The Second One.

Literally two blogs in two years and now you’re getting two from me in a week? I told you I was up for this challenge…just ignore me making it by the skin of my teeth…

This week’s blog is a little self indulgent. Seeing as everywhere seemed to be doing “recaps” at the end of last year, I’m gonna do my own 2022 recap, in the second week of 2023.

Last year was my first full year as a tour truck driver, and what a year it was. I started out moving stage for Ed Sheeran, before going on my first full tour with Stormzy, all around the British Isles. This tour marked the first time I’d ever go to Ireland and Dublin, which are wonderful places. It would also be the first time I would grow a “tour beard”.

April and a family holiday with the kids to Tenerife was the perfect relaxer before the next few months work, but not before a training course in Wexford, taking the number of times I’d now been to Ireland to two.

After a brief, two-show tour with “India’s Michael Jackson”—Arijit Singh—it was time for my first big boy tour around Europe, with Imagine Dragons. Gotta be honest, I didn’t really know anything about them, but my dad and Bam were fans and that was good enough for me. And, after working the cameras for over 15 shows with them (yes, we do that as well), I found I actually knew a few of their songs, and I kinda got brainwashed into liking the rest of them! But they’re a good band, good guys, and the production crew were amazing. I also met my girlfriend, Neringa, on this tour, so it definitely holds special memories for me.

After a very brief stop at home to air the place out and bin the food I’d forgotten about in the fridge, I had a couple of dates at Wembley with Travis Scott, where I saw Kylie Jenner and Cardi B up on the stage above me. This time I was on the spotlights.

Next was the Beautiful Days festival down in Devon, and Neringa came with me. It was a great weekend, very relaxed, and full of good food and really, genuinely nice people. I pulled the staff sleeper trailer on this one. But right in the middle of the weekend I had to go up and move a trailer at Wembley for Coldplay, and I got to see their show. I’m no Coldplay fan, but this gig was amazing. The electronic coloured wristbands everyone wore painted the stadium in a rainbow of colours. A truly memorable event.

Back to Devon to pack up the sleeper trailer, and after dropping it I moved onto Reading and Leeds festivals with the dance act, Hybrid Minds, who headlined the BBC Radio One dance stages.

What. A. Show.

I knew nothing of Hybrid Minds before this, but the Reading show will stick in my mind as one of the best, most fantastic occasions I’ve ever witnessed, and this was on the back of a historic Coldplay night!

One day off and then I was driving through the stunning scenery of the Alps separating France and Italy. I spent 9 days in Italy on a corporate gig for medical companies (Pfizer, et al) before unloading in Hanover and returning home.

Bam and I checked out Jaws in an Imax cinema during my down time, where I also had a short story published in the Hope Riot anthology, and then Neringa, myself, and a bunch of others toured Europe with Swedish House mafia…where I visited Ireland for the third time this year/in my life!

One night at Brixton Academy with James Bay, and my touring year was over. I saw 2022 out in London, with Neringa and her sister Svajune, who was visiting from Lithuania. The last time I’d been to Madame Tussards I was probably around 9 years old. 35ish years later and I was back there. And we made sure to visit Buckingham Palace, like proper tourists.

So, heck of a year. I hope 2023 can match it, but it’s a very high bar to beat. Whatever happens, I’ll tell you all about it, every week, right here.

+++

An old, old friend of mine, Steve Walters, died this week. I’m still trying to process it, but his passing made me realise that for all the highs in our lives, we really gotta watch out for those lows. And watch out for each other. Go and talk to someone you haven’t spoke to for a while. Especially if you think they need someone looking in on them.

Just…just go and talk to them.

Steve and Lee 💔

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