Linda Welch

My love affair with SAILOR began in 1975 when I went back to school after the long summer holiday. A friend of mine, Julie, rushed in one morning that September full of stories of this great band she’d seen the night before called SAILOR. She and her friends had gone backstage after the gig to collect autographs and she was still really excited about the whole evening. She seemed especially taken with the drummer – she told me that his name was Grant – even though she nearly blinded him: when she handed him her pen and autograph book the end of the pen popped out and just missed hitting him in the eye! Over the next few days all I heard about was SAILOR, SAILOR, SAILOR! I used to write short stories about myself and Donny Osmond, but I was running out of ideas so, for a change, I wrote a short story about my friend Julie and Grant. Each morning I’d come in to school early, sit on the desk, and read out to my friends what I’d written the night before. When I’d finished the story I said to Julie, ‘I suppose, if I’m writing about these guys, I ought to hear what they sound like.’ I went to her house that evening and listened to ‘Sailor’ and ‘Trouble’ and from that moment I was totally hooked. I realised that I knew one of their songs already – "Traffic Jam". Although it wasn’t a hit in the UK, I’d heard it a lot on the radio. I made Julie sit very quietly while I held the microphone of my tape-recorder up to the speakers of the record player and recorded both albums so that I could listen to them while I was saving up my pocket money to buy the LPs myself.
At school after the weekend, a girl from the year below us came up to me and asked very politely if she could borrow my story (The SAILOR Way – Volume 1) and copy it out, changing the names to Phil and Karen. I said that I’d write one specially for her, and so began Volume 2. The number of people coming to school early to hear my story-telling sessions increased and, by the time Volume 2 was finished, another friend of mine said, ‘You can write the next story about me and Georg if you like.’ Without even stopping to think, I snapped, ‘If anyone’s going to be in a story with Georg, it’s going to be me!’ I hadn’t thought about my favourite band member until then – I was only the story-teller – but as soon as there was a hint of someone else with Georg I realised that the next romance just had to be ours. Volume 3 was harder to write because it was about me; it was even harder reading out the love scenes to my friends during our early morning ‘story time’ sessions! Volume 4 was about Henry and a girl who was in the year above us, and then there was Volume 5 – The Epilogue, when we all said our farewells and went our separate ways. I know I’ve still got some of the stories, but I don’t think I have all of them. I haven’t read them again - I think I would either be too embarrassed or I’d laugh myself to death!

About a year after hearing SAILOR for the first time, the fantastic news came that they were going to be doing a concert in Bournemouth, about 25 miles from Southampton, to promote their new album, ‘The Third Step’. Dad was persuaded to drive me to Bournemouth for the show and I spent ages planning my outfit. Eventually I decided on a black skirt with a frill at the bottom, with lace showing below the frill (honestly, it was the height of fashion back in 1976!) black tights, high-heeled black shoes, a black bell-sleeved blouse and a purple scarf tied at the neck. One of the girls in the queue outside said I looked like one of the ‘Two Ladies on the Corner’ dressed like that, which actually made me really happy! Not because I wanted to look like a prostitute (!) but because I felt I was one of the characters who inhabited SAILOR’s world.
That first concert was fantastic. Henry was laughing and joking and messing about on stage; the nickelodeon was a bit temperamental at one point and needed some TLC to get it working again; the music was wonderful and Georg was simply gorgeous. My friends from school and college were there, and I knew they were going backstage after the show – they’d got to know the band quite well and one of them, Angela (nicknamed Mange) would occasionally visit Grant. I’d have loved to go backstage with them, even though I knew that if I was capable of saying anything at all, it would only be something like, ‘I think you’re wonderful’, but I knew Dad would be waiting outside to drive us back home, and he hated to be kept waiting so, very reluctantly, after the last encore when we were sure they wouldn’t be coming back on stage, I left the Winter Gardens Theatre, clutching my programme. I took some photographs with my little Kodak Instamatic camera, and some of those pictures can be seen on the website, as can a copy of my concert ticket.

It was more than a year until I saw SAILOR play live again. There were rumours that Phil had left the group due to financial problems, and this seemed to be true as his name didn’t appear on any of the credits on the next album, Checkpoint.
Although Georg was still my favourite member of the band, I still felt that SAILOR wouldn’t really be SAILOR without Phil – after writing 5 stories about the boys, I felt as if they were all good friends of mine and I couldn’t imagine the band without Phil. Luckily, by the time the next concert came around (12 December 1977, Empire Ballroom, Leicester Square in London) Phil was back. My friends and I referred to the concert as the ‘Welcome Back Phil’ show, and that’s what we yelled when they all came out on stage. Phil looked a bit embarrassed, but raised his hand and waved at us, and then they launched into their set.
In those days, "Vera from Veracruz" didn’t have any words and "Pimps’ Brigade", which was a regular part of the show, had never been recorded (officially!) Otherwise, we knew all the songs and sang along and danced and yelled for more. I was sure that we would go backstage – I was with the friends who used to meet them regularly after concerts – but Mange was unusually sensible and said that if we didn’t leave at the end of the concert, we’d miss the train back to Southampton. As it was, we were too late for the last regular train, we had to catch the ‘milk train’, the one that stopped at every single station to drop off … no, not milk, but newspapers. I don’t know why it was called the milk train instead of the paper train … I had to walk home from the station and got in around 6 in the morning. I had a mock A level exam at 10 the next morning – you can imagine how hard it was for me to stay awake during it, let alone concentrate after such an exciting evening!

After that, things went quiet. A few singles were released. The album ‘Hideaway’ never seemed to be given a release date and, by the time I left the UK to live and work in Paris in 1981 the band was rumoured to have split up. There was a brief spell of excitement while I was living in Paris – I was at a friend’s flat, looking through her album collection, and nearly jumped through the ceiling when I saw a picture of Phil looking out from the cover of one of the Culture Club LPs. I wrote a letter to him care of Culture Club’s record label, and got a reply from him. I’m sure I still have that tucked away carefully with my programmes and magazine cuttings!

By the time I returned to the UK in 1987 I was sure that I would never hear of SAILOR again. I thought that they would remain a part of the history of my teenage years, alive only in my memory …

… until last year, 2003!

I was in the office one day and my boss was showing us a CD that he’d had compiled. His father had been one of the Brooks Brothers in the early 60s, and they’d released several singles; his father had written one of the songs for the film, ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet.’ As a surprise gift for his father, my boss had contacted their old record label and asked for them to make up a CD of all the Brooks Brothers’ singles. I asked him how he’d gone about it, thinking that maybe I could contact SAILOR’s record labels from the 70s and see if they would do the same for me. He told me to look on the Internet so that evening, Thursday 14 August, I set about my search. I’d looked for SAILOR before, but not found anything relevant, but I tried again.
I got fed up looking under Epic, CBS and Caribou and wondered if a wider search might reveal a compilation CD with them on, so I typed in ‘SAILOR 70s band’ and came up with pages and pages of results – including the now famous SAILOR-Marinero site (thanks Katrin!). I sat up until gone midnight and read every word! I couldn’t believe that the band had got back together in the early 90s (how come nobody told me? How come I didn’t just know?) and had more hits on the continent – although I knew they had always been particularly popular in Germany and Holland.
I was really sad to read that Georg and Henry were no longer part of the line-up but I couldn’t help but be excited at the thought that I might see SAILOR live once again. I went to work the next day and nearly hugged my boss – if it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t have gone looking on the Internet.
That Friday was my last at work before my 2 week holiday and I think I spent all day telling everyone who would listen that SAILOR were still playing on the continent (most of my colleagues were too young to have heard of them!) and dragging them to my computer to look at the website.
The following Wednesday morning I made a decision. SAILOR were playing a gig in Egmond aan Zee in Holland on Saturday night. I hadn’t seen them live for almost 26 years and I couldn’t wait any longer. I booked my flight to Amsterdam, my train ticket from the airport to Heiloo, just outside Egmond, (there were no more rooms available at the hotel where they were playing) and my hotel room and on Saturday 23 August 2003, at 5 in the morning, I set off for the airport to start my journey to see SAILOR for the first time since 1977.

The rest, as they say, is history. This time I did manage to talk to the guys after the show, I did babble like a star-struck teenager and I’m pretty sure I said, ‘I think you’re all wonderful’, just as I’d been afraid I’d say at the first show in 1976! During the show, Grant mouthed to me, ‘You know all the words!’ and afterwards he came over to talk to me. He seemed really surprised to discover I’d come over from the UK just to see them. He put his arm around my shoulders and said, ‘Hey, Phil, she’s come all the way from England!’ Phil looked at me and declared me mad! I had been a bit nervous about how I would feel, seeing Pete and Rob in the places that had always been occupied in my mind by Georg and Henry, but I needn’t have worried. They were so kind and friendly, and talking to them I felt immediately that they understood and shared my love of the individual SAILOR sound. They aren’t simply stand-ins or replacements for the originals.They are members of the band in their own right, with their own unique style and talent, and I simply cannot imagine SAILOR without them now. Pete and Rob are as much a part of SAILOR as the Nickelodeon and the sound of a foghorn.

I’ve since seen SAILOR in Vienna, Tring and Reading; I’m planning to go back to Egmond in November and next year we have the UK tour to look forward to. Surgery permitting (I might have to have an operation on my wrist early next year which will make it impossible for me to drive for 6 weeks) I shall go and see as many of the shows as I possibly can. I can never equal the number of shows Katrin’s seen, but I hope to get into double figures!

So, this is my SAILOR story so far. I’m looking forward to many more concerts because there is nothing quite like the energy and excitement of a live show, and because whenever I see SAILOR, or listen to them, I forget that I’m now 44 – I’m 15 again, and that feeling is priceless. So, thank you to my boss, Geoff, who sent me again on a SAILOR search of the Internet, thanks to Katrin for such a fabulous website and to her friendship in the year since I rediscovered SAILOR, and, most of all, thanks to Phil, Grant, Pete and Rob, for keeping the dream alive!

September 2004

"Marvellous '04"
26 June 2004...

Linda and Phil

photo © by Katrin Wagner
Linda, Peter, Katrin and Christel

Linda and Rob

Linda and Grant

Review: SAILOR in Tring (UK) 20+21 March 2004:

It was the show we had all been waiting for and I was really excited about seeing SAILOR on British soil again - the last time for me had been in December 1977!  When I reached the hotel the first thing I did was check out where the theatre was so that I didn't get lost in the dark. Luckily, it was only a minute or 2 away on foot, and when I got there I found Karsten and Katrin already waiting. It was good to see them again - although we chat often on line I hadn't seen them since the concert in Egmond last year.  They told me that there had been problems with the power in the afternoon during rehearsals and I remember thinking, 'Thank goodness they've managed to get it sorted out!'  How wrong I was!
I went back to the hotel to shower and change into the almost obligatory stripey top and white sailor hat and as I was leaving the hotel a little girl whispered to her mother, 'Look, she's one of 'them'!'  It turns out that her father was a mad keen fan and had brought the whole family along to see the show, and his daughter had been playing 'I spy a SAILOR fan' all afternoon!
Sitting in the front row of the theatre, admiring the wonderful set and chatting to other fans, some of whom I knew from the website, some I'd met at other shows, was a great way to build the atmosphere.  The soundtrack was of TV and radio shows from the height of SAILOR's UK fame in the 70s and most of the audience was humming along.
At last, the show started with 'Sailor' - my favourite track of all time - and everyone jumped to their feet (until a very young man in a suit scurried over and told us all to sit down again!) to dance and sing along.  Everyone was so thrilled to be there, you could feel the enthusiasm in the theatre and then the unthinkable happened!  A few bars into the next song - Blame it on the Soft Spot - the electricity failed! It wasn't a simple thing like a blown fuse, no, this was an all-out power failure in Tring and the next town, and despite the best and most persuasive efforts of all involved, there was no chance of power coming back on in time for the show to go ahead...
But all was not lost!  Like the true professionals they are, SAILOR invited us back to a 'breakfast show' the next morning.  It wasn't perfect - some fans had flights to catch and wouldn't be able to make it - but it was the only way the show could be saved.  We felt our way through the darkened theatre back to cars and hotels, hoping against hope that the power would be back on by morning...
And it was!  Although a little bit tired and bewildered to be performing so early on a Sunday morning, SAILOR gave us a fantastic show, with all our old favourites, and a surprise new song from Rob - The Harbour Bar Bell - which was wonderful. There was also the announcement that they would be performing again in June - Pete and Hugh on Friday 25, and SAILOR on Saturday 26, so for those fans who couldn't stay for Sunday's show, there is at least an opportunity to see them again in 3 months time.  I've already got my ticket for 25 and 26 June, and I can't wait!
Thank you to SAILOR for retrieving the show and thank you to all the fans who made it such a friendly event.  I'm looking forward to seeing you all again very soon.

And now, here's Linda's Tring-poem:
Linda Welch based this on the wonderful words and music of Rob Alderton:

My story begins in a theatre in Tring
Where hundreds of fans came to dance and to sing
There were Katrin and Karsten who’d come from Germany … And of course there was me!
We were all dressed in nautical gear
And all of us so thrilled to finally be here
As they came out on stage we all gave a cheer – and the music began
(Guitar Solo)
What a story to tell
SAILOR at last on stage in the UK, ringing the harbour bar bell

Well, SAILOR had planned to sing into the night
But then something happened which gave us all a fright
Someone or something turned out the light - What the hell’s going on?
How did this happen? How could this be?
They’d paid their bill to the electric company
But a storm raged outside and nobody could see – and the fans all sang on
(Bass Solo)
What a story to tell
SAILOR at last on stage in the UK, ringing the harbour bar bell
The audience rose to their feet – and some cried
No-one could have guessed that the power had died
We could have gone home but we all stayed inside – and we started to sing.
We were happy to wait ‘til it was fixed
Sure Naylorman would manage to pull off his tricks
But the storm carried on and the lights still stayed out - in the whole town of Tring!
(Drum Solo)
What a story to tell
SAILOR at last on stage in the UK, ringing the harbour bar bell
SAILOR decided to call it a night
But all was not lost, although well it might!
They invited us back to the theatre next day, so the show could go on!
The show was a triumph for everyone there
The band were all shattered but they didn’t care
The whole show was great and made up for the last night – long may SAILOR play on!
(Nickelodeon Solo)
What a story to tell
SAILOR at last on stage in the UK, ringing the harbour bar bell

Review: SAILOR at Wellington Country Park (UK) 26 June 2004 (and Pete & Hugh 25 June 2004):

Marvellous ’04 – Pete & Hugh – Friday 25 June 2004
The Marvellous ’04 weekend started early for some of the fans – yours truly is NOT used to getting up at 5 in the morning, but Katrin and Christel were up even earlier to catch their flight from Düsseldorf to Heathrow. I collected them and brought them back to Southampton where we had lunch in the sunny garden, then changed and prepared a picnic for the afternoon and evening, and drove to Reading. I was rather concerned by the lack of signposts to the Wellington Country Park, but I needn’t have worried. We weren’t late. Our car was fourth in the carpark (the other three belonged to people who were taking money at the gate!). As we got out of the car we recognised Pete’s voice over the PA system as he and Hugh were performing their sound check. The voices were tantalisingly close but, again, there were no signs to the entrance. The people on the gate told us, ‘You can’t miss it!’ But somehow we did, and ended up strolling through the artistes’ entrance to the very front of the stage. We were happy with that, but Naylorman was quite surprised to see us there. Some of the security men carried our heavy picnic bags back to the turnstiles where we waited until the official gate-opening time. We then had a quick lesson on ground layout (no picnic blankets and bags beyond the second red line, no chairs beyond the blue line) and spread out at the edge of the dance area in front of the stage. The sun was hot, and the showground was filling up nicely (2.000+ visitors were expected on Friday night) and Pete, looking surprisingly calm for one of the event organisers, strolled over to say hello and have a chat before disappearing backstage again.
A DJ from the local radio station – Kestrel FM – came on stage to give a few housekeeping announcements and to promise us that Pete and Hugh would be with us ‘soon’. It was hard to take him seriously in his yellow Panama hat, yellow shorts and yellow and white shirt; in the heat, the tiny flies that swarmed over the showground seemed to think that he and the security men (also in yellow) were some strange kind of flower, so they were all covered in flies! We heckled him gently from the front of the stage, reminding him at every opportunity that the Counterfeit Stones and Björn Again weren’t the only bands playing that weekend, and he looked rather surprised to find out that Katrin and Christel had come over from Germany specially for the event.
After a few more appearances by the Banana in the Panama, promising us Pete and Hugh at any moment, they finally came out on stage to enthusiastic applause. The evening sun was shining straight into their eyes so I’m not sure that they could see anything at all to begin with, but then they spotted friends, family and fans amongst the audience and waved and said hello. Although Pete and Hugh now only get together very infrequently and hadn’t had much of a chance to rehearse, they put on a really polished show, playing a variety of songs from the Beatles to the Doobie Brothers by way of Crowded House and Paul Simon. The songs were all ones the audience knew, but I’m sure they weren’t chosen just to please the crowd – Pete and Hugh clearly loved the music they were playing. It was evident that they enjoyed playing together and were having as much fun as we were, and the camaraderie between them made the event a pleasure to watch.
I could have listened to them play all night, but all too soon they had to make way for the Counterfeit Stones. It was our cue for to go back to our neglected picnic blanket and bottle of wine and make way for rockers of all ages to sing and dance along to Nick Dagger and his band. They were excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed their performance, but the evening was made for me by Pete & Hugh’s set. After all the hard work put into organising the event, I’m so glad that the sun shone for them … on Friday, at least!
Marvellous ‘04 – SAILOR – Saturday 26 June 2004
After a long sleep until about 10 o’clock, Katrin, Christel and I were ready for another trip to Wellington Country Park. We decided not to take a picnic this time, so that we could go straight to the stage and not stay behind the red picnic line or the blue chairs line. We knew exactly where to go today and this time we were the second car in the carpark! The sun wasn’t shining but it didn’t matter. A little rain can’t hurt a dedicated fan!
We were first at the gate, joined quickly be a couple of Björn Again fans who had come all the way from Leeds. They looked as if they would want to be right at the front too, so I made a deal with them: we wanted to be in the front, in the middle, for SAILOR, but after that we’d move aside so that they could get the best spot. They were happy with that. We exchanged stories about SAILOR and Björn Again, chatted with Malcolm and Eileen who arrived a little later, and the time passed very quickly until the gates were opened. We waited a little longer at the turnstiles, about 50 yards ahead, then Katrin ran for the stage, followed at a much slower pace by Christel and me.
We took our places, and nothing was going to move us! Malcolm and Eileen kept me supplied with glasses of wine, and we waited patiently while the local DJ came on stage to tell us about the toilets, the food and drink stands, and the painted lines on the ground. It was drizzling slightly, but we didn’t care!
At last we heard a disembodied voice telling us that we were all probably there because we had nothing better to do, and SAILOR arrived on stage to a huge cheer from their own fans as well as some of the Björn Again fans, who had been infected with our enthusiasm. We joined in with our favourite SAILOR songs – although there are so many wonderful tracks they couldn’t play them all – and maracas appeared at appropriate parts of the show so that we could shake along with Phil! You don’t just watch SAILOR, you take part, and I really felt that we were all part of the show, the only difference was that we weren’t actually on stage with them. We were really lucky that we had a longer show than usual – in total just over an hour – but it was still too short. When SAILOR left the stage, the Björn Again fans around us seemed very disappointed. We knew that they would be back, and we knew what to expect when they appeared again in naval uniform carrying the ship, but it was all new to the Björn Again fans and there were lots of deafening yells around us as the boys went into their Full Monty routine. They certainly converted a few fans during their performance, and several BA fans asked for details of the website so that they could find out about future SAILOR shows. All good things must come to an end and after a cracking show, SAILOR finally left the stage.
All weekend I’d been joking that I would bring a shower curtain with me to keep the rain off the three of us, and after the show it would have been very useful to keep the merchandise dry! But there were enough of us with umbrellas (and bin liners!) to make sure that the precious SAILOR books that had only just been delivered the night before didn’t get wet, and the guys came out to sign books, pose for photos and chat with the fans, despite the drizzle. We recognised several faces from the concert in Tring earlier this year, and I’m pretty certain that we’ll see some of the Björn Again fans again at SAILOR gigs in the future!
The only thing I’d have changed about Saturday is the weather – everything else was … marvellous! I know from my own experience just how much work goes into organising events, and this one was so well-planned and everyone involved was friendly and helpful. I’m sure it gave the organisers many headaches along the way but the result was a great weekend that everyone enjoyed, so thanks to all involved (they know who they are!!!) and I look forward to Marvellous ’05!

photo © by Katrin Wagner
Christel, Linda and Katrin in front of the audience at "Marvellous '04"

photo © by Katrin Wagner
Katrin, Linda, Christel and Eileen at "Marvellous '04"

Katrin and Linda in Tring

Review: SAILOR in Egmond aan Zee (Holland) 20 November 2004:

Well, it’s Egmond again, but this time it’s Fall
Icily cold but alive.
I’m freezing to death in a cold hotel room
Just waiting for night to arrive…

My alarm clock going off at 5 in the morning can only mean one of two things – either I’m having to work at our head office in London or I’m catching a plane to see SAILOR…
Saturday 20 November was SAILOR’s first gig of their Holland tour, and I had to be there, so I didn’t mind the early start. The journey went very smoothly. I flew from my home town of Southampton instead of having to drive up to Heathrow, but as it’s a small airport, it was a very small plane. From Schiphol airport I took a train into Amsterdam Central and changed trains to Amersfoort. The hotel was a short taxi ride from the station and I checked in just after midday. I had a lovely big room, the only trouble was it was freezing cold, so I got into bed to keep warm and dozed off... The telephone woke me up around 2.30 – Katrin had arrived with Karsten, Christel and Andy, so I went to their room to say hello and catch up on what had happened since we’d last met in the summer, when Christel and Katrin had come to stay for the Marvellous Festival in Reading.
Timing worked out perfectly and we were able to listen to SAILOR’s interview on Dutch Radio 2 before all five of us piled into Katrin’s car for the drive up to Egmond. Some of the signposts on the motorway were a bit confusing, and we discovered that there were actually three towns called Egmond (!) but we got there in plenty of time (or so we thought!) We decided to have something to eat but although we gave our order at about 7 o’clock, the food didn’t come until nearly 8, so Katrin and I ate at top-speed and went to the concert hall to find the promoter, who had Katrin’s tickets. We went in early, and had a chance to chat with ‘our boys’ before the show, who seemed pleased that we’d all travelled to see them for this first concert of the tour.
photo © by Karsten Wagner
Unlike last year’s show in Egmond, when I really didn’t enjoy the bands that were on before SAILOR (I shall never forget the Gibson Brothers making their 2 hits last for 45 minutes!) I liked both the other bands that were on. First up were ZZ and The Maskers. I’d never heard of them, but they played Shadows-style music, which I’ve always liked. After them were The Rubettes, and we made sure we were right in the front so we were in the right place for when SAILOR came on stage. I was a teenager when The Rubettes were big in England, and I remembered all the words to almost every song they did (we’d listened to some of their songs on the way in the car, which had also helped!) I even managed to sing their trademark high notes when the micro-phone ended up in front of me! Katrin pointed out that Phil had come out to watch part of the Rubettes set, and I couldn’t help feeling a bit guilty that I was enjoying myself so much – almost as if I was being unfaithful to SAILOR (how daft is that?)
At last SAILOR came on stage to a tremendous welcome. I was aware of lots of people singing along around me and it was obvious that a great many people there were loyal fans. Five of us whipped out our maracas at appropriate songs and shook along – Andy went one better and produced the original Charango and was invited up on stage to show it off. Katrin and I had another ‘accessory’, which we’d planned during our Sunday afternoons in the SAILOR-Chat and as Rob started the second verse of "Josephine Baker" we took out our feather fans and fluttered them in front of our faces. One day we’ll surprise them with something so much that they’ll forget the words, but Rob stayed on track despite bits of black feather floating around (Katrin’s fan was moulting!). "Traffic Jam" is always a huge hit with the audience in Holland - but everything SAILOR did was a huge hit with the audience that night. It all whizzed by so fast, and the boys disappeared for a quick costume change in time for the Full Monty (which was nearly spoiled by the DJ, who thought they’d really gone for good and came back out on stage!) There was one slight snag – and it seems to happen every time – and that’s the tape during the Full Monty. It always jams in the same place so the boys never get to finish their routine. Shame! You’d think Naylorman would have fixed it by now, wouldn’t you? ;-)
After a quick chat with SAILOR after the show, we decided to head back to the hotel, but Karsten had been ‘identified’ by a couple of Dutch women who were convinced he was the Red Indian (or should I say Native American?) from the Village People. Nothing he could do convinced them that he wasn’t and they tried to make him sing YMCA. In the end, he gave in and started signing autographs... I’ll leave it to his discretion as to whether he tells you exactly what he signed!
After another very short night’s sleep, we met up for breakfast, joined by some sleepy SAILORs, before packing our cases again and checking out. We didn’t have to leave for a couple of hours and one by one the boys (including Graham) came out to talk to us in reception before it was finally time for Katrin, Karsten, Christel and Andy to drive back to Germany, and for me to get a taxi to the station. It had been a very tiring 36 hours for me and I didn’t know how SAILOR could possibly do it all again that same evening, and the next, and the next, and the next...
Thanks for a wonderful show, guys, and for spending time with us. I’m looking forward to the UK tour next year and Katrin and I will have to get our thinking caps on and plan some more little surprises…
Linda Welch ©

Salisbury, Friday 4 March, was a triumph! - Review: SAILOR in Salisbury (UK) 04 March 2005:

Linda and JasmineI’d been to the Manchester gig on 20 February and I’d been a bit disappointed – which is why no review from me for that particular show. (The excellent review from Malcolm Knowles covers the gig very well, so no need for me to comment further.)
The Salisbury concert, however, was a different show entirely! Maybe it was partly due to the audience - a group of about 20 women had come along for a birthday party in full 70s gear and were determined to enjoy every second of it – they were all in the front row.
SAILOR were on great form – although Pete was a bit surprised when he came on stage and found a rubber pig taped to his microphone! I get the feeling that the three bands – our boys plus the Rubettes and Sweet – are having a bit of a laugh between them all and maybe the pig was part of that! Anyone else seen the pig at a gig?
They played a very tight, slick set, and it seemed that in no time at all the boys were leaving the stage, with the exception of Rob, who played the "Sailor’s Hornpipe" (my 12-year-old niece, Jasmine, whispered, ‘Did they write the theme for Blue Peter??’) while the others disappeared. Of course, the SAILOR fans in the audience knew what was coming, but I’d say 90% of the audience hadn’t seen a show on this tour before so when the "Full Monty" started there were shrieks from all around! I covered Jasmine’s eyes, even though I knew they weren’t going to go ‘all the way’ but I live in hope (or should that be in fear?).
One of the party in the front row threw a pair of knickers onto the stage as they were leaving – how did I guess it would be Phil who picked them up? A strange trophy to add to the pig as a souvenir of the Salisbury show! Their suitcases will be full of really odd reminders of the tour by the time they’ve finished.
This time I was the only one in the audience with maracas – I’d taken some for Jasmine, too, but she was a little self-conscious about being right in the front row in her sailor suit (thank you, Ebay!) and decided that maracas would be just too much (and the hat was too much for her as well!)
After an excellent set from the Rubettes – including their marvellous drum session – Jasmine and I made our way out to the foyer to buy the Tsunami appeal CD and get it autographed. She didn’t want me to introduce her to them, but Rob spotted her sailor suit and asked what was printed on her stripey tee-shirt. She showed him that it said, ‘Hello Sailor’, spelled out in red rhinestones, and he took a picture with his mobile ‘phone. I think she was secretly quite pleased, although she’d made me swear not to send any photos to the website in case her school friends ever found out!
I had the chance to say a brief hello to Sarah (good to see you!) and James (likewise) before we took our places again for Andy Scott’s Sweet. I had a quick chance to introduce myself and say hello to Roger, Gill and Nicola, also SAILOR fans, in the front row. (Hope you enjoyed it all and managed to get back to Southampton safely! And maybe see you at another gig?)

By this time, Jasmine wasn’t too worried about her Aunty Linda getting up and dancing and generally making a fool of herself, so the last hour of the show was spent on my feet, rocking with Sweet – a great show as always. I’d have stayed on afterward to finish the collection of autographs on my CD but it was getting really late and Jazzie was getting a bit tired, so I hope to get the full set later on during the tour.
Message from Jasmine - "I had a really good time meeting the stars of the bands and I enjoyed all the songs they played."
Jasmine will be 13 on 2 April (when I shall be at the Basingstoke gig) and on the way home from the show last night she announced that she now wants a 70s theme party for her birthday!
Rock on, Jasmine!
And see you all in Bournemouth, everyone!
Linda Welch © 05 March 2005

Review: SAILOR in Bournemouth (UK) 17 March 2005:

What a great show!  All of the 3 bands keep getting better as the tour continues and the gig at Bournemouth Pavilion was superb. The front row held the 'party faithful', complete with sailor jackets and maracas and, despite a grumpy old git a few rows back who didn't understand that you just HAVE to get up and dance when SAILOR come on stage, and who complained that he'd paid good money for his tickets and wanted to SEE the bands, the audience had a wonderful time. (Grumpy old git didn't get up to dance because I don't think the glue on his hairpiece was strong enough to keep it in place....)
Rob had said that he was collecting souvenirs to hang/stick on the Nickelodeon as a souvenir from each gig and, during a walk on the beach earlier that afternoon, was looking for something 'tacky and nautical'.  Katrin suggested that anything from my house would do (so I have a tacky house, eh, Katrin? ;-) ) (comment from the webmaster: no, I meant nautical! ;-)) but in the end what looked like a sailor rucksack joined the flags and other souvenirs for the Bournemouth appearance. Rob, watch out for nautical souvenirs flying your way at the next show I'm attending! (Basingstoke on 2 April - a mega-shipment of Nautical Tat is on its way from Ebay!)
James McC had to work that day and didn't get to the theatre until after the set was well underway and, being a true gentleman, didn't want to disturb the audience to make his way to the place we'd saved for him in the front row. My friend Lesley, a SAILOR 'virgin', and frighteningly eager to dress up in my spare sailor jacket and hat, echoed what everyone in the audience seemed to think... the show was far too short - 35 minutes.  It wasn't enough time for the boys to finish off the "Full Monty" (despite the 'Get 'em Off!' banner Katrin and I held up!) although rumour has it there may be a surprise version of the "Full Monty" at the last show of the tour...
There was a chance to say hello to our boys and the Rubettes - as usual, a great show from them with their marvellous drum session - during a short break before Sweet played their set - full of 'Happy Birthday' chords for Steve, their keyboard player, who was notching up another year on Friday... He didn't mention how old he was going to be - any guesses?
Phil, Pete and Rob were driving back to their respective homes that evening, but Grant and Michelle were staying locally with friends, so Katrin and I joined them for a drink after the show before heading back to Southampton, our ears still ringing from the proximity of the amps... now, 5 days later, my hearing is just about back to normal. Pardon?
Real life calls and I have to put my 'sensible head' on for the next 10 days or so ... but Basingstoke, the next gig and the 'nautical tat' is looming, so watch out for another review!  Any Sweet fans going?  Let me know and I'll bring some spare hats for you!
Pictures to follow when the film is developed.... Not got into the digital age yet!
Linda Welch ©

Linda, Phil and Katrin in Bournemouth

Linda, Grant and Katrin in Bournemouth

Review: SAILOR in Basingstoke (UK) 02 April 2005:

The tour just keeps getting better with each show!  It's been marvellous to see the bands enjoying themselves almost as much as the fans.
Having been at The Anvil Theatre in Basingstoke a few days earlier (and found my way to the Stage Door after the show to meet Merrill and Wayne Osmond!) I knew exactly where to go when I arrived at Basingstoke on Saturday afternoon.  I had the 'nautical tat' as promised in my last review, and the 'rum ration' for the boys, and I headed immediately for the stage door.  To my surprise, the security man at the stage door let me in immediately and showed me to the dressing rooms - much to everyone else's surprise, as well!  I handed over the 'rum ration' and a Winnie The Pooh beanie baby dressed as a pirate (so cute I wanted to keep him!) and Rob let me go on stage whilst he taped Pooh on top of the bell on the front of the Nickelodeon (you can see Pooh quite clearly in some of the photos).  I left Rob and Grant to relax before the show (didn't see Phil and Pete) and went to the bar where I met Sarah and a friend she had dragged along for moral support, Brian, and discovered that we were sitting next to each other in the middle of the front row.
The show was as slick and polished as ever, and even though Rob was dying of 'man flu' (very heavy cold) he still turned in a great performance.  Even though they played the same set as the previous couple of shows, it's still a thrill to watch.  The audience (auditorium a bit more than half full in the stalls) loved the Full Monty and if ever the boys decide on a change of direction in their career I'm sure they could strip for a living.  Well, maybe once!  Sarah thought that Grant enjoyed the Full Monty a bit too much and he certainly does look extremely cheerful in the FM photos.  Maybe, as Sarah pointed out, it's because he gets a chance to stop hiding away behind the drums and be out in front for a change!
The Tsunami CD was selling well - so well, in fact, there seemed to be very little room for SAILOR to sell/sign DVDs etc.  Rob took the opportunity to drive home straight after they'd finished (to have some more Lem-Sip Max Strength?) and I didn't see Pete during the break, but Phil and Grant were around, chatting to fans and friends.
It's sad to think that the next show I see - Oxford, 10 April - will be the last one I'll go to of this tour.  It's been wonderful to see them so regularly this Spring after all the years when I didn't even know they were playing again.  Fingers crossed for a headline show in the Autumn!
Linda Welch ©

Review: SAILOR in Oxford (UK) 10 April 2005:

70 minutes to Oxford from home and another 45 minutes going round the one-way system in ever-decreasing circles - I thought I'd never make it to the New Theatre on George Street!  But it was worth it!
Oxford was the penultimate show in the Glitz, Blitz and 70's Hitz (with a bunch of old Gitz, as Pete says) tour of 2005, and it was fantastic!  There were lots and lots of SAILOR fans there - Malcolm and Eileen, Sarah, Alison and her husband (the Abba fans from 'Marvellous' last year) a couple from Denmark, Keith and family, and a couple of girls next to me whose names I didn't get ... plus more, I'm sure, as the crowd was very enthusiastic.  The whole of the middle block of the front row was all SAILOR fans, so they got a really warm welcome.  When Grant came out to introduce "The Old Nickelodeon Sound", he said, 'I see the Ugly Sisters are in tonight,' and I laughed and thought, 'Fancy referring to me and Eileen like that!'
The whole show went really well, and the audience had a great time.  Our Bournemouth 'Get 'em Off!' wish almost came true ... as the guys had suspected earlier in the tour, the crew left the "Full Monty" tape running about 15 seconds longer before playing the 'rewind' bit, which was just long enough to worry them - but not long enough for them to actually go further than taking their belts off!  (Although Grant really seems to enjoy the "Full Monty" and probably would have continued ....)  Just prior to that, when Rob played the accordeon with the Nickelodeon, one of the crew switched his hat for a builder's hard hat, but he noticed and didn't put it on!
One of the crew sat in the front row and read a newspaper, and the guys said that that's what he'd been doing throughout the tour!  During the break, newspapers appeared on the seats of nearly everyone in the front row, but no-one was cruel enough to read them during Sweet's set (apart from the famous John!)
I'd brought spare maracas as well as my own and lent some to Malcolm and Eileen; the two girls on the other side of me also had maracas so the 'Massed Band of the Maracas' kept up a good accompaniment during "La Cumbia" and "Vera From Veracruz"...
During the break, Malcolm was ready with his camera to take several pictures and as Eileen and I posed for a photo with Pete and Phil, I said to Pete, 'As Grant called us the Ugly Sisters, maybe you're Buttons?  Or Prince Charming?'  He started to sing 'Prince Charming' by Adam and the Ants, and wondered aloud about forming an Adam and the Ants tribute band.  I reminded him that one of the Sweet fans, John, had said he looked more like Adam than a SAILOR, and suddenly there was John!  He'd bought the DVD and was hoping to get it signed, although he looked a bit nervous at meeting the guys he'd been slating only a couple of weeks before!  So ... another convert to the nautical cause!
I said to Grant, 'I'm not sure I like being referred to as one of the Ugly Sisters,' and he looked totally confused.  What he'd actually said was, 'My six younger sisters are in tonight.'  He was referring to 6 girls a couple of rows behind us who all had glitter wigs on.  He was really embarrassed to think that they might have thought he'd called them the Ugly Sisters and looked around for them to make sure they weren't offended.
It was all over far too soon and maybe this should have been the very last show - and I can't imagine a better audience than the Oxford crowd, and everyone - fans, bands and crew - had such fun that I don't think the last show, Grimsby, will match it.
Still no sign of Buried Treasure - 'out soon,' Phil said.  We've been hearing that for a long time now, haven't we?
I'm sorry it's all over - it's been a great few weeks for me and I doubt I'll get this opportunity again ... I'm now up to 12 concerts!  2 with the original line-up and 10 with the current one.  This Spring tour has coincided with my redundancy, so I've had plenty of time off work to plan my journeys to the shows I've seen (and recover afterwards!) but now the tour's over and I start work again on Monday - it will all seem very unreal after a few weeks of feeling like a teenage groupie!
To everyone I've met during the tour, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  To everyone who wanted to see a show but couldn't make it, you missed a treat!  Let's hope we can all get together for the headline show in the Autumn and make it a real night to remember!
... sail on, sail on SAILOR... sail on, sail on SAILOR... sail on, sail on SAILOR... sail on, sail on SAILOR...
Linda Welch ©


Linda and Eileen together with Peter and Phil in Oxford (UK) 10 April 2005

Linda, Eileen and Sarah together with Grant in Oxford (UK) 10 April 2005

Last updated: 28 May 2005


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