It was one of those three city, globe hopping, Bondian days that began leisurely enough in Stockholm with some breakfast up in the room and a good 90 minutes down in the gym. Back to the room to pack for a luxuriously late check out and flight to Oslo on the Legacy. That's when things began accelerating.
On arrival we were met by our fleet of Mercedes and drivers and taken to the town centre, some forty minutes from the airstrip. Tonight's gig was at The Spektrum. As soon as we walked on stage for sound check I remembered this venue and may have written about it last year. An unusual facility, looking out from the stage it is very shallow and wide, a rectangle. I also recalled it being a good gig. We had a long sound check to iron out some of the monitoring wrinkles from last night, followed by a dash to catering where among the many entrees, salads and desserts were red snapper, a fresh linguini with light cream sauce and roasted red peppers, Asian chicken salad, perfectly ripe tomatoes thinly sliced with mozzarella and balsamic vinegar, etc., etc., and.......OH etc. Our day is always better because of Darin Wey, Neil Smith and Michael Hurley our hard working five star catering crew. Thanks guys.
A meet and greet right after dinner and the Hawaiian group is beginning to sound good again. Stuart has been playing second uke and violin and is a welcome addition, not to mention Mark K. who plays the hell out of sock rhythm on the arch top guitar and usually joins us for a last tune or two after all have been greeted. Of course with this tour Emmy is part of the welcoming staff and I think I heard her vocalizing along last night to the strains of some long forgotten number. Guy and I began learning the old Hawaiian chestnut Farewell My Tane (pronounced, Tah-nay) and might trot that out at the next m&g. That finished, we only had a few minutes left to get dressed before taking the stage. As you can see, once we arrive at the venue for sound check there is very little spare time and is the reason we don't invite our guests backstage, there's seldom time to visit with them.
We played to a sold out audience of 6,611 wonderful people. From the first down beat to the last notes ringing off, it was a relaxed, confident, mightily rocking and softly swinging show. The monitors were much better tonight and not cutting out and it seemed we could do no wrong, the band in top form, Mark and Emmy singing and playing brilliantly and exchanging some good banter between them. Too many high points to list. Thanks Oslo for a great gig.
From the stage we dashed into the waiting Mercedes fleet and drove the forty minutes back to the airport. It was bright 10 p.m. as we pulled out of the Spektrum that gave way to a beautiful dusk and sunset during the drive. The Legacy was purring when we arrived and it was off to Verona, Italy a 2.5 hour flight that seemed shorter due to sushi, curry, gin and tonics, builders all. We arrived quite late at the hotel in Verona, but the staff was on hand to welcome and they had especially left the bar open for our arrival. It would have been terribly rude to refuse their hospitality so it was a very late night cap to this busy day. Except it wasn't quite over yet. The unstoppable Guy Fletcher invited us to his room for a few cool sounds and cups of tea. After all that I still managed to read a little before calling it a day and don't know what time I went to bed, but the sun was coming up on Italy.
Speaking of Guy, I have failed to mention his fantastic daily tour diary which is the inspiration for my own. He always has loads of good photos from the gigs that he's posted and words of wisdom. If you haven't been there already, you must check it out at: www.guyfletcher.co.uk
Tomorrow we are off to Naples for pizza and to play in front of 150,000 fans for a live TV broadcast.