When you get Stereophonics all to yourself...
On Friday 18 December 2015 we had the privilege of taking Tony to see Stereophonics in Manchester. So excited was Tony that he arrived an hour early at the arena with his wife Liz.
Dealing with COPD or a prolapsed bowel is plenty for one person. Tony faces both with great courage and humour.
Tony remembers getting his first Stereophonics CD from a motorway service station many years ago on a trip with Liz. Before illness set in. Before wheelchairs and meds. Tony loved the band the moment he heard them and had always wanted to see them. He saw them on Friday and got a lot closer than he expected.
We had coffee and went to the arena under the guise that we were to be shown where the wheelchair access section is so there were no problems when doors opened. What was really happening was Tony was going to meet Stereophonics and we had a prearranged time and place to be. Only Tony didn't know this. Even after Keith from the arena's security came to tell us where and when to meet 'them' Tony was clueless. Until we explained 'them' is Stereophonics. Tony is talkative. Very. But when he found out he was going to meet Stereophonics he did a rather fine impression of a goldfish, opening and closing his mouth but words wouldn't follow. After a while the shock wore off enough for Tony to tell us he was in shock. And very excited.
For Tony to be able to come out for the day without too much discomfort he had changed the timings of taking his meds and other than shock and excitement he was in fine fettle and ready to go. A short while later and through the arena we went to wait for the band with Tony's excitement building. A wonderful lady, Kara, was the lead organising things inside and not long passed before Tony was face to face with Stereophonics who also had a swag bag of goodies for him. The band were fantastic and gave Tony plenty of time, photos and laughter. He was also invited into the soundcheck so a day that starts with the promise of a gig also has a private show. Fair do's as Tony would say.
Soundcheck was great and Tony absolutely loved it. He couldn't believe there was just him and Liz and Stereophonics and their crew. Tony had to leave before the end as he needed to take meds for the pain so we headed off to take care of that. Come showtime he was fit again and the lights went down.
Tony and Liz can't remember the last time they were able to go out together. To be present and be able to watch Tony enjoy himself, to see them holding hands, to read a message from their children saying how happy they were is something very beautiful.
We can't thank Stereophonics enough for their generosity to Tony. Natalie for creating this and Kara for hosting us so kindly.
As both Tony and Liz said 'It was amazing'.