Fear And Loving In Heaton Park

Last Sunday night, along with most of Britain I was hunkering down for the evening, burdened by a combination of post-weekend blues, too much sun, my domestic situation (Mrs B, 3 kids, 2 cats, 4 guinea pigs etc) and a mountain of work the next day. Even so, the prospect of lounging on the sofa in front of crap Sunday night telly left me feeling distinctly cold. Then, quite unusually, I started wistfully thinking about some of the mind-boggling experiences I've had over the years and the yawning gap between those and the Sunday night in front of me.

One such experience occurred almost exactly 20 years ago when the band I was in, The Adventure Babies stepped out onto to the stage at the Cities In The Park Festival in front of 10-15,000 people. Bearing in mind, we had only been signed to Factory Records for 6 weeks after an audition in our manager's lounge, had performed our debut gig at the Hacienda in front of 100 friends, family and Manchester music mafia 3 days before - it did in the vernacular of the day 'twist my melon man'.

We were playing on the second day of the fesitval so we had camped out and enjoyed the first night's festivities until we were rounded up at dawn and transferred to our dressing room (nee Portakabin). A heady mixture of bravado, nerves, testosterone, lack of sleep, no food, and an early back stage bar started to ferment. There were 8 of us in the band and at no point up to going onto stage were we all in the dressing room at the same time. There's a photo somewhere of us all waiting at the steps to the stage prior to our performance, such abject fear and trepidation etched on all our faces, you wouldn't have been surprised to see a guillotine on stage.

Our name was announced and we strode jelly-legged onto the stage and looked out at the vast writhing sea of humanity before us, the sun was shining and this was our day. We kicked into the first song and 2 minutes in actually started to enjoy ourselves, we smiled and laughed, the crowd reacted and started to take note, smiles as far as we could see beamed back. Song after song we grew in confidence, the melody, rythmn and rhyme of the music powered us along to the final song My Only Way - once described as a gospel song that lost it's way on the East Lancs Road, the crowd loved it and sang along. Our hearts and minds soaring we left the stage to rapturous applause grinning like Cheshire Cats.

Now that beats any Sunday night in front of the telly - wouldn't you agree?


31 comments for “Fear And Loving In Heaton Park”

Wow, I feel like I was there! My Sunday night consisted of pulling together a plan for a new kitchen - think you win.

Alright, so we won't have quite as many attendees to the IAStival but I bet those very feelings that you've described above come flooding back.

Looking forward to seeing you and the other Adventure Babies strut your stuff.
Writing from France; I was surfing around and just wanted to say I was happy to find your blog and read (a little) about the history of the group. I still listen to your album from time to time, and it always bring a smile to my face. I am not sure I can this the right way in English, but there was such of a joyfull and contagious cohesion from the group, I had no idea your debut was so improvised. Never saw the group live, but I remember very well your gig on the national French radio (the Black session). It was great.
Looking forward to see the rest of the story. All my best wishes.
Thanks David, I remember the Black Session very well, it was a fantastic and very exciting gig. It's great that people still get enjoyment from our music, I do too!

Keep surfing, keep smiling :)

The Adventure Babies
Hi Jez,
No more Black Session, as Bernard Lenoir just retired (mostly because the program was reschudeled at later hours... I think we do not have the best radio direction these days, I'd better not get started on this...).
This lead me to look for some of the concerts that I'd liked the best, and I found a record of the Adventure Babies session. Not the best sound quality, but it works for me as the astmosphere is still there. The first 3-4 songs sound like you were a bit nervous, but it definitely kicks into high gear and cool energy after that.
Would you be interested in having a link posted to a download here, or would you like me to send you this in a more private way? (If you do not already have a copy of it. I wrote to Martin Newell in hope of getting a copy of his own Black Session but it turns out he does not have any recording of it... Anybody here has that?)

And is Maxine still hot BTW ? We want the rest of the story. Busy with the festival maybe? Have a great time.
Loved The Adventure Babies at Heaton Park. You were amazing that day. Saw the band a couple of times during my days in Manchester... Then you all disappeared and got proper jobs.
Still trying to get a copy of The Black Sessions. Any ideas?
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There were 8 of us in the band and at no point up to going onto stage were we all in the dressing room at the same time.
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