Paris 17 June

A day off yesterday the 16th. Bit of a strange hotel we’re in, very modern but spartan at the same time. I went down to the gym and it’s safe to say we have winner for the lamest of the tour. My walk-in closet at home is larger. One treadmill, one bench and a few weights. Jim was on the single treadmill so I did what little I could with the weights there and fled. The hotel is on a hill well above the city and I made my half-way down half heartedly, turned around and came back. 2 o’clcok in the afternoon, no restaurant per se in the hotel but a bar where you can order from the very spartan room service menu, so it was a pizza and a couple of bottled beers. Headed back to the room for a read and a nap. About 6:30 I decided to try to finish up my gym work-out hoping nobody would be in there. it was indeed deserted and hot… 30c. about 85f. Got on the treadmill and sweated through a torturous 35 minutes. Dragged myself back to the room to get a note that the band was headed out for dinner just then. I was no way close to being ready so I passed, had a cool shower and headed back down to the bar for a couple of martinis and a plate of French cheeses and crusty bread. A great view overlooking Lyon and it ended up being a lovely quiet hour on my own. Early to bed.

17 June

Flew to Paris this afternoon from Lyon and with traffic a tangle it was a 45 minute drive from the airport to the Accorhotels Arena, formerly Bercy, where we’ve played many times before. Once there we braced against the small of raw sewage in the dressing rooms and launched into our usual routine, Jook Ross joining us again tonight to open the show. The sold-out audience of 12,000 were loud, enthusiastic and rushed the front of stage midway through the show. A handful of security guards tried to wrestle fans back to seats but were quickly overwhelmed and it became a stand-up gig from there out… a great one. Thank you Paris. A runner back to the airport, with a twist. A white van got in between our cars and clearly was following us to the airport. All our cars try to stay together in a caravan but the white van kept darting in and out recklessly lane changing endangering other drivers as well as our own.. They managed to stay with us all the up to the security barrier at the airport then simply abandoned their van and began running to the head vehicle wielding albums. Seems that more vehicles were tailing us because all of a sudden there were a lot of people running along side our cars. A bit of shouting, push and shove, MK signed a few things but it was too much and our security whisked us all through, everyone on edge. I don’t know what the hell people are thinking, all that… for an autograph?? The airport terminal was mostly deserted as we cleared security then stared for 15 minutes at the parked, driverless bus that was to take us to our plane. Another bus was finally rounded up, delivered us to the jet and we boarded at last. Our spirits brightened considerably when we were greeted by Daniella. The flight was now delayed a take off slot until nearly 1 in the morning, so with drinks in hand dinner was served while we waited. Fantastic Chinese meal, sweet and sour chicken, roast duck, fried rice, veg and chicken egg rolls and fried noodles. A feast. We touched down in Lyon after an hour and it was a half hour drive to the hotel. It’s another day off tomorrow. A bed never felt better.

Richard Bennett