Roger Waters European Tour 2018

I will be touring with Roger Waters playing saxophone on his 'Us + Them' tour during 2018. This blog follows my day to day activities on the road.

My blogs from previous tours during 2006 - 2008, the Sandy Relief Concert in 2012, Desert Trip / Mexico City 2016, the US and Canada tour 2017 and Australasia 2018 can be found here along with additional tour pics on flickr.


Saturday, 14th July 2018 : Rome : We have the last show before the break tonight. It is a Big one, at the Circus Maximus; the location of many historic Roman events and chariot races! The weather is scorchio, but thankfully we don't have to perform till the sun goes down. To avoid hanging around in the heat, Roger decided to have us travel to the Circus at the last possible moment with police escort. The show started with a bigger than usual Bang and a tremendous roar from the Roman hordes. Everyone on stage was particularly excited to be playing Roger's music on this epic occasion. The best possible gig before a break. Tomorrow it is back to London for me.

Friday, 13th July 2018 : Rome : Plenty of time to have a good look around Rome today. A trip to the Forum, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi fountain. I did have a play in the Borghese gardens later in the day. Pizza for dinner.

Thursday, 12th July 2018 : Florence / Rome : Reunited with my bag in Florence. No time to see more than a square block round the hotel before we were off to the airport bound for Roma. This will be the last flight on the private jets this leg. We resume in Gdansk in a month or so. It is blistering in Rome, but that doesn't stop Holly and I wandering around and seeing some of the sights. Mandatory gelato. Pasta and Chianti in the evening. A day off tomorrow!

Wednesday, 11th July 2018 : Lucca / Florence : An early soundcheck, then back to the hotel till around 6. At the venue I discovered that the guest tickets were ( unusually ) standing only. As John Lambert has a bit of a problem standing for long periods I asked Franksy if anything could be done. He managed to find some space at the back of the venue with a chair. Phew. Thankyou Franksy. The gig was amazing. This scale of show is the shape of things to come when we go to South America. They will love it. Afterwards it was into the bus and on to Florence.

Tuesday, 10th July 2018 : London / Lucca : We fly from Farnborough to Pisa airport today. From there most of the band went to a hotel in Florence, while the rest of us went to a resort hotel on the beach near Lucca. Unfortunately, my bag went to Florence so I was left with no change of clothes or swimming gear to take advantage of the nearby warm Med. In fact we didn't have much time for beach activities, as we were only there for one night. I had dinner with good friends John and Isabel Lambert and there wonderful daughters Rosanna and Africa. We had a nice meal at the hotel under the stars. They will see the show tomorrow in Lucca.

Monday, 9th July 2018 : London : Insanity in the morning. Some sushi in the park for lunch. Innoculations for the Central and South American leg of the tour coming up later this year in the afternoon. A bit of a practise in the park. in the evening I went with Holly L. to see Holly P. perform with her band at the Zedel brasserie in Piccadilly. The show was great with a nice audience, lots of interesting original songs and an over the top performance from Holly as usual. I was roped into playing on the song 'Fragile Human Monster', which was good fun. Italy tomorrow.

Sunday, 8th July 2018 : London : A domestic day in London. Bills and backing up my computer. I got my bicycle up and running and popped down to Brent Cross for a bottle of wine, parmesan and gnocchi. It was nice to make rocket and walnut pesto and sit in my garden with a glass of wine, some pasta and Holly.

Saturday, 7th July 2018 : London / Birmingham / London : After the amazing concert yesterday, Birmingham was always going to be a bit of an anticlimax. The trip up took a while because of typical London traffic. The day was hot, so the audience seemed a little drained while we were on stage. It was nice to hook up with John Penn and his wife who designed and built the P.A. that Deaf School used for some years in the 70's. The trip back to London took a while due to bits of the M6 being closed. Two days off before flying to Italy.

Friday, 6th July 2018 : London : We are up at the crack of dawn ( 9am ) to soundcheck for the Hyde Park show this evening. Despite the early hour everyone is in good spirits. The stage setup up is much more open than usual, so the backstage crew will get a better view of what is going on stage. After soundcheck I watched some tennis from nearby Wimbledon. At 5pm it was back to the park to get ready for the show. I was able to watch ( and photograph ) a live feed of the band onstage from the dressing room ( a tent in a field ). It was a blast walking onstage to all those people in my home town. The 2 solos in 'Money' and 'Us And Them' were particularly fun to perform. Afterwards I hung with friends in the bar at the venue before walking back to the hotel around 1am. I have too many pictures of the day to post here, so I have uploaded them to flickr :

Thursday, 5th July 2018 : London : Roger has invited the band to lunch at his country pile. We jump on the bus around 10.30am and are delivered to his address around midday. Other guests roll in over the next half hour; most notably Nick Mason, who arrives by a helicopter piloted by his wife. The house is not so much a mansion, as a beautiful country cottage on a substantial piece of land. This includes a stretch of river that reputedly has the best fly fishing in England. Lunch is lovely. The day is gorgeous. Andy and I team up against Roger and Gus for a game of crown green bowls. My Dad would be appalled that I lost to a pair of sassenachs! I blame it on Andy. lol. As it is a 'school night' we bailed out around 8. Hyde Park on the morrow.

Wednesday, 4th July 2018 : London : It is quite odd to wake up in a hotel in my home town. I went to my place in Dollis Hill and had a domestic day. I managed to go through all my mail, get my car up and running, wash the car, do a bit of weeding in the garden and play for an hour or so before heading to The Churchill pub and Thai restaurant for dinner with Holly. Tomorrow we leave from the hotel to go to Rogers' house in the country for lunch.

Tuesday, 3rd July 2018 : Manchester / London : Our last day in Manchester and a show day. I had a number of guests including Susan Crook who came over from Leigh and Phil Reynolds, an excellent bass player now living in Manchester. The Manchester crowd were also pretty rowdy as expected. Not expected were the random cheers that went up at various times. This was due to a large proportion of the crowd following the England versus Colombia World cup game as well as watching Roger. Thankfully, England won and the show was enjoyed, so everyone went home happy. Some members of the band went to london via Brize Norton RAF base and Roger's jet. The rest of us went by bus, full expecting to arrive at our London hotel first. Unfortunatly a chunk of the M6 was closed down, so the trip took a good 4 hours. Luckily no bets were laid. Oh, and Gus bought a Porsche online!

Monday, 2nd July 2018 : Manchester / Liverpool / Manchester : A nice day trip to Liverpool to play a show. I met up with my friend Leslie in hospitality who had already managed to connect with Jonathan Wilson's parents, who are in Liverpool for a Beatles pilgramage and to see the show. The Scouse audience were rowdy as expected. The show was a good one and Roger avoided the topic of football.

Sunday, 1st July 2018 : Manchester : We have a free day today. The weather is beautiful so I spent most of the day wandering around. The town is very busy in spite of being Sunday. A lot of shopping is being done. Some good buskers are performing, so I decided to have a practise and return later. Unfortunately when I got back the excellent kora player I heard in the park had packed up and gone home. C'est la vie. I had a nice meal and glass of wine in the San Carlo Cicchetti restaurant in the evening.

Saturday, 30th June 2018 : Glasgow / Manchester : Our second show in Glasgow. We were wakened by the skirling of the pipes. A piper was playing for one of the two weddings taking place in the hotel today. I had a wander round the grounds and down to the Clyde with Josh after an al fresco insanity with Dave. We went down to the Hydro around 4. After soundcheck I met up with Elaine, Katie and Hovan. We headed to hospitality where my uncle and family were already installed. It was fun to catch up with everyone. Before we knew it it was time for the show to start. Another warm Glaswegian audience. Roger avoided referring to Celtic. lol. After the show it was straight to Glasgow airport and a flight to Manchester.

Friday, 29th June 2018 : Dublin / Glasgow : Flying to Glasgow today for a show at the Hydro. The last time I was here was with Deaf School, just before we played Japan in 2012. Even then it looked very different to the Glasgow of the 70's that I remember. The docks have been gutted and replaced by appartments and venues like the one we play tonight. Roger came in to the band dressing room in search of a television. I turned ours on to the France - Argentina game and we watched the second half. It was a good match, ending with Argentina going out of the World cup. The show had a bit of incident related to football also. Roger mentioned the Celtic supporters flying of Palestinian flags during an Israel match. The Celtic supporters cheered loudly, but then were overwhelmed by boos coming from the Rangers supporters. I explained the origins of the rivalry to Roger at the get together after the show.

Thursday, 28th June 2018 : Dublin : After the two shows in a row we have a day free in Dublin. I slept late and after insanity and a blog update the day was well under way. I had an unsuccessful hunt for reeds that I particularly like to use. Played a bit in the park. Wandered. In the evening it was a chicken chilli masala with rice and a beer. After half an hour of 'The Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses' I was out like a light.

Wednesday, 27th June 2018 : Dublin : We have a second show in Dublin today. My friend Suzanne Rhatigan lives just out of town, so I thought I would rent a bike and cycle out. Unfortunately I chose Bleeper Bike. I downloaded the app. Added a credit card. Located a bike. Walked to the location showing a number of bikes to no avail. Absolutely no bicycles at any of the spots shown on the app. I jumped in a cab in the end. It was fun hooking up with Suzanne and Manfred and getting some feedback on the show. I reciprocated by listening to three or four of Suzanne's excellent new songs. I look forward to hearing her live and buying her album soon. Another hugely enjoyable show in Dublin. It is fantastic to play to a room of music lovers.

Tuesday, 26th June 2018 : Amsterdam / Dublin : We fly from Schipol to Dublin today for the first of two shows in the city. After a bit of a hang in the lobby of the hotel, we were off. It is always nerve wracking for a tour manager having the band travel on a gig day. Thankfully we had no delays and arrived in Dublin in plenty of time. Franksy ( tour manager ) had most of his remaining hair still in place. The venue is smaller than others we have played recently. You wouldn't know it from the noise the great Irish crowd generated. They were particularly kind in their reception of Rogers' impromtu version of 'Danny Boy'. Looking forward to tomorrow's show. Guiness in the hotel bar after the show of course.

Monday, 25th June 2018 : Amsterdam : Our last day in Amsterdam. The sun is out, so it is a good day to explore. A very enjoyable day topped off by a meal outside with a view of the Keizersgracht. An interesting couple at the next table decided to get chatty, and we had some nice banter before heading back.

Sunday, 24th June 2018 : Amsterdam : I arranged to meet up with my friends around midday. Sally was determined to go on a boat cruise round the canals, so after a quick cappucino we headed onto the water. We had a pleasant sail around the canals for an hour or so. This didn't seem to impress Luc much though. They are driving back to the UK today, so we said au revoir around 2 o' clock so that they could make the ferry. It was nice weather, so a good day to explore some more. An excellent hamburger for dinner then a bit of 'Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses' before bed. Incidentally, if you have never seen 'The Leningrad Cowboys Go To America', hunt it out.

Saturday, 23rd June 2018 : Amsterdam : My friends Sally, Michel, Boot and Luc are in town for the show, so we met up for a quick coffee before I had to head to the Ziggo dome for the last time this trip. On arrival I was confronted by chaos, caused by a lighting rig ( erected by the film crew ) falling almost to the floor. Fortunately, Dash and his team of riggers got on the case and a cancelled show was averted. Apart from that, the show went very well. Four successful days of filming. I hope to see the results at some point. I arranged to meet my friends in town tomorrow before they head back to Rye.

Friday, 22nd June 2018 : Amsterdam : The day of our third show in Amsterdam. The main filming will be done today and tomorrow. Roger invited Adam back and brought him onstage before we played the encore. Lights were left on in the auditorium part of the time so that the cameras can get reaction shots. It was fun to be able to see the crowd during my solos.

Thursday, 21st June 2018 : Amsterdam : The weather is a bit variable today. One minute sunny, the next rainy, interspersed with windy and cold. I worked out in the morning. Cycled around a bit later. Practised under a road bridge over the Amstel. In the evening Holly and I hooked up and set out looking for a place to eat. We were in an area with lots of quaint Dutch style restaurants. In the end we chose a steak house which had horse on the menu. I have once previously eaten horse, but that was back in 1974. I felt it was time to give it another try. The steak was in fact excellent. Tender, lean and flavourful. I will not leave it as long next time.

Wednesday, 20th June 2018 : Amsterdam : Holly and I rented bikes from MacBike and headed out to West Amsterdam for lunch with Tina and Jon at Ram's Roti. The cycle took me through unfamiliar area of Amsterdam and was interesting. After lunch J & T rented bikes and we cycled back into the centre. Before long we ended up in a coffee shop. After a round of the Red Light District it was beer at the Old Sailor. Shopping was next on the girls agenda, so J&T and H headed to the shops and I went back to the hotel for my sax. After an hour of playing under a bridge, we met up at Prego for dinner. A couple of bottles of red wine and dinner later I was fading so we went our separate ways. An excellent day out with good friends.

Tuesday, 19th June 2018 : Amsterdam : Show 2. Insanity in the tiny gym at the hotel as usual. My friends Jon and Tina have come out for the show and it was great to catch up with them back stage. I also met Adam Abdalla, who had cycled from Leeds, England to Amsterdam for the gig. He brought his fathers Palestinian flag to the show, but had it confiscated at the venue entrance. I later found out that this was general policy for all flags in the venue. Fortunately Todd recovered the flag and retuned it to Adam later. Band close ups were filmed during this show. The show was a good one. Later I met Tina, Jon, Holly and Adam at the Bourbon Street bar. There was a great band playing and inevitably I ended up onstage, since I happened to have my sax with me. lol. Very good fun and a very late night.

Monday, 18th June 2018 : Amsterdam : Today we have the first of 4 shows at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. The shows are being filmed. This first one will mainly focus on Roger in closeup and try out some camera positions for the following days. The Dark Side Of The Moon tour also was filmed on a number of occasions but never released as a dvd. I am hoping that the US+THEM show doesn't suffer the same fate. We had a very enjoyable show and retired to the hotel bar for a drink or two afterwards.

Sunday, 17th June 2018 : Amsterdam : A wet and a little cold day in Amsterdam. Killer and I got back on track with our workout. Holly came in from London in the late afternoon, so we had a wander round town and ended up in a Thai restaurant near the Red Light District. After a nightcap in one of the numerous bars it was back the hotel for a relatively early night.

Saturday, 16th June 2018 : Munich / Lille / Amsterdam : It will be a long day today. We fly to Lille and do a show in a large arena in the town. The design of the venue creates real problems for the crew to load in and out so they have been working like dogs ever since they got here direct from Munich. It is a fun show with everyone performing beautifully. After the show it is straight to the airport and on to Amsterdam.

Friday, 15th June 2018 : Munich : Day two in Munich. The sun is out, so it is back on the bike. On this occasion I took my sax with me and found a nice spot by the river to play for a couple of hours. Later on I found the Georg Elser plaque, which is actually on the pavement between the Hilton hotel and the Gasteig. Georg Elser attempted to kill Adolph Hitler during his anniversary speech of the failed Beer Hall Putsch at Bürgerbräukeller. This must be one of the few monuments commemorating a failed assasination attempt. Dave and I were recommended the Spatenhaus restaurant by a couple of locals and Jon Lemon. Dave opted out in favour of sushi. I had an excellent meal of schnitzel and beer.

Thursday, 14th June 2018 : Munich : We have a couple of days off in Munich. Dave and I kicked off with a round of Insanity. Pompey joined us just in time for some coffee and croissant afterwards. I tracked down a city bike from oBike, which worked quite well. There are plenty of bikes around town and apart from some connection issues, I was happy with their service. I tracked down the White Rose memorial, commemorating the arrest and execution of Hans and Sophie Scholl by the Nazis. They scattered their remaining anti Nazi pamphlets in the square in front of the University. Bronze replicas mark the spot. I also hunted for Georg Elser's plaque. Unfortunately, my iPhone ran out of charge just as I gave up my bike. Not only was I not able to find the plaque, but I had to walk back to the hotel. Between the walking, cycling and Insanity I am well exercised today!

Wednesday, 13th June 2018 : Munich : I have been relieved of my bass playing duties on 'Brick'. Now I only appear in the second half of the show playing saxophone. I miss checking out the new batch of kids from an onstage perspective. Fingers crossed I get reinstated soon. We played a solid show in Munich with everyone sounding particularly good. I found out today that the Zagreb city council have erected some benches in the park I played in. They are for the use of musicians in need of a practise spot. I even have one named after me! There was an inaugural jam in the park. Excellent use of city funds I say!!

Tuesday, 12th June 2018 : Cologne / Munich : There is no show today, but we are travelling from Cologne to a rather wet and dreary Munich. After a bit of fun with selfie sticks in the lobby of the hotel, we got going and arrived in Munich during rush hour. Everyone was happy to chill at the hotel on arrival and have a quiet night in.

Monday, 11th June 2018 : Paris / Cologne : We are back in Germany today. Straight from Paris to Cologne for a show tonight. I remember being in Cologne during the DSOTM tour. Harry and I went hunting for a jazz jam that had just finished when we got to the bar. The proprietor invited us to play as a duo, which we did and ended up being fed and watered. The three customers in the place ejoyed our set. Tonight we play to a few more people. ( although Harry is sadly no longer with us ).

Sunday, 10th June 2018 : Paris : We set off for Roland Garros around 1.30pm. It is very exciting to be going to the French Open for the first time on final day! We are taken care of really well by Alexis and Marco in particular. We were given a tour of court one and the press box area. Rafael Nadal brings so many relatives to the open that there were no spare court seats, but we had free run of 2 press boxes and some outdoor areas with a great view of the court. I took so many photographs that I have put them on flickr rather than here. The match was great, though shorter than everyone apart from Rafa supporters would have liked. The occasion also marked both the anniversary of Roland Garros' death and the last time the current building would be used. Next year the revamped court with roof should be up and running. We celebrated with Franchesca and Marco before heading back to the hotel on a rainy Paris evening.

Saturday, 9th June 2018 : Paris : Our second show at the giant U Arena. Pryderi, who is lighting director, has dispensed with my wireless spotlight tracker in favour of a human being on spotlight. This works very well in these larger venues. We had another great show. I have just heard that management has managed to secure some tickets for the Men's final at Roland Garros tomorrow. My name came up in the ballot, so I am going to see some tennis tomorrow. Yay!!

Friday, 8th June 2018 : Paris : The first of the 2 Paris shows is today. The venue holds 35,000 people and is sold out. The crew have been working unbeleivably hard the last three days to get the show ready. We are using a larger screen and the chimneys have been relocated, since the rolios can't be used in such a large room. Many aspects of the production have been changed. The result will be much closer to the look of the outdoor shows and stadiums later this year. Amazingly, everything worked really well and it was a great show. I am looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.

Thursday, 7th June 2018 : Paris : I have given up on Velibe. Luckily, I discovered that the company, I rented from in Berlin also supply's Paris. 'ofo' lets you find bikes via their app, then you can leave them at any location when finished. ( no stations as in the Velibe system ). Much easier and more effective. I went down to the river and over to check out the Eiffel Tower. The area around the tower is being developed, but the tower itself is still amazing. In the evening I went to see the Trio Shalosh at the famous Duc De Lombards jazz club. The band are excellent musicians and very entertaining. The food at the Duc was abysmal; a fault they have in common with Ronnie Scotts in London. A great evening in spite of inedible bavette.

Wednesday, 6th June 2018 : Paris : I managed to find a working Velibe that got me to Monmatre, with it's market, church and wonderful views of Paris laid out below. I did visit a couple of saxophone shops, but couldn't find anything that fit the bill of robust, resonable sounding and not ridiculously expensive. Perhaps Munich is the place. From there I headed to Notre Dame, where the rain forced me into a cafe for a couple of beers. lol. Once the rain subsised it was almost time for dinner. I have fond memories of meals with good company at La Coupole on the South Bank, so this was my next stop. A dish of curried lamb ( a house speciality ) and some good Bordeaux later, I was ready to head back to the hotel. ( mostly on foot as no Velibes were available till I got over the Seine ).

Tuesday, 5th June 2018 : Paris : We have three days off in Paris. My first agenda was to get some transport. Bicycling is my favourite way to get around, so I started an account with the Velibe company, that seemed to be the biggest provider in Paris. Big mistake. The first stand I went to had four bicycles, none of which unlocked. The next stand had upwards of 20 cycles none of which were available. So it went on. At the sixth stand I found a bike that worked and was able to do some sightseeing. When I wanted to cycle to the Bois De Boulongne for some practise I could find nothing at any of the Velibe stations. They have major software problems that should have been sorted out before the system went public. I walked to Avenue Foch and practised by the roadside.

Monday, 4th June 2018 : Berlin / Manheim / Paris : This will be a long day, so we start with bag pickup at 10.30am. In the vans by midday and off to one of the Berlin airports. Traffic is quite bad, so we end up weaving in and out of Berlin backstreets before hitting the motorway. In the end we got to Manheim in plenty of time for a leisurely soundcheck. After dinner I updated this blog in the hour or so before we get changed into stage clothes. Everything went well in the show apart, from the end of the 'Money' solo, where Roger decided to spontaneously change the chords! lol. I am hoping no one noticed, as I tried to fit in with the new arrangement. I haven't had the nerve to listen to the Youtube videos of the song! After the bow at the end, we jumped into vans again and were in Paris by 2am.

Sunday, 3rd June 2018 : Berlin : The day started off a bit rainy. Dave and I moved on to week six of the Insanity regime. It is a bit longer ( one hour ) and quite a lot tougher. We bumbled through however. The hotel we are staying at has breakfast till 2pm at the weekend. How incredibly civilised! Most of us took advantage. I had some excellent poached eggs on toast, fresh orange juice and coffee. By the time I had finished the sun had come out, so I picked up one of the many bicycles available for hire via a phone app. There were a lot of cyclists around on the fine Sunday in Berlin. After a bit of aimless wandering, I headed to the Brandenburg gate and the Siegessaule. The sight of these always makes me think of Wim Wenders fine film 'Wings Of Desire'. I realised that the park was the perfect place for a bit of practise, so I picked up my horn via the hotel and spent an hour and a half playing to the trees. In the evening I had a nondescript curry in a popular outdoor restaurant and retired after watching some more of the French Open.

Saturday, 2nd June 2018 : Berlin : We left for the Arena at 4pm. On the way, we passed a section of the Berlin Wall that remains standing. It reminded me of Roger's performance of his 'The Wall' on the occasion of the Wall coming down. It featured Van Morrison, Bryan Adams and Sinead O'Connor as special guests. Graham Broad and Snowy White were both in Roger's band at that time. I miss them both. The Us+Them show this night went well. Roger's throat is still a bit scratchy, but he sounded in good voice in spite of that.

Friday, 1st June 2018 : Berlin : Show day. We play Friday and Saturday at the Mercedes Benz arena. I went down to the venue early so that I could have a good warm up before going onstage. I find myself a bit nervous about putting my horn on its stand, even though it never spontaneously fell off without my help! The show went well. Roger decided to miss off 'Mother' as his throat was a little scratchy. He made up for the lack of one song by giving an extra long speech, which was warmly received by the German crowd. Local beer and sausage in the bar afterwards.

Thursday, 31st May 2018 : Berlin : After the saxophone adventures of Zurich, I decided to buy a robust, modern tenor to act as a backup. This horn will travel in a flightcase with the crew and will periodically fly in the hold of the plane. For this reason I am looking for something relatively inexpensive that I wouldn't worry about. I tried the two main music shops in Berlin, but couldn't find something that ticked all the boxes. I did however have a pleasant walk around town getting to and from their locations. Paris is the place I will find exactly what I need. Some excellent pasta in the hotel restaurant, then more tennis.

Wednesday, 30th May 2018 : Zurich / Berlin : Everyone is sad to be leaving the beautiful Dolder hotel and picturesque Zurich. We had an uneventful flight and arrived in Berlin in the early evening. It is warm here and the Berliners are making good use of the numerous outdoor bars and restaurants. I stopped off in one for a beer and a bite, then headed back to our hotel to watch a bit of the French Open before retiring.

Tuesday, 29th May 2018 : Zurich : I got Insanity out of the way relatively early ( 10am ) to give me time to revisit Gerd before soundcheck. I Ubered down to the venue and met up with Ralph, who took me to the shop and continued to act as translator. Gerd replaced a pad; adjusted the bottom Bb so that it closed properly and generally regulated the horn. He left the straightening of the bell to his partner Werner. Werner had an interesting technique for reshaping the bell involving the use of a hammer and his knee! Thankfully this worked admirably. I left the shop with a fully working horn, that is looking Good. I got Werner and Gerd tickets for the show that evening. The hour before soundcheck was spent putting the horn through it's paces. I had great fun playing the 'Dark Side' tunes later that same day.

Monday, 28th May 2018 : Zurich : The day starts perfectly well. The sun is out. I cycled around a bit more, then headed down to the venue late afternoon for soundcheck. I have a radio mic on my sax with a beltpack transmitter connected to the mic. The sax was on it's stand on the drum riser when I walked away, forgetting I was still attached by a wire to the mic. The sax took a dive off the drum riser and ended up with a bent crook and non functional octave key. This was about two and a half hours before the start of the show. The sax was unplayable at this point. Ski managed to find a sax tech on the other side of town, so I headed there, driven by the trusty Ralph, who fortunately spoke good English as well as German. Gerd Schmidt, the sax repair tech spoke no English whatsoever. Fortunately he assessed the situation and implemented a repair that got the horn up and running. Ralph got me back to the venue 10 minutes before curtain up. The sax played well enough to get me through the show, but I will need to visit Gerd on the morrow for more tweaks.

Sunday, 27th May 2018 : Zurich : We have Sunday off in Zurich. After Insanity, I borrowed one of the hotel bicycles and headed into the forest. I spent a couple of hours exploring the trails overlooking Lake Zurich. Later on I headed down the hill to the lake, then into the old town along the river. Zurich is a beautiful old town, but very expensive. Thankfully, being Sunday, all the shops were closed, so I could not go on a mad shopping spree. The climb back up the hill wasn't as challenging as my mountain ascent in Zagreb, but on a mountain bike was hard enough. I used the yoga room in the basement of the hotel for a bit of practise. I had an eye wateringly expensive salad in the bar and rounded out the evening watching Clint Eastwood in 'The Unforgiven'.

Saturday, 26th May 2018 : Madrid / Zurich : We say goodbye to Madrid today. After a pleasant flight of a couple of hours we were at Zurich airport. The appeal of Switzerland is very apparent even on the drive into town. Everything is picaresque and well designed. Apparently Tina Turner has lived in Zurich for some years according to our driver. In the evening we all congregated in the library with Roger to watch the Liverpool versus Real Madrid champions league final. We had a fun night shouting at the tv and abusing the Liverpool goalie and the dirty play by Real.

Friday, 25th May 2018 : Madrid : Today was very much a repeat of yesterday. A great Spanish audience who chanted 'Ole, Ole' at the end of the show. The band get together took place back at the hotel On this occasion we were joined by Patingo and a couple of friends on guitar and cajon. We were treated to a fantastic Flamenco performance of singing, dancing, playing and clapping. Pantigo and his musicians are very talented. Most of the music was created spontaneously and we were priveledged to witness such a great performance.

Thursday, 24th May 2018 : Madrid : The first of two shows in Madrid. Insanity continues. Pompey was threatening to rejoin, but so far has bailed every time. I got down to the venue early so that I could warm up and practise for a bit. The show was fun although quite a few unexpected things happened. Amongst those was me forgetting the second half of the 'Us An Them' solo! How many times have I played it just like the recording!! ( Easily more than a hundred times. Probably more than a thousand counting rehearsals ). I improvised something that fitted, so no one seemed to mind. Phew!

Wednesday, 23rd May 2018 : Madrid : I decided to have a hunt for a replacement jacket for onstage. The one I wear works ok, but I think I should be able to find something that fits with my personal style better. The limiting factors are that it has to be black and not made of leather. I see many cool jackets in all colours excepting black. I did in fact look while I was in Milan. Spain being another Mediterranean country is orientated to pastel colours rather than dark. Maybe I will have better luck in Switzerland or Germany. In the evening I had an excellent chicken panang at Krachai restaurant. I did intend to play outside but the rain started to pour down, so I will have an extra long warm up tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22nd May 2018 : Madrid : Since we got in so late last night I slept very late. I still managed to do an Insanity workout with Dave though. I don't know Madrid, having never been here before, so wandered around a bit to get the lie of the land. By the evening I was knackered again, so got some noodles from a nearby Japanese place and had an early night.

Monday, 21st May 2018 : Lisbon / Madrid : Our second show in Lisbon. A quick spin around town then off to the venue around 4pm. It is a blast to play to the great Portugese crowd one more time. I took a few shots from my backstage perspective. After the show it is straight to the airport. Security had some kind of problem and held us up in Lisbon for almost an hour. We eventually got away and on to Madrid. Bed by 5.

Sunday, 20th May 2018 : Lisbon : Show one in Lisbon. Earlier in the day I wandered about for a bit, then at 3 headed to the Altice arena. Karol Guaitolini came to the show and we met up in hospitality. The show started at 9.20pm rather than the more usual 8.20. The Portugese audience were amazing and it was hugely enjoyalble performing for them.

Saturday, 19th May 2018 : Lisbon : Day two in Lisbon. Insanity in gym. Pick up some muesli and yogurt. Go to park for a practise. Where did the day go? Dinner. Evening constitutional. Bed.

Friday, 18th May 2018 : Lisbon : Our first of two days off in Lisbon. After last nights late one, I decided to take it easy today. ( Apart from kicking off Insanity once again ). I did find a place in the open air to do a bit of practise. A park above our hotel with a bunch of disused houses was ideal. Later in the day I headed to the docks for an excellent piece of tuna and some local wine. Movie and bed.

Thursday, 17th May 2018 : Vienna / Lisbon : We travel from Vienna to Lisbon today. The trip was easy, although at 3 hours, was a little longer than most. We got in to the hotel around 7pm. I met up with the amazing Brazilian singer Karol Guaitolini and after dinner headed to a late night jam at Fabrica Braço de Prataon on the other side of town. Some excellent players got up and jammed. I played 'Softly As In A Morning Sunrise' with a great, responsive rhythm section. The jam was over before I had a chance to play some more, so I headed back to the hotel around 2am.

Wednesday, 16th May 2018 : Hamburg / Vienna : A show in Vienna later today. First we must fly from Hamburg. Unlike the US segment of the tour, we must go through security in the airport terminal before boarding. I miss driving straight on to the tarmac and getting on the plane. It is still much quicker flying on a commercial flight however. The Austrian audience were not the most animated, but seemed to enjoy themselves. We stayed in Vienna after and will travel to Lisbon tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15th May 2018 : Hamburg : We have a free day in Hamburg today. I took advantage of the simple to use StadtRAD bicycle hire system and cycled round the Alster Lakes. Later I went down to the docks and along to the fishmarket. Here I came across a U-boat docked on the Elbe. It is incredible that an 80 man crew was able to survive in such cramped conditions. This particular submarine was in fact a Russian example, but I still came away with a strong impression of how terrifying it must have been to be engaged in actual combat. In the evening I had a hamburger and beer on the Reeperbahn, before riding back to the hotel.

Monday, 14th May 2018 : Hamburg : We play the Barclaycard Arena today. Killer and I gave the Insanity a miss, to give him some time to recover. There was a mix up with the vans to take us to the venue, so we hung around in front of the hotel for a bit. Then a 4 taxis were called and we got to the arena in the end. Killer played splendidly during the show, in spite of not feeling 100%. The audience were appreciative. Roger took the opportunity to make his views about Palestine very clear. He took pains to seperate his criticism of Israels treatment of the Palestinians; which he is, from antisemitism; which he is not. Back to the hotel for German beer and sausages.

Sunday, 13th May 2018 : Brussels / Hamburg : Unusually, we are travelling the day after a show in Antwerp and a day before the show in Hamburg. Usually we fly out after a show or fly in for a show. There was a bit of drama on the plane when Killer turned white as a sheet and looked very ill. On arrival an ambulance was waiting at the tarmac and he was whisked away to a local hospital. A number of tests were run, but apart from being sick as a parrot and dehydrated he seemed fine. After being on a drip to get him hydrated, he was sent back to the hotel with a bad head, but not much the worse for wear. Phew! The rest of us spent a quiet night in.

Saturday, 12th May 2018 : Brussels / Antwerp / Brussels : The day of our second show in Antwerp. There is some kind of street festival going on in Brussels, so we had to wend our way through the throng to get to our vans. We still arrived in plenty of time for soundcheck without losing any band members along the way. Roger refined the theatrics during 'Pigs' before routining the kids as usual. Another fun show with an attentive Belgian audience. Back to our Brussels hotel for the last time. Off to Hamburg tomorrow.

Friday, 11th May 2018 : Brussels / Antwerp / Brussels : We have the first of two shows in Antwerp today. It takes about 50 minutes on the bus. The audience are all seated in this venue, so our expectation was for a less vociferous reception than the last couple of shows. The band played excellently however. The follow spot on me during my solos seems to make me more visible to the crowd. I am always happy to be the centre of attention on stage. The trip back to Brussels took slightly longer than expected due to a diversion around the airport. A pleasant nightcap in the hotel bar with Roger and a few of the band after the show.

Thursday, 10th May 2018 : Brussels : A day off in Brussels. I suspect it is unlikely to be as eventful as either of the two days in Zagreb. It started with an insanity workout with Killer. The rest of the day was spent sightseeing and catching up with some computer related paperwork. Steak and frites with some great Belgian beer for dinner. I watched the excellent Churchill biopic 'Darkest Hour' after, then time for bed.

Wednesday, 9th May 2018 : Zagreb / Lyon / Brussels : We fly straight to Lyon and on to the venue. The Halle Tony Garnier is a very large and unusually shaped room. The show was fun. Straight back on the plane and on to Brussels before 1am. I was knackered, so headed straight to bed.

Tuesday, 8th May 2018 : Zagreb : The day kicked off with meeting Darlinka and Vlado at the town hall. Armed with one of Vlado's bicycles I set off to climb Sljeme. I have uploaded pics from the ascent on Flickr ( see link below ). At 1,033 meters, this is the loftiest climb I have attempted on a bicycle. I made it in about 90 minutes from the town centre. The descent was exceedingly hairy, with my brakes getting very hot. It didn't help that my phone ran out of charge at the top, so I had no satnav. This made the round trip a little over 40Km. In the evening, by way of thankyou to Darlinka for sorting out a bike, I took her to dinner. She rejected Jon Lemon's gourmet restaurant suggestions. Instead we went to a hidden restaurant in a tenement. This was just a normal flat with three tables in the sitting room for customers. We were served whatever the cook had come up with for that day. Some excellent chicken liver pate and home made bread followed by beef and vegetable stew with gnocchi. Excellent. In addition, one of the other customers was a rather drunk Jurica Novosel. He was persuaded to get out his violin and played a selection of passionate and flamboyant Gypsy tunes. What a day!

Monday, 7th May 2018 : Zagreb : I started the day by wandering around Zagreb. I was looking for a place to hire a bicycle, but didn't come across anywhere suitable. Later in the day I decided to take my sax with me and find a place to practise. I found a park close to a main road where I thought no one would hear me. It was actually quite close to the town hall. After about an hour, a gentleman called Martin appeared and gave me 20 Kruna. He was the assistant of Darlinka Jug, who was in charge of cycling infrastructure in Zagreb and liked sax playing. I mistook Martin to say that his boss played sax, so I went with him to meet her in her office across the road. There, I was given a beer and met Emile who, as well as working for Darlinka, was a singer with musical connections in Zagreb. Darlinka's area of interest in the local goverment is cycling infrastructure. Later we went to the local velodrome where I met cycling legend Vlado Fumić. After a pizza with Darlinka and her daughter Taminika, we headed to the Harmika jazz pub where I was able to sit in with the band. I had a splendid evening with highlights being playing 'Moondance' and 'Sunny' with Emile. Many excellent musicians were in attendance.

Sunday, 6th May 2018 : Sophia / Zagreb : I was woken up at 10am by three MiG-29's flying, what sounded like, a couple of feet above the roof of the hotel. When I popped my head out of the window I was treated to a full on display of might by the Bulgarian army. This was celebrating the Day of Valour. It wasn't long before we boarded the bus for our flight to Zagreb. I had no idea what to expect from the Croatian crowd. They were tremendous. The loudest, most enthusiastic so far. I have been given a radio controlled device which allows the lights to follow me around the stage automatically. It was a little disconcerting at first, but seems to be quite effective. I will reserve judgement till I have worn it for a few more shows.

Saturday, 5th May 2018 : Sophia : A day off in Sophia. It is a public holiday, so there are plenty of people around. I went to the park to see some communist period sculptures that are regularly repainted by the locals in fanciful ways. American supeheroes was one on the most popular. Unfortunately, they are cleaned up by the local government just as regularly. On this occasion they were with embelishments. As I headed out to dinner fireworks erupted over the city. Quite noisy and spectacular.

Friday, 4th May 2018 : Budapest / Sophia : Wake up in Budapest. Shower. Pack bags. Check out of the hotel by noon. Bus to the airport. Fly to Sophia. Bus to the venue. Soundcheck. Eat dinner. Change into stage clothes. Show starts at 8.20. I don't have to be on stage till 'Brick', so generally get to warm up and practise a bit before going on. The kids from Sophia were particularly well drilled and didn't put a foot wrong. Interval. Second half, where I go behind the stage for 'Dogs' and can play along with the band, without being heard out front. This lets me check my in ear monitors and get comfortable. Onstage for 'Money' and 'Us and Them'. Offstage till 'Eclipse'. Roger introduces the band. Off stage till the end of 'Numb'. Onstage for bow. Onto bus. Change back into civies at the hotel, so that stage clothes can be returned to Sonja, who does wardrobe. Go to bar for a drink with Roger and the band. Hit the hay in Sophia around 2am.

Thursday, 3rd May 2018 : Budapest : Our last day off in Budapest. Another beautiful, sunny day. Ideal for climbing up to the castle on the Buda side of the river. I had fun wandering around for most of the day. Later I got on a bike and headed back to the City park; this time with my saxophone. I had spotted a place to play on my previous visit, where I thought I could practise without being disturbed, or disturbing anyone. I was correct apart from being offered a Euro from a passing music student. A quiet night in with a beer and a movie in the evening.

Wednesday, 2nd May 2018 : Budapest : In the morning I went a little way along the Danube to visit the shoes by the riverbank. This is a sculpture in memory of the atrocities committed by the Arrow Cross party between 1944-45. Our soundcheck was at 5 as usual. Roger has decided to feature himself soloing on guitar at the end of 'Picture That'. It was great to catch up with Tony and Mary Satchell once again. A fab show with a great Hungarian audience. Back to the hotel for a nightcap with the band.

Tuesday, 1st May 2018 : Budapest : The May Day celebrations were well underway by the time I woke up. The tone of the event is very much a street party. Very different from the more politically orientated happenings of yesteryear. Everything was closed, apart from bars and restaurants. I rented a bike and headed for the City Park. Street food stalls, carnival rides, a music stage; all the fun of the fair. In the evening I met my friends Tony and Mary, who had flown in earlier. We ate at the Karoly restaurant which served good local food and some excellent Villany wine. I wobbled back to the hotel on my bicycle after a glass of pear brandy.

Monday, 30th April 2018 : Budapest : Insanity work out with Dave in the late morning as usual. There are preparations going on for May day all over town. The area around the Chain bridge is going to be cordoned off to enable motorcar racing. Some of the participants had their machines on display in one of the main streets. I had a Goulash and some local red wine for dinner. The wine was good but I have had better Goulashes in the Czech Republic. I can only say that, as I am am writing this blog entry from Bulgaria. lol

Sunday, 29th April 2018 : Budapest : We have three days off in Budapest. I am looking forward to exploring, as this is the first time I have visited the city. On this first day I decided to walk around rather than cycle. The sun is out, the sky is blue .....

Friday, 27th April 2018 : Bologna / Prague : Our visit to Prague this time will be a flying one. Straight to the venue having just flown in from Bologna. Soundcheck. Show. Hotel. A quick wander by the river to get some air before bed. We have another show tomorrow and fly directly to Budapest afterward.

Thursday, 26th April 2018 : Bologna : We have a day off before we travel to Prague for a couple of shows. I booked online to visit the Asinelli tower at 2pm. The only way to the top is climbing on foot. Surprisingly, the feeling of vertigo was more inside the tower than out. The views from the top were worth the effort of the climb however. Afterwards I headed into the hills for a different perspective on the area. Once back at the hotel I picked up my horn and headed to the John Lennon / Charlie Parker park for 90 minutes of practise ( and a bit of playing for inquisitive kids ). Considering Insanity in the morning, the tower, the hill climb and then the walk to and from the park, I got plenty of exercise. In the evening it was Tagliatelle Bolognese and a glass of wine with Simon and Dave. A good way to cap off our trip to Italy.

Wednesday, 25th April 2018 : Bologna : Aother beautiful day in beautiful Bologna. We bussed to the venue for the last time this tour. The seats have been removed, so we are back to a standing audience. A terrific show. We had a nice, relaxed aftershow get together back at the hotel.

Tuesday, 24th April 2018 : Bologna : I went exploring after the morning workout. I happened along Via Piella which has a small window opening on Bologna's hidden canal system. The 12th century canal system has been systematically hidden underground, unlike Venice. Latedr I came across the John Lennon and Charlie Parker park. A couple of alto players were doing some practising there, I decided to come back on our first day off to get some playing in. The audience was seated at the Unipol Arena on tonights penultimate show in Bologna. This usually translates into a more reserved crowd, but that doesn't seem to apply here! Great fun. One more to do tomorrow.

Monday, 23rd April 2018 : Bologna : Our first day off in Bolonga. It is a beautiful day, so I headed out on foot to explore the town. Almost immediately I came across Sian, San, Simon and Daren in a cafe. It was great to catch up. Some time and a couple of capucinos later I carried on my exploration of Bologna. There are a lot of churches in this city. It is a very beautiful Medievil town. In the evening I was suposed to get together with Jon Carin, Brie and a few other band members. One by one they dropped out, so I ended up in a restaurant close to the hotel eating excellent Tagliatelli Bolognese; a tradition in these parts. After another few miles walking around I was ready for bed.

Sunday, 22nd April 2018 : Bologna : The second of the 4 shows in Bologna today. We bussed to the venue; soundchecked and had a nice al fresco dinner. I snapped a few pics of the audience rushing in to grab a good spot on the floor. Another terrific show.

Saturday, 21st April 2018 : Milan / Bologna : We set of in the morning on a bus bound for Milan station. It is only an hour on the train to Bologna, so rail travel makes much more sense than air. The train ran on time and we arrived in Bologna in plenty of time for the soundcheck. The show was great, with a boisterous Bologna audience making plenty of noise. The floor part of the arena was without seats and we often find that standing crowds are more engaged with the performance than seated ones. Back to the hotel by midnight to check in and have a nightcap at the bar.

Friday, 20th April 2018 : Milan : Our last day off in Milan. I risked life and limb and cycled across town to the Foundazione Prada. The galleries are spread across various buildings in a disused distillery. I particularly enjoyed the main building which housed an excellent Jeff Koons, along with some Damien Hirst installations that I first saw in the London Saatchi gallery back in the 90's. Another highlight was Italian art and architecture between the World Wars. I did consider studying architecture before deciding on Chemistry back in 1970. The symmetrical Italian style was what I had in mind designing. I am so glad I didn't go that route. Later in the day I visited the Prada Observatory, which is located near the Doumo. I was hoping for a view of Milan from above but the rooftop is below the surrounding buildings. The gallery featured photographs. Pasta and wine for dinner.

Thursday, 19th April 2018 : Milan : We have 2 days off in Milan before heading for Bologna. Dave told me about a canal area that looked cool so I hopped on a bike ( after workout ) and set off. Cycling in Milan is challenging. Many of the roads are stone paving, which is very bumpy to cycle over. Also, the tram lines make changing direction quite hazardous. With the fairly erratic Italian driving in the mix, I am happy to say I survived the day. I had a nice panini and glass of wine by the water before heading back. An hour practise in the park before before going to dinner in the evening.

Wednesday, 18th April 2018 : Milan : The day of the second show in Milan. Needless to say I slept late after last nights shenanigans. Got up in time to get to the show however! The usual routine; arrive at the venue. Hang in the dressing room. On stage for soundcheck at 5. Eat in catering around 6.15. ( on this occasion al fresco ). Hang in the dressing room. Get dressed around 8.30. Ready to rock by 9.00. It is good to have a regular routine on these big occasions. It keeps everyone settled and centred for the performance ahead. Another great one with a responsive crowd. A short aftershow get together this time. Phew!

Tuesday, 17th April 2018 : Milan : The day of the first show in Milan. It is another beautiful day, so I took the opportunity to cycle round the city some more, before heading to the venue around 4. The Milan audience was excellent in spite of being banned from standing up. I stayed up too late after the show and rolled into bed around 3.30.

Monday, 16th April 2018 : Milan : Our second day off in Milan. The weather is beautiful, so I hired a bicycle and explored the town without a particular plan in mind. I happened past the 'Biscione' on the way to the Duomo. I had heard of the 'dog dragon' and wanted to get a picture of it in good light. The Sforza castle was next, before getting to the Sempione park. I walked around for a bit; bought a postcard, then headed back to the hotel. It was a nice day to get in a couple of hours practise in the park. My room was still being serviced when I arrived back, so I had a glass of Ripasso on the rooftop bar and watched the sunset Ibiza style. In the evening it was easy to find a good bowl of pasta before retiring.

Sunday, 15th April 2018 : Milan : My blog entry for Milan on the 2007 Dark Side Of The Moon tour indicates that I thought then that Milan was all about shopping. Particularly clothes shopping. Nothing seems to have changed! As I walked into the town centre from our hotel I passed store after store selling designer goods of all the name brands. Not really my style, so I headed to La Scala, the famous opera house then on to the amazing Duomo. The queue was too long to get onto the roof, but I will come back another day. After a good practise in a local park I had a nice pizza and a glass of Barbera before heading back to the hotel.

Saturday, 14th April 2018 : Barcelona / Milan : A bit of a rainy day, so good timing for leaving Barcelona. I worked out in the gym with Dave then updated this blog, before packing ready for the trip to Milan after the show. It was great to catch up with Susie Llewelyn-Jones and Tanya Chantler, who came to town from London for the show. The Barcelona audience were even more enthusiastic than Friday night. I had a great time onstage. Right after the concert we bussed to the airport and changed back into civies before boarding. We have 2 small jets to accomodate band and management. In no time we were in Milan and checked into our hotel. This is definitely the way to travel.

Friday, 13th April 2018 : Barcelona: The day started with an Insanity workout in the gym. Killer was the only taker. We got down to the venue around 4.30 for a 5pm soundcheck. As the show doesn't start till 9.20 there is quite a lot of hanging around. I got to see Michael and Kas before curtain up. It was great to be doing the show again and the Spanish crowd were excellent. Back to the hotel for a well earned drink at the bar afterwards.

Thursday, 12th April 2018 : Barcelona: I rented a bicycle and spent a few hours exploring Barcelona. It was mostly sunny and warm, so I had an excellent time. In the evening I hooked up with Michael and Kas and we had great tapas at a restaurant in the Gothic Quarter. Afterwards a pleasant walk round town then back to my hotel. The first show of the tour is tomorrow!

Wednesday, 11th April 2018 : Barcelona: Day two of rehearsal. The run through had a few technical hiccups but nothing serious. The band is back in the groove. I walked back to the hotel with Dave again then met up with friends Michael and Kas to see some jazz at Jamboree. The Joe Sanders Quartet featuring Seamus Blake on saxophone, Joe Sanders on bass, Eric Harland on drums, and Aaron Parks on piano were the band. A packed house with Aaron and Seamus sounding particularly good. Interesting compoisition by the bass player Joe Sanders. After the show we had a cocktail at a nearby speakeasy with Richard and his dad Michael Lovett before a relatively early night.

Tuesday, 10th April 2018 : Barcelona: Day one of rehearsal. In the van at 11.30 and off to the Palau St. Jordi. We have three days in the venue before the first show on the 13th. Everyone reaquainted themselves with each other and the run through went well. All are excited to be back 'in harness'. Dave and I hung out for a bite to eat around 6 and decided to walk back to the hotel. Barcelona is a beautiful city and it was nice to walk through parts we would otherwise have missed out on. I had a bath and an early night. Hoping to see some jazz tomorrow evening.

Monday, 9th April 2018 : London / Barcelona: I got to the airport ridiculously early as usual. This gives me plenty of time to get my blog underway. Dave Kilminster and I are travelling together, but I don't expect to see him before boarding! ...... He did actually arrive in the lounge minus his guitar which British Airways made him check in the hold. I refused to let my sax be similarly treated and was able to carry it on after a short argument with the check in attendant.......... Arrived in Barcelona to a medical checkup at the hotel. Something to do with tour insurance. Apparently I passed as I am still in the band. Yay!

Sunday, 8th April 2018 : London : Packing. The adventure begins again tomorrow!

Monday, 19th March 2018 : London : In about three weeks from now I will be heading to Barcelona for some production rehearsals, followed by the first shows of the European tour. It will be nice to leave wintery London behind! I am looking forward to seeing Roger and the gang and getting back on the road!