The Annual Ley Hill Music & Beer Festival, August 25, 2013
So today was the day the Burn boys look forward to most in the calendar. The Annual Ley Hill Music & Beer Festival at which Burn have played all but one year. This one was very special too, being the last ever Burn gig and doubly so for Rob who organises the bands, as he was stepping down from the role of band booker for the fest. Also of special note was Garry, once again unable to play but he did make an appearance to see the boys which was incredibly brave of him. More on that later.
The weather looked extremely iffy in the morning but somehow the Gods made sure that the afternoon was very warm, sunny and pleasant. First on the bill that day was the Tim Hain Band who played a mix of Blues and Reggae, or Bleggae, as Tim calls it. Marvellous stuff, especially his Jimi Hendrix talking to Bob Marley version of the Hendrix classic Wind Cries Mary.
At just before 4pm Nigel from The Swan came onstage to announce the band, that it was to be their final performance and additionally to announce pending nuptials for Rob and his missus Jacqui. Burn then hit the stage, kicking off with Wishing Well and the band immediately commanded the crowd of around 2,000 with a perfectly crafted classic rock set – this was a band in total control. They stormed though classics like Stormbringer, Hush, Immigrant Song, Tush, Highway Star, Long Train Running/Child In Time, Mistreated, Woman From Tokyo (with guidance for Rob from Garry! Hysterical!) and many more. Then at the end of their set, the band got Garry up to sing Smoke On The Water with Luca. That was a rather special moment and very bitter sweet. Garry is the bands drummer but he had to withdraw due to his serious health condition. In addition to being a great drummer, Garry is also a rather good singer and guitarist but many people do not know this.
Amongst the crowd, there was the sight of a man dancing with an inflatable doll by one of the beer tents which the boys spotted. Why on earth that man would want to show the world he has a girlfriend like that is beyond anyones comprehension! Phil was still forced to play without his bottom cab but he soldiered through in his sexy way and no one knew the difference, though he wasn’t happy with his sound. “I like a nice sounding arse”, he quipped about that missing cab. Ross did what he does best and drove the band along smiling most of the time and Rob just widdled on his guitar for all he was worth. Luca once again held court and had the crowd in the palm of his hand, which is demonstrated rather well in one of the videos in the media section of the website. At one point, Rob was heard telling the flamboyant singer to shut up because he was talking so much! This was one great gig and each band member put their all into making it great.
The band left the stage to enormous applause and appreciation that Rob later said he didn’t hear because of the emotion of the event. “These two final gigs have been amazing and remind me just how good Burn is”, croaked Rob who had lost his voice the previous day. “Twenty years is a long time and so we must've been doing something rather well. I'm so glad that Garry could be part of it, despite not being able to drum. He almost made me cry when we were about to start the gig”, continued Rob.
Lots of pictures were taken of the gig and backstage but what the cameras didn’t see was the man love between the guys and the tears that flowed. You see….. Even Rockers cry!! A highly charged and emotional time. A great gig to end twenty years of Burn. Videos will be found in the Media section and pictures in the Gallery.
An unforgettable occasion filled with emotion.
Belle Vue, High Wycombe, August 24, 2013
In this the bands 20th anniversary year, they had their first gig in ten months tonight as Rob returned from Spain but there was a difference…. There was no Garry, who was unable to play because of a rather serious leg infection which has been plaguing him for some months, so it was to down to former Burn drummer Ross Elder to step in and drive the band for the final two gigs. Ross last played with the band three years ago and the line-up has changed considerably since that time. Ross therefore met bassist Phil and vocalist Luca for the very first time at the venue and so there were questions as to song arrangements. “Don’t worry about things like that” suggested Rob as he supped a pint at the bar. “It´ll all be cool.”
There was immediately a problem for Phil, though. When setting up, Phil discovered that his bottom bass cab had decided to misbehave sending out a terrible sound when he played. After a lot of searching around, head scratching and cable changes, the cabinet was pronounced “fucked” and sent in disgrace back to Phil´s car because it continued to make horrible noises even when in the same room and not plugged in! Incredible! No equipment issues for Rob or Ross though and the PA system was on loan courtesy of pub landlord Alan who Rob has known for some 25 years. “Yes, indeed. I´ve known Alan man and boy.” By now, Rob was downing a Jack Daniels before the band started, claiming it helped his fingers. By the way the gig went, it probably did help!
Launching into Wishing Well the band immediately hit their stride at high volume and blasted through other such gems as Stormbringer, Fool For Your Loving, Space Trucking and many others. The pub was packed out and the assembled crowd were almost as loud as the band!! Set two saw the band kick off with Led Zep´s Immigrant Song which had never been played by any of the boys before, followed by classics like Highway Star, Strange Kind Of Woman and Long Train Running interpolating Child In Time which saw Luca display his awesome vocal talent and during the improvised part saw Rob introduce the band – The first time that’s happened in 20 years.
There were plenty of wonderful musical moments from sexy Phil´s bass solos, to big guitar solos to moments when none of the band knew what would happen next. The band smiled and laughed their way through a very dynamic, atmospheric and tight gig with not a major mistake in sight. All wonderful stuff with a highlight being when long-time fan Colin was given the microphone to sing a bit of Aint No Love (Anal Love, as he called it years ago which has stuck with the band ever since) and he was very good! He was later heard repeatedly and excitedly saying “I sang with Burn” to anyone who would listen! The curfew time for music is 11pm at this venue and the band had finished but Alan gave the thumbs up for three encores that saw the boys play well past that curfew time.
Many faces and friends were at the gig. Colin and Sue, Joe and Sheila, Bones, Bob and his wife, Chris and his missus from Yorkshire, Simon Falconer who took some pictures, Rob´s missus Jacqui and his daughter Dani as well as a huge host of names and faces from the last two decades. The band finished the gig all soaked in sweat and tired. Taking a bow and saying goodbye to a venue they have played for many many years, they headed off into the night for the gig the next day, the final gig….. The Ley Hill Fest. Always a biggie.