AU PRESENTS: The Answer Diary
On the road with the County Down stadium rockers
'We didn’t take ourselves to the Arc de Triomphe, Bastille, the Louvre or even Notre Dame. Instead we spent most of the afternoon in a laundrette.' So, what exactly is a typical week in the life of a globe-trotting rock band like? Drummer James Heatley gives us a peek at his diary.
FRIDAY, JUNE 5: AC/DC GIG.
My first gig back was at Estadio Calderon in Madrid. We took the stage at 8:45pm, they like to do things a little later in Spain because they sleep most of the afternoon, but so do we, so that suits just fine. It was quite a shock coming back to play to 55,000 people after six weeks off – especially as we had no rehearsal, but as soon as we kicked into the first song we knew we’d play a storming set. We were back.
SATURDAY, JUNE 6: DAY OFF.
As always, we travelled on the tour bus through the night and woke the next morning in Barcelona. We hit La Rambla for a few afternoon beers and later headed to a great venue called the Bikini Club to see Joe Bonamasa.
Somehow Joe heard we were in the audience and after the gig we were invited back stage to hang out. We got chatting and the band was telling us how tired they were as they were on a gruelling eight-week tour. I looked around at our boys and as I expected Cormac and Micky’s eyes were rolling. I knew exactly what they were thinking, ‘Eight weeks! We’ve been on tour eight months and don’t finish until December!’
SUNDAY, JUNE 7: AC/DC GIG.
Slightly worse for wear we hit the stage the next night just as the sun was setting over the 65,000 strong crowd at the Olympic Stadium, Barcelona. What a beautiful sight! An incredible stadium and an amazing audience. One we will never forget.
MONDAY, JUNE 8: HEADLINE SHOW.
Tonight’s venue was one of the hottest we’ve ever played – even worse than a full night in Auntie Annie's! Sweat running down the walls and dripping from the ceiling! Undeterred we played most of the new album, with a few classics thrown in for good measure. At the minute, we are constantly changing the set. So whilst walking to stage I said to Paul, 'Are we playing ‘Highwater or Hell’?', to which he responded,
'Sure, why not? We’ve got nothing to lose.' We were in Toulouse! That boy is wasted in The Answer, I tell ya.
TUESDAY, JUNE 9: AC/DC GIG.
Marseille (Chrisy Waddle) Stadium. Another outstanding audience and gig for us. Plus, we played 'Cry Out' for the first time on the big stage. Verdict: It’s a winner.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10: THE ANSWER GIG.
Tonight we had our own headline show in a town called Clermont-Ferrand. Ever heard of it? During the set we introduced a part called the 'Belfast Blues Off'. The premise is simple, Cormac sings something and the crowd sings it back. Sometimes he holds the stand out over the crowd for their response, but tonight, as he did so, the microphone fell out of the stand and hit a teenage girl in the front row right on the head with a thud shooting through the PA. A Spinal Tap moment if ever there was one.
The rest of us played on laughing, but as Cormac reached down for the microphone the crowd in the front two rows pulled him in and sent him crowd surfing to the middle of the room. He had got away with it.
THURSDAY, JUNE 11: DAY OFF.
Another day off, this time in Paris. But, being true rock stars, we didn’t take ourselves to the Arc de Triomphe, Bastille, the Louvre or even Notre Dame, instead we spent most of the afternoon in a laundrette. Unlike AC/DC we don’t have a wardrobe tech! Yet.
FRIDAY, JUNE 12: AC/DC GIG.
Venue: Stade de France. Capacity: 78,000 people. I have to say it was the biggest and most spectacular venue I have ever seen. We played another blinding show, getting everyone in the crowd moving so by the time AC/DC took the stage the atmosphere was ecstatic. Unfortunately we couldn’t hang around, another day, another gig and with no time to lose, we hit the road. The next day we woke around noon, the bus parked up in the paddock at Donington Race Track for Download. And so it started all over again…
Everyday Demons by The Answer is out now. Click here for a free sample.
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