Sunday, 15th May 2011 in US Tour 2011.
New Hampshire is known not only for its breathtaking scenery but also for the artist Maxfield Parrish who lived there most of his adult life, his work influencing many 1970 album covers notably Elton Johns ‘Caribou’ and Enyas ‘The Memory of Trees’. We arrived there with the rain. Big rain – huge heavy drops which managed to obscure most of the beautiful hills and valleys we passed by. The tops of hills were shrouded in cloud like a dark grey overcoat, so that to see anything clearly – even the car ahead- was almost impossible. We hardly spoke all the way, listening instead to a taped version of a Sam Bournes novel. Nearly the last CD of 4, and neither of us can guess who the person is who is causing all the trouble. When we get to the Home Hill Inn, towards the end of the CD we think about sitting in the car to get to the end of it. But we can wait. It will make getting in the car tomorrow a little more exciting. If we could just see it, the view from the Home Hill Inn would be amazing. Instead the rain pours past the window like a lace fall, obscuring everything. The venue was in the Home Hill Inn and that would have been fine except that none of the equipment showed up– apart from a less than useful electric piano.
The promoter was slightly surprised when Neil said he needed the amps, mike stands and monitors mentioned in the rider, which he had read and signed his name to. Thom, the promoter, had, I think, thought Neil would do an acoustic set –a whole new show on the spot just for him. He could see by our faces that he had got it wrong and went off to find what he could, but he failed to find monitors, without which Neil is unable to hear himself or the piano. He had also asked the audience to turn up at 5 pm as well as us, so they had to sit and watch while we unloaded the instruments and Neil tried to get some kind of decent sound out of the piano. We have had this sort of thing before. The promoter is a great fan but they know nothing about music and though they have to sign a contract detailing what they need to provide, it is not important to them and they don’t read it. They think Neil will be happy traveling hundreds of miles just to be there. We have an agent too who thinks any gig is good. If someone asked for Neil to play in a phone booth, he would think about it. So Neil did one half against the odds, but gave up half way through the second half – he could not hear himself so couldn’t do ‘Imitation Song’ or ‘How sweet to be an Idiot’ or any of the numbers he really likes doing. It was upsetting both for Neil and for the audience. The problem is that the audience doesn’t know Neil can’t hear himself or that he has half the equipment he is supposed to have, so the gig does Neil no good at all. Unbelievably the next day this promoter phoned the agent to ask if Neil could do a gig for him in a nearby school next year, and the agent actually passes this request on to us!!!!!! Do they think we are that stupid???? Words fail.