Top rock drummer's one-van show embarks on a most unusual tour

IT is not the sort of performance likely to appeal to any rock musician's ego – playing to an unseen audience while shut in the back of a white Luton box van.

But when drummer Sebastian Rochford, who has provided backing to more than one legend of rock, was offered the gig by Yorkshire-based events organisation The Shed he jumped at the chance to take part.

Yesterday there was no danger of stage fright as the London-based artist, who has performed with stars in front of crowds of 20,000, embarked on a whistle stop tour of Yorkshire.

Drumming for 20 minutes per performance on his four-piece kit, he never actually left the van.

It was only in the final minutes of his improvised drumming solo that the doors were flung open to reveal the entertainer, who has shared a stage with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Corrine Bailey Rae, David Byrne, Brian Eno and Pete Doherty.

He said yesterday: "It has been really fun. It is nice just to play and have no idea what is going on outside. You don't know if there is even anyone there.

"I sometimes perform to large audiences – 15,000 to 20,000 when I was gigging with Paul Simon. I have got ear plugs in because I have to play quite loud so the sound travels outside."

Calling at Leeds, York, Malton, Pickering, Kirkbymoorside and Helmsley, Simon's Van Gig was hailed a success by Shed boss Simon Thackray, whose last event was a duet between a trombonist and a river at Rosedale Abbey, near Pickering.

"People have been listening by pressing an ear against the side of the van or lying underneath. It is full on tornado when you open the door," he added.

Mr Thackray, based at Brawby, near Malton, added: "The public response has been fantastic."

He had requested an unmarked van to add to the mystery. "They offered to wash it but I said no so I could write 'van gig' with my finger in the muck."

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