by Fish

In Oslo it felt like a new beginning. Rubicon, the support band on the tour, had elected not to travel to expensive Scandinavia and we were to have Rick Wakeman as special guest for a couple of nights. (See issue 10) After the success of Hamburg, I didn't expect the Phillipshalle to have the same attack and energy and eventual result. To our surprise yet another famous Dusseldorf show came to pass. Since Berlin, the curve had taken a furious upward trend and I knew we were onto something. Another superlative 9-0 I thought!

Adrenalin surging in the loins, what better way to come down than a game of football with the support band in the hall during the loadout. Rubicon used to be called "Fields of the Nephilm" until the singer went solo (cue "Twilight Zone" theme) and a court case ensued where he kept the name, leaving the remaining members with an identity crisis. They were all travelling with the crew and all their backline in a bus that as the days and journeys went by they became more of a Stephen King like creation than Cliff Richard's "Summer Holiday" bandwagon. With their gothic black leather, black denim, "Mad Max" haggard greasy locks, usually they were intimidating. Dressing rooms were always full of dubious characters and empty vodka bottles. We called them the "squatters".

I'd okayed them for the support slot after hearing their album and seeing a video. The first couple of shows had me concerned but as the tour went on they vastly improved and we were drawn to their set more and more. The band grew in confidence and as they felt more secure and we realised they weren't as intimidating as they looked, the visits to each other's dressing rooms increased (Usually to ours, on "beer borrowing" missions).

By Dusseldorf we were ready to undergo that traditional from of rock'n'roll male bonding - the football match. We all piled out into the empty hall, marked out the pitch, and kicked off while a host of brush wielding hall employees attempted to sweep away the mountain of debris jettisoned by the departed crowd who were by now snuggled in warm duvets. It was comical watching "squatters" lashing at the ball wildly with steel toe capped boots in mounds of empty crisp bags, polystyrene cups, crushed cans and hamburger wrappers only to collapse brutally in a flurry of packaging, sweating vodka and cursing like troopers.

They'd been offstage for over 3 hours. We'd been off 45 minutes. The difference in time available for alcohol consumption was the factor that decided the outcome of the match.

We won 23-4 and I scored 7 including one out the Cruyff handbook, a mid-air trap from a 35 yard cross that was pulled down and put through the legs of the advancing keeper and Rubicon lead singer, Andy Delaney, who cracked his wrist bone as he hit the floor. Sweet! The 'bonding' we were undertaking resulted in Kevin twisting his back, their bass player breaking his nose, Robin tearing leg ligaments and one of the caterers badly bruising his feet (he played barefot mad thing!). We were banned by Tim Hook from any replays!

The game broke the ice (as well as the bones) and as the tour moved on we became great buddies, resulting in further carnage and side-splitting stories for future tour buses.