in the Peruvian winter and the dressing rooms had heaters on.

The audience was amazing and Tim went crowd surfing on ‘Curse Curse’ and was bobbing around on an ocean of raised arms that seemed to sway underneath him but somehow keep him up.

It was chaotic but Tim never dropped a note! There was concern that he was still intact and complete on his return. However after close inspection all was present and correct.

This was the last show of the summer and we all celebrated afterwards. What a way to finish! Here’s to November! Just the long flight home to do now.

I was looking forward to trying a Zopiclone pill and getting a decent sleep.

Steve, our monitor engineer, never made it out the hotel and was declared too sick to travel. It was food poisoning. We all started to wonder what it was he had eaten that the rest of us had not.

We had all eaten pretty much the same. Catering at the venue, breakfast at the hotel. There had not been any time to go out, explore and see – let alone eat – anything different.

Slowly… one by one… we succumbed. I ended up in the toilet on the plane home filling paper bags!

Five of us ended up with some sort of stomach bug / food poisoning, but we couldn’t work out why some people had it and others not.

Another summer jaunt finishes with a nightmare journey home, and I am reminded of last years final journey of the summer, when our tour bus broke down and we had to haul our bags along the motorway verge to the services to pick up another vehicle.

And……… I never did get to try the Zopiclone!