Alesund-Bergen-Oslo June 7, 8, 9

I had a fantastic week off here in London with my wonderful wife. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing. Highlights? The Sorolla exhibit at the National Gallery… food on the east end, Poppie’s and Pho….. The Imperial War Museum where we relived the horror of WWI, my wife having lost a relative in the Battle of Somme. Visiting our niece, her husband and children with Christina’s brother and sister-in-law as well. Had a terrific visit and dinner with Christina’s cousin Patricia and a fab dinner with her at Malabar in Notting Hill. I caught up with my friend Justin Sandercoe for lunch, the brilliant guitar payer and educator based in London, check his videos on YouTube. We fought the humanity on Oxford, Regent and Piccadilly Streets then quickly bolted into a cab and fled. We ate and drank for America. London, one of the world’s great cities, it never disappoints and I always love coming for an extended stay.

7 June

Farewell U.K. We made our way through typical London traffic to Farnborough Airport and a two hour flight to the west coast of Norway. Alesund is a city I’ve never played in before. Driving from the airport to the town centre I remembered what a beautiful country this is, the air, mountains, water and homes. The show was at Sparebanken More Arena, essentially a very large quonset hut with a standing capacity of 8,500. This show was the quickest one to sell out, in a matter of minutes after it was announced. People were shoe horned in shoulder to shoulder. After 10 days off, we were all a little nervous about remembering the tunes but once we hit the first song our memories proved just fine. There was a noticeable din throughout the entire show, start to finish. Don’t know if it was people talking through the whole thing or what, but it was very distracting. Anyway, we made our way through a very well played show and the reception at the end was fantastic. We did our usual runner at just past 10 in broad, blinking daylight…. Norwegian summer, and flew to Oslo where we’ll base for a few days.

8 June

Departed Oslo and made our way to Bergen another city on Norway’s west coast a little further south from Alesund. An outdoor, stand-up gig tonight that I remember from our last trip here four years ago, The Bergenhus Festning. The entire day had been like the old saying…’if you don’t like the weather, give it 5 minutes and it’ll change’. Rain, cool, sunny, warm, on and off all day. By soundcheck the sky had cleared, the sun out and by dinner it was back to a steady rain. When we played this venue four years ago it was wet and cold with the wind blowing the rain onto the stage. I think we all felt the same thing going into tonight’s show… bundle up and work our way through the set. When we hit the stage the rain stopped , the clouds cleared and the 8,000+ standing crowd gave us an incredible gig, one of the very best of the tour so far. We all talked about what a fantastic audience they were. Thank you Bergen. A short flight back to Oslo and a show here on Sunday.

9 June

It was our usual Oslo venue tonight, Spektrum. Another wonderful Norwegian audience and the band in top form. Our itinerary listed the capacity at 8,000 but it felt larger than that. The floor of the venue was seated along with very steep seating wrapping the entire way around the arena, every seat filled. It was a runner to the plane, the sky light at 10 o’clock. Arrived in Stockholm just past midnight. Tomorrow’s a day off.

Richard Bennett