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A day on the crew - by Keith Pavett

It was a cold and wet Sunday afternoon and I sat in the lounge contemplating a witty line to compliment the photo provided for the caption competition. I jotted down a few ideas and chose a selection of my favourites to submit and then once I'd done so thought no more about it. Shortly afterwards I received the Marillion newsletter containing the caption competition results. So I looked and thought, that looks like my name and I looked again and thought that is my name.

A day on the crew L to R: Erik Nielsen, Keith Pavett, Colin Price, Glenn Webster
You have to understand, my surprise was due to the fact that I don't win competitions. In my life I have won a 12" record (probably due to the fact that not many others entered the competition!) and a plastic banjo that I won at a kiddies talent show when I was eight! So as you can imagine, I was well chuffed, I was now the proud owner of two prized backstage passes.

Shortly after the newsletter arrived I received a call from Erik asking me what show I would like to come along to. The Union Chapel gig in Islington coincided with my day off from work which worked out perfectly. I offered the second pass to my close friend Glenn who snapped my hand off and we discussed our route and what time we were going to set off.

On arrival, the omen was there for a good day when we managed to take the last available parking space. We entered the Union Chapel from the back, never having been there before we didn't really know where we supposed to go so we followed our nose and found our way to the stage area where all the crew were in the process of setting up. Our first impressions of the Chapel were that it would compliment ‘the boys' music as it was very atmospheric. Glenn and I took a pew in the pews then Colin said to us ‘we can't have you sitting there all day, how do you fancy helping us set up'. Now not only was I the competition winner but a roadie as well so we were more than happy to oblige.

The first thing I had to handle was Pete's guitar amp. All was going well until I slipped on the floor tiles and nearly went flying. Fortunately I managed to save myself and the precious guitar amp and so made my way to the stage. We then wheeled in Mark's keyboards in a huge flight case which was a bit tricky as the aisles were quite sloped and narrow. When most of the equipment had been set up I took the opportunity to chat for a short while to the Boom Boom Boys who were there to film the gig. They were as jovial as ever but I kept it relatively short and sweet as I could see they had a lot of work to do. Tim Bricusse, the tour manager then nipped out and bought everyone back sandwiches and drinks for lunch.

I seized the opportunity in this short break to have a quick chat with Rich, Ian's drum tech. Being a drummer myself I was very interested in what he had to say and was keen to pick up any hints and tips that he had to offer.

After lunch, we concentrated on the lighting rig and then afterwards we were told that tea had been made and was in the dressing room so Glenn and I went searching for it. Behind the Chapel was a maze of corridors. Needless to say we got lost and I felt like an extra from a Harry Potter movie. Eventually we managed to find it only to be told they had run out of plastic cups so Tim asked us if we could nip out and get some (and a crate of Becks for the boys). On our way out we saw a bemused Ian Mosley trying to find the dressing room and was about to tackle the same maze of corridors that Glenn and I had done. We called out and we were only to happy to usher him in the right direction. On our way to get the drink we bumped into Rothers, (who was armed with all the latest digital camera technology) had a quick chat and then nipped off to get the booze.

On our return we saw a crowd of people already queuing up in the rain to get in. We made our way back to the dressing room and knocked on the door. H opened the door and I stuck out my hand and announced that we were the competition winners. He greeted us and then attacked the crate of Becks that we were carrying.

It was then time for the sound check which all attended apart from Mark who was running late. His parts were played by Erik, who did quite a good job, I thought. As the sound check ran so late, Glenn and I decided to forgo dinner in favour of getting some decent seats for the gig. In no time at all it was show time!

The support on the night was Cry no More who were as entertaining as usual. After that the boys came on and for the next two hours held the audience in the palms of their hands. As ever, the show came and went in a flash and afterwards we were at a bit of a loss as to what to do when Colin came over and asked us if we would like to help pack up the gear so we swung into action. We must have been so convincing as a guy from the PA hire company asked me what needed to go on the van. I told him that he was unfortunately talking to the monkey when he needed the organ grinder!

We were so involved with packing the gear away that we forgot to pick up our merchandise. Colin caught wind of this and told us to make our way to the merchandise stand and pick whatever we liked free of charge! When we got there, it was difficult to know what to pick as it was so near to Christmas and most of the items were on my wish list. There was a fleece which I had my eye on but didn't want to take advantage of their generosity. I therefore picked up a CD and Glenn chose a T Shirt. We came back with our stuff and whilst packing up the remainder of the gear Erik came over and asked our chest sizes. He then disappeared and reappeared shortly afterwards holding two black fleeces stating that if we were road crew then we'd need to wear them! We were obviously well chuffed.

Colin and Erik had a chat and said that as we'd done such a good job they would try and include our names on the credits to the forthcoming live DVD of this evenings show. Erik rushed off to the changing room to get us a couple of beers but in true rock and roll style the band had already polished them off! “Not to worry” he said, “follow me”. He took us to the bar upstairs where the band were already mixing with a select crowd. Rich and Colin appeared shortly afterwards and presented us with some drumsticks, plectrums and the set list. We then managed to grab a few pictures with H, Pete and Ian and before we knew it, it was 12:30am and the bar was closing. All good things must come to an end and after a few goodbyes we headed off to our car.

The journey home was spent listening to the boys (of course) and talking about what a fantastic day we'd had and what top boys Marillion and the crew were. Roll on Minehead!

First posted on the Web UK website in 2003.

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