6th Sept: Day two of our 1977 extravaganza and I wake up not feeling too bad considering last night was pretty late. After showering off last nights sweat I pretty much head straight to the Astoria, oh the beautiful Astoria how I love your dark, maze like interior. The backstage has so many flights of stairs and corridors from the stage to the dressing room that you really do get a good work out, and it wouldn't be hard to do a Spinal Tap back here. Rick and I are both down early to scope out the stage, gear and ourselves with our beloved venue. This is apparently a record making performance, Ash will have played here in this legendary venue more times than anyone else. It's sad to know that it will soon be flattened to make way for another soulless high street mall, losing a venue of this caliber is a huge shame and London's music scene will suffer for losing it. It truly is a sad state of affairs.
Anyway on a brighter note it's great for us to have another opportunity to play here and revisit the album which led to our 5-night Ashtoria stint back in 1997. I'm not sure of the exact figure but Rick seems to think it's close to 20 times we've performed here, from supporting the likes of Foo Fighters and Elastica to NME brat shows with Kenickie and Muse. We have a lot of memories from here and they've all been good times.
Rick and I get soundcheck underway and after the previous nights excellent show at the Roundhouse we're very confident we can pull off another great set. The Gashed girls turn up for another interview for their next online issue and once Tim turns up and we run through all the different songs that we didn't play the past night. Rick and I then return to the dressing room to nurse our semi-hangovers and blabber bullshit at each other for a few hours, the calm before the storm.
Tonight we have another great Northern Irish trio supporting called In Case Of Fire, they've come over especially for the show and put on a great show, they are tipped to be massive in 2009 by Kerrang! and I reckon they've definitely got what it takes. They're a potential stadium band in that their sound is huge, in a similar vein to Muse.
Before we know it we're getting ready to go on stage when there's a knock on the door, who could that be? "Open up in there, open up in there!" commands a digitally altered voice. As I open the door four Imperial Troopers enter and begin searching the dressing room. It's our friends from the 501st back again for a second night of hi-jinks. Adrian the UK Garrison's commanding officer presents us with 501st 'associate' t-shirts (they'll go well with our Hell's Angels ones) and special UK Garrison coins. The point of the coins are that when they have group meetings last person to show their coin has the buy the drinks... After some posed photo's we're making our way down to the stage and the 20 Century Fox fanfare is blasting across the PA.
The first part of the set was exactly the same as the Roundhouse in that we played 1977 from start to finish. The view from the Astoria's stage is amazing, you really can see almost everyone in the room, all 2000 faces looked equally ecstatic, and as the show went on the pit seemed to get more and more frenzied. The Astoria really is a proper 'ROCK' club and people tend to 'go for it' here. Often you'll hear that London music crowds can be quite lame but that's never really been the case for us, in fact I'd have to say that our London crowds are up there with the best. Friends on the balcony said the whole thing was moving as the crowd bounced around in union below them and Lance said the sound was perfect out front. Being so at home on this stage meant that we were comfortable form the off, there was a comedy tech hitch at the start of Lose Control but after that everything again went perfectly, Innocent Smile being a particular highlight.
The stormies led us out at gunpoint again for the first encore to the crowds applause and tonight we started with T. Rex . It's so much fun to play that we might drop into sets more often, it's a good uptempo Ramones style punk-pop song and the crowd seemed to love it. The obligatory camp covers came out again, this time it was turn for Dusty Springfield's - I Only Wanna Be With You (we originally gave this away as a fan club 7" at the 5 night Ashtoria) and Helen Love's - Punk Boy. It gave me flashbacks from when we played at G.A.Y. especially the night with Abba tribute Bjӧrn Again and how they got pissed of when we played Does Your Mother Know and an awfully drunk and terrible version of Mamma Mia , those were their songs apparently! Cantina Band got another run out and Uncle Pat , Jack Names The Planets and A Life Less Ordinary all had the crowd baying for more. We switched around the 2nd encore a bit so it ran like this: Orpheus , Teenage Kicks (for Davis, Happy Birthday), Shining Light , Ichiban , Burn Baby Burn and Twilight Of The Innocents . By the end of T.O.T.I. we were all in seventh heaven and paraded around to rapturous applause. Hearing the Star Wars theme music flooding the rafters made me think it was the medal ceremony at the end of A New Hope, another amazing show and one we'll never forget.
Back in the dressing room the Astoria people brought us champagne and told us that we had to come back and play the last ever show, apparently that'll be March / April next year. Hopefully we can make it happen, no-one else deserves to! Unfortunately because of the OMO club night there was a strict curfew and we soon found out that our supposed after party at the upstairs bar wasn't happening. Balls to that... The dressing got swamped with friends and family but it wasn't long before security were kicking us out as the rooms were needed for the club dancers. WTF...
That being said it was kinda good to get out of the venue and make our way out into the night. I went with Rick, Helen, Nathan, Andrea, Lance, Amy and Davis to get dinner at Garlic and Shots as we hadn't eaten earlier. It was all very nice and civilized, apart from the guy who slipped in the toilets, smashed his skull open and knocked himself out. I was bursting for piss... how inconsiderate of him. Once we were finished we headed back to the Hoxton to drink in the lobby. I was exhausted after the past days exploits and headed to bed about 4 again. I think the party raged on all night for some! Until the next time the memories will be sweet.