Just a few photos of our Wets Weekend staying in London. From champagne, cupcakes, party bags and wearing our Wet Wet Wet PJs to funny happenings in a local cafe and Lilian getting a new boyfriend! Only the conversation was very one sided! A fantastic weekend from start to finish. Oh and the rare honour of being allowed to be let loose in my husband’s car, nicknamed the Posh Wets Wagon! All these photos are by both Dot Liddell and Michelle Parker Swallow.
As regular readers of my blog or as followers of my Twitter feed, you won’t have missed that I’m a huge Wet Wet Wet fan. I’ve loved them ever since they released their first single “Wishing I Was Lucky” back in 1987. Their music has seen me through the ups and downs of life for nearly 30 years (doesn’t that sound a long time?) but it feels like only 5 minutes ago since I first bought that single in HMV! Since then I’ve been on many shopping trips buying Wet Wet Wet records over the years and I can remember exactly where and when I bought each one of them. Each song conjures up a special place in time and brings back fantastic memories, maybe of a relationship, a certain job or even a special place. For example when I think of Picture This, the Wets’ multi million selling album which has just been re-released after 20 years, I think of a time where there was a massive change in my life. I was a newly qualified teacher who was living away from home and trying to settle into a new job in a strange town where I didn’t know anyone. I used to play the CD at home in the evenings while trying to get my marking and planning done and the music which filled the room instantly cheered me up. A few weeks later I decided to move back up to Yorkshire and got a new job where I was a lot happier. It was a good job I did as I ended up meeting the man who was to become my husband and I’m sure listening to the feel good and uplifting, yet comforting music of the Wets helped me through the tricky times.
So when Wet Wet Wet announced they were going to be playing in a special show in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, I just had to go. It was early on in February this year and we had already got The Big Picture Tour to look forward to I was going along to two dates in Leeds and Newcastle, the gigs closest to where I live. My husband was thinking “oh no, not more trips to see Wet Wet Wet!” but in the end he gave in and gave me the money for the ticket as a birthday present. We were all even more excited when my friend Dot booked the tickets and managed to get us on the second row from the stage. I’ve never been that close to the stage before. So, any excuse to get together with my Wettie mates (my lovely friends who I have made through following the band). Instead of driving down to London and back in a day or relying on the trains we decided to get a hotel for the whole weekend and I would drive us down there from Yorkshire.
As we had such a fantastic time in London, I first wanted to share some highlights of our weekend away seeing the Wets. Many thanks to my friends Dot, Michelle and Julie for sharing these photos with me as I can’t take good photos on my phone camera. I had such a giggle looking through the pictures and will treasure the memories of this weekend seeing Wet Wet Wet in Chelsea for the rest of my life.
Now for the actual reason why we were in London in the first place! We had got down to London the night before after a very long, slow and nightmarish journey. None of us had slept well. Our apartment was meant to sleep 4 people but the double bed and the double sofa bed would have been comfortable for 4 birds, not 4 adults! Anyway after a breakfast in a local cafe where we were made to feel very uncomfortable by the locals, we got ready and off in a taxi over to Chelsea. Everyone was excited and it was fantastic to meet up with all our Wettie friends from all over the country and to catch up on everyone’s news. As we waited outside the gates we met and chatted to a lovely and friendly lady who had been out for lunch with her Chelsea Pensioner Uncle. He happily posed for photos with us and even knew who Wet Wet Wet were!
Finally at 5pm the gates were opened into the hospital grounds. It didn’t feel like we were going to a gig, more like going to a food fair or a garden party at first. There were several stalls selling upmarket street type food and drink like Pimms and Gin. We bagged a big picnic table and got ourselves sorted with food and drink. I sloped off to the gin stall and bought myself a double gin and tonic. The price was eyewatering- £9 but that’s London for you. A few of us went over to the merchandise stand and I saw the new Wet Wet Wet t-shirt for Summer 2016, a grey one. I bought one, but I didn’t wear it there and then as it was far too cold.
At long last exactly what we had been waiting for. We listened to Tim Arnold warming up and his rendition of Life On Mars was a highlight as a great tribute to David Bowie. At 8.30pm the excitement escalated as a Chelsea pensioner came on to the stage and announced the band. He was very funny and entertaining, even telling us some jokes!
As the guys came on to the stage we noticed people from the rows behind us trying to get to the front of the stage. Bugger that I thought and we legged it into the front row so we could be closer to the front. It was fantastic and the atmosphere was electric. As the opening to “Wishing I Was Lucky” started up, I felt I really was lucky to be in such beautiful surroundings and to have such an incredible view of the stage.
Wet Wet Wet treated us to all their favourite classics from throughout their long musical career. The set contained the same songs that they performed on their tour but in a slightly different order. It was lovely to hear Somewhere Somehow, my all time favourite Wets song. We also got to hear Love Wars again, which is one of the new songs the band recorded last year. I do hope it gets onto a new album in the future, it’s a fantastic song which had the audience clapping and dancing along. Other highlights for me is always hearing Temptation which this time was a full version of the song and not part of a medley as it was on the tour. I always mean to time how long Marti holds the note for in the song, it totally amazes me how he does it! Other treats were to hear other classic favourites like Sweet Little Mystery and I Can Give You Everything. I also loved hearing She’s All On My Mind and Morning from the Picture This album. Just beautiful songs which stir the emotions.
As with the tour the Wets had an acoustic section in their set but this time it was only two songs long instead of three. There was a funny moment where Graeme Clark realised his microphone and stand were a bit too far away from Marti’s and he moved it over towards Marti’s spot centre stage. Then the audience laughed when Graeme put his own microphone right in front of Marti’s. Having seen and really enjoyed Graeme’s solo performances before, maybe he should have a go at a solo spot! Tonight though, Marti and the two Graemes performed Roll Um Easy and their own Gypsy Girl. It is always funny to listen to the cheeky banter between the band. Marti looked across at Graeme C’s white suit and said it was like Don Johnson/ Miami Vice. Graeme responded by rolling up his jacket sleeves! Graeme Duffin was wearing a stripy grandad shirt and Marti said he was Eddie Shoestring! Marti himself wore the same black jacket he wore on the tour and didn’t take his sunglasses off all evening despite it getting dark!
The atmosphere at the concert was just out of this world and it was so wonderful to see the clear sky with a full moon shining. I forgot about being cold and just sang and danced my way through the show. The guys were on stage for nearly two hours and all too soon they were doing their encore; Lip Service and their classic Love Is All Around. Such a fitting end to a perfect evening which went all too quick.
When the show was over we reluctantly started to walk towards the entrance to the grounds. We had a laugh and a giggle at a Chelsea Pensioner calling out of a window at us shouting “Goodnight Girls, are you coming back tomorrow?” Then as we were walking past we spotted Tommy stood having a ciggie and had a quick chat with him. He introduced us to his parents and to his wife. It was lovely to have a quick chat with them although I need always feel guilty as you don’t want to take up their time. Tommy kindly let us have photos with him which we all really appreciated.
Back to our hotel we went after waiting for our taxi to turn up at the outside gates. It took us ages to get back to our hotel and we were on a real high although we were really tired. A mixture of not much sleep the night before and our long but exciting day had worn us out. We all agreed what a fabulous night it was coupled with a great weekend where we didn’t stop laughing. We can’t wait to do it again but luckily we are off to see the band play again this time at the Open Air Theatre in Scarborough at the end of July!