Guitarist Paul Adkins realised a dream when he played live at Welford Road to welcome the Leicester Tigers team on to the pitch for the final home game of the season.
Adkins, lead guitarist of the club’s resident band Rock Bottom, played the guitar riff from Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water which traditionally welcomes Tigers on to the pitch for home fixtures.
The live performance in front of more than 23,000 fans before Friday evening’s Aviva Premiership game against Newcastle Falcons was arranged as part of the club’s celebrations to mark 125 years of rugby at Welford Road.
And it was an emotional performance for Adkins, who has recovered from a brain haemorrhage in the last year.
“What a feeling!” he said. “It was awesome. Considering that eight months ago I didn’t know if I’d walk again, to be out there and playing was something else.
“I just want to say a huge thank-you to the crowd for being inspirational this year. Playing here every week has helped motivate my recovery. The support is always fantastic and we’re such a special club – Tigers always acts as an inspiration to me.”
I was thinking ‘Don’t mess up and just concentrate’. I don’t really remember hearing much of the crowd but I kept in time and could see people cheering so it must have been going well.”
You can watch a video of the performance below.
Tigers’ resident band Rock Bottom have been a regular fixture at Welford Road for the past 16 years, playing for supporters after every home game.
The band is made up of Pete Farnell (guitar), Brian Randall (vocals), Roger Merry (drums), Nigel Roffe (bass) and Paul (guitar).
Tigers have marked 125 years of rugby at Welford Road with a series of events, including a star-studded 125 Dinner at the club, as well as interviews with
Tigers legends and fans’ stories alongside a look back through the club’s video archive and memorabilia.
Fans can find out more about the club’s heritage projects by visiting the link below.