The set contained a number of the new more spiritual songs, which confused the European audiences who were familiar with the material from the first album.

The set was difficult to set up at some venues, and so gigs started late, which caused problems when the venue had to be vacated at a certain time due to local by-laws… some songs had to be cut from the set-list and the music press accused the Group of short-changing the fans. Worse was to come…

The Welbeck Group; a History: 7. The Tour Ends Prematurely

“The Tour seemed to drag on endlessly” said Danny Welbeck in an interview shortly after its end
“the fans were not acquainted with the new songs, the set was too ambitious and pretentious and took too long to rig up at each gig, and then there were the 3D visuals”.

Rick Stein had negotiated a deal with a fledgling silicon valley firm on behalf of the Welbeck Group to produce two giant screens that would show images of the Group as they performed, in three dimensions. The screens came in sections so that they could be assembled to suit the size of the venue being played. That was a good thing. The bad thing was that the 3D screens, known as “WowVision 3D” had really only been at the beta stage, and hadn’t been properly tested on large audiences in low light conditions, with a combination of other effects such as dry ice, and the usual overhead lights.

“The bloody 3D was a flippin’ joke!” opinionated Alex Animal Cooper, the Welbeck Group’s forthright drummer. I saw them demonstrated on the night before the first gig, at the Frankfurt Sports Hall, and it gave me a headache. Me and then many other people at the gig so it turned out. Bloody disaster!”

By the second month of the tour, there were complaints from promoters and in the music press that fans were coming away from gigs complaining of blurred vision and headaches. When the first writ against the Wellback Group’s Management Company came in, the Group convened for crisis talks.

The Welbeck Group members wanted the 3D screens removed from future gigs. Rick argued that what was needed were special glasses to reduce the background glare. The cost of these would be charged to the WowVision company in the States that had supplied the screens. Reluctantly the boys agreed, and an order for many tens of thousands of these were put in, to cover the last legs of the Welbeck Group’s European tour.

The good news was that the glasses seemed to work, and, by chance, actually enhanced the 3D effect, but the WowVision 3D company refused to pay for the cost of the production and supply of the glasses.  Expensive lawyers were engaged, and things got increasingly acrimonious. A court case was brought, and heard quickly on the basis of the loser would pay all the costs.  Rick Stein didn’t tell the Welbeck Group this, and when they found out they were annoyed and angry. They had a right to be. The case against the Company was flawed due to some small print Rick failed to notice in the agreement to buy the 3D screens.

Robby Welbeck takes up the story of the end of the tour:

“We never even made the USA. Stein had got us all into so much debt that panic spread among the US promoters and they pulled the plug on us. I think we had one possible gig in Wyoming left and of course it wasn’t worth us flying out to the states with all the equipment for just one gig. And to make matters worse, my prize Rickenbacker Bass got nicked from a gig in Barcelona. I was fed-up, and wanted to go home.”

Amid accusations, counter accusations and further writs and threatened court cases, the tour collapsed and the Welbeck Brothers came home. Alex Cooper decided to quit the Welbeck Group, and stayed in Holland, forming a metal Group called “Virus Scum” that did well, were spotted by German Group Rammstein’s lead singer Till Lindemann, and supported them on their tour a year later. He then disappears from view for a bit…!

Till Lindemann of Rammstein

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