To say that this night was a Cropper’s folk night is actually a little misleading. It was the same venue (The Star, Roberttown) and a lot of the same friendly faces from the usual Friday night club, but this night was special.
Every now and then, the MC from The Cropper’s (Eric Johnson, with the support of (better?) half, Carol) would set up YPaC concerts. These concerts were set up to raise money for a number of charities, the last one Pete played at was for Alzheimers, but there are several throughout the year.
This night was even more special than that. This one was for the man, the myth, the legend himself, Pete. What a night it was!
Many were told to arrive early, as a full house was expected. Boy, are we glad we did! We tuned our instruments (there is a first time for everything they say!) and took our place in a ‘quiet’ corner. By the time the night started, there was no such thing as a quiet corner. Even the term ‘standing room only’ wouldn’t be accurate, as there wasn’t even that.
So there was a lot of moving to begin with to try and fit as many people in as possible without it becoming a fire hazard (I say this for legal reasons, but it clearly became a fire hazard). When trying to move a stool, we thought it was nailed go the floor, turns out, it was just made of cast iron. You know you were brought up on the wrong side of the tracks when you presume a pub needs to nail its stools down.
Pictures of Pete lined the room. In many of them he was holding a guitar, in the ones that he wasn’t, he was with family. This summed Pete up perfectly.
We couldn’t think of a better way for the night to start than with Eric kicking things off. Pete and us would talk about how we could listen to Eric sing all night. His soft and warm demeanour radiates through his playing, easy listening at its finest. Pete’s presence was definitely sensed that night, as Eric mused that he had never felt so calm playing in front of so many people.
The night continued with many of Pete’s friends singing and playing. As artists, we always love it when the audience are in good voice. Not only is it beautiful to have an instant response that people are liking what you are doing by singing along, but it is also hard to sing five different harmonies with just the two of us, and that’s where the audience come in.
As the night made its way towards the break, we realised we were cornered. The room was so full we couldn’t get out. We needed the toilet and the break was an hour away. Luckily, Katie’s handbag was at hand, and half empty.
A bottle of Scotch was auctioned during the break (again, very fitting for Pete!) and the frivolities were continued.
Before we were to play, Eric mentioned that my musical journey started with my dad, Pete. This is true, I couldn’t have had a better start in musical shenanigans. It seemed only right to do a little speech. It was emotional, but we made it through the set without any tears (okay, members of the audience cried a bit, but we’re learning to tune up now, promise).
All-in-all, this warm, loving, caring night raised £625 for a warm, loving, caring man. There are no words to describe how much we miss Pete, or how big the hole in our lives is without him. There are also no words to describe the generosity of those who knew him. There will never be enough words to thank those that have given their money and time to make events like this happen. Events that help his family know that he was, and will always be, well loved. The words ‘thank you’ don’t cover the depth of appreciation we have for these events being set up, or the even higher honour of being asked to play, but thank you, because the music keeps Pete alive.