Sunday 8th June 2008 : London : .......... and that's it for another year. Till the next time ..........................................................................
Saturday 7th June 2008 : St Petersburg / London : Woke up even later. Time to go home. The band and many of the crew headed for the airport, then on to Heathrow. Sian and Holly however stayed for one more day, so hooked up with the remnants of the crew and had a final dinner in a local restaurant.
Friday 6th June 2008 : St Petersburg : Woke up late. Had a coffee at a local cafe and headed to the gig at 3pm for a soundcheck. The location of the concert is fantastic. We soundchecked in beautiful sunshine and Holly and I walked back to the Hotel via the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood.......... When we returned to the square around 6pm the weather had changed and the skies were looking rather threatening. We started the show in a light drizzle. There were a few technical problems with the monitor system and Dave's acoustic guitar but this didn't stop everyone enjoying themselves. The second set rocked. It is sad to think that this is probably the last time that we will perform 'Dark Side'. After the show we were bussed to the Pelorus, a fantastic yacht owned by Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea football club. He treated us to an amazing after show party, which was a fitting end to what has been an amazing tour.
Thursday 5th June 2008 : London / St Petersburg : I was picked up in Dollis Hill at 6.45am and arrived at Heathrow terminal five in good time to meet up with everyone in the BA lounge. Harry and Roger traveled separately on a private jet, so we will meet up with them at the band dinner this evening. The dinner was at the Flying Dutchman, a restaurant in replica of the original, moored on the river near the Palace Square. We had a splendid dinner courtesy of the local promoter where there was much discussion about what to paint on the pig the following night. "Go Russia" was a favourite contender from the local contingent........ When we got back to the hotel we were met by a number of local fans who suggested that Harry and I go to a nearby bar to play with some local musicians. Harry bailed but I went accompanied by Holly. We walked to The Point ( previously Zabriske Point ) and I sat in and played ( various funk / fusion jams and "Cantaloupe Islands" ) for an hour or so. Great fun. Around 2.30am we walked back to the hotel. A good day.
Saturday 31st May 2008 : London : The second of the 'Sex And The City' parties at the Odeon in Whiteleys in Westbourne Park. Champagne and Cosmopolitans were flowing, so this helped make it another successful gig for Holly. We got to play a cool version of 'Softly As In A Morning Sunrise' in a Reggae style while Holly changed frocks mid set. Apart from that, the repertoire was predictably the same as thursday, with a fair amount of leg kicking and singing along on 'Big Spender'.
Thursday 29th May 2008 : London : The first of two pre 'Sex And The City' girls only parties that feature a cabaret spot by the Holly Penfield Quintet, embarrassingly renamed the Divateenies for the event. The gig was quite fun even if we did have to play 'My Baby Just Cares For Me', 'Big Spender' and 'All That Jazz' for the umpteenth time. This one was at the Kensington Odeon cinema on Ken High Street.
Tuesday 27th May 2008 : London : I played at the Vortex jazz club with the Holly Penfield Quintet. We had Rob Taggart on piano, Andy Hamill on bass and Graham Fox on drums. The gig went very well. Everyone played great. Holly did a particularly moving version of 'Bewitched'. Andy was featured on 'Honeysuckle Rose' and got a great reception from the audience. Graham turned up the heat on 'I Got Rhythm' and Rob just rocked on everything. A very enjoyable evenings jazz for audience and band.
Sunday 25th May 2008 : London : Thanks again to Simon Wimpenny for his amazing shots of the band during the whole tour.
Saturday 24th May 2008 : London : Kim Hermansen sent me some great photos of the London show last sunday.
Friday 23rd May 2008 : London : Tanya sent me some cool shots of the London show that I put up today.
Thursday 22nd May 2008 : London : There is a bit of a gap before the St Petersburg show on the 6th of June. I may write a few words about my up and coming gig at the Vortex with the Holly Penfield Quintet on tuesday the 27th of May.
Wednesday 21st May 2008 : London : Another sunny day, so finally a bit of gardening ....................................
Tuesday 20th May 2008 : London : A bit of a gap now before the Russian concert. I went in to Candle and regaled them with stories of the road. We also had a listen to the tracks I had recorded with Charlie earlier this year. Charlie got some career advice from Dougal who provided some outside perspective on the project.
Monday 19th May 2008 : London : The day of the second O2 concert. I left Dollis Hill around 3.30pm thinking I had plenty of time for the 5pm soundcheck. Unfortunately there was a 'signal problem' on the Jubilee line and the tube was at a standstill. I took a minicab to Westminster thinking I could get a water taxi to the O2 from there. That would have worked out fine if I had a driver who had any idea where Westminster was! I bailed out at Piccadilly Circus with 20 minutes to go till the soundcheck. By the time I got to Westminster the tubes were running again, so Ihad to forgo a pleasant sail down the Thames for a rather crushed tube ride which got me to the O2 Arena only a few minutes late. The show was a good one. The audience were more vociferous than the previous night. The show had an end of tour feeling despite the June 6th in St Petersburg still to come. It was great to see Susie, Tanya and friends along with Alex and Stephanie in the bar after the show. Chester and I had a nice musical chat in the car on the way home.
Sunday 18th May 2008 : London : Gig day. We have a sold out show at the O2 Arena. I intend to take the tube to the venue since this is much quicker than getting a car from my part of town ....... Got to the gig in plenty of time to hunt out a playable reed before the soundcheck. The sound in the O2 arena is loud and exciting so we had a great time. The audience were quite subdued compared to Liverpool, but seemed to enjoy themselves. I met up with Darren and Emma and Tom and Richard in the bar after the show. We all went back to Roger's green room for more drinks along with Yaron who is in Harry's band. We quit around 1am and cadged a lift with Harry, India and a couple of very drunk friends back to NW2.
Saturday 17th May 2008 : London : Shaping up to be another of the same ......... A quiet day at home practicing, listening to early Wayne Shorter and starting to re-read Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow".........
Friday 16th May 2008 : London : Another day off at home in London. Rather wet and miserable, so no gardening. I finished Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'; a bleak but compelling book, well worth a read.
Thursday 15th May 2008 : London / Liverpool / London : I was picked up around 12.30 and whisked off to Farnborough airport via Harry's and Chester's gaffs. We are always the first to arrive when we are flying from Farnborough, so this gives Harry plenty of time to finish off the complimentary crisps before the rest of the band get there. The flight to Liverpool only takes 35 minutes so we were at the venue in plenty of time. My brother Alistair came to the gig and I managed to meet up with him backstage before the show. The Liverpool audience were tremendous. They sung along enthusiastically to many of the songs and were wildly appreciative throughout the whole show. Some of the pyro got wet while we were in Spain and refused to work properly. Roger decided to break out the supplies set aside for the 2 London dates and use them all in the second set! It got pretty warm on stage!! Some more pyro will have to be tracked down before Sunday ..... fingers crossed. We had a splendid police escort back to the John Lennon airport after the show. Breakneck speeds and red light running all the way. We could have used these guys in Dallas!!!! Harry and I had a game of chess on the way back. I managed a draw .....
Wednesday 14th May 2008 : London : A day off at home in London. A bit wet early on, so I have an excuse for not cutting the grass! Cycled to the Churchill for some Thai food and ESB in the evening.
Tuesday 13th May 2008 : Copenhagen / Odense / London : We flew from Copenhagen to the neighboring island, who's main town is Odense. The nice weather continues, but it is much colder here than in Holland. Roger arranged for me to have a heater off to the side of the stage to keep my saxes warm. This worked admirably and so I had no tuning problems, despite the cold weather. The band rocked and the audience were great. Another memorable gig.
Monday 12th May 2008 : Copenhagen : A day off in wonderful Copenhagen. This is my first time in Copenhagen, so I spent the first part of the day exploring the town. I came across some buskers down at the harbour who were playing jazz. I resolved to get my horn and see if they would let me sit in. Back at the hotel I found an empty conference room to do a bit of a warm up on my horn. Unfortunately, by the time I got back to the harbour the buskers had moved on, so no jazzing today. Copenhagen was home to the most famous Scandinavian jazz club the Montmartre. Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Art Pepper and Clark Terry all played at the club which unfortunately closed some 20 years ago. We have some band activities this evening so I doubt that I will be scouring the town for music in the early hours........... Andrew arranged a cruise around the harbour which turned out to be great fun. We them moved on to dinner at a great restaurant in the Tivoli Gardens. Paul Cunningham prepared a fantastic 7 course tasting menu with an interesting selection of wines, hugely enjoyed by all ( apart from Harry, who had a steak ).
Sunday 11th May 2008 : Granada / Landgraaf / Copenhagen : Today we fly to Holland for the Landgraaf show. There will be a fair amount of traveling as we go on to Copenhagen after the concert............ We landed at Maastricht and drove to Landsgraaf in time for a quick soundcheck around 5pm. It was nice to be somewhere warm and sunny again. I ran into Simon ( Wimpenny ) as I was heading back to the dressing room. It was a bit weird starting the show in broad daylight but everything went pretty smoothly in the first set. Chester ripped into 'Beirut' to particularly good effect. It was interesting to be able to watch the pig as it drifted away from the venue into the still light sky. It passed over the face off the moon before drifting out of sight. The second set featured Graham breaking a few drum sticks. This did not affect the show and the Dutch audience were very appreciative. Snowy in particular got a really good hand during the band introductions. I am writing this whilst flying to Copenhagen. We should be in Denmark by 2am ............. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera to Landsgraaf so any photos would be greatly appreciated.
Saturday 10th May 2008 : Granada : Woke to Dave ( Sauter ) telling me that Andrew had organized a band trip to see the Alhambra that afternoon. Holly and I grabbed some coffee downstairs at the hotel and headed off into the old town for a last sightseeing tour. We found a spot at the top of a hill that gave a fantastic view of the Alhambra. When 3.30 rolled around the whole band minus Roger, Dave and Pat were bussed to the Alhambra and spent a lovely afternoon wandering round the gardens and palaces. Thanks go to Rosa for guiding us round and supplying interesting background information. After the tour Graham, Jon, Holly and myself went on a tapas hunt. This was to no avail as we were apparently a bit early ( around 7pm ). Later Holly and I had a great dinner at a quiet little restaurant called Paprika and had a nice chat with the proprietress.
Friday 9th May 2008 : Granada : Woke up at 5 in the morning for the third night running, so took the opportunity to get my blog up to date ............... Needless to say I woke up rather late today. Probably a good thing, as the gig doesn't start till 10pm. Holly and I had a little lunch in a bar close by the hotel, then it was time to get ready to leave. When we arrived at the venue the sky cleared and the rain, which had been bucketing down all day, stopped. The weather had caused the crew a lot of problems. The first of these manifested itself at the end of 'Flesh'. The generator powering the outfront sound blew up and Roger had to stop the show while the backup was brought online. We got to about half way through the first set before the rain started again. It was already very cold and the rain didn't help. Saxophones hate the cold ( they go flat ) so I had tremendous problems staying in tune all night. Although the back of the stage was covered, the front ( where Roger, Snowy and Dave stand ) was open to the elements. I found this out when I ran forward for my solo on 'Beirut' and nearly kept going as I slipped on the wet stage. Luckily I managed to stop just before I tumbled over the edge! In spite of the difficult conditions we managed to get through the show and the wet and cold Spanish audience still managed to enjoy themselves and give us a great reception. They also hung onto the pig in spite of Rogers remonstrations to let it go free. Definitely a show to remember and probably the toughest on the band, crew and audience.
Thursday 8th May 2008 : Estepona / Granada : Woke up even later! Just enough time to grab a quick coffee and throw our bags in Holly's hire car and follow the rest of the band to Granada. After some tricky navigation of tiny back streets of the old town, we found our hotel around 5pm............. After a walk around town we got ready for dinner. As we strolled down the Gran Via De Colon Holly was attacked from behind by a vicious mugger ....... that turned out to be Graham Broad, who had just flown in from London. We found a nice restaurant and Holly managed to order the silliest looking item on the menu. We met Pat and Sylvia in the bar back at the hotel and had a nightcap before retiring for the night.
Wednesday 7th May 2008 : Estepona : Woke up late after a rather jetlagged sleep. After a coffee by the pool, Holly and I had a wander up and down the beach before hooking up with Trip and driving into Escopona town. We found a pleasant bar and drank fruit smoothies while Holly grilled Trip about his love life. After a late afternoon swim we took a walk down the beach and ended up in a sushi bar drinking Rioja and eating vegetable tempura and raw tuna.
Tuesday 6th May 2008 : Estepona : Arrived in Malaga at about 6pm and on to Estepona, along the Costa Del Sol towards Gibraltar. Holly was already waiting for me at the hotel. We had a lovely meal by the Med in the moonlight.
Monday 5th May 2008 : Houston / Heathrow / Estepona: Had a last look around Houston and picked up a portable hard drive from radio shack. Some of the band ( Graham, Harry and Carol ) are headed back to England. The rest of us are going to Malaga ( via Heathrow ) then on to Estepona, where we have a couple of days off.
Sunday 4th May 2008 : Houston : Started the day on the veranda of Cabo for a light Mexican breakfast. We bussed to the venue around 4pm. One of the dressing rooms had a pool table, so Roger was able to continue his tournament with Butch. It was an exciting show. We expected some dissent during 'Beirut'. There were some murmurings and a little sulking from some segments of the audience. This continued through 'Sheep' but was dispelled when Roger announced that we were coming back to play 'Dark Side' in the second half. The last half of the show was very well received. A great way to end our U.S. leg. A bunch of us ended up in the hotel bar before calling it a night.
Saturday 3rd May 2008 : Houston : A day off in Houston. I had a nostalgic walk around Houston. The last time I was here was with Deaf School during their U.S. tour in 1978. We started the tour supporting Corky Laing ( ex Mountain drummer ) who was backed by Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band ( without Bruce ). By the time we got to Houston Corky had bailed out so we finished the 2 month tour playing small gigs in the south and east of the States................ In the evening we had a band dinner at a great Mexican restaurant. Roger headed off to a pool hall to play with his old friend Butch. The rest of us stayed on for an hour or so then headed back to our hotel.
Friday 2nd May 2008 : Dallas : Had a relaxing morning, then it was into the van and off to the Smirnoff Music Centre. This venue is a shed, so the sound wasn't quite as good as Denver, but still a great show with a warm Texan audience. Thanks go to whoever carved the 'Roger Waters' melon so beautifully! The Texan police weren't as impressive as the audience when they tried to escort us to the airport. We sat in traffic just outside the venue for rather a long time before finally making it out of town and onto our plane. We still made it to Houston by 12.30am.
Thursday 1st May 2008 : Dallas : A day off in Dallas. After a long previous day and a time change, most of us slept rather late. I wandered around the Turtle Creek area, saw some shopping malls and retreated to the hotel for a swim. In the evening most of us went to Lefties and were treated to fine Texas fare by Bob, Hymie and George from the tour lighting company. I had an interesting chat with Carol, Bob's wife, and everyone had a great time. Large steaks, lobsters, crabs and blackened fish were consumed and and the band left very happy.
Wednesday 30th April 2008 : La Quinta / Denver / Dallas : We fly from Palm Springs straight to Denver, play, then onward to Dallas, our next port of call. I have just checked out and am making use of the resorts wireless in the lobby of the hotel. Mark ( Brickman ) and Ron ( Delsner ) have just arrived. We leave at midday ........... We had quite a bumpy flight to Denver but managed to land in one piece. Bus straight to the venue then onstage for a soundcheck. The show was great. Chester and Pat were particularly on form on 'Beirut' and 'Perfect Sense' respectively. The audience were fantastic. Back to the airport and straight to Dallas after the show.
Tuesday 29th April 2008 : La Quinta : An even quieter day spent in and out of the pool. I had a lovely meal with Graham and Carol then a chance to update my blog under the stars.
Monday 28th April 2008 : La Quinta : A day off in the La Quinta resort. My friend Gina had hired a car so we made a roadtrip to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It was pleasantly cool up in the mountains. Quite unexpected in this desert area. We had a great time hiking around in the snow then had a cocktail in the bar before heading back to La Quinta. Dinner at the resort then an early night.
Sunday 27th April 2008 : La Quinta / Coachella : Awake at 8.00am to go to the 9.00am soundcheck at Coachella. Apparently the lighting rig fell onto the stage during rigging sometime in the early hours and the crew have spent all night getting everything ready for today. Everything seems to work so we are in good shape for the show tonight. I spent most of the day relaxing by one of the many pools. Come 6pm we all jumped back in the buses and headed to the gig. It is very exciting to be performing the show again. The Coachella crowd were enthusiastic and the band and Roger played the hell out of the set. Well done Sylvia and Chester. Lili got a great reception for her contributions on violin. ........ I don't have any pics of the show, so any of you who have some and would like to share them with me please send them to the email address on my contact page. ......... Thanks to Ryan Muir and Shabana Gidwani.
Saturday 26th April 2008 : Los Angeles / La Quinta : Today we relocate from Los Angeles to La Quinta, which is a few miles from the Coachella site. The traffic out of L.A. was terrible, so a trip which should have lasted a couple of hours took closer to four. We are staying in a pretty resort hotel with more swimming pools than you could shake stick at. I went to see Kraftwerk play at Coachella in the evening with Andrew. It was great to see the 70's pioneers of electronic music live. They had some special arrangements of their most famous tunes including 'Autobahn', 'Trans Europe Express', 'Music Nonstop' and of course 'We Are The Robots'. They were quite static behind their laptop computers but I think I did see Ralph tap his foot towards the end of the set.
Friday 25th April 2008 : Los Angeles : The last day of rehearsal in Los Angeles features a dress run through of the complete Coachella performance in front of a small invited audience. Everything went to plan apart from Lili's violin effects deciding to not play ball during 'Numb'. Roger stopped the band half way through and when the problem was sorted, we played the tune again from the top to good effect. There was a plan to go to the House Of Blues to see Sly and the Family Stone play, but when it was discovered that it was the HOB in Anaheim and not on Sunset we decided against it. Everyone wants to be rested and in good form for Coachella.
Thursday 24th April 2008 : Los Angeles : More production rehearsals and another run through with Lili, mainly to decide what parts she will play during 'Numb'. Everything is sounding splendid. We have a dress rehearsal tomorrow.............. In the early evening Snowy and I took a walk up to the historic Barney's Beanery for some chilli. This place was the notorious hang out for the likes of Janice Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, along with a number of other people who didn't have first names starting with 'J'. Quentin Tarantino to name one.
Wednesday 23rd April 2008 : Los Angeles : Today we start full production rehearsals at a venue in Inglewood. Roger introduced us to Lili Haydn who will be playing violin and singing on 'Comfortably Numb', 'Leaving Beirut' and 'Sheep' at the Coachella performance. We ran through the above songs and then played through the first set. In the evening I met up with John Ashton Thomas and headed down to the Cat and Fiddle for a few beers.
Tuesday 22nd April 2008 : Los Angeles : The last day of routineing in Burbank. We spent a bit of time trying out different arrangements of 'Leaving Beirut'. The crew move the equipment to the venue we are using for production rehearsals, so we finished mid afternoon. I had a nostalgic wander up to Sunset Boulevard and the Whisky A Gogo. I played there before the dawn of time with my first band Deaf School during their first U.S. tour. In the evening I hooked up with Snowy and we had a very pleasant meal at another Italian restaurant on Beverly.
Monday 21st April 2008 : Los Angeles : A fairly uneventful day. We ran through the set with everything falling into place nicely. i forgot to take my camera to rehearsal, but will tomorrow ........
Sunday 20th April 2008 : Los Angeles : The first day of rehearsal. We meet at 10.30 in the lobby, then bus over to Burbank. Roger flew in from Brazil last night, so I expect we will see him there..........We had a perfectly good first rehearsal with all the old hands getting back in the groove and Chester and Sylvia fitting in admirably. We finished around 6pm . I discovered some jazz close to our hotel. Harry and Chester had already disappeared, so I went to the Chaya brasserie by myself to check out Thom Rotella on guitar. He was there with and excellent bass player and drummer. I stayed for the second set which consisted of an interesting rendition of 'Like Someone In Love' in 2 keys, 'Alone Together' and a version of 'Besame Mucho' in waltz time. If I wasn't still on London time I would get my horn and try and persuade them to let me sit in. As it is, I am ready for bed. More tomorrow..........
Saturday 19th April 2008 : Los Angeles : I hoped to catch a set or 2 of Bernie Maupin playing at the Catalina Bar and Grill. Unfortunately, around 6.30pm, I decided to take a nap before going out and awoke at 5.30 the following morning. Darn jet lag! It does however mean that I am up and about at 6.00am sending emails and writing this entry in my blog ......... I had breakfast with Chester and Harry at Jerry's deli. Afterwards they went on to play some tennis, so I had a wander around the immediate area, along Melrose and up as far as Hollywood Blvd before heading back to the hotel. The weather was rather overcast, so I thought better of a swim in the rooftop pool. I met up with Trip, Andrew and Graham for a nice Italian dinner at Il Piccolino before fading around 10pm.
Friday 18th April 2008 : London/Los Angeles : It starts! I was picked up at my new place in Dollis Hill at 8.45am ( after the car took a slight detour to my old address ). We swung past Harry's place and arrived at Terminal 5 in plenty of time to check in and relax in the lounge before the flight. Snowy, Chester, Graham, Pat, Sylvia and Carol all arrived soon after along with Andrew Zweck and Eddie from the crew. There was some problem with Dave's car so he arrived just in time for us to board the plane on time. The flight was uneventful and we arrived at LAX 10 hours later with luggage intact, apart from Chester's guitar. The Terminal 5 baggage handlers apparently hadn't bothered to put on the plane! ( they say it will arrive tomorrow ).
Monday 14th April 2008 : London : I am preparing for the upcoming gigs in the USA and Europe. We fly to Los Angeles on friday to start production rehearsals for the show, then kick off in Coachella on the 27th. I am really looking forward to seeing Roger and the band.