- Tony Urchin and me at the jjb stadium waiting to deliver some pre match entertainment
I’ve been playing in bands since I was fourteen and once you have that itch you have to scratch it occasionally.
I’m lucky enough to get asked from time to time to do gigs and on March 7 I was asked to sing on the pitch at the JJB Stadium in Wigan. It was the Wigan Warriors game against The Bradford Bulls in the Rugby Super League. I performed alongside my good mate Tony Urchin who is currently touring the world playing guitar and singing with ex Beatles drummer Pete Best and his band.
We played a short set of party covers including “Chelsea Dagger” by the Fratellis, Ami Winehouse/Zutons favourite “Valerie”, Van Morrison’s perennial favourite “Brown Eyed Girl” and crowd pleaser “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees which never fails to get the Super League crowd singing along. Under the stage name The Rockets we went on to a crowd of around 10,000 just prior to the match kicking off (they got an attendance of 12,588 for the game itself.)
It’s a great honour to be asked to play at the JJB Stadium and this was The Rockets sixth appearance on the pitch. For Tony playing at Stadiums has become part of his world because alongside the weddings and parties he plays here in the UK for LMM The Pete Best Band always include one or two stadium shows in their regular American and Canadian tours . They played at Shea Stadium last year which Beatles fans will remember as the site of one of the Beatles most triumphant US appearances. The Pete Best Band have also played pre match for the Chicago White Sox baseball team.
You can book Tony Urchin for weddings and parties.See his page on the LMM website for further details
- Tony Urchin in the players tunnel at the JJB stadium
For me Saturdays show was a reminder of the time I was booed by 7,000 people.
The occasion was Bradford Bulls home game against Leeds Rhinos a couple of years ago. I had been asked by The Bradford Bulls to sing their theme tune which they told me was a version of The Backstreet Boys “ Larger Than Life” with new lyrics written to celebrate the Bulls. When the lyrics turned up I quickly realised that they didn’t fit the backing tracks I had for “Larger Than Life.” Indeed they were for a totally different song –Opus “Life Is Life.” I called up The Bulls to ask them if they could supply a backing track and one arrived on the day of the Super League game. It was in the wrong key! I turned up at The Gratton Stadium in Odsal expecting that my sound check would be the closest I would get to performing but once on the pitch with a mic in my hand I thought “well its only two minutes I’ll shout my way through it!”
I shouldn’t have worried because as the Leeds Rhino fans filed in to the stadium I noticed they were made up mainly of lads between fourteen and twenty five. There was no way they were going to put up with me singing the Bradford Bulls theme tune without trying to drown me out. As the song started the Bradford Bulls fans gamely sang along with me whilst 7.,000 Rhino fans stomped their seats and booed as loud as they could. I couldn’t hear a note I sang!
It was one of the most exciting gigs I have played in my life. The atmosphere was electric and I walked off the pitch to a standing ovation from the Bulls fans whilst the Rhinos crowd continued their booing from the away day stand.
There was no booing on March 7 at the JJB Stadium. Tony Urchin and myself had a great day and the Wigan Warriors went on to win 44-10 over the Bradford Bulls.
Our thanks to Simon and the team at Wigan Warriors for their hospitality. We can’t wait to come back.
- the Wigan Warriors cheerleaders waiting to go on the pitch at the JJB stadium
After the show we went over to Wigan Walkabout where several hundred Warriors fans danced the night away to DJ Matt Stephens in the Wigan Walkabout party room and DJ Tony Corluss down in Surfers Paradise .These are two of the best party DJ’s in the North West and if you’re ever in Wigan on a Saturday night you should pop in to see them. They had the place rocking!