Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The band who started the rest of my life

When I was 15, I saw Aerosmith at Wembley Stadium.  I loved Aerosmith, and was so excited when my mum agreed to take me and my sister.  It wasn't our first trip to London, or even our first concert, not by a long shot!  But it was the first one that might have 'undesirables', so me and my 14 year old sister were so looking forward to going to an 'adult' concert.

They were amazing, blew my mind.  The support acts were Stereophonics (give me a gun, please), Lenny Kravitz and The Black Crowes.

The Black Crowes are the band that changed my life.  I won't explain why they are so great, but if you love music, try and get a hold of Southern harmony & Musical Companion, Amorica or Three Snakes & One Charm.  Those 3 albums were the soundtrack to my life for the next 4 years or so.  It was through them that I started to properly listen to Otis Redding, Muddy Waters, The Band, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many more amazing bands.  Until then, the 'oldest' music I'd listened to was my mums weekly drunken soundtrack of  Roxy Music, Rod Stewart, Faces, Beatles, Eric Clapton, David Bowie and some pretty crap ones too.  My 'new' discoveries were miles away from what I grew up listening to, and I was in awe.

It was at this time we finally got a computer (just in time for the millenium!), and I discovered message boards.  I loved  the fact you could 'meet' people who liked the same thing you did, and seemed to 'get' why you liked it too.    I was 17 when I first met Jitterbug.  I don't remember what concert it was, it may have been Ben Harper.  I only talked to him for a  few minutes, having met up with a large group of other fans (my mum was there too), and he struck me as old.  Not old old, but at 17, anything over 25 is pretty old.

We chatted online sometimes, being members of the same fan forum for The Black Crowes, so the next time I was going to be in London for Ben Harper, we had to meet up, if only because of our love and adoration for Marc Ford who had recently joined Ben Harpers band.  This was not long before I went to Australia, the first time, in 2004, so I was 20, and suddenly capable of getting completely rat-arsed and heckling bands with him.  Great fun was had that night, and I remember at one point him mentioning his girlfriend and I felt insanely jealous.  We did have a lot of drunken fun shouting that night though, ruining our friends recording of the show - he didn't even finish taping it, he stopped as soon as he realised we were not going to shut up.

Said friend and I worked on a website for Marc Ford, so we got to go back stage that night with Jitterbug pretty much kicking me up the stairs.  We texted most of the next 2 hours, and subsequently causing me to leave my purse in a taxi (I ran after it), and getting lost in my hotel (which was a triangular shaped building just off Piccadilly Circus, so is way easier to do than it sounds!) while texting him.

He was so very very funny and cracked me up with his jokes, so we stayed in touch for a while after that, but then I went to Australia and email became a very foreign thing!

Fast forward 2 years, I have travelled, I have grown up, I have broken my own heart by falling in love with someone I shouldn't be falling in love with, and I'm not doing too great mentally or physically.  Then The Black Crowes announce a European tour, and I decide I need cheering up so I bought tickets for all 6 shows; 3 in London, 3 in Amsterdam.  A huge meet-up of fans is organised, with people coming from all over the world for these shows.

As soon as Jitterbug walked in the pub, I felt it.  We hugged, and it felt like a jolt of electricity went flying through me.  I did the whole nervous drinking and inappropriate jokes thing, him struggling to keep-up with the Scots accent, me taking the piss out his Dunglish accent.  We had so much fun.  More fun than I thought would have been possible to be honest.  So many funny stories from those 3 days, we still talk about it all the time.  He crashed in my room each night, we'd sit on the balcony and smoke our lungs into functioning again before daring to go out for food.

The rest, as they say, is history.  We've had our ups and downs and broken up and reconciled, and I wouldn't choose anyone else to spend the rest of my life with.

Why did I tell you that story?  Because Jitterbug and I are going on a very rare night out.  Two nights out, actually.  The Black Crowes are doing their final tour, so we thought we'd go.  We've not seen them together since 2006, though Jitterbug has seen them a couple of times while he was in America for work.  We go to their second London show, and the second Amsterdam show.  My mum is attending the first London show, then comes down to babysit for a night.  We will then meet up with her and my sister in Amsterdam for the second Amsterdam show.

I am very excited.  We are going to see the band without whom we would not be together.  Bubba and Gremlin would not be here, I would not be living here (would I even be living?).  Life changing music!

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