I’ve spent over thirty years loving Chris Rea’s music. His Saturday night collapse on stage in Oxford was barely a surprise to me because the poor sod has gone through so much.
Pancreatic cancer. Usually one of the faster killers. Removal of said pancreas. Surely living without a pancreas is impossible? It would seem not. Various other bits chopped out. Oh, and a stroke last year too. 34 pills a day to top off seven injections. And the old bugger still takes to the road.
I’ve seen him live on numerous occasions. Brilliant slide guitar. A unique booming vocal. Terrible set lists that don’t flow. And shows well under the two hour mark. But his recorded work really does it for me. Stainsby Girls. Road to Hell. I Can Hear Your Heartbeat. And so much more.
His public image is different too. I’ve never me the bloke, but he comes across as so un-rock star in interviews. An awkwardness with the media? Or perhaps towards the media.
Different cancer. Different treatments. He was diagnosed at a similar age to me and has made it to 66 years old. He looks bloody ancient. But I’d quite like to get another fifteen years or more out of my innings. Even if I end up collapsing live in a hot tub somewhere in 2032.
He even wrote a song about cancer pain!