After the stripped back first two days of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour, Day 3 was a day off from gigs.
However, we did have to shoot straight back up the way we’d come, heading for the City of Manchester Stadium and the arrival of Bonjovi in my life.
Abiding memories of that journey? Supremely hot as we raced up in Niki’s BMW, listening to England’s “Golden Generation” massacre Jamaica at Old Trafford in a World Cup 2006 warm-up.
Even Peter Crouch got a hat-trick and did that dance.
We all know my housemate Tom, with his self-proclaimed nickname of Crouchy, was busting that out at the Summer Party that night back in Nottingham.
A number of jobs needed doing as we embarked in East Manchester. JMB were there in force. It was clear this was a much bigger deal than Bryan Adams in Bridgend.
After an evening of set-up and a supplies shop to Walmart next door, we crashed into our sleeping bags and waited to see what the following day would bring.
Dennis had done some serious coordination. 20-30 Nottingham students rocked up, programme sellers, t-shirt merchandisers and others descended on Manchester for the arrival of these American rockstars.
I was given the chance to work on the pitch – Dennis, me and a variety of people I’d never met before but would become firm allies over coming days.
The amount of merchandise was incredible. T-shirts alone went all the way up to Letter M, including various skinny fit and hoodies. I had to choose carefully which one to model.
The gig itself was really good. Nickelback were the support act and I quite enjoyed that, even if the tremendous flow of selling continued throughout.
It was only when Mr Bon Jovi himself entered the stage that the crowd went wild and suddenly lost their desire to purchase the latest Livin’ On A Prayer fashion statement.
After the massive encore, the crowd filtered away but we were absolutely hammered on the pitch. Fortunately, stewards do usher people out so we got away more lightly than some of the stalls on the way out.
Poor programmers had an even harder sell of £15 for a book of photos after the gig.
Exhausted, we pulled down all the merchandise, counted the stock and fed back to base.
Four days in we were shattered but our little team of four had expanded to include a larger group of core members. Good to have you on board!
Next stop, Newcastle and the humble home of Mr Alex Davies.