Budapest-Krakow-Gdansk 9, 10, 11 July

9 July

Coffee and gym this morning then a civilised 3:30 lobby call and drive to Sport Arena here in Budapest. One of the many amazing things about this tour is the enthusiasm and camaraderie, every day, even now as we’re well into our forth month on the road. It’s a remarkable group of people who work so well together that makes these tours enjoyable. A wonderfully played show tonight for a brilliant, sold out audience of nearly 8,000.

10 July

Budapest to Krakow this afternoon on a sushi fuelled flight. A 30-minute drive to the Tauron Arena and our usual pre-show activities. We played for 11,000+ tonight that became a standing gig about midway through the set. It always begins with a few people coming down to the front of the stage quickly followed by hundreds more. At that point security is overwhelmed and the people in seats stand in order to see. I’m of two minds about that. It’s all very exciting when your standing on stage and playing. However, as an audience member it irritates the hell out me. The people who come to these shows are wonderful and there’s never any trouble, they simply want to get closer. The shows just continue to get better each night and we all talk about how quick those couple of hours on stage fly by in what feels like 30 minutes. A runner after the gig for a flight to Gdansk where we’ll base for a couple of days and play there tomorrow. This is our final flight with Tijana our great flight attendant who has probably walked as many miles as we’ve flown ferrying cups of coffee, tea, platters of food, beer, wine and cocktails. Safe journeys to you.

11 July

Gdansk is a first for me, never played here in 48 years of touring. Located on the Baltic coast we’re staying in the ‘spa town’ of Sopot on the sea. Tomorrow will be a day off and I plan to explore. As for today, it was a good push in this hotel’s great gym then off to the ERGO Arena. The equipment trucks arrived late this afternoon pushing our stellar crew to their limit. As always they prevailed as if nothing was amiss and were ready for a 5:15 soundcheck cool as the other side of your pillow. The audience of 8,000+ was so welcoming and wonderful, the show sure footed and loose. On the band front, a couple of the boys have been battling a stomach virus, no fun at best of times but to battle through 2 hours on stage is a test…. troupers all. Our John McCusker was honoured tonight winning the Scottish Culture Award for music in Edinburgh while he was performing here in Gdansk. He was nominated last year but lost to the Scottish Ballet and was really not expecting the win this time. We all found out while closing out the night in the bar and John will no doubt wake bruised from all the hugs he received. Congrats Johnny.

Richard Bennett