Roger Waters Australia and NZ Tour 2018

I will be touring with Roger Waters playing saxophone on his 'Us + Them' tour during 2018. The first port of call is New Zealand in the middle of January, followed by Australia. 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 and the US and Canada tour 2017 can be found here along with additional tour pics on flickr.


Thursday, 22nd of February : Perth / Hong Kong / London : Eight hours to Hong Kong. Three hours in the lounge. Thirteen hours to London. A long flight. Luckily I slept most of the way. Simon and I got in to London around 5pm.; just in time for rush hour. Home in Dollis Hill by seven. The end of another fantastic leg of the tour. Lots of happy memories. We have about six weeks off, before we start again in Barcelona. Yay!! Look out for the blog resuming around April the seventh. Au revoir till then.

Wednesday, 21st of February : Perth / Hong Kong / London : As my flight isn't till almost midnight I have the day to potter around. Dave and I did our final 'Insanity' workout for a while. Later we met up and walked into Perth. On the way we came across a kayak hire place so decided to get on the water. We were advised to sail against the incoming tide, which turned out to be against the wind also. This made the going quite hard and the river quite rough. About an hour into our paddle a particularly big wave managed to turn Dave over and he ended up splashing around trying to retrieve his flip flops and iPhone ( which was fortunately in a waterproof bag ). I meanwhile hung on to his kayak and as paddling was out of the question, quickly drifted against the rocks on the shore. Fortunately I managed to remain upright and soon a rather soggy Dave and myself sailed back to the hire shop. We dried off with some poached eggs, waffles and coffee at a nearby spot. All's well that ends well. We explored Perth a bit and Dave replaced his sunglasses that now reside at the bottom of the Swan. We got back around 7, so just enough time for me to pack, shower and meet the remaining band members that are heading to the airport.

Tuesday, 20th of February : Perth : The day of the last show on the Australian leg. I decided that lounging by the pool probably wasn't a good idea considering the strength of the sun, so contented myself with a wander around a nearby park. At soundcheck we played through 'Wait For Her' from Rogers' new album. He decided to play this instead of 'Mother' on this occasion to change things up a bit. The show went very well and was warmly recieved by the Perth audience. After the show we had a final drink in the hotel bar. Tomorrow the band will go their separate ways; some to New York, London and Los Angeles. Holly and Jess intend to stay in Australia to play some concerts with Lucius. They kick off with a festival in Perth in a couple of days.

Monday, 19th of February : Perth : There was a tentative plan to go to Rottness to see Quokas today. For some reason it has been postponed to Wednesday, so I stayed close to the hotel, apart from a walk into Perth to pick up more sunblock. This was definitely needed having spent most of the morning by the pool. 90 minutes or so practising and 30 mintutes or so updating this blog. In the evening I fancied a steak and some red wine, but all the hotels grills were completely booked, so I settled for a hamburger and beer in my room. Watched a dodgy reboot of 'Hellraiser' before bed.

Sunday, 18th of February : Adelaide / Perth : This is the last time we will travel on our Virgin Australia chartered jet. It is about 3 hours to Perth, but because of the time change we are there by two in the afternoon. It is a resort style hotel so most of the band head straight for the pool. I am not sure my complexion can cope with much more direct sunlight, so I covered up and explored along the Swan river. Later I found a shady tree and spent an hour or so playing. This annoyed the local cockatoo population immensely.

Saturday, 17th of February : Adelaide : Our last day in Adelaide. Roger has invited the band and some members of the crew to a lunch with him at the Star of Greece restaurant at Willunga Beach. We rolled up around 2pm due to bad traffic out of town. It is a beautiful area reminiscent of the north coast of Devon ( apart from very different weather lol ). The food at lunch was excellent. Afterwards we retired to Jon Lemon's house nearby. Jon and Jane had opened their wine cellar and had stocked up with excellent cheeses, prawns and sundry interesting foods. Many thanks to them. A trip to the beach for a swim and then back to Jon's place for more food, drink and carousing. A splendid day was had by all. I took too many pics so I have linked to a Flickr album of the event below .........

Friday, 16th of February : Adelaide : We play the Adelaide Entertainment Centre today. Insanity at the usual time of 10.30. I had a wander round town then along the river before setting off for the venue. I got to meet up with Mark Trueack and Sean Timms before the show. We toured Europe back in 2010 with their then band Unitopia. The show went very well. Roger took the opportunity to complain about the new restrictive Google and Facebook search algorhythms. Back at the hotel he was in good form reminiscing about early events in the Floyd history. Very interesting. I popped out to check out more of the university light shows before retiring.

Thursday, 15th of February : Adelaide : We have a day off before the show tomorrow. Dave and some of the rest of the band went to Cleland nature reserve. I decided to hang in Adelaide and explore. There is a vibrant central market and developing riverfront. The scullers were out in force when I found a secluded spot on the banks of the Torren to get in a bit of practise. In the evening it was back to Rundle street for Thai food. Afterwards I had a wander round the Garden of Unearthly Delights, which is the main location for Fringe festival venues. The Fringe doesn't get underway proper till tomorrow, but there was still plenty going on with previews in the new Speigel tent. On the way back to the hotel I checked out the lightshows centred around the cities university.

Wednesday, 14th of February : Melbourne / Adelaide : Today is a travel day. We leave for the airport and meet up with the crew on the plane. Bizarrely Adelaide is 30 minutes ahead of Melbourne time. Our schedule is quite relaxed as their is no show till Friday. ( relaxed for the band. The crew will be ferreting away making sure everything is ready to go when we turn up for the show ). I looked around Adelaide a little before hooking up with Simon for some Indian food in the evening. We did both fancy a curry and had heard Jasmin was the place to go. Unfortunately St. Valentines day meant an unexpectedly packed restaurant, so we settled for some Greek food in Rundle Street.

Tuesday, 13th of February : Melbourne : The last show in Melbourne on this tour. The Rod Laver arena is feeling very familiar, but never 'another day at the office'. As always Roger was refining the show and spent a fair amount of time improving the already amazing Battersea Power Station sequence at the start of the second half. All the business advisors wanted the 'rolios' ( the partition down the centre of the arena ) left in the US for financial reasons. Roger brought them anyway, even though the tour might make a loss on the Australasian leg. Dash, the head rigger, worked out a way of building a framework to support the screens in Melbourne even though the local engineers said it couldn't be done. No ticket buyer will ever be short changed at a Roger Waters concert!

Monday, 12th of February : Melbourne : Our last day off in Melbourne. Andrew and I planned a cycling trip; he on his trusty Brompton folding bicycle and me hiring a city bike. Simon also decided to come along, so we picked up the bikes and headed for the beach. We reached the ocean around Port Melbourne beach, then headed along the coast towards St. Kilda. We swapped out our bicycles ( apart from Andrew ) at regular intervals to avoid surcharges. ( up to 30 minutes free ). In St. Kilda we ate at the Matcha Mylkbar, which features interesting vegan food including poached eggs made from plants and konjac bacon. Tasty and surprising. We ran into Nicole from the crew who was also eating there. On the way back to town we came across the F1 course being set up for the forthcoming Melbourne Grand Prix. A fun and eventful day.

Saturday, 10th of February : Melbourne : Today we play the first of 3 shows at the Rod Laver arena. It was great to be back in the historic RLA. The show went well. Just as it got to the time for my solo on 'Money' I noticed that my reed had a gigantic chip out of the tip. It was too late to change the reed so I just strode to the front of the stage and hoped it wouldn't give out completely before I had finished. I made it through 'Money' so decided to chance it and use it on 'Us And Them'. Luckily it held out to the end. Phew! We headed back to the hotel and had a drink in the bar. Roger popped in for 15 minutes during half time of the Spurs / Arsenal match.

Friday, 9th of February : Melbourne : A day off to explore Melbourne. Dave and I started the day with Insanity on the roof of the hotel. I then wandered along the Yarra past Albert Park to tomorrows venue; the Rod Laver arena. I remember it well from the Dark Side tour in 2007. We played 2 shows there on that occasion and went back to see the Eric Clapton band play on a later night. On the way back along the opposite bank I explored the ecology fair featuring enviromentally friendly ways of getting around, eating, using power and saving bees and endangered animals. Andrew Zweck is going back for the Brompton ( folding bicycle ) exhibit. In the evening Killer and I tried to get into Chin Chin, but were told there was a two and a half hour wait! Luckily, he found an alternative Thai restaurant ( At Ease ) nearby which was excellent. We checked out some Chinese New Year celebrations featuring dragons breathing fire on the way back.

Thursday, 8th of February : Gold Coast / Melbourne : Today we travel to Melbourne with the crew. The flight was without incident and we arrived in town around 4pm. I stocked up on oats, milk and some fruit. I spent most of the rest of the day / evening exploring before heading back to the hotel for an early night.

Wednesday, 7th of February : Gold Coast / Brisbane / Gold Coast : Dave and I worked out in the heat of the sun first thing. After a coffee I ventured onto the beach. I ran into Sean and Kate who roped me into doing Josh Holland's 5 minute plank. After that I definitely needed to cool off in the sea. We had a good time battling the waves and trying to stop being swept out to sea. On the way to the show I ran across a few whacky Australian businesses including 'General Mowers' ( lol ) and 'The Car and Dog Wash' ( the mind boggles ). The show went splendidly and it was nice to catch up with Carol Marco who remembered me from the 'Jazz at the Crown' jazz gigs I put on for a year and a half in Cricklewood. Back to the Gold Coast for the last time this trip. Melbourne tomorrow!

Tuesday, 6th of February : Gold Coast / Brisbane / Gold Coast : Note to self; sunblock only works if you cover all exposed flesh. I managed to leave some skin unblocked right in the middle of my back. I now have an unusual red mark that looks like a weird birthmark. Hopefully it will fade after a few days ( probably accompanied with loss of skin lol ). We travelled into Brisbane for the show. The band still find it disconcerting to be playing to audiences that remain in their seats throughout the show. Roger was particularly happy with the performance however. The musical performances of everyone in the band are developing and it will be interested to compare recordings of the earlier shows with what is being played now. Back to the Gold Coast afterwards. Same again tomorrow. Yay!!

Monday, 5th of February : Gold Coast : We are staying at a resort hotel on the Gold Coast. I am wearing my factor 150+ sunblock, so it is safe for me to wander down the beach and splash around in the Pacific. 'Beach holiday' is not my natural habitat, but I am adapting lol. I had an outdoor practise on the sand dunes near by.A member of the local church choir tried to recruit me for their band. I politely declined. In the evening Dave, Andrew, Simon and myself had a meal at the local bar with mixed results. I was surprised to find beer costing more per pint than in London!

Sunday, 4th of February : Sydney / Gold Coast : Time to leave Sydney. We met up with Roger and the crew at the airport and headed off to the Gold Coast on the Virgin Australia plane Roger has chartered. On arrival, the band had a short hop to our hotel. The crew a rather longer one to Brisbane, where the shows will take place. Half of the rooms weren't ready when we got there so a few of us played word games over a cocktail. I then had a dip in the ocean. The waves make swimming impractical, but it was good fun rolling around in the surf. In the evening I ran into Josh, Roger's personal trainer and we had some Thai food in a nearby restaurant.

Saturday, 3rd of February : Sydney : There are plenty of wedding parties at various places in the park in spite of the intermittent drizzle. There was even a rave for catamarans going on in the harbour. We left for the venue a bit later today as there was no pressing need for a soundcheck. I had a nice chat with Ski and Alex in catering before the show. The food in catering was excellent during the US leg of the tour. It is just as good in Oz with nice regional twists like Barramundi and great New Zealand lamb. The show was another triumph. I was quite tired when we reached the hotel, so bailed from the aftershow after about half an hour.

Friday, 2nd of February : Sydney : Insanity outdoors by the pool. A walk across the Bridge. Soundcheck at 5. A very enjoyable show. Met with Annie and Caroline in the break. My bits in the show went well. In the hotel bar by 11.30.

Thursday, 1st of February : Sydney : Dave and I are keeping up the morning workout regime. I had a short blow under the Sydney Harbour bridge. In the afternoon I took the ferry to Manly to meet my old friend Annie Chatfield for lunch. It was great to see her and catch up. We had a a nice pizza and Sauvignon Blanc at Hugos then wandered down to the beach to watch the surfers. I got back to the city in enough time to walk to Venue 505 where there is jazz played every night. There was an interesting quartet playing Grant Green / Stanley Turrentine style 60's jazz. Enjoyable. I made it back to the hotel before the rain kicked in.

Wednesday, 31st of January : Dunedin / Sydney : It really was a flying visit to Dunedin. We are on the plane winging our way to Sydney by 1pm. There was a bit of a kerfuffle at Australian immigration. Most of the band and crew went through without incident but Roger, Mark Fenwick and myself were stopped due to some irregularity in our visas. After about an hour of feverish activity in back rooms everything was sorted out and we were allowed to enter Australia. Phew! By late afternoon we were settled into our wonderful hotel overlooking the harbour and opera house. I had a nice fettucine ragu and a beer with Andrew Zweck on the rooftop bar of the Glenmore ( a great old fashioned Australian pub ). It is great to be back in Sydney.

Tuesday, 30th of January : Auckland / Dunedin : Today we have a show in Dunedin, which is near the bottom of the South Island. We were in the air by 1.30pm and landed two hours later. Dunedin has a strong Scottish connection and the landscape is very reminiscent of the hills in the Highlands. The venue on this occasion is a Stadium rather than the more usual sheds and arenas. We set up in the blazing sun which streamed in through the transparent roof. The show was in daylight for the first half, which felt weird. I liked being able to see the audience so clearly during my bass outing on 'Brick' however. The second half was in darkness as usual. The front row was further from the stage than I am used to, so it was harder to pick out individuals. A very enjoyable show never the less. Back to the hotel for a drink and a natter before bed.

Monday, 29th of January : Auckland : After the last workout this week I headed down to the docks to check out the anniversary events. A great family day out providing you are wearing plenty of sunscreen. Later in the day I put in a couple of hours practise, before setting off for Mount Eden. The hill is around the same height as the Sky tower without the lifts. It was only when I got to the top that I realised that it is a volcanic crater. Thankfully it has been extinct for some time. There was great views from the top of all of Auckland.

Sunday, 28th of January : Auckland : The concierge of the hotel managed to find me a conference room to practise in where I wouldn't drive the other guests mad! Later I went down to the docks and checked out the festival in progress. It is celebrating Auckland's anniversity and goes on all weekend. There were fireworks at sunset accompanied by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra. I had a good view from a restaurant on the Viaduct.

Saturday, 27th of January : Auckland : A beautiful day in Auckland. Dave and I started off with the Insanity work out. We were joined by Holly on this occasion. I am not sure we will see her tomorrow! In the afternoon I decided to head for the Auckland Domain; a park a couple of miles from the city centre next to Parnell. The two main features are the Wintergarden and the War Museum. The Wintergarden is quite reminiscent of the Victorian 'crystal palaces' of Kew in London. Their original use was for tea dances and the like, but it is now a sanctuary for exotic plants from around the globe. The War Museum's main area of interest for me was the Maori artifacts section. Boats, tools, weapons, clothes and even buildings were on display. The warring between rival tribes and cannabalism was touched on. Interesting. Afterward it was nice to wander around a new part of the city and get some exercise and sun. Some good Thai food and a glass of wine at the Thai Chef's restaurant in the evening.

Friday, 26th of January : Auckland : The second Auckland show today. I streched my legs a bit around town then headed to the venue early for a warm up as usual. The show went very smoothly with everyone playing at least as well as the last show. The crowd were probably better than the previous, which might be to do with the holiday weekend we are in. The band had a quiet drink back at the hotel where Roger regailed us with stories from the 'Their Mortal Remains' ( Pink Floyd exhibition ) launch in Rome. Some interesting tooing and froing between Dave Gilmour and Roger's manager Mark Fenwick related by Roger using uncanny impersonations of Dave and Mark. Very entertaining.

Thursday, 25th of January : Auckland : We have a day off before the last show in Auckland, so I took the ferry out to Waiheke Island. There are 30 odd wineries on the island, so I was looking forward to a few tastings. Of the great variety of wine Waiheke produces, my favourites were all Bordeaux style blends of Cabernet Sauvignan, Merlot, Cabernet Franc with the occasional Malbec added. The winner for me was definitely the Tantalus Estate 'Ecluse'. After a late lunch I visited the beach at Onetangi; paddled in the warm sea and had a hokey pokey. The island is very beautiful and I had an excellent day out.

Wednesday, 24th of January : Auckland : Insanity in the morning with Dave. This is the day of the first show of the tour. I updated my blog, before walking to the venue early. I need to find a good reed for tonight. This is always easier to do before the rest of the band arrive. Everyone is very relaxed before we go on. Jon Carin played some tunes. We had a visit from Chris Kansy. 8.20pm and the curtain goes up. The whole gig felt great. Everyone was happy with their performance. My reed worked very well as expected and the Auckland crowd were warm. I discovered later that the reason there were few members of the audience standing, was that on previous occasions, ticket holders had been thrown out of the concert for doing so. Bizarre and not very rock 'n roll. We had a nice get together back at the hotel. I had a couple of glasses of the excellent Destiny Bay 'Destinae' 2010, which was delicious. Slept well.

Tuesday, 23rd of January : Auckland : We finally got the Insanity workout regime underway today! Only Dave is with me so far, but we live in hope that at least Simon and Pompey will join us shortly. Todays thunderstorms scuppered my tentative plan to explore Waiheke Island. It sounds like a must do excursion with the boat trip past a dormant volcano, beautiful beaches and excellent wineries. I will have a couple more opportunities before we head to Sydney via Dunedin. Dined at the Soul bistro in Viaduct Harbour. Tasty snapper and a very good Stella savignon blanc from the Soho winery.

Monday, 22nd of January : Auckland : After a bit of tinkering with some of the new songs, we ran the set with all the bells and whistles. The band is definitely back in the groove and Roger decided we needn't rehearse tomorrow.

Sunday, 21st of January : Auckland : The production rehearsals start today. I walked to the arena and hour before there rest of the band to get some playing done. After a quick lunch we looked at "Mother' and 'Machine'. As always, Roger had some constructive improvements to suggest. We got to run the entire show before packing up around 7. I watched a couple of episodes of 'Game Of Thrones' before bed.

Saturday, 20th of January : Auckland : The weather is a bit warmer today, but not the blistering temperatures advertised by Killer! I am still avoiding band members and crew as much as possible, so did one of the Insanity workouts in my room. It is a lot harder motivating yourself to get to the end by yourself! I walked up to Albert Park, which sits on top of Auckland and is the location of the cities university. A typical Victorian style park which could have been anywhere in the UK. Later I took my sax to the Spark Arena and spent a couple of hours practising. Thai food in the evening and an early night.

Friday, 19th of January : Auckland : We got in around 8am, so have the whole day to explore. There was some talk about resuming the Insanity workout today, but no call, so maybe tomorrow. I explored the docks area that are more functional than scenic. From there I headed to Karangahape Road which is full of interesting shops, bars and places to eat. Mt Eden is probably a bit far for a first day walking excursion, but I did get a good picture from the Uptown area. I still have a slight bug from a cold that started in London, so will avoid the other band members for the next couple of days. Early to bed as the jetlag kicked in.

Wednesday, 17th - 19th of January : London / Auckland : I head out to New Zealand today. Dave Kilminster is already there having a few days of R&R. Most of the rest of the band fly from the US. It is a twelve hour flight to Hong Kong. 90 minutes lay over then another twelve to Aukland. I am glad we have a few days to recover before the first show! ............Arrived at Heathrow............ going to the gate ...........In Hong Kong temporarily........ Arrived to a warm but rainy Auckland.

Monday, 8th January 2018 : London : In about a weeks time I will be heading off to New Zealand for production rehearsals and shows in New Zealand. Later in the month we will fly to Sydney and continue the tour in Australia. I am starting to get excited!