It wasn’t a large affair. There was no stadium involved, nor, if I’m honest, an actual stage. However, in it’s own small way, history was marked on the 20th of December by the debut of the Renegade Sky Pirates. It didn’t quite go according to plan, and wasn’t quite what I’d envisaged, or actually end up with the full compliment of pirates.
It all started like this…
We were watching the recent Genesis documentary on BBC, and rather enjoying the music, when Sue had the idea that I should get the band to play a Christmas party gig in the lounge, and that is should feature a bunch of Genesis covers, some of the songs being readied for the new album and ‘some of those dreadful Christmas songs’ (her words, I would add.)
As it happens, Sue and I have quite a big lounge and dining room. Big enough that a party for 30-odd people doesn’t feel cramped. In fact for our wedding anniversary last year I had already pulled together a proto-pirates lineup to play at a party there.
And this summer we hosted the rather amazing Kim Seviour, lead singer of the prog band Touchstone during her summer mini house-gig tour.
So, knowing it was possible, I put together a set list containing all of the above, and the band got together through the end of November through to the party to learn the songs. During this time, we learned the following: Tony Banks writes some exquisite simple sounding but fiendishly difficult to play songs; I put in more keyboard parts that one person can feasibly play at once; most Christmas songs are actually really easy to learn.
It was all going very well, and even though several rehearsals were without one band member or the other due to work commitments, we were on track. Then things got complicated:
Brendan our guitarist, who travels more on business than I do (which is no mean feat!) found he was in California the week of the party, our last practice had to be without him. He was due to land back in the UK early on the morning of the gig. so all would be fine, we told ourselves. Until… Disaster struck! I woke to a text from Brendan on gig day saying he was stranded in Amsterdam and his flight would not get him back in the UK until 9:30 that evening. Oh no! Would we have to cancel?
However, it so happens that Maggie May, our lead singer, is in another band called Battery Point, and their lead guitarist was already due to come to the gig as a party guest. Several texts later, the exchange of some YouTube links and we had a very brave, and brilliant stand-in Pirate in the Form of Nigel. And so the show went on.
The actual debut of the full RSP lineup will have to wait for another day. But that day will come, and hopefully very soon.