Rainy, cloudy and cool in Brussels all day. Got a full 8 hours sleep, some coffee sent up to the room then off to the gym which is conveniently located on my floor. A short stumble out of my room and into a Euro gym complete with MTV blaring on the telly. Emmy was already hard at work pumping iron when I staggered in on my white legs.
Back to the room for a quiet day of practice. More than a few things in this new show that I've not quite got a hold of yet, also wrote charts for some of the Hawaiian tunes that we'll be playing during this tour's meet and greet. Got down to the gig about 5 o'clock and it felt like we'd never left the road, just a continuation of last year's tour. There wasn't much time to dwell on first night jitters as we had a long sound check immediately followed by a meet and greet that was entertained by a very rusty Hawaiian outfit, namely Guy, Danny, Glenn, newcomer Stuart on 2nd uke and yours truly on Hawaiian steel guitar. We'd not played the Hawaiian tunes since last July. I expect we'll get better as we go and I've worked up a couple of new numbers since last year. Again Paul Crockford introduced followed by "hit it assholes".
Usual opening night routine, everybody dressed and pacing around an hour before show time. When we finally took the stage, it was magic. Loads of nervous energy and a grin from ear to ear. Emmy is a joy to have with us, her dignity, grace, energy and singing aside, she certainly dilutes a lot of the ugly on that stage. The capacity audience of 6,500 were with us from the first note to the last and it was a wonderful night. We will technically improve over the course of the next few weeks, but I doubt the show will be any better than it was tonight.
Back to the hotel, Mark and band up in Guy's room for some swinging music, room service and a crazy video of the greatest steel guitar players ever, Buddy Emmons, Jerry Byrd, Jimmy Day, Buddy Charelton, Don Helms, Speedy West, Sonny Burnette and many more. The problem is, whoever put this thing together only took the steel solos from various live performances. Hence, just about the time you get start to get in to something, it's whipped out from under you and on to the next thing. Nonetheless, we had a great time and pulled the plug on ourselves at the reasonable hour of 2:00 a.m.