After a brisk ten minute walk Colin was stood on the pavement opposite the Aberdeen Music Hall, the venue for the first gig on Maiden’s Hair’s mini tour of the United Kingdom. He gazed at the magnificent pillared façade of the former Assembly Rooms and reckoned it was an appropriate setting for its band members who were paying tribute to legends of the heavy metal music genre that he had always enjoyed.
He crossed the road and searched out the poster advertising that night’s performance. There were no surprises; every detail on the billboard was exactly as Colin had included in his laptop file. There were six group members, all Canadian born and bred. Although the original members of the real Iron Maiden were now in their mid fifties, these young men were in their early thirties, with toned muscular bodies and a full head of hair nestling on their shoulders. Each one was every inch the rock god that they were imitating from the original band as they looked out from the billboard dressed in their ubiquitous denim and leather uniform.
Gabriel Anderson the dark haired lead singer with a pilot’s cap under his arm; Vincent Gagnon, Jordan Campbell and Nick Williams who provided the three guitar identity of the legends they were paying homage to. Jordan’s twin brother John was eerily like Nicko, Maiden’s drummer and Brandon Taylor completed the line up on bass as he mimicked Steve Harris, Maiden’s founder member. Colin was mesmerised. He couldn’t wait to hear them play tonight; if only it could have been Iron Maiden themselves! Still, he had to admit that the playlist was everything it should be, all the early favourites and a few of the newer tracks as well.
Colin’s stomach was telling him he had missed breakfast. He checked around the sides and back of the imposing Music Hall building to make certain everything was where he thought and then he walked down Union Street to find somewhere to eat. When he was fed and watered he made his way the short distance to the public library, where he spent several hours whiling away the time until he had calculated that the Maiden’s Hair entourage would arrive, ready to prepare for tonight’s gig.
Around three o’clock in the afternoon, Colin wandered back in the drizzly rain and sure enough a large Mercedes truck was parked up by the stage doors of the Music Hall. There were two roadies and it was evident to Colin that they had only just started unloading gear from the back of the truck. A couple of young lads were fetching and carrying smaller items, such as boxes of microphones, metre upon metre of leads, microphone stands, plus all the paraphernalia a drum kit comprises, all enclosed in battered old covers. The heavy lifting and manoeuvring of amplifiers, speakers, PA systems and lighting rigs was best left to the professionals!
Colin approached the older roadie and asked ‘Frankie?’
‘Yes mate. What can I do you for?’ Frankie replied in an accent not from Montreal or Ottawa but straight from London’s East End.
‘The tour management sent me up to give you a hand. I’ve just got back from several years abroad and I need to get some time in driving on the left hand side of the road again! I guess the extra pair of hands will be useful setting up too?’ Colin said.
‘Brilliant!’ said Frankie ‘Billy’s inside with a couple of staff from this place and I’m just going to start offloading the heavy stuff. If you want to pitch in you’re more than welcome mate!’
Colin took hold of the speaker cabinet Frankie shoved towards him, hoisted it easily onto his chest and walked into the building. As he walked towards the stage he had a brief smile at the corner of his mouth. One phone call to a dim young girl in London at the tour management company’s offices and he had discovered the lead roadie’s name; it was like taking candy from a baby! Neither Frankie nor Billy was going to check up on him. They would be only too happy that there was an extra pair of hands around to help with all the grafting and driving that they had to do; when you’re pretty much on minimum wage why sweat it?
The next couple of hours were spent getting the kit onto the stage and setting it up. Colin had seen it done hundreds of times on a smaller scale in The Crown and had studied footage on ‘how to’ online, so he coped well enough on the stuff he was comfortable with and steered clear of anything that was foreign to him. He watched Frankie and Billy in action and made mental notes of the various steps he needed to go through on later gigs on the lighting rigs for instance, to stop anyone asking exactly where and what he was doing when he was overseas. Life on the road as a road manager is one helluva lot tougher than lounging about with a cocktail in your hand on the veranda of a luxury villa, but Colin was pretty fit for a guy in his early forties and he had his eyes on the main prize. Travelling with Maiden’s Hair and listening to them play virtually each night was a bonus. Each gig was taking him closer and closer to his first task; to avenge the death of his precious daughter.
The sequel to the award winning ‘The Final Straw’ sees Colin Bailey return to the UK after almost a decade abroad. With a new name and a new face he still has scores to settle. His meticulous planning takes him ingeniously across Scotland and the North of England ticking names off his list with the police completely baffled.
DCI Phil Hounsell pitted his wits against Colin before and so he is sent to Durham where he teams up with super intelligent young DS Zara Wheeler; together they track their man to Manchester and then eventually south to Bath.
The final scenes take place on the streets of the Roman city; Phil Hounsell’s family is threatened and in a dramatic conclusion reminiscent of Holmes and Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, the two men struggle above the foaming waters of the historic Pulteney weir.
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-18
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