The Best Week Ever: Following Damian Lewis on his UK Tour Part II

‘We loved playing for all of you over the last few weeks. So much fun so much chat so many sweets so much love so many DLous so many burrito wraps so good so beautiful so long…..” —Damian Lewis

Damian has recently taken to Instagram to reflected on the second leg of his Mission Creep tour as above. And now that I reflect on my week long trip to the UK to follow Damian and the band from Stroud to Poole to Norwich to Cambridge, it was so many train rides, so many hotel rooms, so much gloomy British weather, so little sleep, and a lost passport for God’s sake! But it was all WORTH IT for the fantastic music, fun chats, much love and big laughs with people I adore! IT WAS THE BEST WEEK EVER! And this post is my way of saying thank you to Damian, Dave, Will, Kitty, Joe, Phil, Jamie, Amelie, Jack, Steve, Vicky and my old friends Tsvete and Monique and new friend Mel for making it a dream trip! And special thanks go to the U.S. Embassy in London for helping me.

Now join me in visiting (or revisiting) Damian’s UK Tour Part II!

I am thrilled to report that the gigs get better and better. Being a stage actor, Damian is naturally comfortable on stage but I think he has got even more confident as himself and as a musician up there. He introduces a big chunk of the songs with fun anecdotes. The band supporting him is composed of ridiculously talented young musicians giving their all and more to the music: Dave Archer on guitar, Will Cleasby on drums, Joe Webb on piano (Jamie Safir in Norwich and Cambridge), Kitty Liv on harmonica and vocals (Amelie in Stroud), and Phil Donnelly on two basses are simply brilliant! The analogy Damian has made in the interview we had after his gig in Norwich is spot on regarding the gigs: A theatre performance two months after press night is much more polished than a performance in previews. They have come a long way since the first ever gig at Omeara London in August 2022.

Group photo after the last gig of the UK Tour at The Junction in Cambridge. Left to Right: Dave Archer (guitar), Jamie Safir (piano), Damian Lewis, Kitty Liv (harmonica, guitar and vocals), Ben Ellis (Sound Engineer), Will Cleasby (Drums), Phil Donnelly (Bass) and Jack Abraham (Tour Manager)

I enjoyed all four gigs very much but I admit Cambridge will always have a special place in my heart. I have a bias for standing venues, and the Cambridge crowd had the perfect energy. I danced my ass off and sang along on top of my lungs! And now that we have followed the band from city to city for a second time, do we count as groupies? I can hear Gingersnap say:

“Yes! The whole lot of ya!”

Damian has written a second record and the new originals are so good that the second record will be stronger than the critics’ darling Mission Creep. It has a different sound. In Damian’s words it is “a bit more blues rock driven, a bit more indie rock driven.” And, again in Damian’s words, the new setlist has been designed to change the psychology of the evening towards the second record.

Here is the set list I lifted from the stage at Sub Rooms in Stroud and had signed by the man himself.

There are 18 songs on it: 9 originals from Mission Creep, 8 NEW songs, and only one cover, a song Damian believes is one of the most beautiful songs ever written: Harvest Moon. In Poole, we had the World Premiere of another new song so the following three gigs had 19 songs on the set list.

So i start with the support act. THE best support act ever! Kitty Liv is a reason to go see a Damian Lewis gig. I feel extremely lucky to see her perform at three gigs. Do not get me wrong, Damian always has very high quality support acts, and Amelie whom we saw last year at Hoxton Hall and recently at Sub Rooms  is simply wonderful. It is just that I AM IN LOVE WITH KITTY’S MUSIC.

A North Londoner, Kitty plays multiple instruments including the guitar and the harmonica, writes her own songs, and is certainly going places. I know I will say one day, when she becomes a big name, that I have known her since the early days. And if you think I may be biased, please see the video below from the Cambridge gig and make your own decision.

Kitty’s single Sweet Dreams / The Sun And The Rain is out and I am grateful to her for signing my copy during the tour. Her debut album Easy Tiger is coming out on July 26! You can pre-order the album here.

Now on to the main act!

Since the set list is almost the same at all gigs, I will not talk about each gig separately but I will talk about particular moments worth mentioning from each gig… like Damian’s Poole joke.

Damian: ‘Hey kids! I was in Poole at the weekend.’

Kitty: “In Dorset?”

Damian: “Yeah, I recommend it to everyone.”

Hahaha! And if you don’t get it, it is perfectly fine, Chris Evans did not get it, either when Damian told the joke on his radio program and Damian had to explain… It starts at 1:40…

The rock’n’rollie She Make Me Change, a song that Damian calls “about a good thing, really” is the opener and I suspect it may be the first single from the second record. Not that I know anything… Damian has said in our interview that he will drop a few singles before the second album release and that he won’t tell me which ones. I have a hunch that She Make Me Change may be the first single from the second record just because Down on The Bowery was the opening song of the early gigs and then it was the first single from Mission Creep.  That said, I would, and I know you would, too, welcome any new song as the first single from the second record. THEY ARE BRILLIANT!

So Damian and the band go straight into She Make Me Change. 

In Cambridge, after the song, Damian says that it is a sad day, the last day of the tour, he is a bit emotional and may need a hug afterwards. And realizing there are a lot of people at the Junction to give him free hugs:

“I shouldn’t have said that, should I?”


The set continues with songs from Mission Creep: Hole in My Roof, Down on the Bowery and My Little One which Damian says he wrote for a very special woman… and in Stroud, he says: “Here she is” as a bearded tech guy, Jerry, gets on stage for mic repair… Hahaha. As Jerry does his job, Damian asks the crowd about where they are from… Stroud Central? One of the five valleys? Who are the posh ones? 😀

Beautiful Painswick

Well, my friends and I stay in Painswick, one of the most beautiful towns in Cotswolds to do some sightseeing as a bonus. So we are first hand witnesses to the poshness of the area. All the cars on the road are either Mercedes, or BMW or Porsche. There is only one lonely Fiat parked in front of an artist’s studio. And our taxi driver absolutely dislikes the fact that rich people were buying homes in Painswick pushing real estate prices higher and higher… Okay, okay my lecture on class politics is done, and we are back to the gig and to Little One... and here’s Jerry leaving the stage 🙂

Damian now shares a story with the audience. One night many moons ago, he says, he stood on a street corner in Soho chatting up a very beautiful girl. He used his best jokes, his best lines and was confident that she was going home with him. But a taxi arrived, the girl thanked for a very nice evening, jumped in the taxi and left 🙂 And, in Stroud, he adds that this girl is the same woman for whom he wrote Little One.

Soho Tango is one of my absolute favorites on Mission Creep. It is a playful song and I have a soft spot for songs with a whistling part. Oh and I always wondered whether we knew the lady in Soho Tango and I am not surprised one bit that she turns out to be Helen.

Time for a new song! Damian picks his electric guitar and introduces us to my absolute favorite among the new songs: Love Bomb. Thanks to the video I made in Poole, the song is on loop here as I write this.

Damian now talks about Kim Philby, probably the most notorious traitor in the UK history. It is particularly funny when he asks the Cambridge crowd about whether they have ever heard of Kim Philby because Philby was a member of the Cambridge Five spy ring. He betrays his country, his family and his friend Nicholas Elliot (whom Damian portrayed in the critically acclaimed A Spy Among Friends) of 30 years. When excommunicated, philby went to Moscow and destroys his liver with vodka. In one last attempt to reconcile with his bestie, he invites Elliott to a meeting in Berlin. His colleagues tell him Philby is very clever and would manipulate him but Elliott, like a jilted lover, for one last conversation, goes to Berlin. As he waits for Philby at the bar they were supposed to meet, he has cold feet and leaves the bar leaving the umbrella he brought with him, a gift Philby gave him years ago with letters KP and NE inscribed on it. Elliot, later, writes an autobiography titled Never Judge A Man By His Umbrella. At the last minute he has cold feet. And that is the name of the next song.

Damian singing ‘Never Judge a Man by His Umbrella’ At Epic Studios, Norwich

“You know you’re making plans? And they go to shit…”

In Cambridge, as he sips his Margarita on stage following Makin’ Plans, Damian asks the audience what cocktails they drink in Cambridge.

A man shouts “beer”. Damian responds yeah beer is his favorite cocktail as well. A woman shouts “cider.” So our boy obviously mentions “snake bite” a well-known cocktail made with one part beer and one part cider served in a pint glass.


In Poole, we are lucky to have the World Premiere of Question Mark, a song with such mysterious vibe to it.  And it seems they have decided to add the song to the setlist last minute because it is added to the printed set list in Damian’s own handwriting. I would recognize that handwriting anywhere.

Then comes Harvest Moon, one of the most beautiful songs ever written according to Damian and I concur, and the only cover they play in this leg of the tour.

The first three gigs were seated and so not particularly great for us to revive out third grade arts and craft project but Cambridge gives us the opportunity to do so. Six of us in the front row hold huge letters D-A-M-I-A-N and dance to Harvest Moon and flip the letters in the middle of the song to have W-E-HEART-Y-O-U!

The gig continues with what I call “motorbike songs” 😀 And we find out that the motorbike in Zaragoza and the one in Pentonville Prison are two different motorbikes!

Damian tells us the story behind Pentonville Prison. As he was going home one night, a mini cab backed up and Damian directly hit the windshield. This happened on Caledonian Road near Pentonville Prison. And he says to the audience who seemed familiar with the area.

“It seems you have spent time in Pentonville Prison.”

And a fun story he shares with the audience in Norwich is that, after his gig in Bristol back in September 2023, a man approaches Damian and tells him that he is the only one that has got Pentonville Prison reference because he spent time there!

It turns out that when he woke up, someone was squeezing his wrist really hard and shaking. When Damian asked him what he was doing, his answer was he couldn’t tell whether Damian was dead or he himself was too pissed to do what he was doing.

“I wasn’t dead!”

It turns out that the person sitting at the back in the mini cab was an off duty male nurse who worked at Royal Free Hospital. He provided first aid and put Damian in recovery position.

Our guy was very lucky that night, and so are we.

“Wanna grow old in Paris? Or in Cambridge?”

The joke definitely works better in Southend than in Cambridge, Damian says. And he asks the audience if there is anyone from Southend at the venue. Not one, but a bunch of people are from there 🙂

“Oh shit. But I had a great time at the gig in Southend.”


Damian tells the audience about The Radleys, a vampire movie that he recently made, in which he plays a doctor (and a former academic twin brother) and he introduces the song he wrote inspired by the movie as well as his role: Suck My Blood.

And Damian brings the house down with laughter in Stroud as he addresses a man in the front row leaving his seat for the bar or the loo.

“Sir, I’m not a real vampire.”

😀 😀 😀

“Thank you for indulging these new songs. Here’s another. I wrote this because more than a few things are fucked. This is called Traffic Jam.”
One of my favorite new songs, Traffic Jam talks about daily stuff that goes wrong as well as real fucked up stuff like school shootings, Putin, January 6, and unreliable train service in the UK!

The last song is the first song that Damian wrote: She Comes. He says it is a song about ghosts but we all know it is about a particular ghost <3

When he comes back for the encore, Damian tells a story about being in LA back in 2001 at a gig with an up-and-coming band called Cold Play! And Chris Martin tells the audience that his dad asks him why his gigs are not longer and Chris admits to his dad that is so because they do not have more songs. And they finish that gig in LA with a 20 minute Beatles medley. Now, Damian says, there is nothing wrong with a 20 minute Beatles medley. But he has three new songs for us!

The first one is Gray at the Temple which Damian says he wrote because he started to forget shit! Sounds familiar? This is a sweet song that starts with the following lyrics…

If I don’t remember your name, don’t take it personal

If I don’t remember your face, don’t take it personal

But as I tell him later, I would certainly take it personal if Damian forgot my name 😀

Damian introduces the second encore song with a story. When he worked on Broadway many years ago, he knew a man called Salvatore Caruso or Sal in short. Sal, from the description Damian gives, looks like a character from  Sopranos who could get you anything you wanted and could get you in trouble as well.

Here is A Man Named Sal.

The last song Naughty  is such a catchy song with a great sing-along opportunity at the end. It is the perfect song to end an amazing night of music. I have been finding myself humming the chorus since I am back from my trip!

And, with that, Damian’s Mission Creep UK Tour that had 13 gigs in September through November 2023  and 8 gigs in March 2024 is over. Having been to 7 gigs in total on this tour, I am addicted to an extent that I am having serious Damian Lewis gig withdrawals….
…but the good news is that there is a new London date! Damian and the band will take stage in an intimate night of dinner and drinks and music at Boisdale Restaurant of Canary Wharf in London on May 22. You can get tickets here. And it will be a red hot summer with our cool cat s that they will play at several festivals, including Black Deer Festival on June 15, Pub in the Park Chiswick on June 30, Latitude Festival on July 26 and Car Fest on August 23, throughout the summer! Check out the festivals and ticket information here. And watch this space and for more London gigs and festival dates.

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

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