Saturday 19th August 2006 : London : I just received some fantastic pictures of the Malta gig with Roger taken by Paul Zammit Cutajar. I put a small selection of my favourites with the 10th of July Malta entry.
Tuesday 25th July 2006 : London : For anyone that is interested : Ian Ritchie's SOHO Project CD can be purchased by clicking here : . It costs £12.00 ( about $22.00 or 17.00EUR ) including post and packaging. Payment is by PayPal or credit card ( click on "don't have a PayPal account" ). I am happy to autograph copies if requested. Thanks to Gina from Folsom for reminding me to do this.
Monday 24rd July 2006 : Malta/London : Had a coffee with Paul, did an interview with Eric and said hi to Nigel's beautiful wife and new baby before an uneventful flight back to London.
Sunday 23rd July 2006 : Malta : After a late start I met up with Harriot, who was helping Nigel with the festival organization and got the plan for the day. Had a nice lunch with Bill Bruford and Emily and arrived at the soundcheck around 4.00pm. We got everything sorted by 5.30 so decided to return to the hotel till gig time ( 9.30 ). After a rather protracted car trip to the gig ( due to a local celebration that caused many streets to be closed down and as a consequence massive traffic jams ) we got to the venue just in time. The location; The Grand Harbour, Valletta, was spectacular. There was a good size crowd ( around 2500 ) that were mainly there to see the Alan Parson's Project. I did wonder how they would take to my rather more jazzy offering. The band had a great time playing and most of the audience got into what we were doing. 'Soho Square' and 'Beak Street' seemed to particularily appeal. I asked if anyone had been to see Roger's show the week before and got an almost unanimous response! After the show, we ate at Heat which is situated on the harbour opposite the stage, so we were able to enjoy Alan's set with our steak and pasta. After the show we all headed to BJ's, met some fantastic people ( including Phil the owner, Michelle the pianist, exotic Rit-Anne and the lovely Mary Ann ), sold some SOHO cd's and listened to some great music ( Alex Hutton's latest cd 'Cross That Bridge' ). Stayed up very late and got to see beautiful Mdina. Had a wonderful time. Thanks to Paul Zammit Cutajar for his fab photos of the concert.
Saturday 22nd July 2006 : London/Malta : Ok, so strictly speaking this is not really part of the 'Roger Waters Tour' blog, but I thought I'd jot down a few notes about my SOHO Project gig at the Malta Jazz festival. This was organized via Andrew Zweck, Roger's agent and Nigel Camilieri, the promoter of both the jazz festival and Roger's gig in Malta on the 10th of July. The band met up at Heathrow at 6.30pm in plenty of time for our 8.30 flight. We arrived at the check in desk 45 minutes later only to find no trace of our flight booking! After much phoning and arm waving we finally made it onto the plane which luckily had been delayed for 2 hours. On arrival we headed to a local bar ( the Muddy Waters ) and had a few beers with Iain Ballamy and Gwilim Symcock from Bill Bruford's band and Emily Bezar. Bed at 4.00am.
Wednesday 19th July 2006 : London : Added a link to Stanley Maumary's site with great photos of Locarno.
Tuesday 18th July 2006 : London : Some shots of the Stavanger gig added courtesy of Edel Humstad and a Locarno rehearsal shot from Stanley Maumary.
Monday 17th July 2006 : London : Home again till the weekend, when it is off to Malta with my band for the Jazz Festival. We have over a month before starting the US leg of the tour, when I will resume my blog. I will add some additional photos to this page as and when they arrive from other band members and all you out there. Ciao for now.
Sunday 16th July 2006 : Lugano/Locarno/London : The final day of the tour and the last gig in Locarno ........ I had breakfast, which was a mistake as my stomach decides to do somersaults. We checked out of our rooms at midday and hung out by the pool and watched the Grand Prix till we bussed to the gig at 5.00pm. After the soundcheck i wandered round Locarno for an hour ( giving catering a miss ) then we were due onstage at 8.30pm. On the way to the stage Dave ( The Killer ) Kilminster accidently bumped into my saxophone and bent the octave key out of alignment. Luckily, I noticed this before my solo on 'Shine' and swapped my trusty 1950's Selmer Super Action for my equally trusty 1962 Selmer Mk VI. Dave lives up to his name and is now a saxophone killer as well as the bane of the guitaring community ( Snowy )! The gig was splendid. A lovely and vociferous audience. I made it through my various features in spite of feeling rather spacey due to lack of nourishment. After the gig it was back to Milan's Malpense airport where security held us up ( I think so that they could get Roger's autograph ) and we were back in Luton by 1.30pm.
Saturday 15th July 2006 : Vichy/Magny-Cours/Lugano : A bus took us to Magny-Cours once more. This time to be spectators at the F1 qualifying rounds. We were treated very well ( courtesy of Nick Mason ) and spent much of the time ( after a tour of the pits ) in the Formula One Paddock Club, where we got a great view of the starting grid. Very exciting and very noisy! Michael Schumaker won pole position. I have some kind of stomach bug from yesterday so stopped eating around lunchtime. From there we flew to Milan and bussed to Lugano where we will stay overnight .......... I had an early night and hope my digestive system sorts itself out by tomorrow!
Friday 14th July 2006 : Vichy/Magny-Cours : Had a pleasant coffee and croissant at a local cafe and tried out my schoolboy French on the waitress. Visited the source of the Vichy hot and cold springs which can apparently cure everything from a hangover to a broken leg! Half the party take a bus to Magny-Cours mid afternoon. I am with the chopper squad that fly around 5.00pm. Time for a swim then ............... got a little too much sun on ther roof of the hotel and had a nice swim. just time to get ready for the helicopter flight to the gig .............. The flight was delayed due to thunderstorms. We arrived at the gig in plenty of time however in spite of some lightning on the way that caused a bit of a detour. We were joined by Nick Mason for this gig which went great. I was pleased to see a spotlight on Jon Carin during his vocal performance on 'Us And Them'. The first time on the tour so far! ( the light, not the vocal which he has been performing splendidly every night ). I finished my chess game with Harry on the bus back to Vichy. ( stalemate ).
Thursday 13th July 2006 : Lucca/Vichy : Arrived in Vichy mid afternoon. I played chess with Harry on the bus till we got to town. Just time for a quick turn around town, a shower then off to a local restaurant for a simple but tasty Cote De Boeuf et frites.
Wednesday 12th July 2006 : Malta/Lucca : We flew into Pisa in the late afternoon. Dave and I had a wander round town, checked out the leaning tour, had a coffee, then it was time to go to Lucca. After the soundcheck I met up with Tony Satchell and his wife Mary Wilson. We had a relaxed bowl of pasta before the show before I had to head back to the venue. The location was fantastic. Right in the town square which had been cordoned off for the occasion. The gig and the Italian audience were amazing. Italy winning the World Cup might have had something to do with this. 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' and 'Wish You Were Here' were particularily emotional due to the news of Syd Barrett's untimely death. After the show it was back to Pisa for drinks and snacks outdoors at the lovely hotel.
Tuesday 11th July 2006 : Malta : I woke up after sleeping for 10 hours at 12.10. This was 5 minutes late for the arranged leaving time for todays boat trip. Luckily time is more flexible in Malta and when I arrived in the hotel foyer the bus hadn't left. We had a great day cruising round the coast of Valletta and surrounding towns. Around 3.00pm the land lubbers of the party disembarked and left the younger Zwecks, Dave, Harry, Simon and myself on board to go for a swim. The captain managed to find us a location free from jellyfish and we had a refreshing dip........ ....... After dinner Harry and I headed for BJ's, the local jazz club, and played a few tunes with Paul and his band and had a chat with the owner Phil. We had a great time in a great little club and I'm looking forward to returning during the Malta jazz festival on the 23rd of July.
Monday 10th July 2006 : London/Malta : I was picked up at 8.45am and am currently ( 12.20 ) at Stansted airport waiting for our plane to arrive from Germany. It has apparently been held up due to apres World Cup chaos in the air! We are all looking forward to this last leg of the European tour........ Arrived in Malta just in time for a 15 minute soundcheck before doors opening at the venue. 90 minutes later we are on stage in front of an enthusiastic Maltese crowd. Another great show. Roger and the girls are in particularily fine voice. After the show the promoter Nigel Camilleri laid on some excellent food and drinks back at the hotel.
Sunday 9th July 2006 : London : A day off. I have added a few more pics of Greece and Iceland courtesy of Jon Carin.
Saturday 8th July 2006 : London : A day off.
Friday 7th July 2006 : London/Rotterdam/London : I was picked up at 12.30pm, swung past Harry's then onto the hotel to meet up with the other band members ( apart from Graham and Andy who were gigging in France with Bill Wyman ). The plane flew from Farnborough ( just as the Red Arrows were taking off ) and got to Rotterdam just in time for a brief soundcheck, then onstage an hour later. There is a different atmosphere to the indoor gigs ( the Ahoy on this occasion ) and the outdoor events. This was another good one. The show ( put in late ) had apparently sold out in two days and the audience were fab. Roger introduced me as 'Andy Ritchie' during the band namechecks for reasons best known to himself! It has a certain ring to it, but I think I'll stick with 'Ian'. Straight after the gig it was onto the plane, back to Luton and I was in Willesden Green by 11.00pm.
Thursday 6th July 2006 : London : A day off.
Wednesday 5th July 2006 : London : A day off.
Tuesday 4th July 2006 : London : A day off. I'm planning a day out cycling around Amersham and Chesham with Holly ............. Had a pleasant cycle around A and C rounded off with a beer and some Thai food at the Queens Head. Met Tom and Alex ( local musicians who just happened to be at sharing our table ) and adjourned to the Griffin for a bit of community singing, then home.
Monday 3rd July 2006 : London : A day off. I dropped Suzanne off at Paddington in the morning, cycled around the Heath with Holly in the afternoon and went down to Candle around 4.00pm to help with some mastering issues. I also had a blow on my sax to see if I can still remember any of my jazz tunes. I have an up and coming SOHO Project date at the Malta Jazz Festival on the 23rd of July. After an hour or so it all came flooding back! I have added a link to some more pics of Iceland and a couple more from Hyde Park.
Sunday 2nd July 2006 : London/Roskilde/London : We flew straight to Roskilde from Luton airport around 4.00pm. Arrived at the venue with just enough time to have a quick steak, warm up my sax and go onstage. Despite the lack of soundcheck the onstage sound was one of the best we have had. ( outfront sound is always amazing thanks to Trip and Bob ). The audience numbered around 90000. The biggest crowd of the tour. Pat was in paerticularily good form on 'Perfect Sense' and I think everyone in the band played even better than in London. Definitely a highlight gig of the tour. On the return to London we got held up by customs in Luton and stood around on the runway while they did who knows what with our passports. Welcome back to England! We have a few days off in London now before the Rotterdam date on friday.
Saturday 1st July 2006 : London : I was picked up at 9.00am for a 10.00 o' clock soundcheck in Hyde Park. The day was gorgeous. Everyone was in good spirits despite the early hour. I spent the rest of the day relaxing. At 5.00pm it was back to the Park and time to get ready for the show. The show itself was particularily exciting for everyone probably because of the home crowd. Dave and Snowy were in good form as ever. Roger performed the hell out of the show. I had a few friends in the audience so there are more pics of me than usual! I managed to round up everyone I had invited for the after show party backstage. It was a pleasure to meet Leslie, Graham Broads wife ( who I had spoken on the telephone many times when booking Graham for sessions in the 80's but had never met ), and family. I also ran into Guy Pratt who features in my Edinburgh Festival blog from last year and Chas Jankel who I haven't since before the dawn of time ( well, the 80's ). Holly, Suzanne, Tanya, Neville, Tony and Chris all had a good lig. Hi to Ian Cross and family who seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly. Thanks to Tanya Chantler for the great photos.
Friday 30th June 2006 : London : I didn't acually get my hair cut on Wednesday so I returned to West Hampstead today and got it sorted out. It is a beautiful day, so I took the opportunity to get a bit of exercise by using my bicycle. Later on I'll go down to Candle for some practise before tonights gig. This eve I'm playing with Holly Penfield at Volupte. Although it is a cabaret gig I'm hoping to get to play a bit of jazz with the fantastic band. Later on I'll hook up with Suzanne Rhatigan ( main backing vocals on 'Radio Kaos' ) who is flying in to town from Dublin to see Roger's show............... I played a set with Holly's band including a fun ( if brief ) version of Sonny Rollin's 'Doxy' before popping down to Paddington to pick up Suzanne. We tried to get a bite to eat in West Hampstead but nothing doing at midnight. We retired to my place for a glass of Savignon Blanc, smoked samon and Irish Stout bread ( supplied by S. ). Holly rolled in around 2.00am.
Thursday 29th June 2006 : London/Cork/London : Harry and I were picked up at midday and driven to Northolt airbase in the west of London. Due to an organizational oversite we discovered that we were 2 hours early for the plane and the rest of the band would be arriving around 2.15pm. Plenty of time for chess, coffee and bacon sandwiches then! We left London in blazing sunshine and arrived in Cork to pouring rain. Luckily the gig was in a Marquee, so no chance of being rained off. I had a nice chat with Ethna who was on security ( with Frank ) before the concert. The crowd were amazing during the show. The 5000 people managed to make more noise than audiences 4 times their size! Unfortunately we had a technical mishap which stopped the show at the end of 'Perfect Sense'. Something to do with a powercut I understand. We resumed the show from where we left off to good effect. Nick Mason joined us for 'Dark Side' and the encore tunes. A good time was had by all. We were back in London, via Stansted, by 1.00am.
Wednesday 28th June 2006 : London : ........ haircut, sort out some tickets and passes for friends to see the Hyde Park show, off down to Candle Music to give Charlie, Tony, Phil and Ben an update on the tour and have a bit of a blow on the saxophone .......
Tuesday 27th June 2006 : London : I woke at 9.00am in spite of not getting to bed till after 3.00am. Lots of bills, letters etc. to deal with. I better get started ........................... Lots of pottering around, a bit of gardening, check that the car still runs and a cycle down to the West End to eat at my favourite Thai restaurant.
Monday 26th June 2006 : Moscow/Stavanger/London : 9.30am. The start of what will be a long day. We fly to Norway, go straight to the gig, perform, then fly back to London. We were scheduled to do a tv show in Dublin tomorrow but that has been cancelled. This gives us a day or two off in London ............... the band are playing 'Time' and I am in the dressing room trying to keep myself and my horns warm. It's a lot chillier here than in Moscow. We have done the first set which went down very well. My first solo in 'Leaving Beirut' has been replaced by a solo from Andy. He did a great job tonight and though I am disappointed to be playing less, I think Andy's feature adds to the show. I can hear Carol starting her singing on 'Great Gig', so I had better get onstage ready for 'Money' and 'Us And Them'.................After the show we tried to get away before the crowds, but a gate had been locked that stopped our escape. It ended up taking an hour to get to the airport ( which was 10 minutes away ) where our plane was waiting to take us to Stansted.
Sunday 25th June 2006 : Moscow : I spent the day site-seeing in Moscow with Holly. There is plenty to see in this town and we only scratched the surface. A band dinner then charades back at the hotel rounded off the evening.
Saturday 24rd June 2006 : Moscow : Thunderstorms during the earlier part of the day curtailed sightseeing, so after a leisurely day and a swim I walked over to the venue directly in front of St. Basil's cathedral. I spent an hour hunting for a good reed for the tenor before soundcheck at 5.30pm. Showtime 8.15pm. The audience ( at least the ones down the front ) were much more subdued than any other crowd so far. Perhaps this had to do with the $1000 ( unbeknowst to Roger and his management ) seat prices . ( $35.00 for the much more enthusiastic cheap seats off to the right of the stage ). An amazing location to do a gig however, which was musically one of the best so far. After the show we could easily walk back to the hotel. Harry and I played a little jazz with the group performing in the bar of the hotel ( thanks guys ). Carol and Pat sung a song apiece. Graham played spoons. ( Thanks to Andrei Platkovsky for the link to additional Roger photos ).
Friday 23rd June 2006 : Tel Aviv/Moscow : Another ( relatively : 9.30am bags in the lobby ) early start due to the additional airport security. The flight to Moscow takes about 3 hours and 50 minutes. I am looking forward to seeing Moscow and also hooking up with Holly, who is coming out for the show tomorrow............... We arrive at the hotel around 5.30pm. After a quick jaunt around Red Square with Harry and Dave I head back to the hotel to sort out my laundry and do an internet search for jazz clubs. I come up with two contenders; Forte and Cool Train ( both in the same area ). A taxi driver tries to charge us 50 euros for the trip so Harry and I decide to walk. An hour later we discover Forte has been hired for a private party. We never find Cool Train and since Harry is tired, we head back to the hotel. The cab driver on this occasion, in spite of map reading all the way and major traffic jams gets us to our destination and to our surprise tries to give us change from the 20 euros. Our faith in taxi drivers is restored.
Thursday 22nd June 2006 : Tel Aviv : A late start for me, so a quick stroll round town and then onto the bus to the gig for soundcheck around 2.30pm................ There was plenty of traffic on the way even at 3.00pm. The Peace Village is located just off the main Tel Aviv / Jerusalem road at the Jerusalem end. Around 55000 tickets had been sold for the event. The gig started about half an hour later than planned due to the large numbers of people still stuck in the jams on the way to the site. We got a fantastic reception when we started to play. Very exciting. I had wondered how the audience would take 'Leaving Beirut' with it's introduction about the kindness of an Arab family. I needn't have been concerned. The crowd related to the songs humanitarian message, just as Roger had expected they would, ( I spoke to him about it after the show ). Later in the show, his spontaneous appeal to the young audience to be a force for change and peace in Israel was also received enthusiastically. Hope for the future perhaps. After the gig it was a police escort back to the hotel and a quiet drink at the bar. No possibility of getting to Jerusalem so no jazz tonight.
Wednesday 21th June 2006 : Istanbul/Tel Aviv : We had a fairly early start for our trip to Tel Aviv, mainly because of the extra security involved. I am typing this looking out onto the beach whilst waiting for my bags to arrive. As soon as they do, Dave, Harry and myself are heading for a swim..................... We had a bit of a swim, trying to avoid the fairly numerous jellyfish, then headed down the beach about half way to Jaffa, then back. The whole team including band and road crew assembled at a restaurant ( also in Jaffa ) for a great dinner. Harry and I were too worn out to think about heading to Jerusalem for the jazz jam starting at midnight at the 'Yellow Submarine'. Maybe tomorrow after the show.
Tuesday 20th June 2006 : Istanbul : After breakfast by the Bosphorus I had a wander round the part of Istanbul local to the hotel. At 4.00pm we jumped on a boat and sailed to the venue. Kurucesme Park is on the coast with an amazing view of the Straits. The temperature dropped in the evening; accounting for Trip and Nick's eccentric attire! The audience were marvellous. This included boats moored alongside the park which had a view of the stage. We escaped after the gig by boat back to the hotel for snacks and to watch England draw with Sweden. ( at least some of the band did ). I had a nice chat with Suha, the owner of a jazz club across the street from the hotel. ( which unfortunetly had finished for the evening otherwise I would have been there listening and/or playing ).
Monday 19th June 2006 : Athens/somewhere in Greece : Roger decided he wanted to visit his villa in Greece. We were all invited to lunch, so at 11.00am it was onto the helicopters and off to the ( Greek ) seaside! After a 45minute flight and a quick bus trip we arrived. Two lambs were roasting on spits in preparation for lunch. Roger looked around and checked out some new building work ( his first visit in 10 years ) while most of us had a pre lunch swim or a boat trip. Lunch was amazing. First a never ending parade of starters including roasted peppers, stuffed vine leaves, spicy cheese, salad, calamari, beans, bread and mackrel then the main event. First the offal, then the meat of the lambs. After lunch a few of us went for another boat ride and swim. As the sun was going down we headed off to a local airbase where our plane was waiting to take us to Budapest. An hour later we were in a new town.
Sunday 18th June 2006 : Athens : After another quick turn around Athens I got on the bus and headed to Terra Vibe Park for the soundcheck at 4.30pm. The Powers That Be have decided to put back the starting time of the gig to 9.00pm so that we can play in darkness ( much more effective for the lights and projections ) so I have plenty of time to update my blog...... later ...... The gig was great. Roger had me play all of 'Leaving Beirut' on tenor, which gives a different feel to the song. Slightly darker and less ethnic. Does anyone who heard it have an opinion? After the gig we headed for a hotel near the airport in preparation for tomorrows adventure.... details to follow ......
Saturday 17th June 2006 : Athens : Arrived in Athens at 5.00am local time. It's a new town. It's a new day ....... more later ...... Had a wander round Athens, then hooked up with Dave later in the day. We decided to climb the Acropolis and check out the Parthenon. We just made it before closing time.( 7.30pm ) It was well worth the ( considerable ) climb. It is amazing to consider that this building was erected 500 years B.C. We took a few snaps. After a quick freshen up back at the hotel we headed for the Plaka and found nice restaurant called 'Diogenes'. All in all a very pleasant rest day.
Friday 16th June 2006 : Rome : After a pleasant breakfast with Dave, I headed off into town to see some of the sights. I managed the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and the Coloseum. Back to the hotel around 4.00pm then off to the gig. After a leisurely soundcheck we hung around till 8.30pm to start the show. Another fabulous Italian audience sung along with every number. After the gig it is straight to the airport and off to Athens. There is a good atmosphere on the flight as everyone is up after a good show. No community singing so far, but it is only a matter of time!
Thursday 15th June 2006 : Oslo/Rome : After a quick stroll around Oslo, it's off to Rome. Harry and I are determined to find somewhere to play some jazz. Alas, to no avail. I wandered round to Gregory's Bar which had stopped live jazz a couple of weeks previously. The very nice proprietor and his wife told me that July was down of season for jazz in Rome ( i.e. not a jazz club open in the whole town ) and that I should come back in September. On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a pizzeria off Via Nazionale and had an excellent pizza with rucola and gorgonzola and a couple of glasses of the house red. Staggered home.
Wednesday 14h June 2006 : Reykjavic/Oslo : Fly to Oslo and then bus straight to the gig. There is a great atmosphere in the Norwegian Wood and we all have a good time. Straight back to the hotel after the gig. Harry and I play a few standards in the lobby of the hotel where there is a nice grand piano. After a bit of community singing ( Good Night Irene ) in the bar with Roger, Andy and Co. its time for bed.
Tuesday 13h June 2006 : Reykjavic : A rest day in Reykjavic. A trip to the 'Blue Lagoon' was planned. We spent a couple of hours floating around in the lagoon which is in fact a small lake of water heated by a geyser. The lake is a bluish white colour due to the fine mud suspended in the water. It is fantastically relaxing and also, apparently, very good for the skin. Everyone enjoyed the trip hugely. I had another quick turn around town, which was very pretty in the sun. In the evening Fin and Fin took us to a revolving restaurant overlooking the town with great views and fantastic food. The reindeer was particularily tasty.
Monday 12th June 2006 : Reykjavic : A rather wet and windy day in Reyjavik. I had a wander around downtown, took in the harbour, the church and then had coffee and a bun in a cafe. ( missed breakfast ) After an hour or so I decided I had seen Reyjavik and headed back towards the hotel. ( at least where I thought was the hotel ). Half an hour or so later ( rather wet and bedraggled ) I was spotted by Jon and Nick ( Mason ) who were being given a guided tour in a Hummer by a local. I hopped in and joined them on their tour which consisted of going round most of the places I had seen on my walk ( the harbour, down town, the church ) then up the hill to see a geyser which erupted ( is that the word for geysers? ) every five minutes. After reading the tourist information I discovered that this was a man made geyser put there for the benefit of visitors to Reyjavik. The gig in the evening was at an indoor arena so the spaceman was given full rein to float around the building over the heads of the audience. The music was good too! Snowy did sterling work, especially considering that he was playing his second string Les Paul. The band had a great time. The audience were wonderful. Drinks and snacks back at the hotel.
Sunday 11th June 2006 : Cleve/Reykjavic : After an early start and a refuelling stop in Aberdeen, we got into Reykjavic at around 3.00pm. We had a band dinner at around 7.00pm courtesy of Fin and Fin, the promoters of the Reykjavic event. I tasted 2 things which I have never had before ( and likely will never have again! ). One was rotten shark meat ( Hákarl : the shark is intentionally allowed to rot before it is served ) washed down with schnapps and Svartfugl ( breast of Guillemot ). Both were excellent. ( well, the guillemot was excellent ( quite gamey ) and eating the hákarl felt a bit like a dare ). After the meal the rest of the band headed home while I pressed on to a local bar where an organ, guitar and drums trio were playing. Fin had called ahead and arranged for me to sit in, so I played out the first set with 'Straight No Chaser', 'Sugar, 'You Don't Know What Love is' and 'Blue Bossa'. I stuck around and chatted to Arnie ( organist ) and Chris ( journalist ) in the break before rounding off the night with 'My Romance', 'Cantaloupe Island', 'Autumn Leaves' and 'Stella By Starlight'. The bar closed at 1.00am so I headed back to the hotel in ( rather disorientating ) broad daylight.
Saturday 10th June 2006 : Berlin/Cleve/Arrow Rock : We flew to an airport near Cleve where our hotel for the night was. Around 6.00pm ( after a swim ) we were bussed over the Dutch border to the Arrow Rock site. When we arrived Def Leppard were just finishing their set. After a bite to eat we headed onstage ( with no soundcheck ) and played a good two sets. The new order for the first half looks like it's going to stay as it worked very well again. There was an amazing full moon which rose from just above the horizon when we started the first set, to right over the middle of the audience by the end of 'Dark Side'. Snowy had a bit of a disaster at the end of the show when Dave accidently knocked over his vintage Les Paul. Hopefully the damage wasn't to bad and the guitar will be seen in action again very soon. We headed back to Cleve with an enthusiastic police escort.
Friday 9th June 2006 : Berlin : Explored more of Berlin. It is a beautiful day so I headed to the Tiergarden .... later .... After a swim, Harry and I hooked up early evening, had a game of chess then headed out to have something to eat and catch some jazz. After some pasta at the Hackescher Markt we first went to the Bb club which was showing football. We grabbed a cab which took us to A Trane which tonight featured Pepe Berns' Acoustic Network. Some interesting tunes which made Tino Derado and Kai Bruckner on piano and acoustic guitar respectively work hard.
Thursday 8th June 2006 : Berlin : Slept late. Had a wander then a swim in the hotel pool. Soundcheck at 4.00pm. It's a hard life. :) ..... later ....... The gig started at around 7.30pm when it was still light. In spite of the back projection being almost invisible the first set went down a storm. It was great to be able to see how much the audience were enjoying themselves. Roger has tightened up the first half by dropping 'Gunners Dream' and bringing 'Set The Controls' much earlier in the set. This seems to work very well. It's a shame for me that I've lost one of my solos, but I think it is for the greater good. The spaceman made its first appearance during 'Perfect Sense' and drifted around the back of the stage. The second set featuring 'Dark Side' went smoothly as ever. We had a little bit of excitement in the dressing room before the show. Carol was ironing a blouse when the cord connecting it to the wall burst into flames! I stopped Carol from throwing water on the said blaze and stamped it out with my Doc Martins, thus saving the dressing room and singer from incineration. Phew! We made it back to the hotel by 11.00pm in time for any excellent meal courtesy of Marek, the promoter of the Whulheide show.
Wednesday 7th June 2006 : Verona/Berlin : A travel day. We leave for Berlin at midday.......Had a wander around Berlin. It is a very exciting and developing city currently full of bears! ( due to fussball fever I guess ). In the evening I visited the Bb Jazz Club. An excellent quartet led by Andrea Marcelli and featuring a great flugel horn player who's name escapes me, played an interesting set including Clifford Browns 'Joyspring', the great 'But Not For me' and a Nino Rota tune that I don't know the name of. The second set happened to be a jam so I got out my horn and joined in on a nameless 'Blues in F', 'Stella By Starlight', 'You Don't Know What Love Is' and 'What Is This Thing Called Love' to end up the night. Andrea plays great, with a driving swing. There were also two excellent alto players and two teriffic tenors. A good night was had by all. I called it a night around 1.30pm and headed back. I met Doyle Bramhall, who was chatting to Roger and Andy after the Eric Clapton concert, in the lobby of the hotel.
Tuesday 6th June 2006 : Verona : A day off. I went shoe shopping ( successful ) in the morning and we all headed to Roger's hotel for lunch. ( unusually, on this occasion Roger is staying in a different hotel from the band ). We all had a fantastic lunch, some very good Italian wine, lot's of tour reminisences and a secret ballot to decide ( very democratically I thought ) whether Roger should name check the band during the concerts. The ballot said yes. ( though interestingly only 6 to 4 in favour if I remember correctly ). I was also inroduced to another band tradition. At the last dinner of the tour all the members of the group are expected to perform a 'party piece' that does not involve their main instrument. Previous highlights have included a performance of Rolf Harris' 'Two Little Boys' by Chester and Roger playing 'My Funny Valentine' on trumpet. I will have to start thinking what I can do! After a bit of an early evening stroll I headed back to the hotel just before the rain started once more. After writing this I am going to give Andy and Graham a call and see if they fancy a nightcap............
Monday 5th June 2006 : Verona : The planned lunch with Roger and the band was cancelled, so I breakfasted on cacao flavoured gelato and climbed the hill to take a few snaps. Ran into Andy and Katie near the amphitheatre. .... After a beautiful morning and early afternoon the rain started bucketing down around the time of our soundcheck and continued right up till the start of the show at 9.30pm. Amazingly, no one left the packed arena and the wonderful Italian audience were, if anything, more enthusiastic than the previous night. Hats of to the people of Verona and environs. The band were all in good form and, by all accounts, the visual side of things ( back projection, lights and pyrotechnics ) really started to come together. No luck on the jazz club front, so Harry and I had a bite to eat with Roger and the rest of the band before hitting the hay.
Sunday 4th June 2006 : Verona : I slept late, missed breakfast, but still seemed up and about earlier than most of the band. I decided to visit the Castile San Pietro which is on a hill overlooking the city. It was a good climb up to the castle and I had a great view of the old city. ( unfortunately I forgot to take my camera! ). Perhaps I'll make the climb with someone from the band again tomorrow. Soundcheck at the amphitheatre at 5.00pm .... more later ..... The gig at the Verona Amphitheatre was amazing. We were the only act on the bill so the audience were all big Roger Waters fans. There were even 3 or 4 hundred fans waitng outside the hotel trying to catch a glimpse of Roger. The band played great. Snowy did a fantastic solo on 'Set The Controls' and Roger was in great form. We opened with 'Flesh' rather than 'Brick' which was moved to the encore. ( works very well ). The audience sang along to every song, knew all the lyrics and even sung some of Dave's ( Kilminster ) solos ( the ones that were originally played by that other Dave! ). Some of us had some pasta at a local restaurant after the show. Harry and I heard about a local jazz club which is open tomorrow so we hope to head there after the show tomorrow.
Saturday 3rd June 2006 : Lisbon/Verona : We have our own plane for the flight to Verona. ..... More later ...... After a painless trip to Verona we checked into a cute 'boutique' hotel in the centre of Verona. It is a beautiful, historic city with buildings dating back to Roman times. Harry and I had a hunt around for some jazz, but that doesn't seem to be on the cards. Simon, Harry and I had a great meal ( including a smoked horse salad ) round the corner from the hotel and after a quick tour round the city, most of us had an early night.
Friday 2nd June 2006 : Lisbon : After breakfasting with Snowy it was off to the venue for soundcheck. The show will be part of a week long festival entitled "Rock In Rio". Santana are on the same bill as us. Sting plays tomorrow I think. By 1.30pm the soundcheck was over, so just time for a quick bite of lunch and back to the hotel. I hope to catch a bit of Santana's set before we are onstage at 11.30pm. Until then I intend to do a bit of sightseeing .......... more later ........... the gig was fantastic. I managed to get through the set playing mostly the right notes in mostly the right places. Playing to 35000 people wasn't as nerve wracking as i thought it might be. The audience were fantastic, singing along with the songs and having a good time in spite of the fact that we started to play at 15 minutes after midnight ( they had been at the gig since 5 o' clock watching various supports, then Santana before we appeared ). at 2.30am we jumped into 3 mini buses and were sped through the streets of Lisbon, accompanied by a police escort, back to the hotel. Some cold pizza, a glass of wine, and time for bed.
Thursday 1st June 2006 : London/Lisbon : I was picked up from Willesden Green at 11.00am and after an uneventful trip via Heathrow, found myself in Lisbon. We arrived in late afternoon so had just enough time to freshen up before going to a band dinner in the evening. Trip found us a fantastic restaurant and everyone had a great al fresco meal ( including Sting, who was at the next table ). I was introduced the the clinking glasses band tradition where, whenever anyone clinks a glass ( as in toasting ) it is mandatory for everyone at the table to do the same with every other member at the table. Since there were around twenty of us at dinner the clinking was kept down to 2 full rounds of the table. Everyone had an early night in preparation for our debut gig tomorrow.
Wednesday 31st May 2006 : Bray : The dress rehearsal went well. The invited audience enjoyed themselves and the band sounded great again. We are off to Portugal tomorrow. I played ok apart from the EWI being ludicrously out of tune on 'Southampton Dock' and 'Fletchers'. I'll sort it out for the 'Rock In Rio' gig. More interesting entries hopefully when the gigs start for real. Roger played a funny jape on the two guitarists Snowy and Dave. He had 2 towers erected complete with under lighting and wind machines. He managed to persuade the said guitarists that they would be perfoming the solos on 'Comfortably Numb' from these rather rickety platforms. Dave in particular was looking seriously worried until Roger let them off the hook! Next entry from Lisbon.
Tuesday 30th May 2006 : Bray : The day of the penultimate rehearsal before the dress rehearsal tomorrow. The band sound fantastic. I am looking forward to the first gig in Lisbon, Portugal on Friday. We are trying 'Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Sun' in a different place in the first set as it features me on soprano saxophone and is next to another soprano sax feature 'Leaving Beirut'. ( a new song of Roger's ). I am sitting in the rehearsal room with my laptop typing this as Andy Fairweather Low and Roger discuss the schedule for the rest of the day. I know we will be running through 'Dark Side' as I saw Nick Mason at lunch. He will be playing drums on 'Dark Side Of The Moon' on some of the dates on the tour. ............... The run throughs finished at around 5.00pm, so I'm off back to London to start my packing!