Usually New Year’s Day in my house involves a lot of resting, maybe a little walking, a lot of tidying up and maybe a bit of food, but this year was just a teeny bit different.
I saw a request from one of my Facebook/Band friends (who plays in another band) for players to help him out on a job today. I made contact and said that I could provide him with 2 cornet players, a trombone player and a bass player (myself, Kevin, Ethan and my friend Phil). I asked him what the job was and was over the moon to find it was playing for a spell before the match at the Etihad stadium….home of my beloved Manchester City! Blooooo Mooooooon!!!!! I couldn’t turn that chance down could I?? I’ve been playing a bit over Christmas and was feeling in fine fettle so it was with a glad heart I ironed our uniforms this morning and set out for the job today with my husband, my son and my best friend.
It was absolutely fantastic. The park around the stadium is a bit like a theme park. The atmosphere, the shop, the refreshment vans and stands, the big screen, the music, the mascots, the TV crew…..FANTASTIC! We were due to play three spots before the match and the first one of those was going to be on the main stage outside the City shop, right next to the entrance turnstiles to the pitch. It was rather cold but we stood in our uniforms and were filmed on MCTV which is broadcast on the internet as well as around the ground. The sound was amazing! We were small in number but mighty in sound and it was a real joy to be part of. We played a couple of marches and a couple of popular tunes, the best received being “Blue Moon”, the City song.
We had a quick break and we were able to put coats (and hats!) back on again while we moved to another spot at the end of the main concourse to play another couple of spots. It was getting REALLY cold now so we were glad of the chance to put another couple of layers on. There was an Arctic edge to the wind and there was no way it was going to blow round us….it was most definitely doing its best to go through us!!
There were a couple of interviews going on on the big screens while we were playing and the first big star we saw interviewed was The Hoff himself. He was in the ground though so we didn’t see him in person, but I was really excited when they started playing the James Bond theme music as they brought out Timothy Dalton onto the very stage where we’d been stood not half an hour earlier! I was stood not six feet away from him and got a couple of cracking pictures. Here’s one of the better ones.
Once we’d played it was a quick jaunt back to the cars to leave instruments there, and we were given our complimentary tickets to go in and see the match. We were sat four rows back from the front, right behind the corner flag so we had a cracking view of the action. We were close enough to call out to the players on the pitch and we enjoyed a bit of friendly banter with the subs when they did their warm-up exercises as well. I hadn’t realised Peter Crouch (who played for England) was a Stoke player and it was great to see him warming up pitch-side. Poor lad got some stick from the City fans, all good and friendly though!
By the time we got to sit in our seats, I was absolutely freezing cold. Band pants and band shoes are NOT recommended for sitting watching a football match in January in Manchester. They are great for the stage where there are lots of lights and it’s generally a boiling hot environment because they are nice and delicate (thin) and look great when not wrapped round the outside of a bandsman who is turning blue in the wintry North…..
However, there were plenty of chances to stand up and clap and cheer and generally pump blood back into my poor legs and feet. City were by far the better team and poor old Stoke were outplayed from the kick-off so there were lots of chances to stand up and get the blood circulating again. It wasn’t quite enough to stop my poor old feet and calves feeling like they were made of porcelain though and by the end of the match it was painful to walk up the steps to get out of the ground.
City won 3-0 and they were three cracking goals. Two of them were scored at our end of the pitch and because we were so close to the pitch-side we had a BRILLIANT view of them both. The first goal was scored in the opposite goal in the first half and my poor old eyes couldn’t really see it (thankfully they replay all the key moments on two big screens so we did get to see it a couple of times then). There’s nothing quite like that feeling when your team scores is there?!
It took a while to get out of the ground afterwards. If you can imagine what 47,000 people look like when they are all mobile at the same time then you can imagine why it took us nearly an hour to get home when it would usually take us 15 minutes!
We got home, came in and got changed (into warm clothes) and went out again to the Toby for our tea. I just fancied a “proper” meal today and as we didn’t have anything in, we decided to go for a carvery meal. Good choice! I’m sat here now nearly an hour after we got home and I’m still as full as a bucket. Funnily enough, I’m still also freezing cold. My feet are ok now but my legs, back and neck all feel like I’m sat in a cold bath. I think it will be fleecy pyjamas in bed tonight for me….brrr……
Here’s a selection of photos I’ve taken today.
So – a bit of music, a bit of football, a bit of banter, a bit of Hollywood glamour, a bit of lovely dinner and a whole lot of fun. I hope your day as been as interesting as mine has been.
Happy New Year!!!