Just finished mixing the Birmingham recordings. Sounding good. Will package it as a double CD, of course, and might be able to get it on-sale at the end of June. Even now, there are moments in there that still stir my hackles. The memory of that night is now right up there among many memories from a long career that I can almost warm my hands on. We still hope to announce the Manchester edition by the end of this month.
When the website went awol for a week or so, I realised how much we depend on such technology these days. Something vital was certainly missing for that time. Took me back to the early days of the site, the great Dave Hornby organising it all. Also came to realise we don’t hear from Dave these days, unless he contributes via a pseudonym – but that isn’t really like him. Where are you, dear boy?
It’s not often we get troll-like nastiness on the site. Can’t actually remember any except some bloke calling himself Susan and mockingly suggesting we would be playing support to The Bay City Rollers at some event! Then a lost soul comes into the Facebook, full of puffed up, pompous, self-righteousness and makes a prat of himself. His horrible diatribe was gone within minutes of being delivered, apparently. Monitored and deleted. They didn’t tell me his name (as if I care), but he wrote that he was a long-standing fan. Got himself worked up into a minor frenzy, my Facebook monitor says, barking his negative thoughts on my wonderful Stetson, worn for two songs in November, to parody myself (“That’s enough symbolism for one night” – he must have completely cocked a deaf ‘un to that aside, as he totally missed the point!). He castigated me for occasionally wearing specs on stage, too. He must have 20/20 vision and so absolutely no understanding of how it is for those of us who have astigmatisms, meaning we can’t find our way about in the murky half-darkness of theatre wings without them. And there’s always a set-list to refer to. He presumed to read my mind. And he called me arrogant!! You couldn’t make it up. He’d do well to save his money next April – I might wear a hat and I may well wear my specs (no chance whatever of contact lenses!!). He’ll get apoplexic again. He used his real name, they say, so I guess he’s not technically a Troll. But he isn’t welcome in there and they have Blocked him. Pity that it has to come to that now and then. How would such people act, what comments would they make, if actually face to face with a person, rather than slamming out their vitriol on a keyboard, posting through cyberspace? You can’t help but wonder…..how could a person claiming to be a “fan” be so hateful?
The internet – everyone’s a critic if they want to be. It’s so easy to make yourself look daft, or in his case, bloody-minded and intolerant.
My agent is plotting a rock band tour of the UK in November. Buxton was exciting for all the band and myself. Felt like we were dusting off some cobwebs out there! Robbie was sensational on Riding The Waves – where did that come from?? He hadn’t played it for half-a-lifetime, and it wasn’t in the set-list at his feet. I dropped it in, just because I wanted to sing it to that audience, and we all won.
Regarding the suggestions for extra tracks at Manchester, Bridgewater Hall: keep it in mind that I really only intend to play songs from the era in question. Spaced Out has to be in with a shout; Rock ‘n’ Roll Parade, too (never really held that one in much affection, but it will definitely suit the occasion, so I might have to bite the bullet! Judy Teen will stay, of course as it sort of linked the two albums. Black Or White? It sure sounds fabulous on the Birmingham recording.
written by MATTHEW QUINN , April 04, 2013
Rock & roll parade - how can you not love that master piece? It's so you you n cheek quirky tuneful . Accoustic tours are amazing - how do you get your fingers to those chords? Can't wait to see you back in Scotland again
written by Deborah , April 04, 2013
excellent ! can't wait for till June :-)
as for that so called Fan ! yeah right ! is not even worth mentioning !
I remember back in the day when there was some meddling so n so who kept coming in and out of the old site rearing its ugly head & rattling cages , winding fans & situation up ! I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't the same perpetrator !
anyway enough of them they already have had far too much attention for my likening ! they don't even deserve an acknowledgment ! enough !
As to the bonus tracks I for one am happy with the gold that you bring :-) any of those B side would be fantastic to hear live.
I know side track & side Track II are not from them first 2 albums but the arrangement is beautiful
and as I've suggested ! somewhere ! 2000 years from now would be awesome !
something from stranger is a must surely !
thank you for the Diary updates Mr H we all look forward to them .
written by Deborah , April 04, 2013
:-) I meant ! I really can't wait till the end of June :-)
written by Margaret Pitcher , April 04, 2013
Can' t agree more, Deborah, such bad manners are not worth notice. One thing though: nice to know surely that you, Steve, can still work people into a Frenzy! And not always that minor!
We true fans love to know that you, like us, are growing older gracefully, not too proud to wear glasses or to have a bit of fun with a hat. You have a long term relationship with very many of your fans, if you can't be human by now without attracting this kind of negative attention it!s very sad. But more so for the person writing, I think.
Anyway, I have never seen one of your acoustic sets; any plans for those this year?
written by Andy Wood , April 05, 2013
These people are really not worth acknowledging, either in print or mind.Like the music journalists with an axe to grind or a bias to feed.lLet's not "feed their ego"!
PS Buxton was a joy!
written by Steve , April 05, 2013
Bridgewater hall I gotta be there please please keep us updated on ticket sales.
written by jo humphries , April 05, 2013
A diary YEAH !!!!
Just be you Mr Harley just be you....
P.S Loved the Buxton experience too.
Hopefully some more acoustic dates please.
written by Ian Griffith , April 05, 2013
Yeah Steve, I agree just be yourself. that's why we love you. You're human, you have a sense of humour, honour, spirituality, poetry, love (and the greatest of these is Love) and you write a cracking good tune! Love you man.
written by Cheri Ives , April 06, 2013
Steve, I wasn't planning to come to England this year because I have some large expenses to incur, namely moving expenses from California to Montana, plus a wedding. BUT, if you are planning a full rock band performance at The Stables, that would be a very hard thing to pass up. Please tell me approximately when you plan to do that, if you are, and are you going to play some other venues around that time? Because if you are, I might have to find a way to get back to England to see you. You and your music are my passion and life only goes around once. You have to follow your bliss, don't you think? I still think you are the greatest.
Much love from your Number One friend and fan.
written by Stuart Benson , April 07, 2013
Adding songs from the era - please consider "Big Big Deal" and "Throw Your Soul Down Here" and mixing the order of songs to keep us guessing – some tracks link in brilliantly as “album crossing” moments. Looking forward to the Orchestra being even tighter with the band, in generating the excitement and drama of the unexpected. Black and White was Brilliant at Birmingham, as was Stranger Comes to Town. Great concept now, the Orchestra adding to unexpected twists/ scope for semi improvisation. Big thrill from the Birmingham night for me was hearing Ritz live and I really felt Singular Band – again, live for me for the first time - had a real zing to it, great percussion and slightly more up tempo I’d say than the original album track – “jazz improvisation opportunity” is really there. Cheers. SB
written by Drew McAdam , April 07, 2013
Yup - SO looking forward to the CD. (I was commited to gigs myself at the time, and couldn't make the Birmingham gig. SO disappointed.) However, I have the chance of catching it somewhere else... Yaaaas!
Troll (noun) A supernatural creature of Scandinavian folklore, variously portrayed as a friendly or mischievous dwarf, that lives in caves, in the hills, or under bridges.
Okay, I'm NOT one.. but I reckon I LOOK like one. :-/
written by ron berisford , April 09, 2013
Rock N' Roll Parade would be great, I love that song and Steve's vocals are fantastic.
written by Deborah , April 12, 2013
so agree with Mr Bensons earlier comments
Big Big Deal would be wonderful to hear
and any of the singles B sides .if not all splattered through the night
and to bring it up to date 2000 years from now would be Devine or something from stranger ! if not that
friend for life would be sweet .
and just a thought ! maybe side track Could be playing as we take our seats ? whilst waiting for the man his band take the Manchester stage to another level ! I realise it's not from that moment in time !
but how else are we to ever hear it live? with out an orchestra ?
so excited !
we don't want much :-) do we :-)
Im sure what ever you decide Mr Harley will be awesome .
written by Stuart Benson , April 14, 2013
Deborah, I well remember the build up generated in 1976 - Timeless Flight tour -I saw SH in both Glasgow (opening night of tour I believe)and Edinburgh then and the use of Revel's Bolero was a fantastic build up to the concerts and I know where you are heading re. adding to the pre concert "tension" with something inspired. As for an "impact" - I can sure hear the Choir bursting out that opening chord in "Big Big Deal", followed by the thump of the drums aligned with a full Ochestral "blast" - and blast is what it would be! SH will decide and what material and scope - would put a "Lloyd Webber" show to shame!. Keep campaigning! Regards - SB - "Stuart" to you and all. The creative juices will be flowing. Much time to contemplate it before Bridgewater Hall!
written by Graeme Blake , April 24, 2013
C'mon Steve Rock 'n' Roll Parade is a must for Manchester. Not just because I love that song but it fits the criteria. Got to keep Black or White in as it was made to be played live with orchestra and choir and it sounded superb at Birmingham. Can't wait.
written by Kate Lindsay , May 12, 2013
Timeless Flight is one of my favourite albums. I play it a lot. It never seems to date and every time I listen to it, it still feels like the first time, if that makes any sense. Can I also just say thank you - reading the diary above about the person posting nasty comments has made me cross.How can you call yourself a fan if you post nasty comments - constructive criticism is one thing; venom is somthing completely different. I started listening to Cockney Rebel in 1974 when I was 12. Teenage years weren't very nice but Cockney Rebel and Sparks got me through them. I still play the records now! You're amazing, Mr H!
written by Jane Bradley , June 03, 2013
Had a great night in Birmingham,so looking forward to Manchester now,as for past songs,why not play for us "The Best Years of our Lives" live in Manchester?It kinda sums up our feelings towards Your Music!! Those Day`s were the Best Years of our Lives.Don`t let that nutter of a "Fan" bother You,if he were a Fan he wouldn`t be acting like that towards You,the Guy`s just a Tube!!