Slightly earlier than usual last Saturday, Boy Child and I boarded a train to Glasgow. It was the first of three trains. It was 7:07am!
So, where were we heading so early on a sunny Saturday? We were off to Liverpool to see Myles Kennedy.
Neither of us had ever been to Liverpool (in fact, Boy child had never travelled so far by train!) but we were armed with Google maps.
Five hours later, give or take a few minutes, we arrived into Liverpool’s Lime Street station. Within a few minutes, with the help of said maps, we had found the venue and then set off in search of lunch and our hotel.
By 2:30pm, fed and watered and safely checked into our hotel (that’s a whole story on its own) we were back at the O2 Academy for the meet and greet. This was Boy Child’s first meet and greet experience and he looked on a little nervously as I caught up with various members of the AB family from around the world. One of the highlights of these shows is catching up with friends. It never ceases to amaze me how far folk will travel to see this guy. Two girls had flown in from Tokyo to catch a couple of shows!
Eventually, we were ushered into the venue via a service entrance, through a cobbled covered courtyard, past a washing machine and a drier! We were given a warm welcome by Paul and the team as always and the rules for the day were laid down to ensure that the meet and greet ran smoothly.
The room for the evening was larger than I’d envisaged (the show had been moved from the O2 Academy 2 into the bigger room due to demand, I believe). On stage, in front of us, mid-soundcheck was the man himself, Myles Kennedy. Watching soundcheck is always enjoyable and you never know what delights you might experience. Calmly and methodically Myles worked his way through things, pausing to re-check his resonator’s set up having confessed to pressing a button and not being sure which one! Satisfied that all was well, Myles welcomed everyone and opened things up for a Q&A. Questions from the fans varied from which song did he like to play most from the solo record (Haunted By Design, in case you were wondering) to talking about jamming with members of Led Zeppelin to a “cheeky” question about his checked shirt. (Yes, Myles it did look a bit like you were wearing your grandmother’s tablecloth! LOL)
After a quick photo with Myles (I managed to get two – thanks Paul) we were all shown back outside to wait for show time.
Shortly before 7pm, the VIP queue were allowed into the venue a few minutes ahead of the rest of the waiting fans. After running up an incredibly steep flight of stairs, a rail position was safely secured for the evening. Happy days!
The support act for the evening was Dorrian Sorriaux, the super talented, French guitarist from Blues Pills. This is one skilled musician! Having released his first solo EP Hungry Ghost a few days earlier, Dorrian quickly impressed the growing crowd. The diminutive maestro surprised many of the audience with his vocal abilities. They are right up there with his guitar prowess. Dorrian played an all too short set and enchanted us with his lively blend of folk/rock acoustic music. Definitely a solo artiste to watch out for.
By now the heat in the venue was incredible! It was with relief that I accepted a cup of iced water from the security staff and medic as they started to pass drinks out to the melting fans.
Shortly before nine, the lights dimmed again and the haunting opening to Devil On The Wall echoed round as Myles started the song just out of sight of the crowd. As he stepped out on stage a wall of cheers greeted him. And, yes, he was still wearing Granny’s table cover (sorry, Myles!) The set opener was promptly followed by Standing In The Sun, the SMKC classic.
Maybe it should have been renamed Standing Under A Blazing Sun as everyone in the room, Myles Included, was already dripping with sweat!
The Mayfield Four classic, albeit Myles claims it is cheesy, Mars Hotel proved to be a firm fan favourite.
With an acoustic rendition of Addicted To Pain following on immediately, Myles had expertly covered all aspects of his career in the first few songs of the night. Nicely done!
Having been fortunate enough to see two previous shows on the first UK leg of the Year Of the Tiger tour back in March, I was secretly hoping to hear some “new” songs. Myles didn’t disappoint.
The first of these was the beautiful Ghosts Of Shangri La. Played on his “laser like” resonator, Myles had the capacity crowd held in awe. We all love that song it appears.
Then having checked how we were all holding up in the heat, we were given a choice- Lover or Show Me A Leader. Lover was my personal choice but, with my usual level of luck, Myles opted to play Show Me A Leader, the epic Alter Bridge song from The Last Hero.
A second “new” song to me from Year Of The Tiger followed as Myles delighted us all with the beautiful Turning Stones. Love it!
Hearing Myles play an acoustic version of Iron Maiden’s classic, The Trooper, is a sound to behold. Introduced with a little nostalgic tale of his teenage years playing air guitar with a tennis racquet, Myles ably demonstrated his prowess. Not only did he demonstrate his skill at playing but he displayed his talent for playing hard and fast while dripping sweat from every pore!
Dear Lord, it was HOT!
Manager, “Renaissance Man”, friend, Tim Tournier joined Myles on stage next for the first of two appearances as the duo had obvious fun playing together before slipping slickly into Haunted By Design. It really is a delight to behold when you can tell that the star is enjoying the show as much as you are.
The third and final “new” song of the night for me followed a couple of songs later – Songbird. Love love love it!
What’s left to say about Watch Over You that followed? Goosebumps and tears in my eyes every single time. Such an emotional ballad. Simply gorgeous.
Probably my highlight tune of the night followed – Travelling Riverside Blues. I just love this one. Love the mischief of its lyrics and, from watching Myles play this, it’s easy to see that he loves it too.
Still playing his resonator (have I mentioned just how much I love this guitar?) he rounded out the main body of the set with a sultry acoustic rendition of the SMKC song World On Fire.
As ever I harboured a secret hope that hallelujah might make the cut for the encore. Sadly, not tonight….one day…. I hope! Myles opened his two-song encore with the breath-taking Love Can Only Heal. When I first heard this on the record, I cried. I’ve cried most times I’ve heard it and this time was no exception. So beautifully raw and personal. Incredible song and a magical performance.
The final song of the night saw Tim (Timmy!!!) return to the stage as together they closed the show with Year Of The Tiger. A perfect note to end on.
What a show! I just wish I could do it all again, despite the heat!
Having said our farewells to various AB family members, Boy Child and I made our way slowly outside. Fresh air has never felt so welcome!
To complete our full “fan” experience, we waited patiently outside on Myles leaving the venue, hoping to share a few words with him and to get our tickets autographed (there had been no signing part to the meet and greet sadly)
I’m sure after such a hot and physically draining show, many musicians would have declined to spend time chatting with fans and signing items but not Myles. Looking tired but ever the gentleman, Myles took his time, spared a few words for everyone and signed everything the fans thrust in front of him.
Hot, tired and happy, Boy Child and I said our final “goodnight’s” to the remaining members of the AB family then meandered back to our hotel, both wishing we were following the tour on to Leeds.
Till next time. Thank you, Myles.