Drove down to Salisbury after work on Friday. Getting there wasn't a problem - finding the venue was. Oh, I found the "local road" I mentioned (on the mailing list, when asked for directions), and was soon in a housing estate, in a maze of one-way streets - with nothing which looked remotely like an arts centre. Retracing my steps, I eventually spotted a sign for a car park, with "for arts centre" written in the smallest letters imaginable. Parking my car, I still couldn't find it, so I asked a passer-by. "Oh, it's in that old church over there..." (I had only driven past it three or four times).
A couple of the tour regulars were waiting outside - and nobody else. Eventually we were let in, and gradually a few more people arrived. We chatted about the small crowd, and the poor publicity for the gig (no posters outside the gig, either in Salisbury or Southampton, nothing in the music press, nothing on the local radio, nothing on teletext, etc).
The posters inside the venue indicated there would be a support act. The (something) Quintet (I forgot to make a note). It being an arts centre, I had visions of us being entertained to the likes of Mozart... anyway, they didn't show.
By the time Ian appeared on stage around 9pm there were at least 50 of us (certainly no more than 75), in a hall big enough for 200. If Ian was disappointed he didn't show it, and proceeded to deliver a storming set.
I queued for autographs at the end and chatted to the band for a couple of minutes. Darrell said he enjoyed the show ("there was a special feel tonight...") and could see I was enjoying it too. I'd taken Brain Capers to be autographed, and Ian told me they'd rehearsed more from that album "...but you need to shout for them - and tonight you didn't shout loud enough!"
The band reminded me to go to future gigs in my area (I will, I will!) and to tell all my friends. It was impossible for the venue to have made a profit tonight, but the venue is run by the local council, so eventually I guess local tax-payers will be footing the bill.
I have heard that after the UK tour, Ian will be touring Europe - this will include Germany and Sweden. Ian doesn't know when the next album will be. "I've got to write it first!" he said. I thought most of it was already written. "Ah, but some of those songs aren't too good any more!". Ian promised me the next album will be a monster. If Salvation is anything to go by, it will be.
All in all, a superb night. Can't wait for the next one...