Roger Waters South AmericanTour 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, Australasia 2018 and Europe 2018 can be found here along with additional tour pics on flickr.

Friday, 16th November 2018 : Lima : After another bout of Insanity, I found a suitable room for a bit of practising. That done I set off to where Miraflores was marked on Googlemaps. This turned out to be a swanky suburb followed by a shopping area. Not quite what I was looking for. By the time I reached the beach the sun was already going down. Lots of people had assembled to watch it set. I spent a bit of time watching the paragliders hurl themselves off the cliffs. Fortunately they all survived. It was getting a bit chilly by then, so I headed along the seashore back towards the hotel. On the way I found a little restaurant for a bite to eat then on to the hotel. No one was around in the bar, so I had a bbeer in my room and watched 'Mile 22'.

Thursday, 15th November 2018 : Lima : I hadn't accounted for the 2 hour time difference between Santiago and Lima. This meant both Dave and I woke up before the afternoon was finished! We got a round of Insanity in before starting what was left of our day. I did a bit of shopping for supplies and didn't really get going till the sun was going down. The part of the coast I walked to wasn't very interesting, but I found out that Milaflores is the area to head for tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14th November 2018 : Santiago / Lima : It is going to be a long day today. The flight to Lima is almost 3 hours. Roger has decided to do 'Gunner's Dream' tonight for the first time on the tour. It will be great to play the solo for only the second time on stage. The first time was in Lisbon at the start of the 2006 DSOTM tour in 2006. The show was fun, but playing to an all seated audience always makes the crowd less responsive. We had a warm reception in the end and headed off to the airport. On reaching Lima there was a delay getting through immigration so we didn't reach our hotel till 6am. If Killer and I do Insanity tomorrow it will be in the afternoon!

Tuesday, 13th November 2018 : Santiago : I got up predictably late. There is a mountain just behind our hotel that I decided to climb. Luckily there are paths all the way up. Unusually, about half way up there is a Japanese garden. It took me about and hour and a half to get all the way up. Much quicker on the way down. I picked up a bike at the bottom and found a quiet restaurant where I could eat outside.

Monday, 12th November 2018 : Santiago : I wasn't very early getting up today. The weather looked variable, so I headed out for an hours practise while I had the chance. Later I explored a bit more on bicycle and had a bite to eat before heading back. The crew are staying at the same hotel as the band on this occasion. I took the opportunity to buy a few of them drinks at the bar. They reciprocated and before I knew it, it was Much later, and quite a few glasses of wine had been drunk. I won't be getting up early tomorrow either.

Sunday, 11th November 2018 : Santiago : We didn't get in to our hotel till 6am, so I woke up rather late. I hired a Mobike using their app but soon discovered that large parts of Santiago are no go areas for Mobike parking. Not so useful if you want to cycle into town. The weather forcast had been predicting rain all day. None materialised till 7pm when I had been cycling for half an hour. I left the bike and walked into town. Luckily I found a nice little cafe playing Charlie Parker and Bud Powell records before the downpour. I had a burger and a beer, then headed back to the hotel after the rain subsided.

Saturday, 10th November 2018 : Buenos Aires / Santiago : The day of the second show in La Plata. The weather is miserable and is likely to continue well into the night. At the soundcheck Roger played 'Gunners' Dream'. As it started up I realised that he had changed the key of the song. I was taken by surprise, so the sax solo bore only a passing resemblance the the classic Raff Ravenscroft solo on the record. Thankfully we ran that part of the song a couple more times, so I got most of it transposed. In fact we didn't play 'Gunner's Dream' at the show, but hopefully will soon. Roger called León Gieco on to the stage to perform a moving version of his song 'La Memoria' as a first encore. This highly unusual event was received warmly by the fantastic ( and very wet ) audience. After the show it was straight to the airport and on to Santiago, Chile.

Friday, 9th November 2018 : Buenos Aires : In the morning it was off to the nature reserve down by the river Plate. You would never know you are in a major city wandering around here. The day is very hot, so we didn't stay for long. The next thing on the agenda for me was to get some playing done. I have been going to a local park near our hotel which is ideal for this purpose. At 4pm we headed to Piazzolla with Roger and most of the rest of the band. This was for a very enjoyable tango lesson and demonstration. One of the highlights for me was the presence of an excellent four piece tango group that played wonderfully. Josh and Jess were particularly taken with the spirit of tango. In the evening Holly and I were out looking for a restaurant when we ran into Chris once again. He suggested we go to a nearby flower shop and ask to be let into the refrigerator. On doing so, we entered a speakeasy type bar where excellent and unusual cocktails were on offer. Their next door restaurant offered good basic Italian food al fresco. An excellent last day in BA for Holly.

Thursday, 8th November 2018 : Buenos Aires : It is a beautiful sunny day. Dave has had a cold the last few days, so we have been postponing Insanity till he is better. As an alternative, Holly and I headed for the pool. Floating around in the warm water is definitely not as good exercise but is much more fun. lol. Afterward it was off to the La Boca area and a stroll along El Caminito. This is a colourful area in lots of ways, including many cafes with tango dancers. After a bit of shopping we had a glass of wine and relaxed while watching a couple of excellent performers. In the evening we decided we hadn't had enough steak, so returned to the excellent Fervor for more. A bottle of the Angelica Zapata 2014 Malbec and a chat with the nice Argentinian couple on the next table made for a great evening.

Wednesday, 7th November 2018 : Buenos Aires : Palermo is the target for today. One of the more interesting areas within Palermo is Soho, which is where we ended up. I currently have 2 jazz albums available under the 'SOHO Project' umbrella. There is another which I have performed live, but not recorded so far. The titles of the tunes are taken from street names in Soho, London; SoHo, New York and Soho, Hong Kong. I did not realise that there was another in Buenos Aires. I forsee an addition to the concept. After a mooch around Soho Palermo, Holly and I had lunch in a roadside restaurant / bar. We ordered what we thought was a selection of small pizzas with different toppings. They turned out to be flattened beef fried in breadcrumbs. Lunch turned into the only meal we required today. After an exhausting days wander, we had a quiet night in with an excellent bottle of Antonio Mas 'Historia' 2011 Malbec.

Tuesday, 6th November 2018 : Buenos Aires : Show day. The Estadio Unico La Plata is about an hour out of B.A. The police escort got us there in good time. There was a run through of 'Two Suns' in the soundcheck, but Roger decided on 'Mother' for the actual show. Everything went smoothly and the Argentinian audience were fantastic. Roger touched on the recognition of the Argentinian soldiers killed during the Falklands conflict and their identification and reburial. This is something he actively participated in. We were whizzed back to the hotel afterwards for a well earned drink in the bar. There is one more show in BA in a few days time, before we head to Chile.

Monday, 5th November 2018 : Buenos Aires : Holly and I decided to return to the cemetery. It is a beautiful day. There are so many completely over the top tombs. We hunted around for Eva Peron's grave, but failed to track it down. Afterwards it was nachos and beer in a local bar. In the evening it was great steaks and Malbec in a nearby restaurant. Coincidently, Noel Gallagher and a few friends were eating in the same place. He is coming to the show tomorrow.

Sunday, 4th November 2018 : Buenos Aires : We have three days off in Buenos Aires. Yay! First stop, San Telmo market. Holly and I managed to walk there from the hotel thanks to google maps. This weekend market is teaming with people. I left Holly to shop while I explored the area. Later in the day we hooked up with Franksy and Becky and headed off to see Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds show. They sounded great. Lots of memorable songs.

Saturday, 3rd November 2018 : Montevideo / Buenos Aires : Time for a nice cappucino and a bun before we head to the stadium. An early soundcheck as is usual in South America due to the time the venue takes to fill. Additionally there is a support band that does a fun short set, with the flute player even managing to quote 'Every Brick In The Wall' in his extended solo. It was cold onstage, which always creates tuning issues. As a brass player, my instrument goes flat when the temparature drops. Guitars go sharp. Electric keyboards don't change. We struggled through and sounded pretty good I thought. After the show it was back to Buenos Aires for a few days off.

Friday, 2nd November 2018 : Buenos Aires / Montevideo : We travel to Montevideo today for the show tomorrow night. It is a bit on the wet and windy side when we get there. Our hotel is in a beach resort outside of town. We are definitely not seeing it at its best on this occasion. I had a play in the park. Holly did some shopping. Italian food and a some Tannat for dinner. There should be more to report tomorrow.

Thursday, 1st November 2018 : Buenos Aires : Our second day off in Buenos Aires. Holly arrives in the morning, so we have a relaxed day wandering around. The cemetery is particularly interesting. Tombs the size of small flats in london! We only scratched the surface on this visit, so will return.

Wednesday, 31st October 2018 : Buenos Aires : The first of a couple of days off in Buenos Aires. This leg of the tour has plenty of time between each show, so I am looking forward to getting to know the various towns we are in quite well. Today is for getting the lie of the land. I headed to the part of town that I knew from the Dark Side tour ten years ago. It is much chillier here than in Rio, so no hanging by the pool. I am not seeing many cyclists in town so decide against hiring one of the dodgy looking city bikes. It is fun to re-aquaint myself with BA. Later in the day I headed to a nearby park for an hour or so practise.

Tuesday, 30th October 2018 : Rio De Janeiro / Porto Alegre / Buenos Aires : We fly to Porto Alegre today for a show at the Estadio De Beira. In transit Sean lets me know that Roger has decided against me performing the 'Money' solo from the top of the screen. Yay! I did have my doubts that anyone noticed me up there. The night in Rio when I was forced to stay on the stage due to rain, I got to interact with Roger on my side of the stage. This is what we will do tonight. Great I say. When it got to that point in the show, the rain was teaming down on this occasion also. That did not stop us having a bit of fun with each other and the audience on that side of the auditorium. Later we heard in our in ear monitors that a big lightning storm was heading towards the arena. There was a possibility that the show would have to be stopped. Roger decided to continue, but shorten the show slightly by missing out 'Mother' and the band introductions. This was a good call, as soon after 'Numb' the heavens really opened and the lightning reached the stadium. The band made a dash for the airport and eascaped the worst of the weather. Buenos Aires here we come!

Monday, 29th October 2018 : Rio De Janeiro : Dina has organised a trip to Sugarloaf Mountain. A few of the band have dodgy stomachs, so in the end Killer, Jon Carin and myself are the only takers accompanied by Mario. You get to the top of the mountain via 2 cablecar trips. The first takes you to the top of Morro da Urca, where concerts and other events are often held. The mountain also has a population of marmoset monkeys that enjoy the attention of the tourists. Onward and upward on the second cable car to the top of Sugarloaf. The views are spectacular and we spent a good few hours marvelling and taking photos.

Sunday, 28th October 2018 : Rio De Janeiro : This is the day of the election. I decided to have a daylight cycle around the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. On the way back from the lagoon it was noticable that there was lots of celebrating in the streets and conspicuous mounted policemen standing by. I didn't see any trouble however. The reason for the celebrating was the victory in the election of the right wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro. We will see in the coming months the effect this has on Brazil and its relations with other countries. I for one wasn't celebrating.

Saturday, 27th October 2018 : Rio De Janeiro / Curtiba / Rio De Janeiro : A flying visit to Curtiba today. This is the day before the general election in Brazil. Tomorrow it will be decided if the very right wing Jair Bolsonaro gets elected. Roger will not be able to let this event pass without comment. He decides to insert a new section into 'Welcome To The Machine' with explicitly anti Bolsonaro slogans on the screen. The audience reaction is Big! It is also quite mixed with cheering and booing in equal measure. This had little effect on how the concert was received by another warm Brazilian crowd. The love was palpable as Roger is wont to say. Back to Rio after the show for a couple of days off.

Friday, 26th October 2018 : Rio De Janeiro : Another rather rainy day in Rio. The concierge found me a spot in the hotel to practise, but it did involve chucking Todd and Renato out of their office. I tried to hook up with Eduardo, the guitarist from Aaron's band, but it didn't happen in the end. An uneventful day. Show in Curtiba tomorrow.

Thursday, 25th October 2018 : Rio De Janeiro : A late start today, but still managed a round of Insanity with Dave in the gym. It is rather rainy, so no great rush to get out and about. I did hire a bicycle and go along to the end of Copacbana. Once the sun went down, the rain eased off so I had a nice cycle around the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas; a large lagoon between Corcavado and Ipanema. I spent the rest of the evening watching 'Trainspotting 2' which turned out to be rather good.

Wednesday, 24th October 2018 : Rio De Janeiro : We have a show at the Estadio Du Maracana today. As it takes 4 hours to fill the stadium we soundcheck around 3pm. The weather has turned against us and it is rather wet. Consequently it has been decided on health and safety principles that I should stay on ground level tonight, as the stairs and platform above the screen are rather slippery. It was nice to meet up with Nills ( from the Brazilian Argonauts ) and boyfriend Celso who is in an AC/DC tribute band. The show was great as is often the case in less than optimal weather. There was an emotional tribute to Marielle Franco before going in to 'Mother' rather than 'Two Suns' on this occasion. Drinks at the hotels rooftop bar after.

Tuesday, 23rd October 2018 : Rio De Janeiro : Dina has organised an outing for us. Our guide, Patricia, has quite a few things planned. She soon discovers that it is easier to herd cats than musicians! We did have a great time on Corcovado. There was also a visit to a small public garden ( Parque Lage ) in the shadow of the mountain. By then we were getting hungry, so repaired to an excellent retaurant chosen by Patricia. From there it was too late to see much else, so it was time to head back to the hotel. An excellent day out.

Monday, 22nd October 2018 : Rio De Janeiro : I woke up to beautiful weather and a glorious view of the beach. We have been warned against wandering around town alone. No one said anything about cycling, so I hired an Itau bike in the street and set off. I explored Ipanema, Copacabana, Leblon and even ventured over to Botafogo. There are many cycling paths and the motorists seem more used to cyclists here than in Sao Paulo. I am looking forward to a band trip to Corcavada and the Botanical gardens tomorrow, so had and early night after a pizza and a beer in Leblon.

Sunday, 21st October 2018 : Sao Paulo / Belo Horizonte / Rio De Janeiro : Moving out of Sao Paulo today. It was really nice to spend an extended time in one place. I had a great time and it was a great way to ease into the touring life for this last leg of Us+Them. Once at the airport it was off to Belo Horizonte for a show before setting off for Rio. We ran through 'Two Suns' in soundcheck and Roger decided to include it tonight. The audience here is great. Rogers' politics split the audience fairly evenly in two, but this didn't seem to stop everyone ( crowd and band ) enjoying the show hugely. A police escort facilitated a quick exit and trip to the plane. Even so it was after 3pm before we rolled up to the hotel. Roger and Gus played backgammon till after dawn in the rooftop bar.

Saturday, 20th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : Most of the band seemed to be in the hotel gym when Dave and I went up for Insanity. We managed to find a space between the kick boxing, on the spot cycling, jogging and yoga to do our thing however. It is a beautiful day, so I spent an extended time in the park. Later a few of us had some excellent Italian food at Gero. An early night since we have a show tomorrow.

Friday, 19th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : Wet and windy in Sao Paulo. Some playing in the park. Just about dry enough under the trees to shed some scale patterns I have been working on. Apart from that, a lazy day. Nice sea bass at the famous Figuera Rubiyat with a giant tree inside the restaurant.

Thursday, 18th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : We didn't get back till after 4am last night, so no early starts today. Dave, Pompey and I did get round to Insanity in the late afternoon. I did a bit of shopping but little else. It is a bit rainy, so umbrellas are in use. The picture below is a shot from Salvador. You get an idea of what the screen looks like from behind.

Wednesday, 17th October 2018 : Sao Paulo / Salvador / Sao Paulo : Our fourth show of the tour so far is today. We leave in plenty of time and get to the venue with time to spare. This is good, as Roger wants to check out my 'Money' solo spot and make sure that I can be seen better than in Brazilia. I am more central, which is good. The platform isn't any higher, which is not so good. Once back on earth we run through 'Two Suns In The Sunset' from the Final Cut. He decides to perform it tonight. Yay!! There is a sax solo at the end. The show is great even though the Salvador audience are a little quieter than many South American crowds. I had a bit of an issue with the follow spot operator, who not only missed thhe opening of the 'money' solo, but failed to follow me as I moved around during 'Us And Them'. The clue is in the name 'follow spot'. Hopefully this will improve. It was great to perform 'Two Suns' and the sax solo seemed to go down well. Back to SP after the show.

Tuesday, 16th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : In London, one of the singers I perform with is the wonderful Tina T. Whilst I have been on tour with Roger, she replaced me with excellent Aaron Liddard. What an amazing coincidence that we are both in Sao Paulo at the same time! I have never met Aaron, so it was great fun to hook up withh him at the Jazz Nos Fundos club where he was playing. After a few songs he invited me onstage and we had a blast playing on some of his tunes and 'Valerie' made famous by Amy Winehhouse. I have an early start tomorrow as Roger has a concert in Salvador. I bailed about 1am as the Argonaunts launched into their well deserved encore.

Monday, 15th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : Insanity is ongoing. Practising is going well. I have an excellent spot in Ibrapuera park, where I can honk away undisturbed. The contempory art galleries are on my list of things to see. Unfortunately they are all closed on Mondays. Fortunately we have quite a few more days here, so I am sure I will get round to it. I looked on the net for some jazz to see tonight. All closed on Mondays lol. I did discover that Aaron Liddard will be playing in a local club tomorrow night!

Sunday, 14th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : We now have three days off in Sao Paulo. I am gradually increasing the areas I am exploring in this large city. It is fun just to walk around. There are not many cyclist here. This is mainly due, I suspect, to the mad driving I have seen in town. I narrowly missed being run over by a bus going through a red light. Too risky to venture off the pavement on a bike!

Saturday, 13th October 2018 : Sao Paulo / Brasilia / Sao Paulo : A show in Brasilia today. Thhe big news for me is that I will be performing the 'Money' solo from the top of the screen. A suitable staircase has been built and I will get to test it out in daylight before committing to using it that evening. I find it quite solid and no problem getting up one handed ( sax in the other ). During the soundcheck I played from the top then sprinted down for the start of 'Us And Them'. The downside is that the local carpenters were not able to get my platform completely above the screen. A fairly large part of the crowd will only see my head and shoulders. Hopefully this will improve at future venues. The concert was great. I got through the solo whilst standing on a bit of scaffolding, trying to get as high as possible. The Brasilia crowd were much more supportive of Rogers' political statements with almost no booing. We had a police escort back to the plane and were in Sao Paulo by 2.

Friday, 12th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : Another day off. The weather is clearing up, so I headed to the park early. I hadn't realised that today is a public holiday, so the park is rammed. Fortunately I still found a secluded spot where honking on the saxophone wouldn't disturb anyone ( apart from the capybaras ). Later in the day I headed out of the rather upmarket location of our hotel, over the hill. I came upon Avenue Paulista, where a lot more was going on. It was getting dark by the time I headed down the other side of the hill, which had some interesting bars and cafes, including a couple with live drumming and chanting. In addition there were quite a few armed ( machine guns ) policemen on and off motor cycles and a number of fires. I thought better of hanging out and went back to civilisation for a hamburger and beer.

Thursday, 11th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : A day off in Sao Paulo. Dave and I worked out in the gym first thing. I went to my usual spot in the park and got a good hour of playing done. In the evening Jess had organised a dance class. We learned basic Samba steps ( of course, we are in Brazil ) and another dance I think was called Forro ( which was a bit easier for Scots that aren't used to wiggling hips when dancing ). Great fun. I look forward to doing some more.

Wednesday, 10th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : Insanity restarted. Pompey, Dave and myself struggled through the first 40 minute class. Onward and upward. We have another show at the Allianz Parque today. Considering the furore in the press and social media, it will be interesting to see how the audience react. We get to the venue at 4pm for a soundcheck before doors at 5. No plans to do either of the 2 encore alternatives, but we practised one of them anyway. The band hit the floor running when the show got underway. A crisp and tight performance by all. The audience were warm but perhaps not quite as ecstatic as the night before. Roger and Sean are trying out some new lighting / stage ideas for the sax solos. I am off to one side of the band when I go onstage. It is a bit weird not being 'in te body of te kirk', but I will suspend judgement till I have done a few more performances. Roger stressed love, togetherness and solidarity against the 'pigs' in his talk and was received appreciatively. The #EleNão slogan that came up during 'Mother' however got widespread boos from the primarily Bolsanaro supporting Paulistas.

Tuesday, 9th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : Show day! We have a fairly early start as doors are at 5pm. We soundchecked at 4. This included running 'Money' and 'Us And Them' with me in a new position onstage. It will be interesting to see how well this works. We don't get underway till 9.20, so there is a lot of hanging around backstage before the show. Consequently, I am writing this at 7.20 and will post it before we actually perform. I hope to get a few more pics during the set and will comment on events during the show at a later date .................

................... The show was fantastic. What an audience! There was a bit of dissent and quite a lot of booing when Roger made his anti Bolsonaro views clear. It will be interesting to see if that affects our reception tomorrow...

Monday, 8th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : Originally today was to be a day off. With the new tunes and some dramatic changes, Roger decided to call an extra rehearsal. It is very wet in Sao Paulo today, so I mostly stayed inside. I even attempted a 40 minute class of Insanity by myself. It is so much harder without other participants ( apart from the ones in the video lol ). Around 4pm we went to the venue and had a bite to eat. After that it was onstage for a couple of hours of working out how the new parts all fit together. By the time I got back to the hotel I was knackered, so headed to bed with a dodgy Sci Fi film.

Sunday, 7th October 2018 : Sao Paulo : We don't start rehearsing till late afternoon, so I got a chance to pop down to a local supermarket. I stocked up on my tour staples; water, milk, muesli, yogurt. No Insanity as yet, since the jetlag is making sleeping erratic. When we met up in the lobby, everyone got re aquainted and headed to the Allainz Parque. In catering, Roger mentioned to me some theatrical ideas he has had for the 'Money' solo. We will try these out in the coming days. I will say no more as yet. There was a soundcheck and rehearsal of some new songs Roger wants to try. Later we ran the entire set. Everyone and everything sounded great. We are in good shape for the first South American show on Tuesday.

Saturday, 6th October 2018 :Sao Paulo : We have a day off in Sao Paulo to recover before a rehearsal tomorrow. The weather is a bit dull, but I donned a waterproof and had a wander anyway. Sao Paulo is gigantic, so I only really got an impression of the streets around the hotel. These are apparently not typical of the city as a whole, being the 'Beverly Hills' of the town. Having picked up some supplies, I had a chat with Pomps, Jess and Todd, and met Renato and Mario, who are local guides. They suggested the Parque Ibrapuera as somewhere I could practise, so I headed off and got over an hours playing done before it got a bit cold. Some pasta for dinner. An early night.

Friday, 5th October 2018 : London / Sao Paulo : Picked up at 10am for our midday flight from Stansted. We are flying in the jet that will be used for all the trips within South America. It turns out that Roger flew directly from Switzerland ( where he was hiking ), to Sao Paulo. That means that there are only 2 band members and 4 management rattling around in a jet capable of carrying the whole band, management plus extras. Next stop Senegal, where we refuel................... We didn't get to set foot in Africa. The refuelling took about 40 minutes, then we were off. The trip was uneventful and most of us slept our way to Sao Paulo. Arrived around 11pm local time and were whisked through immigration and customs by Todd and the local team. All settled in to our hotel by midnight.

Thursday, 4th October 2018 : London : The last leg of the Roger Waters Us+Them tour kicks off with the band heading to Sao Paulo for a couple of days rehearsal. I will be flying out with Roger tomorrow and we will meet the US contingent there. I am excited to be on the road again for the last leg of 2018.