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Easy Rider

Stuart Bailie | 10:34 UK time, Friday, 14 May 2010

August 24, 1994 and Jeff Buckley is set to play The Limelight in Belfast. In the usual manner, a few simple requests have been sent to the venue in advance, asking for towels, food and some refreshments for the artist. In music biz parlance, this is the rider. Some of the more uppity acts will make absurd demands, but Jeff and his band don't need so much. Although 20 assorted sodas would be nice.

After the soundcheck, they look around their dressing room for the soft drinks they had requested. Maybe a few Cokes, a Sprite or a Fanta. They ask for their sodas and an employee happily points to a table overladen with Ormeau bakery's finest.

"There y'go... bacon sodas, cheese sodas, ham sodas, egg sodas, the lot."

Language issues, eh? Apparently they got over the confusion and enjoyed the food. And the next morning, the band were duly presented with a stash of fresh soda farls for the journey back.

It's a great story, and it was just one of the amusing anecdotes that were delivered by David Neely and Ciaran Smyth, custodians of CDC Leisure, who base their business on the Ormeau Ave strip: The Limelight, Katy Daly's and The Spring & Airbrake. They are part of the Belfast lore, the gigs that featured The Strokes, Oasis, Mercury Rev, the Manics, Ash, Therapy and Snow Patrol.

Many of the aforementioned are now celebrated on the venue walls; a fresh exhibition, legendary names and a testament to the value of a quality gig.


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