Hamburg-Prague 25, 26 June

24 June

Good day off in Amsterdam that started with construction either somewhere in the room next to me or outside my window which faces one of the canals here. 7 o’clock. Good thing I turned in early last night. Coffee, gym. Both Jim and Guy wandered in to the fitness room having been awakened by the same racket. I had a lovely lunch with my friends Nadia and Hank Quintelier who I mentioned in yesterdays note. Wonderful Italian called Incanto… a walk up on the river. Good catching up with them. Later in the evening I headed out for a couple of hours.. still broad daylight at 8 o’clock and nearly 90 degrees. You have got to love that. Bypassed dinner, still full from lunch but opted for a drink in one of the may umbrellaed cafes on Rembrandt Square. Another early night in bed with book in hand. Currently reading The Wisdom Of Bones by Kitty Aldridge, brilliant story and characters and every sentence a miracle of writing.

25 June

Farewell to Amsterdam… everyone had a great day off in this great city yesterday. Flew this afternoon to another great city, Hamburg to play tonight. Unfortunately it was a hit and run, not staying in town. The Barclaycard Arena was our venue tonight as it has been for many years. A serious heat wave is sweeping Europe this week setting new records and the arena was a sauna with 10,500+ people adding their body heat to the mix. We all came off stage, having played another good one, completely soaked to the bones. A runner and an hour flight to Prague where we’ll base for a few night, play tomorrow and have a day off here the following.

26 June

Down to the gym complete with a big bellied, old Daddy Warbucks-type guy grunting, groaning and slamming his weights around then laying on the only work out bench in the place to “rest”. Stupid sonofabitch. People who have no gym etiquette or simply don’t know what they’re doing should stay the hell out of the facility ’til they get some training. If you have to drop weights to the floor or slam them together on a machine, you are lifting too much and out of control. Wise up idiots. Meantime, a heat wave sweeps across Europe and Prague was well into 90+ f. today. I opted to cool it after the gym, practice, read and get ready for the gig tonight. Tomorrow’s a day off and I’ll get out then. 7,000 good folks braved the heat in the O2 Arena to see MK & Co. If there was air conditioning it was either turned off or in-op, in fact no air movement at all… a real steamer. Apart from keeping the sweat out of your in-ear monitors and eyes, it made no difference to us, everybody dug in and played a terrific show. Back at the hotel I again opted to cool it with an ice cold Budvar, the REAL Budweiser, a book and bed.

Richard Bennett