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Old 8 Jun 19, 11:05 PM  
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:) A Mi11ion Dreams = 2018 - Day 20 - The Equals tour = A day in Clearwater with The Alarm.

Welcome back and thank you all for so many comments and PM's sent asking questions Will always try to help if you have a question to help your planning.
If you are reading for the first time or for the 100th +

Today is different



Day 19 is here if you missed it

The whole index is here

Once again the most popular and requested part of all of this is the index of all that has gone before and a journey of our boys growing up - you can read all of our previous adventures here

Day 20 = THE ALARM in Clearwater

A bit of background before we begin!

It is quite / very hard to describe the events today.

It is a day that we will all never forget and more than anything, amid a trip report, is a day where we did something that I don’t think will or can ever happen again.

Having followed a band since 1984 and watched them in so many places across the UK- from Glasgow to Wembley Stadium supporting Queen in 1986, to Llandudno for the annual Gathering to my own town in 2004 and loads more places too numerous to mention. The Alarm were my band from first listen and to have shared a journey as we have all grown up, has been a memorable one.



Having then watched the incredible battle that Mike Peters has had with cancer and leukaemia for the past 23 years, then to see his wife battle breast cancer so courageously in the past couple of years , is nothing short of inspiring and a little reminder on the darkest of days of what others have fought and defeated.

Amidst all of this, The Alarm continue to tour and having taken our boys to their first Alarm gig in Liverpool in 2017, the boys were able to meet the band, having managed to get after show passes. Thanks to Jules Peters, who had instantly recognised that our boys were the same age as theirs and so a link was made.





As I type all of today, I am compelled to include a link to their cancer charity, Love hope and Strength and would urge anyone to join me on the list – the website is here

Mike’s story is summarised here, as he was awarded an MBE for his charity work - a journey that at one point was not going to be possible - Click here to have a read



Jules story is summarised here
bbc/programmes/p06g5tx4

Two incredible life stories, bravery, determination and a will to beat diseases that change your life - more than anything, they are the most wonderful people who embrace life and have fought so hard to get to the other side.

Inspirational, does even begin to start their journey

Our paths crossed again in May 2018 in Holmfirth and we managed to sneak into the soundcheck (amazing what you can get Joe to do! ) and once again met with Jules, their USA tour had been announced and with a stop in Clearwater and Orlando.


The Clearwater gig was for all ages/ Orlando over 18’s only.
We got a picture and mentioned to that we were in Florida at the same time as them, Jules first response was, we needed to be on the guest list. We left and thought no more of it.



The gig in Holmfirth brought about band photo opportunities.






35 years of following my childhood band and that night my little boy had both the drummer’s drumsticks at the end of the night -the first, thanks to Smiley( drummer ) deliberately throwing it to him, the second from a very kind person in the audience that night who sought him out to ensure he had the other. One happy little drummer than night.




Today, we were actually on the guest list, courtesy of Jules -the boys did not know that bit yet- I was still pinching myself and was still unsure how it would all end up.

I only hope amid a Florida trip report, some of this makes sense!



Welcome to Day 20
Tuesday 14th August 2018



We left Lake Wilson Preserve around 10 and headed to the Tampa Premium Outlets. We had picked up some excellent Adidas bargains here last year.

Today there was not much to be had in there, so we mooched around the rest of the mall.

I got a couple of pairs of shorts in Haggar for just $15 each reduced from 60 (I had seen them in JC Penney for 30)

Shoes from the Clarks outlet for work - for Alison and I, plus a Calvin Klein stop, meant that we had a good shopping start to the day.

It also meant we needed to find a cash machine!

That proved more tricky than thought, as the search for the nearest Wawa for a PNC bank machine took us to one that was under construction, so we had to use a PNC drive through bank- which charged $3 for the privilege. The first time I have ever paid for a Clarity Card withdrawal



Whilst it saved driving around wasting time and petrol, I still get a little peeved paying to get my own money.

Westgate Countryside Mall was next, and having visited here in the past we were surprised to see how many shops had closed down- the food court though was a useful Subway/ Taco Bell lunch visit though and was needed by us all.






Apart from a swimming top for Joe and a couple of pairs of trousers for Alison in JC Penney there was very little here- I did look and found nothing , which is a JC Penney rarity!

We looked at visiting the mall in Tampa that would have very possibly been a better bet for bargains, we felt it was too far away to get down to the Outlets at Ellenton so we had a choice -

It was just 3pm and we had time on our hands before unveiling everything about today to the boys

We headed to Clearwater and at first found the gig venue, which was in the Clearwater city District, close to where all the Church of Scientology is based.

Once we spotted that parking was plentiful, we headed to Clearwater Beach and recognised that our plans had a small flaw!

Our previous visit to Clearwater, had been rained out and we were made aware that an expensive hotel for one night has a weather advisory!

Today, we had made the decision to drive there and back in the day and avoid the need for extra hotel costs.

Well lo and behold the sun was cracking the flags, it was beach weather and it really hit us that we should have booked a hotel!

We enjoyed a beach walk and recognised that this was such a great beach place to see and enjoy - our first visit to Clearwater in 2013 really did not do it for us and I have to admit I was not a fan of the place, it has grown on me and grown on all of us, there is so much to see and do and that is what keeps drawing us back there.










We had not even brought any of our beach gear today, but we just enjoyed the afternoon sun, we did make a little visit to the Sand Pearl Hotel, that we had stayed previously, just to remind ourselves that it is better in the sunshine rather than the rain!






We then also found a bar across the road which sold possibly the cheapest beer known to mankind!



$3.50 for two beers and the boys got a free sprite each.

Had we had a hotel room, I’m sure we would have stayed there and then taxied to the gig, that however was no longer an option!

We left, drove back across the bridge to the town of Clearwater, parked and then found that from 6pm parking was free.

We were very early, but this then proved a good thing. Having soundchecked, the band were around and about and we were just awaiting the doors opening.

Little did we know what would happen next…

We had a walk and saw Mike outside the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a protest, a song and a statement.







Fascinating to watch as it was such a deliberate ‘Protest Song’ against all that seems to go on in this place – It is the center for Scientology and I would suggest googling it rather than me posting it all on here!

Having read more online since, I can understand why you then turn up with an acoustic guitar and make that statement.


We were then joined by Jules, who had been out for a run, and in an instant recognised us and remembered our name too.

There is a long standing John Peel quote, about ‘never meeting your heroes as you will always be disappointed when you do.’
We were not, we had a time and a moment that will last forever in all of our memories.




And that was just the start…


We awaited the opening of the venue and were aware of many fellow Alarm fans who were here, many ex-Pats and so many Floridian fans too.

As the box office opened, we were stunned.

The very nice lady behind the glass simply asked if we would be Ok with the box seats?

With Tour manager Andy beside us we were gobsmacked.

We had seats in the box – I always know being on the band's guest list is a moment and a half, but this really did take it a step further.




For me, more than anything else, it meant we did not have anyone behind us – I had serious misgivings about watching a gig in the US, I know that the audience, if seated, are there to be entertained and will sit until the encore.



We don’t do that at an Alarm gig!

It was possibly this moment that just added that bit extra for us, not a Statler and Waldorf moment but we were able to pogo from minute one.




All 4 of us and there were a few looks from the stage that knew we were there. From all members of the band – they were feeding off the Alarm vibe that you always get in the UK and that involves a lot of singing / hands raising and generally having a bloody good time.








We watched as others were asked to sit down whilst we just kept going all night.

We had been given the best seats in the house and - in order to make the no hotel decision even worse – we had a free bar, with snacks.

I could run you through so many highlights of the night, unless you are a fan of the band, I would probably bore the backside off anyone who reads this.


It was special and, more than anything else, it was 35 years in the making!

Won’t go into the detail, but when you are a teenage lad and choose The Alarm above U2 it was something else- The Alarm were the support band on that night in Glasgow - I still maintain they played them off the stage.

Tonight was personal , it was special it was also a recognition that when you support a band through thick and thin, they recognise it too - They did it bit time for us

We stayed behind at the end and met with lots of other fans including one who had made a gig poster – having recognised my Alarm journey (my tee shirt is the telling factor!) and that we were from the UK and had given up some Disney time to be here. He gave us one as a gift.




We would never have missed this for the world.


It was a special coming together and in all of the gigs I have ever been to, I doubt that tonight can ever be surpassed.


The boys sought out Smiley (drummer) for one final photo,



Mike and Jules boys were playing football in the auditorium as the night came to an end.

Having been in hospital just days before , Mike was resting a voice and avoiding contact with people, his ongoing condition means he is susceptible to any general virus’ and the band even cancelled a gig in Canada earlier this week, which is a rarity.

There was just one last moment, and I cannot express the feeling that this hug meant.




My band, my family and 35 years of spending money and going places that you really shouldn’t on a work night!


Thank you Jules xx

Thank you -Mike, James and Smiley xx

Thank you to Andy the tour manager too – he made this all happen tonight at the box office.


You will never know how good today meant to an aging rock and roll relic - but more importantly inspiring our boys musically and giving Alison a recognition that all these years of buying concert tickets , really does have an impact!

What a night and more than anything in the world, a day that will never, ever be forgotten by us all.

My boyhood band with music that my own lads and wife enjoy, especially the new stuff.

I could end with a you tube link to any of the songs you have heard before, but will just add in this




As we left, climbed into the car, with ears still ringing, we headed back to Orlando- we drove through Tampa to a firework display, from the huge Tampa Bay Buccaneers stadium – Taylor Swift had been in town and I only hope four people at that gig, had left with such a personal and amazing gig experience as we had enjoyed.

Our trip back was one in a stunned sharing of Alarm music and at what had happened tonight, not even sure how it all came together, but as a Dad, there is an amazing thankfulness that my 35 years of following The Alarm really became an absolute reality today for my family.

We are already booked for a Mike Peters solo gig in October at Selby and the band have so many festival gigs planned for the summer, together with another USA tour.

They are next into Orlando in September 2019 (we are going to miss them by a couple of weeks)

Not sure if any of today makes sense in reading, especially if you have never heard of The Alarm, it was such a hugely personal experience.

I know we will never repeat it, but as a holiday memory it will live with us all forever.

Thanks for reading

Day 21 will be here real soon

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Going out in a Blaze of Glory- Our Summer of Sorcery 2019 - click here to read a trip report in progress

All of our previous Trip reports and escapades can be read here.

Edited at 12:52 AM.
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Old 9 Jun 19, 07:28 AM  
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I’ve never heard of the Alarm but was in tears reading this - such a fantastic experience. Shame about the lack of hotel to make use of the free bar but the car journey back must have buzzing!
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Old 9 Jun 19, 09:07 AM  
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Originally Posted by Dixiechic View Post
I’ve never heard of the Alarm but was in tears reading this - such a fantastic experience.
Totally this, such an emotional post to read and a memory to last a lifetime. So pleased you had such an amazing experience it was fantastic to read.
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Old 9 Jun 19, 04:26 PM  
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So funny watched bands reunited the alarm on utube yesterday ! Great band
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Old 9 Jun 19, 10:50 PM  
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Originally Posted by hetty26 View Post
So funny watched bands reunited the alarm on utube yesterday ! Great band
At the time they broke up, they really were on their backsides and for quite a few of them in the band, up them too

The power struggle within the band split them and to be able to do Bands Reunited was a massive step forward.
Dave Sharp has supported the band in recent tours and has appeared at The Gathering too.
He will feature on a song on the new Alarm release - Sigma - out a week on Friday

At the height of their touring around 1985- 1990 they were a fantastic band to see live.
The Bands reunited episode is a fab watch with a lot relevant questions asked of Mike - as a fan we all had them after than night at the Brixton Academy in 1991.

Hope you enjoyed the Bands reunited show, if you see the band coming to anywhere close to you there are better than ever and well worth a night out

Thanks for posting
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Old 10 Jun 19, 08:10 AM  
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What a fantastic memorable day ... 🎼 sixty eight guns 🎼
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Old 10 Jun 19, 10:20 AM  
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I've never heard of them ( sorry) but I can tell from reading this just how much they mean to you and what a special day it was for your family
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Old 10 Jun 19, 09:25 PM  
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What an experience for your whole family to enjoy together.
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Old 10 Jun 19, 10:27 PM  
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Originally Posted by sandshal View Post
What a fantastic memorable day ... 🎼 sixty eight guns 🎼
Just for you

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Old 11 Jun 19, 09:33 PM  
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What a fabulous story, amazing memories for your whole family.
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