Bordeaux-Toulouse-Zurich-Milan May 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

The Metropole Arena in Bordeaux was packed to sold to capacity…. 7,500 for our show of the May 6th. On occasion we will have an artist open the evening and tonight it was Jook Ross, a singer-songwriter with a beautiful voice and melodic songs, who will be with us for the next couple of nights. Jook’s set was very well received. After a short interval, we took the stage and played a great show. It was a runner back to our chateau and a band party in Guy’s room… the first of the tour. Full attendance, great music, patters of French cheeses and breads, umpteem bottles of brilliant French wine and a dozen beer for good measure. We wrapped up about 2 in the morning and poor Guy’s room looked like a proper rock and roll casualty complete with a splintered chair. More like the ‘mild ones’ rather than the ‘wild ones’ I can assure you there was no intentional trashing, merely situational.

Up early and feeling better than I had any right to, I got myself out for an hour’s walk through the forests and vineyards of this beautiful area we’re staying. As I was walking through the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte winery I heard a rhythmic banging and followed my ear to what turned out to be a cooperage and a cooper making a barrel by hand. The banging was him setting the metal bands that hold the barrels together. A quick coffee back at the room and it was time to leave for a short flight to Toulouse and tonight’s gig at Zenith… one of those landed spaceship looking places. The usual soundcheck followed by dinner. Jook opened again tonight. We took the boards at 9 o’clock and played what I think was the best show of the tour so far. They just keep getting better and the crowd was so good to us. A runner and quick return flight to Bordeaux. Tomorrow we decamp for Zurich and a day off.

8 May, The day off was cold and rainy and found most of us hanging at the hotel. A lot of us gathered in the hotel bar astonished by the prices for a drink and the restaurant as well. Ended up in the downstairs “Bond” bar complete with ‘60s decor and a cocktail piano player. We ordered a load of club sandwiches and devoured every scrap. A few of us ended up in Guy’s room for a nightcap and some music.

The Zurich gig was, as Dan said, a listening audience and a concert vibe. The most relaxed gig of the tour so far and the best played. Sold out at 10,000 it was a fantastic audience and show. A runner back for a night cap and early to bed.

The afternoon of the 10th we departed Zurich, south bound for Milan. Tonight’s show at Mediolanum Forum was, again, for a capacity audience of 9,000. MK & Co. have hit a new level over these last few nights. Hard to describe but they’re very emotional performances from everyone, Mark singing and playing things I’ve not heard before. The true friendship, mutual admiration and musicality of every man on that stage is hard to imagine in any other situation. It was a beautiful show here in Milan. Guy, kindly again, turned his room into a hospitality suite with music and night caps. Tomorrow is a day off in this wonderful city.

Richard Bennett