Peterborough is, quite literally, United
At 2pm yesterday we played a gig in a day care centre to a 6ft by 6ft room of very confused-looking toddlers. This was due to a slight mix-up during our Peterborough promotional schools tour and, I have to admit, it was a bit odd. I tried explaining to them after our performance that the new Peterborough United charity single Posh We Are was now available to download from iTunes for only 79p but the blank looks we received in response suggested to me that they hadn’t yet developed into discerning music consumers. Actually, I think most of them were just concentrating on not pooping their pants.
By contrast, at 2pm this afternoon we played a gig in a football stadium in front of over 6,000 people. None of whom had soiled themselves (presumably). How things can change in 24 hours.
It’s been quite a week. On Monday we released a charity football single in collaboration with Peterborough United (A.K.A “The Posh”) entitled Posh We Are. Posh We Are is Peterborough’s club anthem and has been around since the early 70s, when it was written and recorded by a couple of local chaps named Brian and Tony. We’ve collaborated with a bunch of fans, some of the star players and the Voyager School choir to re-record the song in celebration of the club’s promotion to League One. All profits are going to sports charity Free Kicks and, since the website we’ve set up to help people download the single has had nearly 4,000 hits since release day, it ought to raise a decent amount (plus it’s reached Number 45 in the iTunes Plus Top 100 Chart).
Since Monday we’ve been touring Peterborough’s schools playing the song. Kids are singing it in playgrounds across the city. Local radio stations are absolutely caning the record – playing it every hour, on the hour. The Peterborough Evening Telegraph has been running articles nearly every day, encouraging people to support their local club in aid of a good cause. Peterborough is, quite literally, united. Oh, and I’ve been given my own Posh football shirt with “Chris Lightyear” written on the back. This is now the coolest thing I own. And I own a keytar.
So, the whole project climaxed today with a performance at London Road Stadium, home of the Posh. The team faced Darlington for the last match of the season and by 3pm a sell-out crowd of 15,000 had passed through the gates. We lavished a high-energy set on our first ever stadium crowd, opening with She’s The One and steamrolling through This House Will Burn, Beat Alive, Banana Republic, Great Balls Of Fire, Sleepless and Emily. We even chucked in a cover of Chelsea Dagger for good measure. I had to improvise the bass-line which, in front of 6,000 people (whilst singing lead vocals), proved to be one of the bolder moves of my career. You know, I’ll be totally honest with you – a big part of me expected to be pelted with rotten pies at some point during the set or, at the very least, inspire some derogatory terrace chants, but we actually went down really well. As Tony says, football fans not coming at you with sawn-off lead piping is in reality a really good sign. If they applaud your performance with their hands above their head, as they were by the time we hit our last few songs, it virtually means they’re ready to commit to a lifetime of loving companionship with you and put down a deposit on a romantic holiday bungalow in Newton Abbott.
Anyhow, the pièce de résistance came after we finished Emily. At this point, as we kicked into the opening bars of Posh We Are, over 100 students from the Voyager piled onto the pitch. Cue a feisty performance of the club anthem supported by a legion of excitable teenagers and the old faithful down at the London Road end (watch the video here). The opposition’s fan were quaking in their boots (shame Peterborough eventually lost 2-0).
Back in the bowels of the stadium, as we were putting our instruments away, we were approached by the Chief Executive of the club.
“Great job boys – how do you fancy coming back to play for the Manchester United pre-season friendly in August?”
I think we fancy that very much, thank you.