Aaaaaah, Cardiff. Traditionally a rainy part of the world. Even more so in the middle of September, and at a weekend. So imagine my suprise (and delight) to be driving over the Severn Bridge into South Wales in glorious sunshine.
For those of you that don't know, "One Big Weekend" is the culmination of BBC Radio 1's summer of live events. Basically 20,000 people in a huge field behind Cardiff Castle for two days. Saturday was the dance music day, Sunday has a lineup of 7 bands - headlined by Travis.
As with most festivals, the backstage area is nothing more than a load of portakabins, arranged in a sqaure, and all facing inwards to an area with some patio tables and chairs. Each room has a little sign in the window, showing who it belongs to, and inside there's the regulatory nibbles and drinks.
When I arrive in the backstage area the first member of Travis that I spot is Fran, sitting in the sunshine with James from Starsailor and his baby girl Niamh. Dougie and Andy are taking things easy, sitting outside the dressing room and enjoying the amazing sunshine. Neil is catching up on some sleep on the tourbus. Pete, Travis' tour manager arrives with some bacon sandwiches - the perfect start to a lazy Sunday!
The stage is inside a huge blue "big top" tent, which would look more at home in a circus than behind Cardiff Castle! Perfect for the rainy day that everybody expected, but pretty warm in todays sunshine. The crowd was already in good spirits when "The Thrills" came onstage at midday. Kosheen were next up, and their lead singer Sian ended up borrowing a guitar from Fran, because hers had problems before their set. Fran lent her one of his Taylor acoustics, and when Sian returned it, she said how impressed with it she was, and how nicely worn-in the neck felt compared to her guitar.
Suddenly, the area around the dressing rooms started to empty, with almost everybody rushing to get the best vantage points around the sides and back of the stage. It could only mean one thing.. "The Darkness" were about to start! Everybody wanted to see the band play live, and all came away with big smiles on their faces. Andy, together his wife Jo, managed to get a prime spot in the wings to watch Justin and the guys run through a blistering set (and speedy change into a trademark catsuit)!
Back in the dressing room area, and time for more sitting around in the sunshine. Andy recieves some medical attention for a sprained wrist (and makes sure he can still play with the bandage on), Fran does a quick interview with Chris Moyles from Radio 1, and Dougie shows his sculpting skills by creating a little sunhat from a sheet of newspaper.
Dido arrives and pops over to say hi to the guys, as they all toured together in the US a couple of yearsback. After a brief spot of catching up, she heads off towards the stage to perform a superb acoustic set.
Pink and her band take to the stage, and Fran manages to catch the first bit of their set from the side of the stage, before heading back to the dressing room to get ready. Neil has finally woken up and makes his way from the tourbus to the dressing room. At 6pm, just as the sun is starting to set, Sara Cox takes to the stage to introduce Travis to the 10,000-strong crowd in the tent.
With the stage bathed in a wash of yellow light, Travis launch straight into "Sing", which is quickly followed by "Writing To Reach You". Fran introduced a few songs from the new album to the crowd, including "The Beautiful Occupation" and "How Many Hearts". Unsuprisingly, "Peace The Fuck Out" and "Blue Flashing Light" weren't broadcast as part of the radio coverage of the gig!
The wings of the stage were full of Radio 1 presenters - Chris Moyles (and his parents), Edith Bowman, Colin Murray and Jo Whiley all seem to enjoy the set. Fran introduced the last song of the evening, "Peace The Fuck Out", explaining that everywhere that the band played "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?", it rained. So hopefully everywhere they play P.T.F.O, they will spread peace!
As the last notes ring out from Andy's guitar, most the band head towards the people-carrier waiting at the back of the tent. Fran, on the other hand, jumps down from the stage and runs along the front row of the crowd, shaking hands. Finally the security people point him in the right direction, and he joins the rest of the guys to be whisked off into the sunset.
Writing to Reach You
The Beautiful Occupation
As You Are
Blue Flashing Light
The Humpty Dumpty Love Song
How Many Hearts
Why Does It Always Rain On Me?
Peace the Fuck Out