We played two packed (both musically and crowd-wise!) nights at Cranleigh Arts Centre for the annual christmas charity concerts put together and impeccably hosted by Paul Jones (BBC Radio 2, Manfred Mann, The Blues Band etc.) on December 19th & 20th!  Paul asked me a while back to put a band together to play a set each night and to back up some very special guests.  So, with the kind generosity of some great musicians and trusty cohorts – Randall Breneman, Ben Somers, Neil Waters, Pat Levett and Silas Maitland – we played long, varied and fun sets both nights, including backing up Paul Jones, John Wilson, Marcus Bonfanti, Cherry Lee Mewis and Bernie Marsden.  If you were perhaps wondering why it wasn’t announced on the website or elsewhere it’s because the tickets sell out very quickly to local residents, the proceeds going to the running of the Arts Centre and a couple of very honourable charities.

The journey down, through Guildford, was horrendous with the world and his dog out christmas shopping. But we still managed to get there with enough time to run all the songs for the guests, including a couple of classic christmas tunes led by Paul – ‘Blue Christmas’ and ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’. All the guests did great and were nice and varied, from the brilliantly electric playing of Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsen, the dirty grooves of Marcus Bonfanti, impressive minute long (perhaps some artistic licence there) high vocal notes of John Wilson, dulcet tones of Cherry Lee Mewis to the brilliant playing and wonderful chat of Paul Jones.  All the staff at the Arts Centre were brilliant and we were well looked after. Suffice to say, they were two fun nights all round, except for perhaps the stay in a 16-year-olds-puking-their-guts-out-in-the-streets filled Guildford. To put it in perspective, sitting in the bar of the Guildford Travelodge was infinitely less hellish. Are we getting old? A bit perhaps, but I’m sure I was never like that at 16…err…

More importantly, I imagine a fair bit of cash was raised for the arts centre and charities – we’ll find the figures out a bit later on…

Anyway, here’s a few pictures from the nights to give you a taster:

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