Earlier in the year one day on Tinder I started chatting to a guy who had as his ‘go to’ song a song called Sometimes. I listened to the snippet, I often did if they included a song, I found it gave me an idea about the guy. I liked it and searched for it on Spotify to listen to the whole thing. I liked it very much, added it to my playlist along with a few others.
The artist was called Gerry Cinnamon, a Scottish guy from Glasgow who sang from the heart with very honest and brutal lyrics. I googled him and found some tickets for a concert that were going for £300! I thought golly gosh!! That’s a lot, I won’t bother!!
Anyway, I listened to more songs, added more and I’m not sure how but I found out about a tour he was doing so I went in search of a ticket. It wasn’t to be. The tour was sold out. London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Norwich, Bournemouth plus others.
I was gutted. You always want what you can’t have.
I kept looking. My friend Saz found a resale one for £127, I couldn’t do it, it was too much. I was back on Spotify searching for more of his songs and on his page he’d listed the venues with links. I tried once more, clicking each venue and searching…. until I found one!!! I couldn’t believe it!! I had to go for it. It was in Leeds at the First Direct Arena on a Friday night at 6pm!! I didn’t even know if I could have the afternoon or the day off I just booked it – resale price £27!!! Yay!!!
I was granted the day off (I had the following week off anyway so just tagged it on) and the excitement began. I found the ticket the week of the concert so it was all a little rushed!
I went on the old faithful booking.com and booked a hotel that would require a taxi ride.
The day arrived. I left at lunchtime, giving me plenty of time to get there…or so I thought🙄 The A1 had different ideas! It was a nightmare! There was flooding, the A1 was a red line on Google Maps and my arrival time was constantly changing, minutes being added and warnings that traffic was getting worse!
I came off, somewhere! Tried to cut across and back up. I wasted at least an hour and it was useless, all major routes were struggling, I fell out big time with Google Maps and may even have shouted out in my frustration!! I even tried country roads but ended up joining the A1 again but a bit further north. Driving past Doncaster I could see nothing but flooded fields, I feel for the farmers, still trying to work the land, not an easy job.
I seemed to have bypassed the bad patch and upped my speed to Leeds. Time was ticking, the start time for the concert had been brought forward which was making me panic a little internally. I don’t like driving with a set time to arrive by, it changes everything.
But arrive I did, abandoned Vinnie outside the hotel – that seemed to be really busy outside! Lots of young people hanging around.
I grabbed my bags and went to check in… there was a long queue!! I think the last time I had to queue to check in was at EuroDisney!
To the credit of the four/five staff on the desk the queue went down fairly quick. The guy who checked me in was incredibly helpful, he even put my bags behind the desk so I could park Vinnie without having to go up to my room first. The car park was under the hotel, lots of spaces and a lift back up.
I found my room – very lovely – freshened up and dashed out again. Asked the same guy for a taxi and went outside where there were still lots of people (young) hanging around.
The trip wasn’t very long, long enough to find out that Assim was from Pakistan, with two young children, 5 and 6, had been here since 2012, airfare back in the school holidays was really expensive so only went home, where his immediate family still were, every other year. That Leeds City centre could be going pedestrianised and that he lived in Bradford with family in Peterborough!! His English was impressive and apparently I can get information out of strangers in a very short space of time!!😂
He dropped me right at the First Direct Arena where the fun began.
Comfort zone? What comfort zone?!😲
I strode confidently past ticket touts and guys selling merchandise. Joined a queue to show my ticket and driving license (thankfully the guy didn’t say ‘how old??!!😂) and made my way to the next one, which was security, very thorough, got through that and finally had my ticket scanned on the door.
I walked in and stood there. Where the bloody hell do I go!! All I could see on my ticket was Row K seat 4!! Downstairs was the entrance for the standing tickets so I went upstairs, found someone to ask who said I needed to go all the way to the top!! Well, after a brutal first session at a gym I signed up for (a 30 day reset – another story!!) the stairs were pure hell, I am incredibly unfit and was knackered by the time I got to the top!!
I asked a couple of guys if they knew where I was seated, showing them my ticket, the actual block number was somewhere completely different on the ticket to the seat and row! I had no chance of seeing it.
He directed me to where I had to go and off I went, getting distracted by some merchandise being sold. Well I had to buy something with Gerry Cinnamon on!! But I refrained from buying a T-shirt with Gerry F*cking Cinnamon on, even though it had the tour dates on the back ( I regret this now – I hate regrets). I bought one with ‘Canter’ on, a song title, one of my favourites.
I eventually found my seat with a little more help and a torch! The view wasn’t bad, don’t think there could be a bad seat in that arena.
The atmosphere was buzzing, it was still early, there was a support band playing, I think they were the support to the support😂 The main support band was The Coral, I recognised a couple of their songs – In The Morning was one.
Once they’d finished, the stage was cleared of all equipment and it was set up for Gerry. He has no backing band, he is a man with a guitar and a harmonica.
They played Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond would have been proud – incredible response from everyone.
The guy next to me had been chatting to me, I think he may have been a little bit tipsy🤪😁He asked me if I was on my own, felt a bit dubious saying I was but it was pretty obvious. He asked me where my friends were, I said they’d never heard of Gerry Cinnamon, he said ‘F@ck ‘em’😂 ‘their loss!’ He put his arm round me, said ‘good on you’😃
I noticed that the arena was suddenly full!! All seats and there was no room on the floor!! It just happened!! Everyone had been at the bar waiting – it was quite incredible!!
The mood had changed, the lights had gone out, I couldn’t believe how excited I was. I was actually holding my breath… the Old Spice music came on – O Fortuna – really powerful… then it stopped… and then Baby Give it Up by KC and the Sunshine Band started playing and slowly this wave of realisation washed over the crowd and they/we all started singing ‘Nananananaa Gerry Cinnamon Cinnamon, Gerry Cinnamon’😃 Oh my God it was amazing!! The standing crowd were moving as one, hands were raised all around the Arena, it was electric. I have never experienced anything like it before. Possibly the best experience I’ve had this year🤔 but then to say that I’d be doing an injustice to so many others I’ve had this year. I literally couldn’t stop smiling. The guy next to me, Martin, put his arm round me while we were singing and planted a kiss on my cheek😂 Everyone was just so happy!! We could have defeated the Slime in Ghostbusters 2😂
This was all before Gerry came on stage!!! When he did, well, eruption!!!
He began his set, and it was a rollercoaster ride from then on. The light show on stage, the special effects, pyrotechnics – everything was just perfect and professional. Considering he was one guy on stage he managed to fill it. Great Entertainer. And he obviously enjoys it. If you ever listen to his songs, and I recommend you do, he’s obviously been through it and is obviously thankful for what he has now.
It soon became obvious to me why plastic cups were used at the bars when I saw them being lobbed over the crowd, sometimes with drink still in them!! In the standing section people were on shoulders, someone had a flare – it was mad! I’d love to be in amongst them but I think I would feel too out of control. At one point I was just giving the end of my nose a little touch with my finger, it was cold and I was checking for drips🤪 and as I did I turned to Martin and he asked me if I had some coke! I said no, to which he replied ‘ I can get some’! I said, no it’s ok thanks!!😲😂
The magic came to an end. Gerry left the stage. There was no call for more, clearly they knew it wasn’t something he did as everyone started to leave. I hesitated, I wanted to savour it and let the main crowd disappear. As I began to leave the lights came on and they began to play Canter again, it’s a brilliant song, apparently he wrote it because he used to look for advice in songs when he was younger, so he wrote one. The words are good and even better when sung at the top of your voice in the car and shower!!😂
People who were leaving stopped to listen, including me, I videoed all around, it was great, so great. It finished it off beautifully. It ended and I left, joining the crowd going down the stairs, occasionally they erupted into Gerry Cinnamon Cinnamon, Gerry Cinnamon and Here we, here we, here we f@cking go. I was still smiling.
I eventually made it outside, called my taxi and got back to the hotel, where I watched the videos I’d taken and relived it all.
I’m still doing that, daily. It’s had quite an effect on me. To the point where I have actually sourced and bought another ticket that happens to be in Glasgow, his home town, in December. I think I’ll have to fly up. My hotel is booked close by and I am already looking forward to it. I have no doubts it will be even more amazing – and this time I will buy that t-shirt.
Just do it peeps, only regret the things you do, the regret you feel for things you don’t do is worse, those chances may never come round again – trust me ❤️