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AN ACTUAL GIG IN THE SKY - DARKSIDE BLAST FROM THE PAST



Dan here again with a slightly different blog than normal as we are having a look back through time at some of the shows from the past. Darkside has always had the philosophy that we are not in this for the money. It is all about the journey. Making friends, performing the music we love, creating the best show we possibly can in some fantastic and unusual venues and locations along the way.

And this was probably the most unusual.

We start the story on Saturday 17th March 2012 in Ludlow, Shropshire. The band have come off stage at the Assembly Rooms after performing the entire Wish You Were Here album and have got back to the hotel for some well-earned beers. David ‘The Man’ Cooper (Darkside Manager) walks in and gathers everyone around saying ‘I have something very interesting to tell you’.

David had been approached by Andrew and Sharon Beavan of Black Hall Lodges and working farm in Llanfair Waterdine, Knighton with a proposal. Andrew, a life-long Pink Floyd fan, has land going up to the top of Offa’s Dyke, that roughly follows the England-Wales border and he wanted us to do a gig up there for charity at approximately 1,300 feet above sea level. Andrew had missed out on a ticket for the 1977 Floyd show at Stafford Bingley Hall and thought this would go some way towards making up for it.


Obviously, we said yes.


WHAT A LOCATION!

Andy Baker and The Man went over to the Farm for a meeting and went up the road, then the track, then some very bumpy bits to the top of the hill. This was Andrews vision, to put a stage up, to have beer, food and camping, to have in short, a mini festival on top of a hill surrounded by the most stunning views.

The date was set for 4th August 2012 and it was decided Help for Heroes would be the charity of choice. None of us had ever done anything like this before and the next few months were manic. Getting permission from Shropshire Council, The Parish Council, local residents and West Mercia Police. After many long weeks of hard work and planning we presented our case and after all the I’s were dotted and T’s crossed, we were granted permission to stage the show with a firework display. Andrew even managed to get Shropshire Council to make good the green lane to the top of the hill to allow access.

Tickets went on sale and word went around. Sold Out.


We arrived at Black Hall Lodges on Friday and took a trip up to the top. The stage had been built, PA stacks erected, and the generators all sorted. The beer wagons and food stalls were there and the port-a-loos all in place. The weather was fantastic, everything was good, it was happening!

Saturday was set up. An early morning start and we were all getting our graft on when things took a turn for the worse. The clouds darkened, the view disappeared, and the heavens opened. Torrential would be an understatement! We scrambled to cover the equipment as the wind seemed to knowingly blow the rain on stage.

Andy Harrison remembers, “Suddenly there was a huge clap of thunder with lightning just as I was plugging in my guitar amp and effects. I feared that we were all going to go out with a huge electrical bang that night”.

It was touch and go for a while, the public were due in from 3pm and first band on at 5pm but the clouds broke, and sun came back out. The local Air Cadet Force were now on duty directing traffic up the single-track roads and organising the audience to the show area and camp site. We were nearly ready to go.

First on was Mia and the Moon, Mary-Anne and Laura Ratcliffe who keen X-Factor fans will remember from the show in 2012. Mary-Anne had been performing with Darkside for some time. Second on were our friends from home and ex-Darkside guitarist Chris Clowsley and his band Off the Rails.

Then it was time for us. The audience had settled in, the beers were flowing, the sun was right behind the stage as the first note of Shine On You Crazy Diamond resonated across the landscape.

A few songs in we got to Fat Old Sun and as if it was timed, the most spectacular sunset happened. Andy Dyehouse recalls “From on stage it was breath-taking”.

Marko had just joined the band but was not playing this gig as Sam Dyehouse was playing his last gig with us on Keys and 2nd bass but he did take this brilliant video. “The day for me was sunshine, thunderstorm, getting lost, being found, a new band for me, impressive, great beer, great dancing, great cause, a great gig!”


The sun dropped behind the rolling hills and the stars came out and the music kept going. At the interval Andrew and Sharon with Andy Baker presented a cheque to the Army representative from Help for Heroes and the Mayor a cheque for £3,000 raised from ticket sales.



As the Moon beamed down there could be only one album to play. Dark Side of the Moon.

We finished off the set with everyone singing Wish You Were Here and as Comfortably Numb hit its peak the fireworks went up in a spectacular display of light over the stage.

It was awesome! What a show. All the time and effort had paid off and we had achieved something very special that will be in our memories forever.

Andy Baker said “We put on the impossible gig. No road access, water, power...No anything. Then, as if by magic, there was a stage, lighting, screen, beer, a huge audience, a great performance and a spectacular firework display at the climax of the show. Brilliant”.

We are still good friends with Andrew and Sharon and every time we see them, the same few words get mentioned…

…Shall we do it again?

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGES


Stay safe and hopefully see you at a show soon.

Shine On

Dan

NEXT SHOW: ????????? HOPEFULLY SOON ?????????


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