Wednesday 28th February 2007 : London : Finished mixing Pete Morgan's album at the Candle studio. Had a play through 'Shine On ...' etc. to see if I still remember the solos. I do. Visited Mario at Mill Lane Barbers in West Hampstead and had my hair cut. Packed my bag, ready for the off tomorrow.
Monday 26th February 2007 : London : Went to see 'Dreamgirls' at the O2 center on the Finchley Road.
Sunday 25th February 2007 : London : Sat in with Danny and Tom at the Green in Willesden Green and played some jazz.
Saturday 24th February 2007 : London : Looked at an amazing house nearby in Dollis Hill, which is cuurently owned by Debbie Bonham; the late, great John Bonham's sister.
Friday 23rd February 2007 : London : Made a quick trip to Banbury to sort out my in ear monitors. Went to the Churchill in the evening for Thai food and beer.
Thursday 22nd February 2007 : Dubai/London : 7.00am bags. 8.15am leave the hotel. 10.15am flight to London. We should touch down around 2.00pm local time. 12 shows. 11 cities. Mexico, here we come!
Wednesday 21st February 2007 : Dubai : After breakfast I had a wander around the immediate area near the hotel, did a few laps of the pool then called my uncle Tommy in Glasgow. We headed down to the venue at 5.00pm The location for the show is amazing. The concert was fantastic. Without doubt the Dubai audience were the most enthusiastic so far. 'Leaving Beirut' was received rapturously. What a great way to finish this leg of the tour. More curry and wine back at the hotel. Tom joined the party and regailed us with stories of the first 'Dark Side Of The Moon' tour in 1972. ( the Free Trade Hall in Manchester; 'Echoes', 'Be Careful With That Axe Eugene', 'Set The Controls' amd the fledgling 'DSOTM' ).
Tuesday 20th February 2007 : Dubai : After breakfast with Graham, Jon, Harry and Dave I made a couple of calls and arranged to see Barry Kirsch at his studio this afternoon. Later I'm hoping to fit in some skiing with Harry then dinner at a jazz bar with Tom Callaghan ( who kindly provided the photo of the stage being set up ) ...... I took a taxi to Barry's studio complex in the media area of Dubai. He has a great setup with 5 sound studios and 2 video editting suites. Business seems good. Harry joined me at 5.00pm and we went over to the Hall of Emirates where there is an actual indoor ski slope with 2 runs. This features real snow! This seemed such a bizarre idea in the middle of the desert that we had to go!! The skiing ( snowboarding in Harry's case ) was great and I even got some video of Harry snowboarding ( see link above ). After a couple hours we were freezing so we taxied back to the hotel and I spent a pleasant evening with Tom Callaghan drinking beer and eating curry while Harry met up with a friend visiting from the UK ........
Monday 19th February 2007 : Mumbai/Dubai : We have a late flight to Dubai, so a day lazing around and sunning ourselves by the pool .... We arrived in Dubai without incident.........
Sunday 18th February 2007 : Mumbai : The day of the gig. Had a very pleasant breakfast with Dave and later Carol. I plan to have a relaxing day mooching round the hotel and perhaps a little local sight seeing on foot ......... After a relatively short bus ride we arrived at the venue around 4.30pm. After the soundcheck we all headed to catering for more excellent Indian food. The crowd were amazing. They cheered the crew testing the guitars before we were even on stage! The gig was fantastic in spite of a few tuning problems created by the heat. During 'Sheep' Roger came up to me and mouthed something and gestured toward the guitar ( bass ) tuner. I saw that it showed an E pitched sharp. I turned the machine head on the E string ... No effect .... I did it even more before Roger took over himself, stopped playing briefly and tuned the A string where he was fretting an E! Duh!! I fail the guitar tech entrance exam miserably..... I managed to lose the belt pack for my radio mic during 'Beirut'. I ran forward as usual to the front of the stage, but the belt pack kept going when I came to a halt! Luckily it kept working in spite of being located at my feet. Quick thinking Colin ran on and stuffed the pack in my side pocket, which meant that I didn't have to fumble around on the ground looking for it at the end of the solo. Thanks again Colin! We went back to the hotel and had some more amazing Indian food before bed. I won't be getting up for breakfast tomorrow ........
Saturday 17th February 2007 : Mumbai : A day off in Mumbai. Had breakfast with Jon and Pat. I wasn't quite up to mutton curry and paratha's first thing in the morning, so settled for some scrambled eggs, toast and bacon. Tried the bitter gourd juice. Big mistake! ( p.s. it just tasted nasty, it didn't poison me! thanks for the concerned emails ) ..... We have a bus to take us site seeing in the afternoon......... Went all over Mumbai in a bus and got to see Dhobi Ghats, Victoria Terminus, the Gateway of India, the Taj Mahal hotel, Marine drive and Haji Ali's mosque. A pretty full and interesting day. In the evening it was back in the bus to go to what is reputed to be Bombay's best restaurant. We had fabulous Indian food which made the long bus trip well worth it.
Friday 16th February 2007 : Hong Kong/Bangkok/Mumbai : A travel day. We set off from Hong Kong around 1.30pm. After a 2 hour stopover in Bangkok we arrived in Mumbai at around 11.00pm Indian time ( 1.00am Hong Kong time ). We were greeted with garlands and an orange spot on the forehead. I'm going down to the bar to buy Trip ( our long suffering tour manager ) a drink ....... Ran into Pat and Dave downstairs. No sign of Trip. The Bar is closed ( after midnight ), so we had a quick stroll round the grounds then headed back to our rooms.
Thursday 15th February 2007 : Hong Kong : Got up late and spent half an hour updating my blog. We go to the gig at 6.30pm ........ I just went down to the pool, not realizing that a. it was outdoors and b. the weather had just turned gray and drizzly. Having appeared by the pool in my robe watched by 3 Chinese attendants I felt obliged to swim regardless! Luckily the water was pleasantly warm so the experience only slightly reminded me of swimming on holiday in Scotland as a lad. Time to visit the shops before gig ....... Got to the venue early so that I could practice for an hour or so before the show. The show was great. A very enthusiastic audience. Some good reviews in the local papers the following day. We repaired to a private room in JJ's for a quick drink before retiring.
Wednesday 14th February 2007 : Hong Kong : I have a couple of meetings with ad agencies today. The first is with Anita at the Leo Burnett agency. I met Anita and her colleague Yvonne, who were clearly amazed by my description of the musical wonders we perform at Candle Music back in London! It was interesting to see a different area of Hong Kong. The Taikoo area is a business and shopping district about 20 minutes from Wan Chai in a cab. I took the train/subway back, which was both a more cost effective and interesting option. The remnants of the British presence in Hong Kong are still very apparent; especially in some of the infrastructure like the subway. It was very easy to navigate due to the many English signs, places and street names ( Queen Street, Fleming Road etc. ). I had a swim and a look around the shops before my second meeting at Saatchi and Saatchi. LuLu was very easy to talk to and even had a ticket to the show tomorrow. I hope to meet her and her friend after the gig. In the evening I had some excellent Thai food at JJ's with Pat and Jon, then met up with Harry and headed off to the Gecko lounge. Jason Cheng was hosting a fun jam at the bar. After listening to their first set, Harry and I introduced ourselves and got involved in the second half at around midnight. We played 'Softly As In A Morning Sunrise', 'Straight No Chaser' and a couple more tunes before we decided to bail and left Jason and Paulo ( tenor ) blowing up a storm on 'Alone Together'. Paulo is based in New York so we will hook up with him later in the tour.
Tuesday 13th February 2007 : Shanghai/Hong Kong: We had an easy trip from Shanghai to Hong Kong. Harry and I played chess most of the way. Arrived in Hong Kong around 4.30pm. Just enough time to have a wander for a couple of hours to get the lie of the land. We are in the Wan Chai area which is next door to the convention Center where we play on thursday. Hong Kong is clearly a vibey, exciting city. I look forward to seeing more tomorrow. In the evening I went out with Trip, Andrew, Andy, Snowy and Katie to a recommended wine bar serving Oriental tapas. We all ordered a couple of dishes and a splendid array of fish, seafood, meat and veggies turned up and were soon consumed along with copious quantities of good Australian cabernet. A good night in Hong Kong.
Monday 12th February 2007 : Shanghai : More swimming, a few calls to ad agencies and then it was time to go to the venue. Another worrying trip in the bus which happily ended in us arriving at the Grand Stage in one piece. We had a great show to a small but enthusiastic mainly Chinese audience, then back to the hotel for drinks .......
Sunday 11th February 2007 : Shanghai : A day off in Shanghai. I had a wander around the immediate area before hooking up with the rest of the band for a guided tour round Shanghai. We first went to the Oriental Pearl Tower and of course went up ( well, at least some of us ... Richelle and Jon bailed at the first level ). After this we drove briefly past the Bund before heading to a market and having lunch at Bill Clintons favourite restaurant in Shanghai. I avoided the fishes lips and ducks feet on this occasion and went for the chicken with cashews. After a quick turn round the antiques market we headed back to the hotel. I met up with Jon in the pool and we decided to try and see a bit more of the town that evening. After aimlessly wandering for 20 minutes or so we stopped 3 cabs in succession attempting to get to the Bund. On each occasion we failed to make ourselves understood, so never did get to explore the most famous area in Shanghai. Back to the hotel and a bite to eat before bed.
Saturday 10th February 2007 : Perth/Singapore/Shanghai : After a 5 hour flight to Singapore we find ourselves in the Singapore Airlines business lounge for a 3 hour stopover. Since we have a wireless connection everyone is online checking emails etc. I am updating this blog as we speak ........ We arrive in Shanghai early evening. After a fairly terrifying bus trip to the hotel ( Shanghai seems to be populated with the worst drivers on the planet; including our bus driver ) i had a beer with Andy, Katie and Andrew, then an early night.
Friday 9th February 2007 : Perth : Had a wander round beautiful Perth. The gig was outdoors on a balmy night. Snowy had a few problems with his guitar setup but apart from that the gig went well. Some fireworks during the later half of Dark Side Of The Moon made a spectacular backdrop. ( a coincidence since they were part of the Perth Arts festival ). The pig escaped again and apparently made the news the following day. I stayed up rather to late chatting to Andy, considering we have a 7.00am start tomorrow!
Tuesday 6th February 2007 : Brisbane/Adelaide : Dave was only band member that took the opportunity of a morning trip to the Brisbane zoo. Check out the pic of Dave with koala! I vote that we dispense with his previous nickname of 'killer' and substitute the far more appropriate 'cuddly'....... Travelling to Adelaide today ....... Had a bit of a drama with my luggage. After arriving at the hotel, my bag still hadn't appeared after about an hour. Luckily, it had been sent to the wrong room and was tracked down and delivered in time for me to go out to dinner. Had a wonderful Chinese meal with Carol and Jon. I decided to go for the crocodile stir fry with snow peas. Crocodile actually tastes a lot like chicken! No really!!
Monday 5th February 2007 : Brisbane : Did a little clothes shopping then headed for the pool where I met up with Mark, Jon and the entire England cricket team! The team were in the pool so stopped Jon and I doing laps. How inconsiderate! Actually they got out after 15 minutes and Jon and I had a nice swim. Just time for a little more shopping ( with Jon this time ) then back to the hotel to get ready for tonights show ........ A great show. Katie was in particularily good form. It was nice to meet Gina and friend during the break between sets. Off to Adelaide, Home of Andrew Zweck, tomorrow .......
Sunday 4th February 2007 : Melbourne/Brisbane : Travel to Brisbane. As usual I played Harry at chess on the plane ....... Time for a quick wander round central Brisbane, a swim then out to get a bite to eat. Had some nice Thai food in an outdoor restaurant then met up with Dave, Eddie, Alfie and ( I think ) Richard in the hotel bar. A few beers later I headed back upstairs.
Saturday 3rd February 2007 : Melbourne : A day off. I hired a bicycle and took a trip to Brighton. There is a nice cycle path along the coast which I went about 10 Kilometers along till I thought the sun might be getting the better of me, so headed back via St. Kilda. By the time I got into town it was late afternoon. Just time for a nice chat with Oberon by the rooftop pool and a quick swim. I solved the gig dilemma by going early to Deborah's gig and meeting the band including Willy Zygler, Deborah's soon to be husband, songwriting partner, producer and cool guitarist. I managed to see most of the first set including a powerful version of 'String Of Pearls' ( Conway not Ellington ) before heading back to the hotel to catch the bus to the Clapton gig. The band were great. Three cool guitarists Eric, Doyle Bramhall II and the amazing Derek Trucks. Derek stole the show as far as the RW contingent were concerned. His slide playing has to be seen to be believed. After the show Carol, Graham, Leslie and myself went for a quiet drink round the corner before calling it a night.
Friday 2nd February 2007 : Melbourne : I wandered down the river and into the botanical gardens. It is very hot and sunny so I am very glad of my hat, which I got in Sydney and have been mainly wearing to keep the rain off! I walked to the Arena a couple of hours early so that I could get a bit of practice in without disturbing anyone. The gig was fantastic. Eric Claptons band are in town so Eric and Doyle ( ex Rogers group ) were in attendance. We had a nice get together back at the hotel. I am undecided whether to go and see Eric perform tomorrow at the Rod Laver Arena or Deborah Conway at Fitzroy Gardens. I'll decided tomorrow.
Thursday 1st February 2007 : Melbourne : A fairly uneventful day. Saw a bit more of Melbourne. Failed to get any meetings with ad agencies so far. Had a nice swim before going to the Rod Laver Arena around 5.30pm. Deborah and family were able to make it to the gig which was another good one. Andy was in rocking form.
Tuesday 30th January 2007 : Auckland/Melbourne : I managed to arranged a meeting at Y&R ( advertising agency )with Steve, Zoe and crew. I got down there at 11.30 and introduced them to the amazing benefits of using Candle Music to do music for their TV commercials. Our flight to Melbourne is at 4.30pm so it's off to the airport at 2.00............
Monday 29th January 2007 : Auckland : Not really enough time to do very much in Auckland. We head to the venue at 4.30pm ............ The weather is beautiful so no problems with cold hands tonight. Everything was going fine till we got to Snowy's solo on 'Set The Controls'. No sound came out of Snowy's amps. Apparently one of his effects had blown up. Roger stopped the show after the song had finished and Tim managed to get Snowy up and running again. We restarted the show from Snowy's guitar solo in 'STCTTHOTS' The rest of the night was great. Andy was in good form on 'Beirut'. The Auckland audience went particularily wild during the encore tunes.
Sunday 28th January 2007 : Christchurch/Auckland : A travel day. The weather has cleared up, but not enough to let Roger and Trip go on their fishing. ( The helicopter pilot refused to fly due to high winds ). I am in the departure lounge of Christchurch airport writing this. we leave for Auckland at 1.30pm ............ It is beautiful weather in Aukland when we arrive. I wandered round the town a bit, caught the air display over the city and had a swim back at the hotel. In the evening we have a band dinner at Peter Gordon's excellent restaurant Dine. Interesting fusion dishes with unusual use of cumin ( in bread ) and soy ( with sweet potatoes ). The meat and fish dishes were tremendous. After dinner I made the mistake of going on a jazz hunt just as the skies opened. The Manifesto Wine Cellar jazz jam would seem to be long since defunct and I got soaked with warm rain for my trouble. Hopefully I'll have better luck in Melbourne.
Saturday 27th January 2007 : Christchurch : The weather has cleared up, which is great news for the gig as it is outdoors. I got up late and wandered into town. There is a buskers festival in progress so I checked out some of the acts. I have a soft spot for buskers having busked in London underground ( mainly South Kensington near the museums ) for a couple of years earlier in my musical career. We head off to the venue at 4.30, so not much time for siteseeing ......... It was rather cold and wet at the gig but this didn't seem to stop the New Zealand audience having a great time; particularily in the second half. half way through my 'Beirut' solo my radio mic jerked out of place. When I tried to put it back it came off in my hand. Roger saved the day by coming over and grabbing the mic and holding it in front of the sax while I finished the solo.
Friday 26th January 2007 : Sydney/Christchurch : Arrived in Christchurch 3.00pm local time. It is grey and drizzly. Rather like being in England! I think today is going to be quiet and uneventful ...... I had a nice chicken Panang at the Thai restaurant across the way and wandered downtown to Sammy's Jazz Review Bar in search of some jazz. I found a nice little band with a good singer and sax player playing funk. I hung out for a set but decided not to sit in.
Thursday 25th January 2007 : Sydney : Gig day. Still overcast so no joy on the astronomical front. All around town there are preparations in progress for Australia Day, which is tomorrow. I heard some of Puccini's 'Madame Butterfly' being rehearsed in the park and there are plenty of buskers around. Just time for a swim, a shower and the rest of Sam Harris' 'Letter To A Christian Nation' before setting off to the gig around 4.30pm ....... The gig was great. The Australian audience were quieter than the U.S or Italian crowds but hung on every nore. It was fantastic to be onstage playing this great music once more. We left the venue straight after the show to avoid the 'Big Day Out' crowds and had a quiet drink back at the hotel. Bags at 6.30, leave at 7.00am so everyone had a relatively early night.
Wednesday 24th January 2007 : Sydney : Up at 3.00am again, so blog time! I have just found out from my brother Alistair that there is quite a dramatic comet ( McNaught ) visible in the Southern Hemisphere. After finishing writing this I am going to pop out and see if I can spot it ...... No sight of the comet due to the overcast skies. Perhaps I'll have better luck later in the day ....... The weather has taken a turn for the worse and today is rather wet and miserable. I did manage to get out during a break in the showers and take a picture of the bats in the park across the way! ...... The rehearsal today was at the Acer Arena; the gig venue. We ran the whole show with lights and pyro. Everything went to plan and a great show tomorrow can be expected. My replacement EWI ( electronic wind instrument ) turned up today ( the original instrument didn't survive the trip down under ) so I will be able to play my usual french horn parts in the tunes featuring orchestra. Back at the hotel I am unable to see any stars, never mind a comet. Maybe it will clear up tomorrow .....
Tuesday 23nd January 2007 : Sydney : The final rehearsal at BIG TOP, Luna Park. The band are in full swing. Some interesting changes to 'Beirut' and I am now sharing the 'Set The Controls' solo with Jon Carin. We do a kind of jazzy swapping fours thing which was suggested by Roger. Dinner with Annie and family this eve ....... that is the second trip to Manly ( a leafy Sydney suburb ) in 2 days. Another lovely evening. Great to see Ruth and Edward for the first time in far too long.
Monday 22nd January 2007 : Sydney : I'm up at 3.00am again, so time to update my blog! Many thanks to the numerous people who emailed me to tell me that the 'strange bird' is in fact an Ibis ( or to be more accurate, Australian White Ibis ); a very common bird in these parts. I had no idea there were so many ornithologists amongst my readers! The rehearsal passed without incident and in the evening I took the Manly ferry to meet up with my good friend Peter Williams and family. We had a very pleasant evening with interesting conversation, great beef and figs and terrific Shiraz. I caught the last ferry back to town and got in around 1.00am.
Sunday 21th January 2007 : Sydney : The downside of travelling to exotic places on the other side of the world is the jet lag. It is 3.21am and I am wide awake. This accounts for the longer, rambling Saturday entry! ..... Got up around 10.30am, so plenty of time to have a swim and a hat hunt ( I've already got a bit of sun ) before lunch on the quay. At 2.00 we went to the first rehearsal where we ran through the set. There are a few minor changes but basically the same show as in 2006. Roger mentioned some improved visuals and effects which I look forward to seeing tomorrow. In the evening we took a boat ride across the bay and had a band dinner overlooking the water. I had an excellent and freshly caught Barramundi; a fish new to me. After dinner Harry and I played a few standards in the hotel lobby to some of the crew and a few guests before calling it a night.
Saturday 20th January 2007 : Sydney : Arrived in Sydney at 7.30am. Straight to the hotel, a bit of unpacking, on with my shorts and hat with corks dangling from it ( kidding ) then out to see the sights .... Sydney is a pretty and small city with hardly any traffic compared to London or US cities. I saw some strange birds so I took a photo of them ( see strange birds series Reyjavic, Chicago ). I would be grateful if someone could identify them. Had a swim and a nap before going out in the early evening to meet Annie, an old friend from London now living in Sydney and her friend Patrick. We spent a pleasant couple of hours reminiscing before I started to fade and headed back to the hotel.......
Friday 19th January 2007 : Bangkok : Arrived in Bangkok for a quick refuelling stopover before proceeding to Sydney. Carol and Snowy are trying out their new laptops by logging on to the local wifi and checking email. I thought I'd make a quick blog entry before the next leg. Just time for a quick guava juice before reboarding.......
Thursday 18th January 2007 : London : Unbelievably strong winds are causing delays at Heathrow but I'm still hoping to leave around 10.00pm. I'll meet Andy, Carol, Katie and Snowy at the airport. The rest of the band and crew are already in Sydney......
Wednesday 17th January 2007 : London : One day to go before travelling to Australia for pre production rehearsals in Sydney. I am just getting underway packing and doing a few last minute odds and ends before leaving.
Tuesday 26th December 2006 : Parbold : I am with my parents in Lancashire over Christmas. I just received some great shots of the Mansfield ( Boston ) gig from Peter Fahey so, as I'm up and about during the early hours, I thought I would post them.
Wednesday 20th December 2006 : London : Marco from Lima in Peru sent me a photograph of this poster for Roger's coming show. Any other poster pictures for the up and coming tour will be gratefully recieved and posted here!Home | Information | Writing | Sounds | Links | contact