Take It Easy To 'Eden
It was mid January, a couple of weeks before the 10th Anniversary gig, and I was sitting quietly in the library in deep concentration when my mobile broke the deathly silence. I walked swiftly outside and answered it just in time. I hate missed calls, in fact I hate missing anything. "Is that Chris Lloyd?" Enquired the confident voice. "Speaking" I replied. "I've heard on the grapevine that you are looking for an all round pro' musician", he then continued to list his credits and career history. He was currently working with the world famous 'Wishbone Ash' but seemed very keen to fill the Talon vacancy. Over the last three months we'd had over sixty applicants and auditioned only a dozen of which only two were being seriously considered. Now, out of the blue, someone calls me and has seemingly all the attributes that we had been looking for. "Where are you based?" I asked. "Nuneaton" he replied, "Do you know it?" Now one thing I've learned in business over the years is that if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is. Nuneaton is my home town after all. Nevertheless, the curiosity was killing me, I just had to go round and meet this guy. I liked Keith Buck instantly and within twenty minutes I knew that he was the man for the job. A few weeks later he came to our gig at the Buxton Opera House to meet the rest of the boys. They too quickly came to the same happy conclusion.
We began rehearsals for 'Take It Easy To 'Eden' in February 2008, but this time there were not to be one but two resident guest musicians. This was so we could cover all the parts required in the songs that we had chosen from the new Long Road Out Of Eden album. Craig Wainwright had been with us on a part-time basis for a couple of years but now was given the full-time position on piano, keyboards and percussion. Bearing in mind that his main instruments are drums and guitar, this was going to be a real challenge for someone with such limited experience. I remember a discussion with Si near the end of that spring tour and we had agreed that it had probably been one of the most enjoyable 'on the road' experiences that we'd ever had and that the band had never sounded so good. We were having the time of our lives and thankfully, we knew it.
By the middle of the autumn tour, Anni came to us and brought up a subject that had been banded around for years, but one we had managed to postpone, at least until now. She was determined to make us at least consider the possibility of filming the show. Yes it was that old chestnut. The DVD! The last time we had attempted it eight years before, we had expended a lot of emotional energy and spent a lot of time and money on something that had ultimately not been worth it. Little wonder then that it was a topic that we did not readily approach with any confidence or enthusiasm. However, after much soul searching and heated debate, by early November we had agreed to go for it. The last night of the tour was at the Prince Of Wales Theatre in Cannock which was already sold out. So we booked an extra night on the 18th of December with the sole purpose of filming the DVD. That way, the whole evening could be biased towards the filming in terms of camera positions, lighting and several other technical factors. Now we had about six weeks to prepare. Anni had already sourced the Film Company and was liaising with them almost on a daily basis. We re-visited all the songs in turn, extra equipment was purchased and Pete even managed to find a twin-neck guitar, as used by Don Felder on Hotel California. The Ireland trip brought with it the inevitable bout of colds and sore throats which did nothing for the confidence or morale but we battled through and sure enough, DVD day came around. We were all quite nervous but at the same time excited by the challenge of producing under pressure. We could at least comfort ourselves with the fact that we had prepared thoroughly. Everything that needed to be done had been done. All we had to do now was to try and enjoy it. I arrived at the gig early that morning and the camera crew were already almost ready to go. It was clearly too late to cancel now. This was definitely... as they say... it!