It was a very late night last night, arriving in San Francisco after the show in Santa Barbara. Had a drink with Danny and Stuart in the hotel bar then ambled up to Guy's room where we spent a couple of hours looking at some of the footage shot of the L.A. show as well as listening to a few things from the Minneapolis show. There is some wonderful stuff in there and I left feeling pretty good about our work. It was however nearly 3 when I got to bed and so a late beginning to this day. When I finally surfaced I went straight for the gym. The San Francisco Four Seasons gym takes up the entire fourth floor of this very large hotel and I remember writing about it last year. An amazing facility which seems like a city block square with so much equipment, treadmills, spinning rooms, machines, free weights etc. I must admit to being lax with my gym routine for periods on this tour, so for penance on this last day I dragged myself in for the usual hour and a half.
I remember writing about the final day of last year's tour and how strange and blue that day was. Today was no different. When we got to the gig nobody really said much about it, but it was on everyone's mind. We had a final meet and greet with The Kamanawanalei'a Boys never sounding better, a last swing at catering and finally the show. The Greek Theatre in Berkeley is beautiful, sounds great and it was a capacity audience of 8,500 who couldn't have been better. MK, EH and band were in fine form and it was a wonderful way to wrap the tour. Of course there were hugs all around backstage after the show. Our own star road manager Pete Macay arranged for 5 massive platters of supremely delicious sushi to be waiting in the dressing room when we came offstage and we all gathered round, chop sticks striking and holding red Solo plastic picnic cups full of black soy sauce and green wasabi. Back at the hotel we gathered for one last bit of luxuriation in Guy's Lounge Luxuriatti. A few laughs, one last round of gin and tonics, the final song...Ben Webster's Danny Boy and a heartfelt farewell. Tomorrow is a 6 a.m. wake up for an early flight back home to Nashville for the Septics. As for the Brits, tomorrow will be a very long day indeed.
I got thinking about some of the high and low points of the past month and have assembled a few winners and looser:
Best Gym: The Four Seasons-San Francisco
Worst Gym: Le Faubourg Sofitel-Paris (a treadmill in a closet)
Best Hotel: The Peninsula-Chicago
Worst Hotel: Le Faubourg Sofitel-Paris (a bed in a closet)
2nd Worst Hotel: Baglioni-Verona (I'm sorry, is impossible!)
Best Restaurant: Ristorante Greppia in Verona, Italy
Worst Food: Most of the catering in the States
Best Gig: Cannot pick one, they were all good for different reasons.....except,
Worst Gig: Chicago. Nothing to do with Chicago, simply everything that could go wrong did.
Best U.S. City Revisited: Chicago, a fabulous city
Best City Never Visited Before: Verona, Italy
Best Day Off: Chicago, Comiskey Park White Sox vs. Astros baseball game
Most Breathtaking Venue: Arena di Verona
Least Breathtaking Venue: Le Zenith-Paris (100+ degrees on stage and not enough air to take a breath)
Best Box Set: Deep Ska-Proper Records, U.K.
Best Word Of The Tour: Luxuriation
The Best Drink In The Whole World: Bombay Sapphire Gin and Schweppe's Tonic over loads of ice and freshly squeezed lime.
I won't list everybody who has been part of this tour as I did last time, but I want to thank every single guy on this exquisite crew for making the show happen every night. You've worked tirelessly and always have a good word and a smile and there is no show without you boys. Thanks to every single person who made up the wonderful audiences that gave so much to us. I don't know who enjoyed themselves more, you or the band! To our tour and road managers, Tim Hook and Peter Macay, you have made our lives so easy this past month and can seemingly achieve the impossible. Would either of you care to come run my life for me when I get home? To Mark's manager, Paul Crockford, thanks for a wonderful tour, we missed you greatly on the U.S. leg. All the best wishes and hope that you're back in the pink very soon.
This has been a very special tour for having Emmylou with us. I've had the good fortune to play on a number of her records and produced four of her albums, but we never had played in a live situation prior to this tour. My hat is off, Emmy's a fearless artist, a stunning singer, brilliant musician, a seeker of honesty and has made us all better for her presence on this tour. She also makes gifts of the best books and can scour up some serious baseball tickets on a day off. The addition of Stuart Duncan for this tour has been a joy. I've known and worked with Stuart for many years in the Nashville record mills, but spending this month discovering his deeper talent, great sense of humour and high capacity for luxuriation, has now made him a dear friend. Thanks Stuart for turning us on to Jimmy Rivers, Vance Terry, Joseph Spence and others. To the usual cast of idiots; Guy, Danny, Matt and Glenn, I've NEVER enjoyed playing music with anyone more than you boys. This may seem short and glib, but I honestly can't put into words how much I think of you guys and how honoured I am to share a stage and studio floor with you all. To Mark, I can only echo the above. I've become a far better musician for knowing you. Thanks for another fun filled, memorable tour and here's to 100 more with much love to you always. You name the time and place; I'll be there.
As for myself, I plan to settle back home for a couple of weeks then it is off to the Gulf of Mexico and a family holiday. When I return I'll get back to some session playing as well as taking my own new instrumental album a little more seriously and completing it.
So there you have it, another tour come and gone. The wind is out of the sails, the tents have been folded away not to be unfurled again until 2008 or beyond. In a few days these All The Roadrunning 'notes' will be gathered together as a link at the top of the webpage and I will go back to updating that page as things of interest happen. For those who have followed these 'notes' I thank you for your time and hope you got a little something from the reading. I certainly did from the writing. Until the next time............