With the group expanding and both artists now viewed, it really felt like the tour was beginning to click into gear.
June 5th was another off day, but it would be the last free 24 hours we had before the tour ended the following Sunday.
Better make the most of it then.
And what better way to spend it than racing across the M62 from Manchester towards the M1 and the glorious North East of England?
Our base was Jesmond, home to full tour member Alex, and the party of about 18 of us crammed into his living room for the evening. A squash – but fun!
As Tuesday dawned, we made our way down to St James’ Park and explored the delights of the local town, no doubt chatting up locals as we went.
For the gig itself, Bryan Adams this time, fellow History student Katie and I were based at the top of one of the stands, behind a goal and tucked away in the corner of a concourse.
It was a bit like the graveyard shift at Nottingham Arena, only without the regular footfall!
Still, it gave us chance to put the world to rights and swap horror stories about our travails of studying History. She was bailing out of the tour after that shift, something about going away to Prague maybe (?). Not sure she was particularly envious of what lay in store for us.
Niki’s plan after this gig was to get as close to Coventry as possible – the Ricoh Arena being our next destination – and so, after a standard “Let’s Pack The Car” moment, we headed back onto the M1 about midnight.
Most people were staying in the local area, but Nik’s then girlfriend was at Durham Uni and that promised to be a good place to sleep.
And it was.
Seeing Durham Uni was pretty cool all gothic colleges and beautifully-crafted buildings.
It was just a bit of a trek at that time of night.
We stayed in her college room (Nik, Ally, Dennis and I), but made conversation and didn’t actually get to sleep until after three o’clock.
So much for a good night’s sleep.
We were up again by nine and back on the road. Coventry was a fair trek and we needed to be there by lunchtime.
Fortunately, we made it in time and had to click back into Bonjovi mode. Essentially, the stall opened as soon as you’d set up the backboards and had been handed some sort of float so we were probably ready for business about 2pm.
I loved this day actually. Working on an outside stall rather than indoors, and alongside Nik and Ally was top. We even took a football and, once the gig had started, resorted to playing football on the path alongside, hoping not to pique the interest of any drunk Bonjovi fans who wandered aimlessly past us.
As a big fan of football stadia, I made sure I went inside at one point to see a bit of the gig. Much like most modern stadia, the Ricoh has all the necessary gear, well presented and four sides completed.
To my mind it lacks the character of say, an Ewood Park…but then I guess I’m biased.
We eventually wrapped everything up by about 1am. Stall tidied and put down. Money counted and squared off.
We were left with two choices.
A) Follow Dennis and stay at the house of somebody local who he knew before heading to Swindon in the morning?
B) Head off down to Swindon ourselves – it’s only 2 hours away after all.
Which did we choose?
Find out in the next post.