Monday 14th May 2007 : London : Off to Dublin via Farnborough aerodrome. We fly in and out of Dublin today so I will still not get to see anything of Eire. ( we also flew in and out of Cork in 2006; my only other time in this neck of the woods ). A fantastic show with a great Irish audience and beef in guiness served up in catering. What more could you ask. Back in London by 12.30am. We have a day off tomorrow, then fly off to Miami for the U.S. leg of the tour.
Sunday 13th May 2007 : London : A day off, spent playing sax and cooking cheeseburgers.
Saturday 12th May 2007 : London : The second of the 2 London dates today. If anything this was an even better show than friday. ( of course we had the inestimable help of Nick Mason! ). The after show party was fun and I got to meet up with Paul Brown, my ex manager from my production days.
Friday 11th May 2007 : London : The first Earls Court gig today. It is both Harry and I's first time playing at this famous venue. We got there in plenty of time to have a soundcheck with Nick Mason, who is joining the band on saturday. I got to say hi to John and Isobel before the show started, then onstage at 7.45pm. It was a great show with a great audience. Roger was visibly moved by the reception. We all had a fantastic time. After the show I got to say hi to Tom and Danny ( 2 great musicians ) and Lee and Mark ( movers and shakers from the City ).
Thursday 10th May 2007 : London : What was going to be a nice relaxing day turned into a plumbing nightmare! I was doing some washing and the pipes in the kitchen backed up and filled the room with gallons of hot, soapy water. After swabbing the decks with towels to mop up the water I tracked down the source of the problem; a blocked pipe between the sink and outside drain. I borrowed a bendy pipe clearing device from friend Chris and undid the pipe just in time for the upstairs flat's washing machine to empty down the same pipe and fill the kitchen with hot soapy water again! In the end I sorted it out ( with Chris' help ) and spent the rest of the day trying to get the kitchen dry and throwing out soggy pasta and rice. Oh to be back on the road!!
Wednesday 9th May 2007 : London : Spent the day dealing with mail, bills etc. Had a surprise visit from my friends John and brother Richard. They are both in town to promote John's new album 'Gone Away' which features my tenor and soprano playing on most of the tracks. In the evening we got together with Isobel ( John's wife and band member ) and the kids and ate curry and tried on sunglasses.
Tuesday 8th May 2007 : Manchester/Birmingham/London : Everyone, including Roger, piled into a large bus and we all schlepped down to Birmingham. Back in England , so the weather is miserable ( wet and grey ). Passed the time playing gin with Harry and we then were at the NEC in no time. A quick soundcheck, a bite to eat and a couple of games of ping pong then we were ready to go on. Oli and Rob, 2 musician friends of mine from London, popped their heads round the dressing room door to say hi before the show. It was slightly disconcerting to find them directly in front of me when I got on stage. I tried to pretend that they were normal members of the audience, and I think I got away with it! The show was fun, the trip back to London was quick and I was home in Willesden Green by 1.00am.
Monday 7th May 2007 : Manchester : Picked up a couple of shirts from The House Of Fraser round the corner as I am running out of clothes! Back to London soon. Roger's flight from down south hadn't arrived when we got to the venue, so we soundchecked without him and Harry. The gig ran smoothly and Manchester seemed to enjoy the experience. I had a few old friends along from Scotland and Liverpool. It was great to see Elaine and her daughter Katie and also Mike from Liverpool. We had a nice post gig chat in the hotel bar after the show. Good luck with your Highers Katie.
Sunday 6th May 2007 : Manchester : I had a very pleasant long lunch with Mum, Dad and my brother Alistair at the Riverside restaurant on the Irwell in the centre of Manchester. After lunch I just had time to have a bit of a play on my sax, wander round the city for an hour or so for a bit of exercise and update my blog. I got an email today from Ing. Josue Sanchez Tapetillo telling me that the Viking longship that I photographed in Stockholm ( see 27th April ) was destroyed by fire the day after we left town. Spooky and sad.
Saturday 5th May 2007 : Paris/Arnhem/Bournemouth/Manchester : We have quite a lot of travelling today so had a fairly early start. On landing in Holland there was an hour bus ride to the venue, so we didn't arrive till 4.30pm. Roger was already on stage playing and singing 'Flickering Flame' which we all joined in on. I wonder if he is considering a change in the set? It was nice to meet Marleen before the gig. The show was fun, with everyone playing well. The 35000 strong audience were surprisingly subdued but seemed to liven up towards the end of the second set. After the show it was back to the airport and on to Bournemouth where we dropped off Roger and Harry who are spending sunday at home. Next stop was Manchester at about 2.00am local time.
Friday 4th May 2007 : Paris : Another day off in Paris. Holly, Tanya and I hooked up with Dave and cabbed up to Montmartre. Had a look around Sacre Coeur and ended up in the square with all the portrait painters, artists and cafes. We had a pleasant light lunch before meandering down the hill and catching the metro back to our hotel. In the evening I took Holly andn Tanya to the Paris institution, La Coupole for dinner. The weather had just turned wet so the traffic meant we turned up 15 minutes late. This did not seem to matter to the charming Maitre D and waiters who had fun with our incompetent attempts to speak French and confusion over the menu. We started with some foie gras then I had the excellent lamb curry ( a house speciality ) and the girls seemed happy with their choices of main courses also. The rain had given up by the time we finished eating, so we had a quick wander round the 14th arrondissment before heading back to the hotel for a nightcap.
Thursday 3rd May 2007 : Paris : The day of the gig, so just had a brief wander around the Champs-Élysées before setting off for the venue. Played some doubles table tennis( Sean and I against Dave and Harry ). We thrashed them comprehensively, much to Harry's annoyance ( I'm sure he won't mention this in his blog! ). Didn't fare so well against Kahuna in the singles though. The show was fun with particularily good sound ( thanks to Trip and Bob ). We got a great view of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night from the roof of our hotel.
Wednesday 2nd May 2007 : Paris : Missed breakfast so had a wander around the immediate area before holly and Tanya arrived from London on the Eurostar around 2.00pm. The three of us then meandered aimlessly around the streets of Paris, having a great time. We stopped off at a couple of cafe's before ending up on the Isle De La Cite near Notre Dame. After browsing around the inetresting shops in the area we found a pleasant brasserie with a view of the cathedral and had some seak et frites and good red wine. ( we have something more elaborate planned for friday night where I made a reservation at La Coupole ). After dinner we caught a couple of sets of a cool Argentinian group playing at Duc Des Lombards - Club De Jazz. They were led by Minino Garay and his Cordoba Reunion. Minino is a fantastic persussionist/drummer who played exciting and dynamic rhythms on his kit and an amplified wooden box.
Tuesday 1st May 2007 : Bergen/Soenderborg/Paris : We left for Denmark around 2.00pm. The beautiful weather seems to be following us around. I got thrashed at chess by Harry once again, but faired a little better at gin rummy. Kahuna is the king of ping pong. Not even Harry can take more than the occasional game against him, but we all try. The show was great, if a little chilly for both band and audience. It didn't stop the Danes from having a great time. They almost matched the Norwegians for enthusiasm. After the show it was off to Paris ( France ) and a day off tomorrow. Thanks to Dag Øivind Rebnord for sending me more pics of his band performing 'The Wall' in Bergen.
Monday 30th April 2007 : Bergen : I met up with Dave at breakfast and we decided to go for a bit of a hike into the hills. We set off around 11.00.am and made good progress through the old town and up the path to the start of the forest. We saw some whacky wooden carvings in the bushes on our way. Later we came upon a beautiful lake. We were really lucky with the weather which was bright and clear but not too hot. Dave was keen to get as high as we could so we pressed on and finally reached the summit above the town where we could see the snow covered hills to the east. There was a strange bunker like building with KAOS sprayed on the front. I would be interested if anyone could fill me in on the meaning of this and if there is any connection with Roger's album of the same name. On the way down we stopped off at the cafe which had a great view of Bergen. We ran into Pat who was on a slightly less ambitious trek into the hills. All in all a very good days exercise. We arrived back at the hotel around 5.00pm, just in time to spruce up and get together with thew rest of the band. In the evening we took Roger to a local fish restaurant and had an excellent meal.
Sunday 29th April 2007 : Bergen : Got up late, so had a choice of going climbing in the hills above Bergen or going to see around the Arctic Sunrise. The hills won out on this beautiful day. I saw enough to know that if the weather is good tomorrow I am going back for a longer trip. We headed to the venue around 5.00pm. Soundchecked, had a great nut roast courtesy of Michael in catering, couldn't get near the table tennis table. Ping pong and darts are getting very popular before the show with band and crew. The concert was fab. Katie sung particularily beautifully on 'Beirut'. Dave, in spite of an ongoing cold, rocked. The audience were amazing. The 15000 people made enough noise for 50000. So much for my 'Latins make the best audiences' theory. Thank you Bergen.
Saturday 28th April 2007 : Stockholm/Bergen : We go to Bergen a day earlier than scheduled because Marianne Faithfull is in town and Roger and Harry are going to meet up with her for dinner............... Arrived in Bergen in the late afternoon. The weather is beautiful, so I had a stroll around town before the sun went down. Bergen is a very picturesque little place. The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is in moored here at present. They are having an open day tomorrow so I hope to see some more of the ship then. In the evening we all met up with Marianne at a very good local restaurant. Just before the main course came, Andrew Zweck arrived and told us about a performance of The Wall, which was going on round the corner at that very minute. Roger and about seven of us bundled into the van and arrived in time to hear 4 or 5 tunes from the end of the set. There was something quite surreal about standing in the dark with Roger listening to a Norwegian band perform his mega opus. Not something that happens every day. After the show we returned to the restaurant for the rest of our excellent meal. I managed to have a few words with Marianne, mainly about her fantastic performance in Tom Waits 'Black Rider' a couple of years previously. This great show featured Marianne as the Devil. Later Harry and I played a few tunes in the bar and were joined by Pat for a rousing version of 'Summertime'.
Friday 27th April 2007 : Stockholm : Plenty of time for more site seeing around Stockholm before leaving for the show. We started early ( 7.30pm ) so no time for ping pong. There were a couple of mishaps during the show, including Roger breaking a string on his acoustic guitar during 'Mother', but this did not detract from a great concert. 'Perfect Sense' and 'Sheep' were particularly powerful. Andy was rocking on 'Beirut'. After the show we adjourned to the Opera Cafe until the volume of the disco drove us all back to the hotel.
Thursday 26th April 2007 : Stockholm : A day off in Sweden. We all slept late, so didn't leave the hotel till around 2.30pm. Stockholm is very pretty and clean; particularly the Gamla Stan area, which is one of the older parts. I ran into Carol in a cafe along the way and invited her along on my evenings jazz expedition. Before returning to the hotel I checked out the small island Skepps-Holmen, where I took some photos of sculptures which looked straight out of the Beatles 'Yellow Submarine' ( but predated that film by quite a few years ). In the evening, after some computer admin ( getting Carol's MacBook up and running ) we went to the Fasching Jazz Club, where the Fredrik Kronqvist Quartet were just finishing their set. Harry and his mother Caroline ( who I hadn't seen since Radio Kaos days in 1987 ) turned up for the last couple of tunes. We enjoyed the set hugely, bought a CD and repaired to a local Italian restaurant for some pasta before returning to the hotel. ( thanks to Renate for the new pics of the Barcelona concert ).
Wednesday 25th April 2007 : Milan/Antwerp/Stockholm : We play in Antwerp this evening then fly on to Stockholm....... Flew into Brussels since Antwerp airport closes before our scheduled onward flight to Stockholm. Straight to the venue, soundcheck, a few hands of gin rummy with Harry ( back to all square after I won 4 hands in a row and got a 'Schneider' ) then on with the show. I see from reading Harry's blog that he has gotten a bit of flack from calling the Belgian audience comatose! Having played many gigs with other bands I can definitely say that Roger's audiences are the most knowledgeable, loud and enthusiastic bunches of people that I have ever played to. That said, the Latin audiences give the rest of the world a lot to live up to! The gig was good fun in spite of the crowd remaining seated till the encore. We were whisked away to the airport before midnight and were in Stockholm by 2.30am.
Tuesday 24th April 2007 : Milan : Had breakfast with Dave, Pompey and Andrew. Found out some interesting things about Pompey's past in the military. Particularily his winter training in Norway. In the afternoon I wandered round Milan. Milan is about shopping. There are more clothes shops here than you can shake a stick at. ( although I'm sure they would prefer you to shake credit cards at them ). I did rather badly in the shopping stakes. Saw another cathedral. In the evening I had a nice dinner with Ilaria, who plays keys and sings in a Pink Floyd tribute band ( but is studying to be a vet ) and is a massive Jon Carin fan.
Monday 23rd April 2007 : Barcelona/Milan : Bags at 12.30. Bus to the airport at 2.00. Harry is starting to get ahead in the chess tournament. Come to think of it, I'm not doing so well at the gin rummy either! straight to the gig from the airport. It was nice to meet Ilaria and her band mate before the show. The concert was storming. A fabulously enthusiastic audience made playing a particular joy.
Sunday 22nd April 2007 : Barcelona : Slept late then returned my bicycle after a run down the seafront where most of Barcelona were soaking up the sun on the beach, or checking out the people soaking up the sun on the beach. In the afternoon most of the band and Roger went to see John McEnroe play in his match against Cedric Pioline in the seniors competition prior to the start of the Spanish open. All our support was to no avail however, as he lost in two sets 6-4, 7-5. We shouldn't have kept him up so late on an evening prior to a big match! ( He blamed his poor showing on this also !! ). It was fantastic all the same to see this genius of tennis in action, having seen many of his great matches against Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg et al...... Later Harry and I went on a jazz expedition that turned out to be a wild goose chase. We did however get to see the Sagrada Familia by night, spectacularily illuminated. I had a last jaunt along La Rambla before retiring.
Saturday 21st April 2007 : Barcelona : The day of the gig. We don't leave the hotel till 6.00pm ( a late show ), so plenty of time to see more of the city and go to the Museu Picasso ......... Spent a very interesting couple of hours in the Picasso museum. The room containing 50 or so versions, copies and details of Velasquez 'Las Meninas' painted by Picasso was particularily fascinating. I was less interested in the many early Picasso's the museum featured, though obviously of historical significance and proving what a complete and gifted technical painter the man was for anyone who doubted it. The concert was tremendous. The audiemce were easily the best, loudest, most enthusiastic on this leg so far. Everyone had a great time, including John McEnroe, who came back to the hotel and spent a bit of time with the band after the gig.
Friday 20th April 2007 : Barcelona : A day off in Barcelona. The jazz hunt is on! ....... I have found a couple of promising places, so I'll see if I can drag Harry away from his poker match with Dave and a few other members of the crew. Cycling seems like a good way to get round the city so I picked one up as soon as the rental shop opened after siesta time ( finishing around 4.00pm ). Had a good days riding, exploring the city and , of course, visiting the amazing Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's humourous take on how to design a cathedral........... No sign of Harry so I set off to Jamboree in the Placa Reial. The beautifully melodic and fluent trumpeter Claudio Roditi ( who does look quite a lot like a younger David Jason ) was playing his second set of the evening at 11.00pm. The small club was jammed with people, all of whom enjoyed the concert hugely. I bought a copy of Claudio's splendid CD 'Light In The Dark' which I am listening to at this minute. Las Ramblas was still bustling with people when I left the club at 1.00am.
Thursday 19th April 2007 : Hamburg/Barcelona : Had a few hours to sightsee in Hamburg before the show. Saw some churches and lots of shops then off to the venue. I was here once in 1989 checking out a German band with a view to producing their record. I didn't see much of the town on that occasion either! The band was playing great tonight. Snowy in particular played some ripping solos on 'Brick' and 'Numb'. A long drive to the airport then 3 hours on the plane to Barcelona. Enough time for Harry to beat me a couple of times at chess........
Wednesday 18th April 2007 : Cologne/Leipzig/Hamburg : Returned my bicycle and had a swim in the morning before setting sail for Leipzig. Cool gig then back on the plane, bound for Hamburg.......
Tuesday 17th April 2007 : Cologne : A day off in Cologne, so I'm off cycling........I set off along the west bank heading south along the Rhine. The city soon gave way to countryside and I spent a bit of time exploring a forest by the riverside along the way. I finally reached Weiss, where there is a ferry across the river to Zundorf. Had a nice chat to the boatman who ( once he found out I was from Scotland ) decided to practise his English on me. We had a nice chat about Skye, the Loch Ness Monster and the German band Can ( who I think he may have played keyboards with an early incarnation ) I said adieu and headed north towards Cologne. The trip back took me through Porz and Ensen and I finally got back to town around 5.00pm after a 30 mile round trip. In the evening the local promoter took us to and excellent Italian retaurant where much fun was had by all.
Monday 16th April 2007 : Cologne : The weather is fantastic today. I spent half an hour updating my blog and then headed out in search of a bicycle to hire for the next couple of days. After a false start back and forth across the railway bridge ( Hohenzollerbrücke ), I was directed to the right location ( Deutzer Brücke ) and found the bike rental place at one end of the bridge. I spent a pleasant few hours exploring the environs of Cologne before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the show. The concert was great. Roger did a fantastic job, particularily considering he had been hit with the tummy bug that plagued the end of the South American leg. The audience were quite reserved until encore, when they finally got out of their seats and defied the venue security staff and stood up. After the show we had a pleasant glass of wine and some snacks back at the hotel and were even joined by Roger who was feeling a bit better, if a little drained.
Sunday 15th April 2007 : Cologne : A day off in Cologne. Had a nice chat at breakfast with Pompey, who has taken over from Simon on security. Spent the rest of the day wandering round Cologne before heading back to the hotel to hook up with Harry. We found a jazz jam listed at the Villa Ignis starting at 6.00pm, so we hopped in a cab and headed there around that time. When we arrived the band were just packing up and indicated that on this nice sunny day they would rather be picnicking by the Rhine, than playing jazz with us. ( not unreasonably since it is a beautiful day ). The proprietor of the bar kindly let Harry and I play for an hour or so to the remaining customers, before she shut up shop for the day ( and invited us back the following week ). In the evening there was a poker game arranged which Harry attended and I ( considering my last late night poker experience ) decided to miss!
Saturday 14th April 2007 : Prague/Budapest/Cologne : Yet another lovely day in Prague. We leave for the airport at 2.00pm destined for Budapest. I have never been to Hungary, but suspect I won't get much of an impression of Buda or Pest on this trip........ I was right! Straight in and out of Budapest. Another good gig then on to the plane bound for Germany. Harry and I had a good game of chess during the flight ( good for me at any rate! Harry must be slipping ... ). In the hotel by the river in Cologne by 2.00am.
Friday 13th April 2007 : Prague : Another beautiful day in Prague. I spent most of the day siteseeing, including a trip to the amazing Modern Art Museum which has some great paintings by Max Ernst along with mainy lesser known Eastern European artists. Another wonderful gig. Everyone was on excellent form, including the pig.
Thursday 12th April 2007 : Prague : Had a very pleasant afternoon wandering around Prague. It is a beautiful city, particularily in the sunshine. The band met up at a great restaurant by the river next to Charles bridge in the evening. We had a splendid meal. Afterwards Harry, Richelle, Mary Zweck and I headed to U Maleho Glena to catch the last set featuring the Roman Pokorny trio. I sat in on a version of 'Straight No Chaser' but before I could get Harry involved the set was over. Maybe he will have better luck in Cologne.
Wednesday 11th April 2007 : London/Zurich/Prague : I was picked up at 8.30am and taken to Heathrow, terminal 4 ( via Harry's gaff ). Re united with the band in the British Airways lounge and restarted my blog ................ Got to Zurich around 2.00pm and went straight to the venue for soundcheck. Got a bit of table tennis in before a storming gig. Everyone was right back to form straight away and the audience reacted enthusiastically. There was an incident with the pig during 'Sheep'. For some reason it wouldn't stay in the air and kept landing on audience members in various parts of the auditorium! The Swiss audience were very civilized and just held it aloft till members of the crew came and rescued it! This incident did not detract in any way from a fabulous show. After the gig it was straight to the airport and on to Prague. ( Thanks to Simon Wimpenny for sending the pics of me from the Zurich show ).
Tuesday 27th March - Tuesday 10th April 2007 : London/Parbold/London : Dropped off a few Brazilian comestibles at Candle. Had a great fish at Sheekey's and great Thai food at the Churchill. Visited the Tate Modern. Did a bit of cycling. Played some jazz at Bar Music Hall. Went up to Parbold in Lancashire to see my parents and have a few beers with Alistair, my brother. Did my VAT returns. Recorded a couple of commercials for the Bank of Scotland.
Monday 26th March 2007 : London : Arrived at Heathrow at 1.30pm. I said my goodbyes to as many of the band and crew that I could find then headed to Willesden Green. I have about three weeks in London before the European leg starts in Zurich.
Sunday 25th March 2007 : Sao Paulo/London : Flight at 2.00pm so we left the hotel and arrived at the airport to find that the flight had been delayed by 5 hours. Fabiana took us to a nearby hotel where we had a pleasant afternoon hanging by the pool, chatting and playing table tennis ( apart from Andy, Snowy, Katie and Graham who preferred to stay at the airport! ). We finally got underway and left Sao Paulo at around 10.00pm.
Saturday 24th March 2007 : Rio De Janeiro/Sao Paulo : Flew to Sao Paulo in time to relax at the hotel for a couple of hours before going to the venue....... One of the best gigs of the tour. A great way to finish this leg. After the show we went to a restaurant that featured a giant tree inside. Most of us stayed up rather late and had a good sing led by Roger and Pat.
Friday 23rd March 2007 : Rio De Janeiro : Another fab day in Rio. Had a good swim in the sea before setting of for the gig by a circuitous route avoiding tunnels ( dangerous apparently, in spite of our police escort ). A tremendous crowd and great gig up until 'Perfect Sense'. Trip pushed the p.a. just a bit more than the Rio generators could handle during the explosion towards the end of the song, and all the power to the stage and lights went out. The crew did brilliantly getting the power back on and everything up and running while Roger signed tee shirts for the fans. The rest of the gig passed without incident apart from being great. We had some pizza under the stars before bed.
Thursday 22nd March 2007 : Rio De Janeiro : After coffee by the pool I had a swim in the ocean with Dave and Jon. Holly and I strolled down to Ipanema beach, had a look around, drunk some coconut milk from coconuts, got our feet wet and strolled back to the hotel before sunset. I had a hunt on the net for jazz dives in Rio. A couple looked promising but were very hard to get on the telephone. Eventually we decided to chance our arm and head for Jazzmania in Ipanema. Pat, Harry and Bob all bailed out on us so we took a cab to Rua Rainha Elizabeth 769 only to find the club shut down and the rain starting. Our cabbie tried to persuade us to go to a dance club way on the other town, but we opted for a restaurant at the end of Copocabana beach. It was a traditional Brazilian barbeque ( Churrascaria ) place called Marius, where waiters circulate with various cuts of beef, pork, lamb and sausages and slice off pieces to order at your table. We had a very nice meal ( including frogs legs! ) and a good Argentinian Malbec. After dinner we walked of our meal by wandering back along Copocabana past Help and the just closing market. Cab home. A marvellous day.
Wednesday 21st March 2007 : Rio De Janeiro : The first of 2 days off in Rio. While I was at breakfast Holly arrived with tales of miraculous visa getting exploits. After a quick look at the beach there was a band outing up Corcovado. Amazing views of Rio from the shadow of one of the most amazing religious folly's on the planet. After a quick snack on the Copacobana beach we just had time for a frolic in the surf at the beach near the hotel and a cocktail before dinner. Most of the band went out to a great dinner in a restaurant just off Ipanema beach. The end of another gruelling day on the road. More tomorrow.....
Tuesday 20th March 2007 : Buenos Aires/Rio De Janeiro : Things started badly.... On the way to the airport I found out that Holly ( being American ) needed a visa to get into Brazil. The story at this point was the visa would take at least 2 days to get. Holly's bags were bundled into a van going to the Brazilian embassy as we rushed to catch the plane ..... Just arrived in Rio. It is rather wet but still very warm. As I was checking into the hotel Andrew informed me that Todd ( Fox ) had managed to get Holly a visa and she would be on the 5.00am flight to Rio. Well done Todd!! The drinks are on me .....
Monday 19th March 2007 : Buenos Aires : Got up just in time to jump in a cab and go to the Cafe Ideal. The Tango class had just started when Holly and I arrived around 1.10pm. The cafe is a great old building reeking in atmosphere. We spent the next 2 hours trying to pick up the basic Tango steps and attitude. We struggled with 'Ocho' and the basic sequence of 8 steps. Just about enough to get the bug to learn some more elsewhere. Needless to say Harry bailed out so Richelle missed out on the opportunity of starting to Tango in the home of the dance. The lesson took 2 hours so by the time we had a sandwich and a coffee we had just enough time to have a walk in the park, a quick spin around Recoleta then I had a swim while Holly visited the grave of Eva Peron. In the evening we had the best steaks of our lives at the Cabanas Las Lilas accompanied by a splendid bottle of Mapema 2000. ......
Sunday 18th March 2007 : Buenos Aires : Slept quite late then had a stroll down to San Telmo where there is a Sunday market and many street musicians playing mainly Tango. Had a lovely afternoon with Holly then returned to the hotel in time to leave for the show at 6.30pm. After a quick visit to catering it was onstage. Another fab show. After the gig Holly and I had a nightcap at Filo, just round the corner from our hotel........
Saturday 17th March 2007 : Buenos Aires : The day of the first show, so took things easy and went to the stadium quite early. Some of the band returned to the hotel after soundcheck, but Snowy, Andy, Graham, Dave and myself stayed. I got a good bit of practising done and took on Snowy and Dave at table tennis. We have to raise our standard a bit in order to give Harry a decent game..... We have a long way to go. Some of the band were feeling a bit tired but show was great. A good audience, though not quite as wild as Mexico. After the show everyone retired straight away.
Friday 16th March 2007 : Buenos Aires: Slept till after midday. I obviously needed to catch up on some sleep. Holly and I saw some of Buenos Aires. Ran into a local in a cafe, Julio, who gave us good info as to what to see and do in town. We know what do do over the coming days in B.A. In the evening we went to a local restaurant with the rest of the band and had steaks. Made a date with Harry and Richelle to take lunchtime tango lessons at the Cafe Ideal sometime over the next few days...... Later we saw a tremendous Tango show. Great dancers and a cool band of 3 bandoneon players, 2 violinists, piano and double bass. .....
Thursday 15th March 2007 : Santiago/Buenos Aires: Thanks to Bernardo Pérez Narrow for sending me more Monterrey pictures. Harry's website is up and running and can be found at the link above ...... Arrived in Buenos Aires around 5.00pm, preceeded my Richelle, Holly and Laurie. Holly and I had a wander down the waterfront and had a lovely dinner in a riverside restaurant. I had to restrain myself from ordering what looked like fantastic steaks, as I suspect we will be in more than one steak restaurant over the next few days!
Wednesday 14th March 2007 : Santiago : Thanks to Miguel Torres for sending me the Bogota pictures and Josue Sanchez Tapetillo for the new Guadalajara ones. Gig day, but will still try to see a bit of the city before going to the venue at 5.00pm.......... saw a bit of the center of Santiago. Went up the hill in the middle of the town where the oldest streets start. Thanks to Big George for showing us around. Another good gig in the evening even though a few of the band ( Roger, Jon, Harry and Snowy ) were suffering from stomach upsets since something eaten in Lima ( along with quite a few of the crew ).
Tuesday 13th March 2007 : Lima/Santiago : No problems flying to Chile. Got to the hotel around midday. Just in time to pick a few things up from a local mall and hang by the fantastic pool with Dave, Andy, Graham and Katie. We are out of the centre of town so didn't see very much when I walked around. Had a great dinner with Andrew, Mark, and Trip. Fab Chilean wine and great beef. Afterwards I checked out the tango band in the bar. Just bandoneon and piano with occasional singing. Great sound and feel. A number of people were dancing. Everything was going very well till one of the dancers requested some music to jive to. Everything went downhill, so I retired to bed.
Monday 12th March 2007 : Lima : Day of the gig so I just did a little more light siteseeing around the old town in Lima. Unfortunately my camera exploded so no pics....... We played in the car park of the Estadio Monumental, which did not stop 20,000 people turning up and having a great time. We have a 7.30am flight to Santiago so will pack tonight and try and get a few hours sleep before the trip.
Sunday 11th March 2007 : Lima : A day off in Lima. Wandered around and soaked up the local atmosphere. Helped Harry finish off his website, which I will link to as soon as it goes live. I found a room in the hotel where I was able to practise so did a couple of hours before dinner. No one around so, had room service bring some stir fried beef and ostrich and watched Andy Fairweather Low playing with Eric Clapton on the tv. Thanks to Renate for sending me new pics from Monterrey and Bogota.
Saturday 10th March 2007 : Bogota/Lima : Left for Lima around midday. We were met at the airport by crowds of fans wanting autographs. It is a big deal for the people here that Roger decided to play Peru. We got to the hotel in time for a quick shower before the band and crew dinner. We had a fantastic meal and a couple of Pisco Sour's ( excellent Peruvian cocktail ). It was great to get to know a few of the road crew a bit better. Eddie told me about his experiences on tour with Tina Turner, which was fascinating. After the meal Roger stood everyone $50 of poker chips to gamble at the casino in the hotel. I managed to lose my stack to Mike Zweck and Dave Hall, who have obviously played this game before!
Friday 9th March 2007 : Bogota : Since we are having a relatively early show we left for the venue at 2.00pm. Spent a pleasant afternoon practising and playing table tennis. The gig was another great one. After the show we retired to the hotel restaurant. Harry got on the piano, so I picked my sax up from the room and we played a few tunes. This seemed to go down well with a few concertgoers who were staying at the same hotel. ( President Bush was also staying at the hotel but didn't attend the gig or our impromtu concert in the restaurant! ). It was Graham Broad's birthday so we finished up with a rowsing version of 'Happy Birthday' joined by the entire room. I was feeling like I hadn't seen anything of Bogota. Luckily, as I headed back to my room I ran into Claudia who was working with another band due to perform tomorrow night. She was heading to a local club for a quick drink, so I tagged along and got to hear some cool local band and meet a few people who had been to the show. Many thanks Claudia.
Thursday 8th March 2007 : Mexico City/Bogota : Travel day. Arrived in Bogota around 8.00pm local time. Had some dinner at the hotel with Harry, Carol and Jon then had an early night.
Wednesday 7th March 2007 : Mexico City : The local promoter organized a van to take Carol, Dave and me to Teotihuacán. We had a great time seeing the Pyramids of the Moon and the Sun and the Avenue of the Dead. All this built around 100 B.C. by an undetermined civilization. Very interesting. After all the pyramid climbing we retired to the pool for a swim and a well earned margaritta. In the evening we had an excellent band meal at Phillipa. I had a nightcap with Roger, Trip, Andrew and Andrea before retiring.
Tuesday 6th March 2007 : Mexico City : The day of the gig. I had a wander round the nearby park, had a swim and got ready to go to the venue. We have some local school kids along to sing on 'Brick'. The show is fantastic. After the gig Harry and I meet up with his friend Elizabeth and we go to Papa Beto where there is a jam in progress. We got straight on stage and had a great time playing with some great local players. By 3.30am we were starting to fade, so it was time to go ......
Monday 5th March 2007 : Mexico City: Thanks to JP once more for a couple more shots of me in Sydney. We have today off so I intend to see as much of the city as possible........... Around 9.30am I thought I'd go for a quick stroll before breakfast. Three hours later I found myself completely lost and so I decided to get a cab back to the hotel. I tried four cabs and not one of them knew where the Four Seasons was located. Finally I remembered that the hotel was near Torre Mayor and managed to communicate this to the final cabbie who got me back to home base. After some pottering around and a bit of a swim I called Dave and Harry to see if they wanted to go out for dinner later. When the time came to go out they were too tired to leave there rooms so I ended up dining alone at the excellent Fonda El Refugio in Liverpool Street. Had a nice chat to a couple at the next table visiting Mexico from salt Lake City. By 10.30pm I was exhausted, so time for bed.........
Sunday 4th March 2007 : Monterrey/Guadalajara/Mexico City : Thanks to JP for the shot of me onstage on friday. We fly to Guadalajara today, perform, then go straight to Mexico City after the show. Leaving at 1.15pm. Have to go...... Still at the airport in Monterrey at 4.15pm. One of the two Lear jets has gone on to Guadalajara with Roger, Graham, Harry, Trip, Dave and Pat. The rest of us are waiting for the arrival of the second, which had some kind of technical problem. 7.00pm show, so no soundcheck. Straight to the venue, on with the stage clothes, onto to the stage.......... We arrived, courtesy of a police escort, with half an hour to spare before showtime .... except that there had been some technical problems and the show was put back one hour. In thew end we hit the stage at 8.30pm rather than the scheduled 7.00pm. Not ideal. It was a good show however and the Gaudalajara audience forgave us for our tardy time keeping in the end. After the show it was onto the plane once more and off to Mexico City. We arrived around 2.00am.
Saturday 3rd March 2007 : Monterrey : Had some oatmeal, orange juice and coffee for breakfast with Trip, Mark, Dave and Andrew. A bus trip was planned for the afternoon. We went to the Barrio Antiguo around 2.00pm. It appeared to be closed. Graham and I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art, then Jon, Carol, Graham and myself went on to the amazing Huasteca Canyon and finally up the hill to the giant flag which dominates the city. It is Snowy's birthday, so I'm waiting to see what we are doing to celebrate this auspicious event ....... The answer is .. not a lot! Snowy is feeling a bit under par, so is eating in his room and having an early night. Harry, Graham, Carol and I had a nice meal ( chicken in chilli and chocolate sauce ) in the hotel restaurant. Time for bed .....
Friday 2nd March 2007 : Monterrey : Waking up a few times during the night because of the jet lag ...... but looking forward to seeing a bit of Monterrey at a more civilised hour ( currently 5.30am )........ had a stroll round the immediate area and took some pictures of the Sierra Madres. After a coffee in the local mall I had a snooze before we went to the venue for soundcheck. This is the first dressing room on the tour to feature an altar filled with religious icons. The Monterrey audience surpassed all previous occasions. Aside from being the largest so far this year, they were undoubtably the most up for it so far; chanting Roger's name and cheering madly at every suitable opportunity. What fun. Back to the hotel for some nice Mexican food and community singing. Harry bailed out early due to jetlag kicking in. Dave and I caught the last tune ( Dizzy's 'A Night In Tunisia' ) from the band in the hotel bar before following him.
Thursday 1st March 2007 : London/Dallas/Monterrey : Picked up at 6.00am for a 10.05am flight from Gatwick. Swung passed Harry's place on the way and ran into various band members in and around the airport. It is a 10 hour flight to Dallas ....... 2 hours in Dallas airport then another 2 hours to Monterrey. We arrive at around 8.30pm local time. ( rather later British time ). We are all quite tired so everyone heads for their rooms .......
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