None of us were quite certain what Sheffield would be like, and honestly, we were a bit confused as to why it was the last show of the tour. Even Wire had little idea of what to expect. But it's not our job to question, we just show up where they tell us to.
The view from our elevator.
The night started off right, we were treated to free parking right outside of the load-in doors. The venue (The Plug) gave us our own green room filled with a wide array of snacks and the option of what kind of alcohol we wanted. Anyone who has spent many days on the road will tell you how important these small perks are. Well, maybe not the alcohol, but this was our last show with Wire, the hotel was .5 miles away, and damnit, I was going to drink for the first time all tour!
The collected bounty of our trip.
The Plug was a pretty cool venue as well, with two rooms, one for rock shows and one for club/DJ nights. And of course, being a Saturday night, it meant both were going to happen. On this night, none of us were much too concerned as we had plans to party afterwards. Well, I did at least. Did I mention I hadn't drank all tour?
Both sets were high energy, and Talk Normal received a huge ovation. It was hard to tell if they genuinely liked it more than the other cities, or if it just sounded louder because there were more people there while they were playing. Still, it was a nice way to end the run of shows with Wire, and my shot of whiskey and couple glasses of cider had my marketing tongue flowing, moving units like clock work.
My favorite moment of this night was the punk rock move Wire pulled. After their opening song, a woman was heard yelling from the audience, “Aren't you going to say hello?” Her reply came in the form of silence, as they didn't say another word for the entire set. Of course, once cheered back for an encore, they did thank the audience and Talk Normal for the three weeks of support. Quite a nice gesture coming from a band we've been admiring for much longer than these three weeks.
After breaking down, we took some time to exchange merchandise with Wire and cordial niceties before getting to the task at hand. It was time to drink.
We spent some time backstage with the guys, waxing poetic about our prospective cities, what we're going to do when going back, and offering up contact info for the next time either of us were visiting the other's home country. Photos were taken, Scotch was drank, and eventually we made it back to Wire's hotel.
The three of us closed out the bar with 3/4 of Wire. Drummer Rob rarely drank (if ever) so it was no surprise he was not with us, but spending the night with Graham and Colin (along with his wife Melka Sprig), as well as newbie Matt and Jerry the soundguy, was a very nice and memorable way to end the tour. After Colin and Melka retired for the night, we polished off one more bottle of wine and did one more photo shoot.
The tour with Talk Normal will continue for three more shows; another London gig with Noveller put on by Upset The Rhythm, and train rides to Brussels and Paris before heading home. But this is where I will leave the Travelodge Diaries, for two reasons mainly. First, we're no longer staying in Travelodges, and secondly, this is where the tour with Wire officially ends. It only seems appropriate to close out this amazing chapter in my life on a high note.
To the men of Wire, you were not only amazing performers who vehemently surpassed any expectations I could have of dads playing punk rock, I will remember these shows forever. And to my wonderful friends Talk Normal, words cannot express how thankful I am for the opportunity to spend three weeks alongside you, calling the red couch of Travelodge my home. The US is calling my name, but you have a tour manager for life.